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The Hidden Costs of Website Translation Services vs a Localization Platform

Mar 29, '19 by Aaron Schliem

Website translation services cost far more than dollars on the bottom lineWebsite translation services seem attractive at first glance. Everyone wants “affordable one-hour human website translation!” Right?

If you needed a one-off translation for a small website into a single target language, that deal might be worth your time. You upload a few pages to this service, and they assign your project quickly to whichever translator happens to be working during that hour. They make some changes behind the scenes, and you receive a deliverable ready to pass through your in-market reviewers and push live.

However, this system immediately loses its appeal when you’re managing multiple complex and evolving assets in the digital economy. It becomes too difficult to oversee what’s going on behind the curtain and to ensure quality and timely local updates.

The truth is that a sophisticated localization platform may not actually exceed the cost of website translation services, especially once you’re continuously delivering to diverse markets. In fact, international corporations that operate with an experienced localization partner are typically saving thousands in hidden human costs, which makes a positive return far more likely.

 

What Website Translation Services Cost You

Plenty of companies haven’t yet discovered that a localization platform backed by robust content systems integration can save them immense time and effort. They’re still wrangling multiple vendors, an ever-growing workload, fleeting quality assurance, disorganized records, and an uncertain grip on the bottom line.

 

In addition to the per-word price of standard translation services, here’s what this challenging commitment costs:

 

Time

On-demand translation services claim to work fast, but they fail to mention the massive time sink that their clients take on. If you’re running your company’s translations through individual vendors, your team will spend countless hours on file versioning, exporting, and uploading. As project managers know, there’s also a ton of time involved in getting in-market reviewers to sign off on multilingual content.

Throughout this process, you’ll track each project through various hands. Your team will waste full days hunting down materials and handling the minutiae of this inherently chaotic workflow. From start to finish, you’ve spent at least twice as many hours to get content in front of your international audience as you would with a centralized localization system.

 

Human Resources

Someone has to handle the constant flow of translation requests in an international corporation. This project manager is the one keeping careful watch over a mess of spreadsheets for every target market. They focus their attention on shuffling files among your internal marketing team, translation vendors, in-market reviewers, and internal developers. However, a project manager’s real potential lies in their creative influence on your product and your brand. Under this outdated model, they’re stuck sending thousands of emails instead of focusing on forward momentum.

Without a centralized and automated localization platform, you’re also tying up countless hours of your developers’ time. As they manually implement your newly translated content each week, you might as well be watching their working hours drip down the drain.

 

Quality

Most language service providers (LSPs) operate behind a big black curtain. You submit your files, and the cheapest and most available translators work behind the scenes to produce a finished deliverable. The entire process is more-or-less random. You have zero insight (or oversight) into what’s actually happening with your content. You don’t know who their translators are or what credentials they possess. And even if you wanted to, you can’t ask why those translators made the choices they did. The one-directional system isn't set up that way—for that kind of transparency.

If you’re working with multiple vendors, quality inherently suffers because you’ll never achieve a consistent brand voice with your international content. You won’t be working with translators who know and care about your company and your product. And because it’s nearly impossible to measure competence and ROI within this system, quality assurance becomes one of your biggest challenges.

 

4 Benefits of a Centralized Localization Platform

On the other hand, if you organize your translation needs through a localization platform, you’ll be able to manage all of that mess more efficiently. This crucial differentiator tightens up everything in the localization process. The hidden costs of a scattered translation process are completely eliminated when you move your projects into a centralized, streamlined workflow. You’ll save a lot in the long run.

 

You’ll also gain additional benefits that matter even more:

 

1 – Full Automation

The best content localization platforms connect directly to your content systems and code repositories through CLI/API integration. They automatically pull translatable content from the original source, so you don’t have to waste time exporting files and sending emails. That automatically shaves hours off of each project. But the best localization platforms go even further. By instantly substituting high-quality machine-translated content while linguists perfect a fully localized deliverable, the platform ensures that your website or mobile app is already live in your target plural languages. And sophisticated computer-aided translation (CAT) tools enable your translation memories and terminology databases to be applied consistently, ensuring that your translations are authentic and engaging in your target locales.

Once your localized content is in production, thorough testing to preserve the full digital functionality of your assets is key. From your perspective, the entire process is automated. You can step in at any point to see the work that’s being done, and yet the platform doesn’t depend on your oversight in order to keep up with your expectations. This level of transparency really does enable accountability.

 

2 – Centralization

With a localization platform, all translation projects move through one virtual workspace—no spreadsheets or other file management needed. Centralization is an incredible boon to project managers, but with the best localization platforms, that benefit goes beyond convenience. There’s a new frontier in the partnership between machine learning and human creativity. When your company uses a comprehensive localization platform, AI learns which translators perform the highest-quality work for your content in each target language. Based on this data, the platform automatically assigns new content strings to the translators who produce the best, most appropriate content for the locale in question. Over time, your content automatically gets cleaner and your ROI increases exponentially.

 

3 – 100% Transparency

With a localization platform, each piece of content moves through the workflow with complete transparency. Thread-based communication is present at each stage in the process. If you step inside a particular project on the platform, you’ll know exactly who’s working on a translation at that time, and you can observe a clear “paper” trail of their decisions. Your project managers can collaborate with translators and in-market reviewers or make adjustments in real time. And you can see everything that’s happening as it’s happening. With this level of transparency, every person who touches your content is held accountable for their work. When you work with a pioneering localization platform that places a premium on transparency, you’re effectively tearing down the black curtain. Quality assurance is no longer an issue.

 

4 – Consistent Brand Voice

The best LSPs do more than just connect you to a partner CAT tool for localization; comprehensive platforms extend the ability to create terminology entries with robust workflows and additional metadata that are not common in standard CAT tool environments. When you can search for and edit bilingual translation units in your company’s translation memory (TM), consistent content and brand voice are real possibilities in all markets. Multiple TM repositories allow you to keep straight various brands or types of content. Along with term bases (TBs) to standardize definitions, usage examples, parts of speech, and do not translate terms, you’re prepared to localize quality content efficiently over the long term.

 

Getting Started with Comprehensive Localization

Truthfully, the price may not vary all that much between standard website translation services and a centralized localization service. But website translation services cost far more than dollars on the bottom line. By partnering with a localization company that offers comprehensive end-to-end translation solutions, you’re saving invaluable time and human resources.

We founded Bureau Works under the standard LSP model you may be used to. But as we—and our clients—quickly outgrew that system, we were determined to find ways to transform our company and the language industry from the inside out. From our beginnings in standard translation, we know exactly how those services work. That’s why we created a comprehensive localization platform—to transcend expectations and create an entirely new way of thinking about multilingual content.

We provide our global enterprise clients with a dedicated team of qualified translators and a comprehensive platform that’s backed by powerful AI and data analysis tools. By partnering with us and our centralized localization platform, you’re setting your company up for true localization success.

 

At Bureau Works, we’re proud to offer international corporations a new way to go global. We work closely with each of our clients to fill the platform with resources and tools that make localization achievable—without sacrificing time, effort, or quality. It’s time to cut the cost of website translation services and invest in true localization. Contact our team to get started.

 

 

Aaron Schliem

Written by Aaron Schliem

Aaron is the chief marketing officer for Bureau Works. He also loves to tickle the ivories and is a wiz at designing cocktails.

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