Engaging a vendor to translate your website is the critical first step in expanding your services and products to new markets. And it’s also the most important one. Depending on the vendor, you may face unexpected costs related to website translation, quality assurance, technology management and more. Costs can add up quickly and threaten your budget.
And there’s risks associated with not translating your site at all.
In this section, we’ll examine:
The Opportunity Costs of Neglecting Website Translation: You might be losing more than you think by not localizing your website for multilingual markets. We break down some of the biggest risks, such as the legal repercussions for not translating content, how brand image can suffer, numerous lost benefits (from SEO to market share) and more.
Common Website Translation Pricing ‘Gotchas’:M The website translation industry is rife with vendors that concoct creative ways to appear to present low translation costs, but in fact often wind up costing more in the long run. This is the stuff vendors don’t want you to know, such as the ways they add hidden fees to offset their bargain-basement translation pricing, and how they usually heap the most challenging technical and managerial aspects of website translation onto you, their customer.
Getting A Fair Deal: We then provide a few cures to the pains described above. We provide a thorough guide to determining scrupulous translation vendors from opportunistic ones. You’ll learn about transparent translation pricing (and how it sidesteps the nickel-and-diming billing of most vendors), the importance of simple, streamlined billing and must-have capabilities that maximize the value of your translation investment by continuously driving down costs.
The Opportunity Costs of Neglecting Website Translation
The value of website localization becomes abundantly clear as more companies pivot to serve customers in multilingual markets. But some organizations balk at the investment required to properly translate their websites and choose bargain-priced translation vendors—or choose not to translate their sites at all.
Unfortunately, either choice winds up costing companies far more in the long run.
The truth is companies often lose more money when they ignore the needs of multilingual customers than they’d spend to localize their websites with superior vendors. If you don’t translate your website, here’s what your company stands to lose:
Stagnating International Growth
Once you’ve exhausted the growth within your domestic market, you’ll want to branch out into new global markets. This is challenging to effectively accomplish without translating your website.
Multilingual customers expect to conduct online business in the languages they prefer. That means if they can’t read your website, they won’t visit it. But they’ll surely visit your competitors’ translated websites.
Breaking Local Laws
Many countries have language-related laws and regulations that companies must abide by to do business in the market.
For instance, businesses that sell products or services in the Canadian province of Quebec must provide French versions of their websites. These sites include localized product/service descriptions, order forms and receipts. Failing to follow this “francization” rule can result in fines.
Similar rules and penalties exist in other markets, too.
Tarnished Brand Image
Serve multilingual customers without content in their language—or providing them with low-quality translated content—is bad for your brand’s reputation. It gives users the impression that you don’t value their business.
Lost SEO Benefits
Your company’s website is full of SEO-rich content that search engines crawl, index and use to help potential customers discover your brand. But if multilingual customers are looking for your solutions and there’s no content available in their preferred languages, they won’t find it via search.
Without a translated website, you miss out on the same invaluable SEO benefits that drive organic traffic and brand awareness within your domestic market.
The Competition Wins
If your brand doesn’t deliver the world-class localized experience that multilingual customers expect, they’ll find a competing brand in your industry that does.
Even if your products or services are of better quality or more affordable, your competitors may fare better in a multilingual market simply because they have properly localized websites. They’ll have the online brand awareness, SEO ranking and in-language customer experience that your company lacks.
Choosing a Lousy Vendor
Even if your company provides a localized online experience, the method you use to translate, deploy and operate it could be generating more effort and costs than you think. You’ll learn more about these pitfalls later in this section.
It Hurts Your Bottom Line
Using a subpar solution to localize your website—or avoiding it entirely—doesn’t simply impact the short-term revenue gains you’d gain by using a superior solution. It also affects future gain.
Here’s why: The damage done to your engagement metrics, SEO and brand reputation takes more time and effort to fix after the fact than it does to proactively serve multilingual customers with great localized content from the get-go.
Common Website Translation Pricing ‘Gotchas’
Website translation services often compete on price and use tactics like low “price-per-word” translation costs and “price-per-page-view” schemes to make their rates appear lower than they actually are.
These apparent bargains can woo prospective customers, but hidden costs usually appear later on. Let’s take a closer look.
Low Price-Per-Word Costs
When it comes to website localization, project costs are often defined by “price-per-word” translation rates. This pricing standard is usually determined by the languages needed for a project, the availability of translators, the project’s subject matter and the number of translatable words within the project’s scope.
This traditional pricing scheme might appear fair at first glance, but many translation vendors leverage it in ways that benefit their businesses, not their customers’. One key way is that price-per-word models don’t always take translation quality into account.
