How To Cost-Control Your Translation Needs To Fit Into Your Budget For 2021

With timelines growing shorter and budgets growing smaller, professional translation may sound like something of a luxury and you are considering cheaper alternatives to expanding into foreign markets. But before you risk compromising on quality and alienating your international audience, we’d like to introduce you to the core ways your translation budget can be kept to a minimum.

Learn about the preparations you should make to fully optimize your translation budget, the tools Languages Service Providers (LSP) use in order to cut costs and turnaround time while maintaining quality, the value of selecting the right service, and whether to choose an LSP or a freelancer.

First Things First: Maximize Your Translation Budget With Top Preparations

Translation work should be always planned well ahead and there are some crucial choices you should make early on in the process. Here is what you do!

Prepping And Internal Communication

  • As a rule, it is best to schedule translations on a regular basis (think monthly or quarterly) to keep track of everything you have coming in, most importantly, going out. Also, inform your internal stakeholders of the importance of planning ahead
  • Once requested, your translation budget should be tracked. Choose wisely in this and select a vendor who is transparent in their costs and policies.
  • Make sure you scope your project and prepare everything you need up front. Ad-hoc or small additions you think of later, especially when they will need to be added under specific time pressure, can add to your translation budget quite significantly.
  • Speaking about scoping, make sure you are aware of the preparation you can do yourself so the translation team can work faster, more efficiently, and save you money. This includes tracking your websites and identifying the languages you would like your material translated into, briefing the vendor of your goals, brand mission, and target audience, and even ironing out some technical details. More in this below!

Consider Long-Term And Strategic cooperation To Maximize Your Translation Budget

Feel free to ask your translation partners about the possibilities of any discounts related to high-volume projects and/or long-term strategies. And know that even though it is recommended to offer your provider the opportunity to be involved in the process from the start so that everything can be streamlined, it is also possible to request the services separately. This means that if you can see which parts of the process you feel fit to handle on your own, and which ones you would like to outsource to professionals.

Use The Translation-Friendly Format: XML-Files

That’s right, even choosing the appropriate file extension can help cut your translation budget. Like we said in the previous paragraph, using a Translation CAT tool would be very beneficial in terms of achieving shorter turnaround times, making the translation process seamless and more productive, and eventually, saving cost while ensuring the best translation quality outcome.

But this CAT Tool is also compatible with XML-files. Localization Engineers can then easily prepare the XML files for translation, excluding or locking the shortcodes, regular expressions, and none-translatable text. As a result, translators will be able to identify and translate technical content without changing XML codes. This is particularly important to ensure that your translated content can be imported back safely into your website, application, or software. This makes the whole process easier, faster and more efficient, and as a result also cheaper.

But it also goes beyond that. Desktop Publishing, or DTP, is a service that ensures the formatting of your project is perfectly aligned with the original and also adapted to the requirements of your target locale(s). DTP is highly detailed work and so, it can pretty costly. If you work from a tool using XML, a style sheet will be available so that translated content will be formatted automatically. DTP might still be needed in terms of the cultural tweaks, but any formatting issues to be fixed, can be avoided.

How Your LSP Does It: The Right Tools Can Keep Costs Down

The key to what makes an LSP successful is not just in the quality of their services, but how fast they can provide them. This is why the most prominent vendors out there will talk about their tools and streamlined internal processes alongside their specialized professionals. Here are the tools that make sure costs can be kept at a minimum.

Automation Combined With Human Intuition

Apart from the very rare cases, every translation needs a human touch. For the processes that are repetitive such as downloading, uploading, and basic issue resolutions, a streamlined and automated process can be implemented to drastically cut the turnaround time and manage errors.

The best workflow is dynamic and combines both automation with human intuition in an integrated way.

For example, below you will find an example of a streamlined process for a large scale subtitling project. While subtitles are a unique content type that needs a human touch, bigger projects can still benefit from Machine Translation (MT) and partial automation if it is effectively supported by human Quality Assurance.

Linguistic Tools And Guides

Qualified LSPs out there know how to effectively leverage linguistic tools that help increase performance, reduce costs, and maintain a client’s identity and goals. For this, LSPs use a Translation Management System (TMS) and Translation (CAT) Tools enriched with:

  • Glossaries containing core terminology that defines the business and specific instructions on how certain strings should be handled. Make sure you develop your glossary well up-front and go through all your translatable content to choose frequently used terminology. Not only will your translations be more qualitative, but you will also create a term-base where each translated word can be saved for future use and not charged again.
  • This brings us to Translation Memory (TM). A TM is a database where the English terminology and its translated equivalent are stored. This database will be used for each of your future projects so existing translations will not be charged a second time. This means that as your cooperation with an LSP progresses, your translations will get cheaper as more repeated content gets saved in the log and reused once applicable.
  • While not technically a tool, style guides are delivered by clients to provide guidelines about specific formatting preferences and the tone and style of the target content. With style guides, costs and time can also be cut significantly because these guides will prevent a back and forth between clients and LSPs regarding more subjective changes.

