With 59% of the world population visiting the Internet daily, it is only natural that services are moving along, placing websites where their audience will be sure to find it—online. As your market reach gets wider, a new problem arises. How to appeal to a target audience speaking a different language?
One way will work for sure—make the website speak the language international customers understand. People are more prone to buying products from websites written in their native language, it makes the customers feel cared for and included into the brand. Website translation and localization services will help you build a bridge between your website and global market while this article will help you figure out how much this bridge will cost you.
There are two ways to make your website suitable for launch in a target region: translation and localization. What is the difference between these two approaches?
Translation transfers words from one language to another. In other words, it relays the message of the website. Localization services are different, they adapt the message, turning it into a pleasurable customer experience. Most importantly, the localization process makes the product feel native to the target audience, considering proper metrics, standards, currencies, etc.
Think of your audience while choosing between website localization and translation. Your website might be the first thing your customers will look at, so you should make sure to leave a good first impression. The best first impression for a multilingual website can be achieved through localization.
To understand the difference between a translation agency and freelancer rates, you should first understand the difference between their functionale.
First thing to discuss is the availability and speed of the services provided by companies and freelancers.
Most freelance translators are available within the regular hours. Nevertheless, freelancing grants a person the possibility to work whenever they find it comfortable for them, not for you. Contacting a freelance translator can be quite a hit-or-miss situation—you may receive your materials and answers during regular hours… or you may not.
Translation companies use a different approach. Your project will be a collective effort, with a project manager attached to it to ensure you get your materials within standard working hours and your time zone will be accounted for. More than that, companies offer more services: for example, a company can safely certify translation for legal use.
Not to badmouth freelance translators, but companies tend to have better project quality. First, because the majority of these companies are ISO-certified. The certificate means that the company was thoroughly examined and complies with the universal standards for translation quality. You’ll rarely meet a freelance translator who’s ISO certified.
Second, translation companies employ subject matter experts and bilingual professional translators to revise the projects and eliminate mistakes. The material goes through multiple human and machine-assisted revisions at every step of the translation. This way, companies are sure to deliver materials of the highest quality.
Freelancers deliver finished work faster than the companies. While a company must process the project through the full workflow, freelance translators have their own tempo. And in this case, the job done by a single person will be faster than by a team of people constantly exchanging messages and drafts, checking the work until the final product is ready.
Usually, going with a freelancer is the lower cost option. There is a certain level of competition between freelance translators, especially when it comes to popular language pairs, where offer is abundant. This often forces freelancers to lower the price for their services. As a result, you can see prices from $0.02 to $0.25 per word. Freelance translators rarely estimate the material they are going to take on, which leads to poor quality works and loss of money.
Companies usually offer the client to contact them for a free quote, ask to show materials for translation and only then estimate the price. With a company, you will always know what you spend your money on, rather than just agreeing on a bid with a freelance translator. The prices that companies put up might be higher, but they are justified by the amount of expertise and effort a company will pour into your website.
Before we start, you should notice that there’s simply no “average rate” in this business. The cost of translation is influenced by many details.
First of all, the cost is impacted by the language pair. Similar to any other business, in translation the cost is influenced by supply and demand rules. This means that common language pairs like English to German will be less expensive than Russian to Chinese. This is simply because there’s more translators capable of translating English to German than more rare language pairs like Russian to Chinese.
Another thing to consider about the language pairs is Search Engine Optimisation. SEO helps your website to be found and recognized by the search tools of web browsers. The keywords you use on your website will most likely be lost in translation. Working with a language service provider to compile a new list of keywords in the target language will add to the final cost.
The scope of the project also matters. It is only natural that a small project will cost you less than a large one with a complicated system of intertwined web pages. If your website is a big one, you can first work on the most vital pages that attract customers and leave less important pages for later.
Another factor is the theme of the website. General-themed websites are easier to understand and translate. Industry-specific websites that require a deep understanding of the subject matter to be translated are another case. The more specific the content of the website, the higher the probability of additional charges.
Yet another factor is the experience and skills of the translator team that will take on your website. Translator’s expertise is comprised of:
The requirements for the work are rather high, this is why the expertise of a translator is what adds up to the final cost. If your legal document requires to be certified to be used in court, this might also require additional payment.
More than that, if you chose to localize your website to fit a new market, the language service provider might include an in-country review (ICR) into your project. ICR is an expert from the target country that plays an important part in quality assurance. ICR specialists check if the translation reads well to the target audience. It is recommended to go through an ICR before launching your website, so try to find an LSP that incorporates ICR into their work.
Speed is another factor to consider. Of course, an LSP will estimate a deadline for your project and will deliver the finished work in due time. However, if you’d want to receive your website faster, you have to be ready to tack on additional costs to your budget.
There is a certain bias against machine translation by the general public, but in fact, machine translation has been improving immensely throughout the last decades. It’s still not perfect, but with a revision from a human, it can show good results. And it’s cheaper—post-machine translation editing costs less than human translation.
Talking about machine translation, it won’t be fair not to mention computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. CAT tools are the instruments applied by human translators to improve the quality, speed and consistency of the translation. More than that, CAT tools allow translators to obtain and pass translation memory and glossaries to you, which, in turn, will enhance future translation work of your website.
Professional human translators hired by the companies are bilinguals, preferably native speakers, specialized in a certain field (i.e. pharmacology, life sciences, etc). These experts work alongside their colleagues, creating and revising drafts for your project, delivering high quality of service. Only human translators are capable of understanding the message and intent behind the source material and carefully adapt it to another language.
It would be unfair to say that human translators don’t use technology at all. Many of them use online glossaries, CAT tools and other helpful tools to speed up the process. Still, human translation is considered better than machine translation, due to the flexibility of the human approach.
The better results are achieved through a combination of both methods. While AI-assisted translation tools hasten the process, human translators understand the context of the material and check consistency. Computers revise human’s work and humans use machine assistance, delivering high-quality translations.
To sum it up, the cost of translation depends on many factors and it’s almost impossible to find a solution that fits all. To get an accurate quote from an LSP, provide information about your website:
With the specification document, you can quickly establish productive contact with language service providers and get a quote faster.
Together, we discussed the factors that influence the cost of website translations, from larger aspects like the size of the website to more detailed ones like SEO-optimization. If you’d like to have expert translators work on your product, contact Palex to get a free quote. We’ve been in the business for more than 20 years, cooperating with companies in medical, legal, technical and other industries. Our extensive experience and expertise allows us to work with more than 80 languages, employing language experts from all over the world. Email us at [email protected] to get a quote.