Website Translation

The Hidden Costs of Website Translation (Part One)

Unforeseen expenses, often created by undercooked technologies and processes, can derail your website translation project.

Craig Witt's avatar
Craig Witt

July 09, 2018

3 MIN READ

Paying an agency to translate your website for global customers is merely the beginning of your investment of taking your digital business global. But it’s the unexpected costs that can really hurt.

Hidden costs—related to quality assurance, coordination, training, technology management, vendor oversight and more—can add up quickly and threaten your budget. This could force you to put your project on hold … or derail it altogether.

Read on to discover these potential pitfalls, and how to elegantly avoid them. This is Part One in a two-part series. Part Two will debut later this week.

The Stakes and Risks

The first hidden cost of website localization is always related to content translation. To deliver accurate, authentic translations, your linguists must pay attention to countless details: corporate messaging, branding, voice, cultural relevance and consistency. These nuances are very important to global customers.

Then there’s translation scope. Are you accounting for all of your website’s translatable content as you create your strategy and budget? Beyond text, you’ll need to translate images with embedded text, graphs, charts, metadata, third-party apps, forms and more. There’s more content than you might think.

In addition, the process required to translate, launch and operate your website is complicated and time-consuming. It might require help from different departments within your organization, too. Technology also comes into play—especially if you plan to integrate translations with a localized instance of your CMS.

Finally, there’s the continuous task of identifying and translating new content and changes to keep the site current. For in-house teams, this complicated process is prone to error, which leads to untranslated content on your localized websites. That’s a big turn-off for customers.

These challenges illuminate a number of costs that affect your budget and the business:

  • Costs to your brand and reputation
  • Workforce costs
  • Translation workflow costs
  • Costs of comprehensive translation
  • Coordination costs

Let’s learn more about these hidden website translation costs—and about an industry-leading way that can help you control them without sacrificing quality, efficiency and speed with your project.

Costs to Your Brand

Contrary to common belief, launching a translated site is rarely enough to satisfy new customers in global markets. You need to maintain it on an ongoing basis.

Studies have shown that international customers have high expectations for translation accuracy, completeness, cultural sensitivity and relevance. Prospects, partners and employees who have a negative experience will quickly run to your competitors.

Out-of-date, partial or poor-quality content translation also impacts your corporate image and brand—right at a crucial point in your planned growth trajectory. Adding to that, irate customers can use social media to post unflattering comments and impressions about your site. These posts can stick around on the web for a long time.

That’s why it’s vital to make a great first impression with your newly launched site, and maintain that high standard over time.

Workforce Costs

Traditional translation vendors don’t operate in a vacuum. These companies use legacy approaches to translation, which means they often collaborate with your teams at length to ensure translation quality, timeliness and consistency.

That means some of your employees will take on the additional task of managing that relationship, and coordinating all of the translated content the vendor provides. If you don’t have the internal bandwidth to do that, you may need to hire more people to pull up the slack.

The workforce costs continue to mount from there. These traditional translators require training on your industry sector, and products and services. They must be schooled on your corporate messaging, branding and style, particularly at the beginning of your web translation project. An as you develop new messaging or launch new products, the linguists will need refresher courses.

Your marketing team will likely need to provide this training, as well as support materials such as style guides and glossaries for the translators.

Your employees may also need to oversee the quality and accuracy of the translated content. They’ll need to be fluent in the local language to pinpoint errors—not just grammar and punctuation, but also terms that might be culturally insensitive or inaccurate.

This means your in-country marketers will probably be tapped to edit content themselves, or supervise third-party editors. Those tasks pull them away from their core job functions, which creates its own kind of costs and risks for your brand.

Another huge drain on employee time is the back-and-forth between the translation service and your web design team to ensure the translated content “fits” properly into your website’s page templates. Because different languages take varying amounts of space to say the same thing, adjusting translations is an ongoing challenge and time investment.

To Learn More

Those are just two of the hidden costs associated with website localization.

To learn additional hidden costs of translation projects—and the way to elegantly sidestep these costly pitfalls—check out Part Two of our “The Hidden Costs of Website Translation” series, coming soon.

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