Can good quality translation be produced cheaply? It depends what you need the translation for. If it is for ‘information only’ then it is possible to get the gist of a document from a basic translation which can be done for a competitive price. However, client-facing or critical technical documents need a human professional linguist. Our linguists only work in specific chosen fields and only translate into their native language.
At Bath Translations we only work with professional linguists. When a client approaches us with a project we contact our list of approved linguists who have expertise in that particular field. The linguist is given the entire document to look at and asked to provide a quote to complete the work. Rather than a bulk email to all of our linguists asking if they are interested in taking on a project we contact each linguist to check their availability and their price. We believe in working individually both with our clients and our linguists. Proactive and personal communication is the backbone of our approach and this is what makes our approach successful.
Many large translation companies have a set rate for each language. These type of companies may quote their clients before actually contacting linguists to complete the work. Therefore the linguist, if they agree to take the work on, are working for the translation company rate which is likely to be a great deal less than their preferred rate for their professional translation skills. In the fast paced internet-centric world that we live in, companies quoting for a job before a linguist has even seen the work is problematic.
For example, if I were to receive a large Japanese text in pdf format it is very difficult to find out how long the Japanese text is even with good OCR software. This means that a translation company receiving a large document in a non-Western font will not be able to accurately determine how long the text actually is. Therefore, if they are quoting the client they can only quote per page/per 1000 source characters which does not give the client a final costing. We do not work in this way as we ask the linguists to determine their price to complete the translation. Where a document has a complex layout including diagrams and tables. If the client requires a document that has the same layout then the linguists have to factor this time into their pricing. We are happy to pay linguists to carry out formatting and will inform a client if this is the case. In many instances the client is happy to have a document that is similar but not identical and by communicating this to the client and the linguists, it is possible to save clients money from the project costs and also save the linguists’ time and formatting frustration.
Another facet of our globalised economy is that many companies that have UK addresses (particularly London) are, in fact, based in much less expensive parts of the world. They are charging the end client a low rate which seems attractive when budgets are tight. However, a low rate to the end client means that the actual linguists are being paid a tiny amount of money- sometimes this is equivalent to supermarket pay rates. It is not advisable to pay such a low rate to get that all important document translated.
So the next time you have an important document to translate for overseas client or where you have a highly technical document to translate into English, consider what it is worth to your business to get a good translation produced.