Joanna Tarasiewicz
October 20, 2022

4 Reasons Brands Reject Translation Companies That Could Be Right for Them

Businesses rejecting translation agencies (1)How much do you want to hit multi markets? What have you done to make it happen?

It's not easy, I know. To make it happen fast and cost-efficient, you need to work with the right localization partner.

However, sometimes, companies tend to reject the right translation companies due to specific objections. For over 15 years, here at ATL, we have often discussed the most common fears and objections with many of our clients. There are people who will say "You are too small / too big for us", or "You are in a different time zone, or you are not located in the target market".

It's time to face and review these objections, so that you never miss an opportunity of working with a translation agency that could be the best fit for you, in terms of helping you hit the global markets on time, on spec and on budget.

This article reviews 4 reasons why companies reject translation agencies that could be their best fit.


1. The Other Localization Company Offers Much Lower Translation Rates

Another company translates for 3x less money and with the same quality - this is the often given reason for companies rejecting a translation provider. This opinion can drive some account managers crazy.

Why is that?

Because it is not possible to get the same service, on the same terms, and with the same quality, 3 times cheaper. The fact is that prices vary due to different resources used, or different levels of services provided. 

Below are some of the factors that influence pricing differences.


Different Translation Services Are Quoted

A price that is three times cheaper may result from different or limited services included in the translation proposal.

This is especially the case with translation quotes that do not contain the following localization steps:

  • File preparation,
  • Translation,
  • Revision,
  • Review,
  • Localization testing,
  • Transcription,
  • Desktop publishing, etc.

While working with professional translation companies, you should always demand pricing transparency.




Related content: How Much Do Translation Services Really Cost? [Rates & Factors]





There are translation standards and localization "best practices" that explain exactly what processes should be applied while preparing a product for worldwide sale.


One of these standards is the ISO 17100:2015] for translation services. In general, the basic translation service should consist of a translation step followed by the revision stage (a bilingual examination of the translation against the original text, conducted by a separate linguist).





Related content: A Guide to Understanding Translation and Localization Terminology





This process will be different for technical translation, documentation localization, marketing translation or software UI localization.


Some of the workflows include also a review, which is carried out after the final content is displayed in the context. For example, checking the website translation outcome or reviewing localized help documentation. It is important to inspect the translations together with the graphics, to verify how translated leaflets fold, etc.


Cheaper translation quotes often lack linguistic testing. For example, if you are preparing a survey to be carried out globally, or you are localizing a video game, it is important to check if the content, which was localized outside its context, is properly placed and is correct in the final product.


With documentation translation and help document localization, companies, that offer really low rates, may fail to prepare the final layout of the documents. Working with documents that have been completely damaged by means of formatting is really demanding and time-consuming.




Copy of Copy of tech doc




The localized text may be longer or shorter. It may require special characters that need fonts supporting local diacritics. The additional time needed for all these formatting adjustments should be included in the initial translation proposal.


Make sure that the quote includes localization of graphics and visuals. Sooner or later, these costs need to be added. Some companies provide simple per-word rates, but the rates get higher and higher, during the process.


If the rate on the translation proposal is low, make sure to check if all the necessary steps needed for a successful localization process have been included.



Different Translation Technologies Will Be Used 

Localization companies use various tools enabling them to cut your localization cost. One of them is CAT tools (Computer Assisted Translation). CAT tools are translation software that helps produce translations, but it does not translate on its own.

It does not mean using computers or machine translation instead of human talent while localizing your content. CAT tools support the translation process, which is done solely by humans.




translation technology for human translation




Translation software enables easier and faster localization, as well as providing help in maintaining translation quality. The main features of CAT tools are: 

  • Separating the text into smaller fragments, called segments. The content is divided according to the segmentation rules based on the language, and encoded in the software. A single segment may originate from a full sentence or from an item on a bullet point list;

  • CAT tools create .xliff files (XML Localization Interchange File Format) that look like a two-column table with multiple rows. The rows of the 'table' consist of a separate segments. The source text is always on the left. Translations are inserted on the right side. The translated .xliff file can easily be converted back to the original file format, and replace the source language content with the translated text;
  • Storing all the translated segments in a database called a TM (Translation Memory). The database collects all translations related to a project in one language pair. There are separate TMs for separate languages. The TM is connected to a translation project. The CAT tool searches immediately to suggest possible translations whenever a similar sentence is to be translated by the linguist;
  • Built-in statistic modules, which enable fast word count calculations. This feature accelerates the process of creating translation proposals. It also streamlines the process of decision-making as it helps to predict the cost of translation;

  • Built-in QA (Quality Assurance) modules, which help monitor translation quality and consistency.

Most localization companies use at least one, basic CAT tool. It Is a common practice to use several advanced translation tools.


Localization software helps to reuse already translated content through the Translation Memory. Everything that has been translated in a document or a project is immediately saved in the TM and can easily be reused at any time.