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Not Every Service Is Created Equally: Avoid Unnecessary Costs By Selecting The Right Service For The Right Project

LSPs should have various translation resources they can leverage. Even more, they will have multiple services that fit different translation needs. While an LSP will always offer advice on what kind of service will suit your goals, it is best to be informed about what type, so services are out there and what they are mainly designed for. Some services are more costly than others and it would be a waste if you pay more than you should. Some examples of content types and their ideal service application are:

Ad Hoc Services For Continuous Translation

What if you need a really fast turnaround or continuous translations? Then Machine Translation (MT) and Machine Translation Post Editing (MTPE) could be an option. MT refers to the process of using an MT-Engine to produce the translation while MTPE adds a layer of human editing and QA to the mix. MTPE especially is a trending service that can easily be misinterpreted. Many clients will request this service in an attempt to save costs. But MTPE works best when the content is not overly complex. Think about product description, User-Generated Content, chat logs, customer service, and so on. So technical content, scientific content, or indeed marketing and we materials, will not benefit from this service. It might even have the opposite effect and increase the translation time because the Post-Editor will have so much to correct and practically re-write.

Website And Marketing Content

Website Localization involves technical as well as linguistic aspects. And essential for the linguistic parts is that they speak to the audience. Localization is more than a translation and takes local culture, dialects, idioms, and sensitivities in mind. This is especially important when it comes to marketing content. In terms of the price tag, localization services will cost more than regular translations, but they are worth the investment. Multilingual document translation, for example, is charged per word. Localization is charged on an hourly or project basis since it can involve other services like the expertise of localization engineers and DTP. And in the case of Multimedia Localization, for example, this will also include subtitling, voice-overs, or indeed any other service you may need.

Pro tip!Learn more about how international SEO and keyword localization can help you develop a sound, global strategy.

Pay Attention To Industry Knowledge

Another way to save time and money? Make sure that the LSP you go for is specialized in your industry. If they are, they will make sure to display this on their website. Effective translation and localization services are done by industry specialists, and this is something you should never compromise on.

Freelancers Or Language Service Providers: Which Way To Go?

Maybe you have been reading all of these insights into the working of an LSP, but what if you are happier with freelancers? Well, you should always go with what you are most comfortable with. And whether a freelancer or an LSP will be the best way to go for you, will largely depend on your project. IN order to make this a bit more clear, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of working with freelancers and LSPs.

What Can An LSP Do For Me And What Are The Limitations?

Good bad
The above-mentioned tools can be put to use to cut costs for short and especially long-term projects

High-volume and technologically complex projects will be handled by experts in the field.

Not every LSP is fully transparent. With some of them, there may be hidden costs to consider. Make sure you select an LSP who makes transparency their policy!
They have a large pool of translators and the most suitable one will be connected to your project

Translation standards are maintained through constant QA and a Translation, editing, proofreading (TEP) Process used with every project.

Prices can be steep for one-time or smaller projects. Consider what your goals are and if it is only one small, uncomplicated project or occasional ones but with no real system or strategy, a freelancer may be better.

The Pros And Cons Of Freelancers

Good bad
You have control over the hiring process and can maintain direct contact with the translator. Through LSPs, you often talk to a Project Manager who mediates everything, and you may end up with different translators for different projects. Freelancers won’t have access to the pro-tools used by LSPs.

The turnaround time will be higher as the projects grow more complex.

The costs can be cut significantly for smaller projects.

You can benefit from full transparency between yourself and your translator and build a relationship.

While translators used by LSPs are tested rigorously and you will always be assigned a translator cut out for the job, it may take some trial and error for you to find the perfect freelancers for you.

Pro Tip! Are you set on working with freelancers, but you dont have the tools to take it to the next level? For these types of situations, we offer Localization Consultation and Training so that you will not have to break your work routine but can still benefit from an LSP’s technical authority.


Are you ready to start planning for your next translation service? Just remember that a lot of preparation goes into it to make it all run smoothly. More than that, you should be aware that every translation service is unique, and that your choice will need to depend on your project goals, not whichever service might be the most popular right now. Lastly, consider your options. Is an LSP the way to go for you, or is a freelancer better? Don’t make the decision lightly!

At Laoret, we provide around the clock and fully online translation services for over 120 languages. We only use native, in-country professionals who know your industry and have extensive experience in the latest translation tools. In order to fully support their expertise, we are constantly innovating by designing our own tools and solutions, so that we can continue to tailor our services to the needs of our clients.

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