Is there anyone who can provide 10 methods on how to control cost for the translation fee?
Thread poster: PTSGI

PTSGI  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
Member (2002)
Chinese to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 17, 2007

Is there anyone who can provide 10 methods on how to control cost for the translation fee?

Any suggestions will help us a lot.

Thank you!



lexical  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:25
Portuguese to English
Why 10? Jan 17, 2007

I'll give you just one - keep your own, in-house costs as an agency as low as possible - staff, offices, business lunches, etc. The people who ultimately make a success or otherwise of your business - the freelance translators - are not generally generously paid, and they absorb all their own office costs. Pay your translators well and on time, run a tight ship in your own office, and you have the makings of a successful business.
I wonder if this is what you wanted to hear, however.


Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:25
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
"pay peanuts, get monkeys" Jan 18, 2007

Choose quality over quantity/price,

Having a first translator do a translation for "a low price" and then forwards it to a 2nd translator for revision is probably going to cost more than having a proper translator provide good quality on the first time around.
(or worse - you will lose your client because of bad quality)

Plan ahead usually works (no rush jobs)
and good TMs, references etc...

Having a pool of good and happy translators works wonders.
(finding new translators for every new job is costly and will put your staff under stress)

So pay your freelancers well and on time!

Any lies about "the bookkeeper is out, the finance department is busy, the cheque is in the mail, our clients are looking to reduce the cost" are not going to work and will be discussed on various user groups etc, giving your agency a bad name quickly....

Ed Vreeburg


Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:25
Dutch to English
+ ...
Do not promise what you cannot deliver Jan 18, 2007

This is another one that has served me well.


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:25
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Take only jobs you understand Jan 18, 2007

Instead of offering 50+ languages concentrate on the group you understand yourself or your team-mate.


Yolande Haneder (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:25
German to French
+ ...
I would not call it cost control Jan 18, 2007

I would call it cost awareness.

The point is not cutting the prices (there will be always somebody cheaper) but to offer a quality for which the client sees the point of paying for (and a bit of customer education by the way).

Stand for your price and try to offer the best quality at this price and see in you own overhead what is necessary and what is not.

I beg you already know it as a company with employees.

One example:
You have staff.
Does it bring an added-value to your clients (high responsiveness, internal control of who is doing the translation (qualification, privacy), teams etc.)
Calculate the average cost of an indoor (salary, benefits, sick leaves, the computer he is using, the cost of let for his room) on his average turnaround (also depending on the need for his language pair).

If the turnaround is such, that the price per word the same or more as a freelancer of the same qualification, do you decide to freelance or explain the client the added worth of taking your translator (at a higher price)? do you offer training of your staff of a kind of software not accessible to a freelancer and providing a more value?

It is not about cutting price. When you look at the inflation rate, the increase of wages and the price remains the same, bad enough. Cutting the cost to cut the price is a terrible move because you won't be able to contract the translators that made your success at the beginning and when the client notices it, he will seek for the same quality for less.

[Edited at 2007-01-18 12:46]

[Edited at 2007-01-18 12:48]


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