28 May /19

When Cheap Translations Become Expensive – the Pitfalls of Favourably Priced Quotes

When Cheap Translations Become Expensive – the Pitfalls of Favourably Priced Quotes
When Cheap Translations Become Expensive – the Pitfalls of Favourably Priced Quotes – EVS Translations

In reality, translations are not a tangible product. However, project management for Chinese translations at EVS Translations recently won an exciting order.

Around 70,000 words were translated and proofread, and then the Chinese characters were typeset in InDesign. It was a case study in teamwork all the way down the line – translators, proofreaders, desktop publishing specialists and project managers completed the project in roughly two months. So far, so good – at least for the Chinese translation. However, in parallel, the customer placed the order for the translation into English with a second translation company. The key reason for choosing the other provider? The price. But this favourably priced translation became expensive. The customer quickly noticed that the quality of the English translation was not adequate for its purposes, meaning that entire chapters had to be translated afresh. The consequence: The translation costs went up – during a conversation with the customer, it informed us that the actual costs had even exceeded our initial quote.

What you should bear in mind with cheap translation quotes

Various factors put translation providers and online translators in a financial position to offer cheap translations. Typically, this is due to a lack of specialist knowledge or deficient language skills on the part of the translators used, low rates of pay for freelance translators, not delivering orders on time, and compromising on confidentiality and data protection.

To begin with, cheap translations are not a bad thing. The question is, are they also good value? For internal translations where only the essence needs to be understood, lower quality standards may be adequate. But if it is a matter of documents that are of interest to the public, will be read by customers or will be printed in a large print run for publication, you should bring in a translation company that has the same view on quality as you. Translations can be high-quality, fast, favourably priced or reliable or at least fulfil two of the four criteria.

Eight reasons why some translations are more expensive than others

Quality translations come at a price. Bear in mind that a translation company like EVS Translations:

  • employs permanent in-house translators,
  • provides ISO-certified human translations and proofreading in line with the dual-control principle,
  • maintains a large administrative apparatus to ensure that projects run smoothly,
  • provides customers with individual advice and support,
  • invests in researching and developing new translation techniques and technologies,
  • adapts its range of products to customer requirements and expands it accordingly,
  • has put in place its own IT and legal departments to back up and protect its confidential customer data and
  • rents server rooms in the former vaults of the federal state central bank of Hesse for secure data storage in Germany.

These reasons can all result in a price per word or per line that is higher than other language service providers.

Avoid unnecessary problems with translation orders and compare

Ask yourself: What purpose should my translation serve?

Ask the translation companies from which you obtain quotes: What services does the quote include?

That allows you to easily compare quotes and check whether the cheap translation price also provides the quality standard that you require.

In hindsight, the customer from the example above should have had its document translated into Chinese and English entirely by the native-speaker in-house translators at EVS Translations and would have thus saved money in the end!

Have you had bad experiences with a cheap translation and need help to publish your English annual report on time or to meet your product launch date abroad? The team at EVS Translations will be happy to help you. Call us on +1 404-523-5560 (USA), +44-115 96 44 288 (UK) or use our contact form!