It is safe to say that the need for multilingual content isn’t exclusive to multinational companies. If you aspire to global markets or are trying to expand your business reach, you’ll need to take your content further and consider different languages, cultures and backgrounds. But while your localization needs tend to grow year after year, your translation budget may be stagnating! If you’re worried about how much money you are spending on translation in 2017, check out our 8 step guide tips to control your costs by optimizing content creation and translation processes.
1 - Pick your languages wisely
You already know that one language is not enough to market your products and services efficiently, but which target languages should you choose? Firstly, choose the languages of the countries where your company is already established or has some kind of local presence, either through sales representatives or local distributors. Secondly, look at the languages of those markets that you’ve been actively targeting. Get feedback from the Sales department and your clients to help you identify the most relevant languages for your localization efforts.
Last, get familiar with your web analytics. Check where your current traffic is coming from and if there’s a visible correspondence to the languages of your website. Consider those visitors with a higher conversion rate for an effective investment.
2 - Harmonize your company’s terminology
Keeping consistent and clear terminology will also help to cut costs and increase translation quality. With a harmonized terminology stack, translator productivity will increase and tedious query management will significantly decrease, leaving you more time on your hands for more important things.
If you’re starting from scratch, your Language Service Provider (LSP) should be able to create a concept-oriented terminology database for your company, based on your most frequently used terms and fill it with target-language terms and relevant metadata.
With your harmonized term base and Translation Memory (TM) securely in place, your translation costs will be reduced because you never have to translate the same content twice. Your LSP will also provide rebates on any text that is repeated or where parts of the translatable content can be reused from the TM. At the same time, content quality and consistency will also improve the more terminology stakeholders (i.e. authors and translators) are able to tap into the harmonized terminology stack.
3 - Analyze your content
Is this information still accurate and up to date? Is this the message you want to share with your customers? Or, more important still, are they interested in reading or hearing it? In order to optimize your translations you’ll first need to optimize your content strategy by identifying targets and goals that will help you align each piece of content to the right format and need. If the existing content is not in tune with what your customers are looking for, consider restricting your content or redefining your strategy.
4 - Adopt the “minimalist writing” principle
Starting with a good source text is fundamental for an efficient localization process. When creating new content, it’s important that writers keep in mind that their text is meant to be multilingual. Ensure that sentences are well-written, short and clear. Remove unnecessary abbreviations or jargon and don’t hesitate to ask for proofreading or a complementary review in the source language before starting translation.
5 - Promote content reuse
This is practically a no-brainer when talking about content management and optimization strategies. By employing a Component Content Management System (CCMS) with a topic-based approach to authoring, you can manage your content at the most granular level, allowing you to simply reuse the same content in multiple places. By opting for a structured, granular approach to content creation, you’ll automatically reduce your translation requests, thus saving costs, while also increasing consistency throughout your source language assets.
6 - Set realistic deadlines
Last-minute requests and tight deadlines will usually mean higher rates and lower quality. Make sure that you anticipate your needs to allow enough time for a quality check and proofreading to ensure high-quality results for your translation projects.
7 - Take advantage of technology
From all-in-one translation management portals to computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, technology can be your best friend when it comes to cutting costs and increasing productivity. Although machine translation systems still fail to reach the level of translation quality achieved by humans, machine translation technology plays an incontestable role in boosting translator productivity or translating the gist of a text at a lower cost. And with the advent of neural machine translation, technology has yet again made a new giant leap forward, becoming more intelligent every year and thus further improving the cost-benefit ratio of machine translation in general.
8 - Stay faithful to the same LSP
Sticking with the same provider for multiple requests will help you to get better rates and discounts on future projects. On the other side, a long-term partnership will enable higher collaboration synergies, which will lead to more consistent results. So, although you might find some local providers with lower rates for certain languages, having a single global provider for all your translation needs will guarantee an optimized budget without jeopardizing the quality of your content.