Customer Insights

What is the True Cost of Website Translation and Localization?

Before you decide to translate content in-house, you should consider all the hidden costs. Outsourcing to a partner like MotionPoint can save you time, money, and stress.

Dominic Dithurbide's avatar
Dominic Dithurbide

January 26, 2023

5 MIN READ

What is the True Cost of Website Translation and Localization?

At this point you should know about price per word and price per page visit. Translation costs differ across different project scopes, services, and providers. But what factors influence cost of translation? Let’s explore the value of your translation projects by outsourcing your labor.

How Much Does Translation Cost?

Once you’ve identified new opportunities in a local market, like Spanish for U.S. Hispanics, you’ll need to translate your website and other assets into another language. In order to weigh the pros and cons of expanding, you need to understand how much it’ll cost to deploy the new version first.

Some Statistics:

  • Outsourcing spending has risen to 13.6% of the average IT budget in 2020. 72.1% of consumers say that they are more likely to buy a product with information in their own language
  • 60% of consumers say the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price
  • Localized websites saw a 176% increase in traffic from France and a 183% increase in traffic from Germany

Factors That Influence the Cost of Translation

Price-Per-Word Translation 

The most common mistake when considering a translation provider is only considering cost-per-word. Most providers with cut-rate prices often bait and switch customers with hidden costs later. Beware, because these pricing structures don’t guarantee the best cost efficiency. Here is what to look for with cost-per-word translation.

  1. The amount charged per word varies by language, with some costing more than others. Common languages like English, Spanish, and Chinese often have lower rates because they have many speakers worldwide, which means more individuals have been trained to translate them.
  2. Some languages use more words  than others to describe the same idea. Determining the word count for translated content can be simple with word-processing programs. However, digital content poses more challenges to addressing word count. Most of the time, it’s impossible for marketers to find the time to do everything: image translation, video translation, PDFs, or on-site applications.

What’s more, content in one element may not be hosted or located in the same place as content from another element – immature or undercooked content-detection technology often misses these critical customer-facing components, leaving untranslated words on the page which detract from the user’s experience.

Project Management 

One hidden cost of translation is actually managing the project. Project managers juggle deadlines and workflows, all while keeping track of content from start to finish. The translation process requires someone familiar with translation and localization process to ensure all pieces are completed efficiently and accurately. If your company chooses to use freelance translators or other services that only provide translated content, you will need someone in-house. Avg Salary for Project Managers: $99,450.

Proofreading, Revisions, and Quality Assurance

There is an average of 30% word increase when translating from English into another language. You need to be sure your brand voice remains accurate and consistent. When projecting costs, carefully consider who will be translating your content, as not all providers are the same. Professional certified linguists often cost more, as they have been trained in creating high-quality translations. And price per word – especially for providers with very low rates – does not always include critical editorial steps like proofreading quality assurance, or design and development revisions. Quality Assurance Avg Salary: $58,579

Web Engineering – Website Translation 

When translating material on a website or application, you should consider the cost of additional factors related to technology. Does your current tech stack lend itself to website translations? Do you have a CMS translation integration? Regardless, there are plenty of solutions like proxy translationAPIs, built for translation, or a content management system that allows for multilingual plug-ins. Each of these solutions have separate pricing structures in addition to varying levels of human support needed to manage them. Web Developers Avg Salary: $92,147, IT Support Avg Salary: $51,900.

Ongoing Translation 

Expansion into a new market means you may have ongoing translation needs. Updates to product descriptions, marketing materials, and website content require new translations. Only some services offer continuous translation (also known as continuous localization), which utilizes website translation technologies to automatically collect, translate, and update every change that happens without burdening your team.

Often, a text will need to be translated multiple times. While most services keep a record of your translations – known as a translation memory – they often charge an additional cost to access it. Look for a provider that offers translation memory for free, so you never have to pay for the same translation twice. Linguist Avg Salary: $59,222

The Cost of Translation vs. The Cost of Localization

Due to language and cultural differences, a word-for-word translation rarely relates the same meaning as the original text. In addition to capturing your brand voice and tone, the best translations also consider factors like SEO. Website localization tailors materials to the different colloquialisms, units of measurement, and currency. Human linguists make localization possible because they understand the nuances within language and culture. Free technology services, like Google Translate, focus only on word-for-word translation, leaving significant gaps in understanding. Selecting a “free” option can result in lost business opportunities and revenue because your word-for-word translation does not make sense to your new customers.

Maximize Translation Value and ROI with MotionPoint 

At the beginning of the translation maturity cycle, maximize value and ROI by selecting a managed concierge-level translation and website localization services partner like MotionPoint. Consider the many costs and necessities of in-house translation: building the infrastructure, processes, and team members to handle translation and localization internally is incredibly costly and time-consuming.

If your company’s first attempt within a new market needs to be cost-effective, then consider leveraging the skills and experience of a company specialized in translation and localization. Your organization will reduce its time-to-market and won’t have to hire a whole new team.

Partnering with MotionPoint means access to Adaptive Translation™, a combination of artificial intelligence, translation memory, and algorithmic translation. When you consider the effectiveness and cost-efficiency, it’s clear that the best way to maximize your translation efforts in a new market is to look for expert companies that continuously lower human translation costs over time.  The average MotionPoint customer pays $15,000- $35,000 a year. 

Last updated on January 26, 2023
Dominic Dithurbide's avatar

About Dominic Dithurbide

Dominic Dithurbide is a creative, goal-driven marketing leader that’s dedicated his career to the translation industry. Dominic brings proficiency in global marketing, demand generation, and go-to-market strategies to MotionPoint’s marketing team.

Dominic Dithurbide's avatar
Dominic Dithurbide

Marketing Manager

5 MIN READ

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