My friend can speak that language…

… So why do I need a translator?

During one of the medical industries biggest exhibitions, Medica 2008, we spoke to hundreds of people regarding their translation requirements.

Surprisingly many of the companies confirmed that their translation is done by employees who happen to speak the foreign language required.

It seems like a good and inexpensive option, but is it really?

Inexperienced translators, even if they have good knowledge of the product, might not have the sufficient knowledge of linguistic aspects of translation needed to convey the message accurately.

In addition, experienced translators are efficient and able to provide accurate translations under time pressures that are often exerted by print/launch deadlines. Inexperienced employees undertaking translation projects will spend much more time on it compared to an experienced language specialist.

The biggest cost comes from these employees not attending to their daily responsibilities; this “opportunity cost” is often higher than the cost of outsourcing translation to a specialist agency such as K International plc.

K International uses translation memory software (TMS) which helps its translators by storing all previously translated material, whereas, translation done by employees is never stored in a way that allows efficient re-use of previous translations.

By outsourcing to K International you can save considerable amount of money because of the enormous savings (up to 70% discounts) on previously translated and repetitious text. Therefore, using an established TMS will benefit your company in 3 ways.

  1. A reduction in cost – as the software will ‘remember’ what has been previously translated.
  2. Improve consistency across releases and updates.
  3. A reduction in time to market – i.e. reducing the amount of work that is required.

Summing up the opportunity costs, longer delivery times, late launches and losing benefits of TMS, can you really afford to translate your documents in-house?

2 replies
  1. Nick Ballard
    Nick Ballard says:

    Very interesting, this also happens with design projects in large organisations. When working in the private sector we were made aware of our hourly rate. Something every one should know.
    It once took a £200 an hour person two days to design an internal poster – cost from a graphic designer – £150!

    On the other article about poor translation, I once heard about “meals on wheels” coming back as “dogs on skateboards”

  2. Richard Brooks
    Richard Brooks says:

    Great point Nick… I’d also add that its the opportunity cost (i.e. the cost of the job that went undone because the person who should have been doing it was translating/designing or whatever). This is unable to value when the person in question is a Police or Prison Officer and the work they do for the community goes beyond a simple £££/$$$ calculation.

    and – meals on wheels = dogs on skateboards… I like it!



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