In exchange for bargain basement price-per-word translation rates, many website translation services may employ inexperienced translators, or neglect critical editorial review or QA steps. Revising those sloppy translations—and problems they can wreak with a localized site’s UX—often end up costing a company more than if it had selected a more reputable vendor in the first place.
Cheap per-word pricing comes with other risks, such as:
- Inflated costs for proofreading and editing, which appear as separate (and hard to find) line items
- Paying to translate identical content more than once, or paying anything at all to republish previously translated content—which is not a best practice
- Poor translation quality from lack of oversight or use of translation software
- Slow translation turnaround times, which can’t keep up with the pace of your business
Indeed, when vendors’ profits hinge almost solely on revenue generated by translation, they’re not motivated to use technologies in smart ways to reduce your project’s translatable word count. If anything, they’re inclined to maximize your translation spend, not minimize it.
Also, website translation is a unique beast. Translatable content resides in webpages, videos, images, and complex applications powered by AngularJS and other programming languages. Undercooked translation technologies do a bad job of detecting this content, resulting in low—and very inaccurate—word count estimates.
When combined with a low price-per-word cost, this becomes a recipe for lowball quotes and unexpected expenses down the road, when previously undetected translatable content is finally discovered.
Other vendors use a “price-per-page view” model. They beguile customers with free trials and low monthly subscription fees.
But that subscription fee only covers a certain number of translatable words. And there are often charges for additional translation, editing services, project management, additional connector integrations, and more.
They also heap on more charges, based on how many page views a localized site generates each month. This means the more successful your brand is in-market, the more traffic your translated site generates, and the more you’re charged by the vendor.
You’re penalized for being prosperous. That doesn’t make sense.
You’re Not Just Paying for Website Translation
The secret of buying website translation: You’re not just buying website translation. Unlike a document, your website is a living, breathing, ever-changing thing. These unique characteristics expand the total cost of a project beyond mere price-per-word.
There are dozens of additional technologies, capabilities and tasks that are required to flawlessly operate your localized site on an ongoing basis. They include:
- Technology setup and integration
- Project management
- Managing translation workflows
- Ensuring translation
- Hosting and uptime
- Daily maintenance and operations
- 24 / 7/ 365 support, and more
In the hands of immature or unscrupulous vendors, these expenses are often hidden (or exorbitantly high due to undercooked technologies), or the tasks are shifted to the customer for its internal team to solve. That generates even more costs.
How to Get Fair Pricing for Website Translation
Great website translation services don’t nickel-and-dime customers with hidden costs, and they don’t penalize you for growing and succeeding in global markets. Best-in-class vendors have business models that are designed to be customer-friendly and align with your business goals.
These vendors offer compelling differentiators in how they determine costs, and how they structure their pricing for translation and operational costs.
Industry Leading Content-Detection Technology
Look for vendors that use the sophisticated content-scoping technology possible. This enables them to give you accurate word-count estimates for the scope of work.
Transparent Translation Pricing
The best vendors provide transparent pricing that clearly presents all costs associated with translation, including iterative editorial revisions and a “live view” QA step to ensure the translated pages look great before they’re published.
No Page-View Based Pricing
Your brand should never be punished for being popular. Look for solutions that provide unlimited traffic to your multilingual site. The more traffic your translated site gets, the more valuable the vendor’s solution should become.
Look for vendors that offer flat subscription fees that cover the technology and support to ensure the ongoing operation of your site. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
Managed Hosting Solutions
Hosting solutions should deliver 99.9% uptime while eliminating any management or effort on your end.
24 / 7 / 365 Support
You should have access to project managers, software and system engineers, QA, and other support teams any day, any time.
Access to Translation Memory and Microservices
You should be able to retrieve previously translated content at any time via an API or user interface at no extra cost, and access other statistics about your multilingual websites.
Automatic Detection of New or Updated Content
Ideally, the vendor should provide technology that effortlessly detects new or updated website content and delivers fast translations—typically within one business day.
Bespoke Cost Savings
They’re rare, but some vendors eschew a standard “one-size-fits-all” content parsing algorithm, opting instead to optimizes their parsing based on your site’s unique configuration. They do this to find the best way to reduce translation costs at launch and ongoing.
When considering a website translation service, carefully examine its pricing model. A price that looks too good to be true almost always is.
Best-in-class vendors never blindside you with lowball quotes, hidden costs or extra fees. Their business model is to provide operational efficiency, cost savings, speed to market, and flawless performance, so that you can keep adding languages—and expanding your market reach.
Read more about website translation in our ultimate guide to website translation.
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