6 ways to become a translation budget master

Is it time to analyze and adjust your annual translation budget? Steer your company in the right direction with these six tips to help your company plan the budget for translation initiatives wisely – and become known as the budget master.

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As year-end approaches, there’s no better time to appraise and adjust your annual translation budget. To do that in the most effective way, it’s a good idea to bolster your budgeting skills.

After all, establishing a level of mastery with your translation budget empowers you to make informed decisions around translation investment for next year and beyond.

More of a budget influencer than owner? These best practices can help you serve in an advisory capacity and help steer your company down the most appropriate path.

1. View it as an investment, not a mere expense

Wise budget managers know that a company’s translation budget is an indispensable tool for:

  • Improving your international customer experience
  • Widening the company’s brand exposure, and
  • Increasing global revenue 

Looking at translation project invoices in isolation is misleading. Educate other budget stakeholders about all the benefits of localization to drive home the point that strategic investment equals impressive gains. 

2. Team up with procurement and other stakeholders

On that note, it’s a good idea to join forces with everyone who holds a stake in the localization budget. If you’re a localization manager, be sure to include the finance team when making decisions. This way, you’ll be able to align with all company interests.

Recent surveys indicate that it’s uncommon for one person to own a single, all-encompassing localization budget. These days, it reaches into many different areas of the company – from marketing to product management to HR and more – and the various aspects of a localization project must also be considered.

According to industry analyst firm Common Sense Advisory,"Only 25 percent of survey respondents own a centralized localization budget."

3. Keep an eye on your expenses

As a savvy translation budget manager, you already know the critical importance of data tracking. The same close attention should be paid to your localization budget. Be sure you’re tracking your translation spend monthly and yearly. Measure spend against your localization achievements – your return on investment – and tally up what still needs to be done. 

If you need help with reporting, we can provide you with in-depth reports on your translation spend and how it’s trending over time.

4. Track your cost savings too

Another key element of translation budget mastery is understanding just how much money you’re saving the company by using translation memory technology. You can save a great deal on translation costs with the use of translation memory technology. Remember that the more content you translate, the lower your average per-word rates generally become.
Of course, the more data you gather around spend and savings – and the more year-over-year analysis you do – the more accurate your forecasts will be for your localization budget. 

5. Build padding into your translation budget

A true localization budget master understands that sometimes new strategic initiatives unexpectedly come down the pipeline, resulting in unforeseen translation costs. Plan for some wiggle room in your budget to accommodate any product releases, global marketing campaigns, international regulatory compliance initiatives (think, GDPR) and other things that may surface months after the budget gets drawn up. This way you’re not left scrambling to make money appear out of thin air.

6. Look for other ways to do more with less  

Translation memory technology use is just one way to make your localization budget go further. You might also consider machine translation if your content volumes are large enough and the content type is applicable for this option. Another tip to avoid any additional translation costs is to prohibit last-minute post-translation content changes and steer away from rush projects, whenever possible.

And of course, pinpointing the other areas in your company with localization needs, and the owners of those disparate budgets, will allow you to work together as a team to consolidate your efforts. Centralizing will provide better translation (TM) re-use and more cost savings for all stakeholders involved. 

Build your budget like a boss   

Managing a global company’s translation budget isn’t exactly easy. But by following a few of these best practices, hopefully the road becomes a bit less rocky for you. 

Do you have any questions about budget stewardship, planning or ownership? Connect with us!


Published on    Last updated on 01/07/2019

#Translation & Localization

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