Localization Cost Savings, Part 2: Best Practices

You may have already read part one of our money-saving series. But if you are looking for additional ways to minimize your localization budget while still ensuring a successful global launch, here are six general practices that will afford you additional cost savings:

Ask your Translation Agency about Machine Translation.

Depending on your content, machine translation with human post-editing could be an excellent solution for your project, awarding you monumental cost-savings and speed over 100% human translation. Typical machine translation processing ranges from 600 to 1,200 words per hour. It’s therefore ideal for large-volume projects with 500,000+ words, technical manuals, straightforward text of all kinds, data sheets and more. A hybrid approach of machine and human translation could empower you to take on more international markets with minimal initial investment, offering an ROI scenario that is likely to please your executives.

Pick your Languages Wisely.

Granted, you don’t want to select your target languages solely based on the translation costs associated with each — these decisions are rooted in your international marketing strategy and the viability of your products and services in the new language markets. But if research tells you that your product would do just as well in Latin America as in China, for example, then you have an advantage. European languages such as Spanish, French and German tend to cost less per word than Asian languages like Japanese. Target those that are in your budget for starters.

Be Generous with Your Lead-Time.

Last minute translations can break the bank in a localization project. Depending on the nature of your content, a typical translator may tackle anywhere between 2,000 to 3,000 words per day. Rush jobs requiring translation “miracles” will run more expensive, multiplying the costs by up to 1.5. If you’re forecasting to save money, give yourself generous lead-time for your international launch.

Give your Translation Partner Context.

You’ll save money if your translators get it right the first time. If you send them context for understanding your brand personality and products before project kickoff, whether through a creative brief, verbal style guide or a simple email, they’ll be equipped to translate your material accurately and efficiently. You may also want to provide a glossary of your company terms and lingo — this will save them research time and possible missteps.

Make your Content as Accessible as Possible.

If you do the extra legwork in the beginning and optimize your files before sending them off for translation, you’ll save big on pre-processing dollars. For example, Word documents with lots of cross references, anchors, bullets, numbers and complex styles can go awry when processed with translation tools. Simplify the layout in advance to prevent eventual errors and reduce your translation agency’s time investment.

Use Universal English.

Finally, as you develop new content for translation, work with your in-house technical copywriters to write for a global audience. This involves using more translation-friendly idioms, minimizing cultural and local references and employing a simple sentence structure. If your technical content is clear, concise and neutral, it will be easier to translate and therefore less expensive to localize for your new language markets.

For more tips, check out our article on preparing for translation and stay tuned for Localization Cost-Savings Part Three....

Photo attribution: alancleaver_2000

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Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.


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