Have you ever been fooled by an appealing list of translation services bundled up into a pretty price, only to realize the real cost was far greater than anticipated?

We’ve talked about the cost of quality translations, and why price shouldn’t be your only determining factor when shopping for a translation provider. Now it’s time to dive deeper into the ever-so-popular topic of language translation costs.

To understand the total value associated with your translation projects, it is critical to look at not only the hard costs but also the associated soft costs — expenses that are more intangible or indirect. In doing so, you will learn how to gauge the true cost of translations.

Hard costs vs. soft costs

Let’s first discuss the difference between hard and soft costs in language translation. Hard costs can be defined simply as the “sticker price” of a product or service. In the world of language translation, the sticker price is what you see up front for a translation project. For example, it might be a project estimate of a set dollar figure or it could be broken down into a per-word rate.

On the other hand, soft costs are hidden or intangible. This typically includes labor costs such as time spent authoring content, managing translation projects and reworking errors and mistakes.

What it could mean for your business

Like many organizations, your budgets might be tight, and the pressure is on to find the most costeffective translation services. Picture the following theoretical scenario. You’ve done some shopping and have narrowed down to a handful of translation vendors. You decide to go with the lowest bid and send your language translations off for completion.

Two weeks go by and the completed translation project is delivered to your inbox. The quality is disappointing and unacceptable. Your in-country reviewers refuse to sign off and now you’re stuck with worthless content that you already paid for. And not only that, you missed important deadlines and have to invest in rework to get it done right.

Now imagine the unexpected monetary value associated with this specific project. If your salary breaks down to $25 per hour and you spent 20 hours more than you should have reworking the content, that equates to $500 of soft costs that could have been spent on business critical activities. In other words, that’s an additional $500 you now have to spend on the language translation project you originally determined as the best deal. Not to mention the lost productivity time and aggravation that also added to the price tag.

While it may be tempting to focus solely on the bottom-line cost, this example serves as a reminder to give careful consideration to soft costs and never overlook the indirect expenses associated with them.

Quality isn't always the culprit

Quality isn’t the only piece that can impact overall costs. There are a number of factors that can contribute to higher soft costs for your organization.

To avoid these extra costs, be sure your translation vendor has a proven process for creating high quality content, including a quality assurance plan that can be measured every step of the way. In addition, be sure your translation vendor offers a translation management system with superior translation memory technology. A good translation management system, such as Amplexor Transplicity, creates more efficiency in the process with easy online submission of projects, the ability to track project status and workflow automation. This can save your team significant time with managing translation projects.

Your translation vendor should also provide a dedicated project management team who can help direct and coordinate your translation initiatives. The right combination of people and technology will create a more efficient and quality-assured process, saving you valuable time, money and energy.

Is the lowest price option really the cheapest?

While one vendor’s quote for your language translation project may be significantly lower at face value compared to a different vendor, the real costs may increase when you factor in the soft costs of additional hours of labor required to get the job done right.

The best way to cut down on soft costs is to work with a language service provider who offers the right translation process for your organization so there are no unexpected or hidden costs showing up down the road.

About Amplexor

Amplexor Content Globalization

Through the right set of expert translation and localization services and the most advanced linguistic technology, we help you to reach your customers, partners and employees successfully, ensuring meaningful localized messages in any language.

Learn more > 

Table of Contents

Hidden costs in language translation: Why the lowest price option could cost you more

Fill out the form to learn more about:
  • How to gauge the true costs of translations
  • The difference between hard and soft costs – sticker price vs. hidden costs
  • Why evaluating soft costs over bottom-line costs is important
  • What you should expect from your vendor


Get your free copy now