For example, if your text contains two sentences that only have a single word that differs, the TM will immediately recognize the already-translated sentence and highlight the difference that needs translation.


Every segment that has already been translated is stored in your TM. This may greatly reduce the cost of translation. Translation providers with transparent pricing policies apply discounts on the segments that can be partially reused. They also provide lower rates for repetitions and pieces of content that have already been translated and need only a brief revision.


The more translations you buy, the cheaper it gets. You can actually save up to 36% on translation through translation memory technology.


How is that? 


The very first file sent for translation consist of new words only, referred to as "no match". No match means simply that there are no previously translated segments in the translation memory, the TM is empty. 


Every translated piece of the file is uploaded into the TM and will be available for reuse in other files. Every time your file needs a small update, only the new content will be translated. 


You don’t have a translation memory? It’s created every time you assign a document for translation. Your translation provider should tell you about that. 





Related content: How Does Translation Memory Help You Save Money






If you want to compare apples to apples, always bring your TM with you for quoting purposes. The price for all new words vs. the price based on TM analysis is always different, in favor of the one based on the TM. 


Promising top-quality professional work for half the price is simply a fraud. Be very suspicious if you see differences in rates, not stemming from CAT tool analysis or any negotiated discount.


What may be happening behind the scenes, is throwing your content into a freelancer’s marketplace and going for the cheapest service which, in most cases, is of the lowest quality, or may never be delivered. 


Freelancers' pricing ranges for the majority of language pairs are publicly available. Any translation company that offers you lower rates than a freelancer should answer some basic risk and quality management questions. 


The translation of your content should always be conducted by a professional and experienced translator, who is familiar with the subject matter and is native in the target language. Another professional - the reviser, verifies that the translation is accurate, complete, logical, and smooth.


The translation of your content should always be conducted by a professional and experienced translator, who is familiar with the subject matter and is native in the target language. Another professional - the reviser, verifies that the translation is accurate, complete, logical, and smooth.


Cheap meat never makes good soup. The quality of certain translations may be so poor that it won't even qualify for revision. Often, clients end up asking for translations to be revised after buying the service from a much cheaper provider.




a client shocked by poor translation quality



The quality is so low that the content needs to be retranslated. The client is surprised that they need to reassign the content for translation, allocate additional budget, and wait.


How can you be sure that your content is translated by professionals? Never go for unjustifiably low translation prices.





Related content: Freelance Translators vs. a Translation Agency: an Honest Comparison





The price that is three times lower may result in amateurs or machines translating your content. It is fine to implement AI-driven technologies in the localization process, if you want it, and, the content allows for using Machine Translation technologies. 



Quality and Review Process 

A localization project rarely ends once the translation is done. The translation quality needs to be checked (reviewed), and, sometimes, updates will be necessary here and there.


Make sure that the rate you pay for translation includes implementation of your feedback and content finalization as well.


The review (quality being checked on your side), is often conducted by in-country reviewers. This stage of the localization process is also sometimes referred to as client review.


When the reviewers work on the post-production files, the changes need to be incorporated into the final product, which leads to additional post-production. If the changes are introduced inconsistently without cross-referencing, this means going back to the translation provider to fix it.


Everything that saves you time and shifts the management and localization effort from you to the localization partner, is worth the higher rate. It saves you time, and it also provides you with expertise. All companies with clear and transparent client review processes will save you money.





Related content: 5 Ways That Translation Companies Cause You to Overspend





Translation quality means different things for different clients and content types. If you need your website localized, you strive for the highest quality, the best style of expression, and great marketing texts.


But, when you need some comments in a foreign language translated into English just for internal use, the translation just needs to be fast and adequate. 


Therefore, quality being subjective, metrics for measurement and comparison are necessary. Many translation companies provide their clients with tools to do that.


That's what companies very rarely say about localization pricing. The translation proposal is very rarely based on translation only. You pay for the localization service, and that is what you should get. Your product launch should be accompanied by all the "best practices" in globalization and high-quality translation solutions. Doing anything less is a mistake and should be avoided.



2. You Don't Have Integration With Our Content Management System


Is there any localization company that already has solutions that will suit all of your individual needs when it comes to translation integration with your system?

I am afraid not.


And the reason is that nobody, not even you, knows exactly what will be needed for your processes.


Establishing a trusting relationship with your localization service provider allows both, you and them, to quickly develop features and integrations tailored to your localization needs. It means customizing the connections between various tools, especially for you and your needs.


Now granted, it’s not about winging it when it comes to integrations. But if you can take the time to speak with your localization service provider when they ask you questions about your processes, you can surely come up with the best possible solution together. The real value of integrations is not in the technology used, but in the way it streamlines your processes.





Be sure to avoid investing in translation technologies that are not flexible. Whenever you are about to buy a big, shiny translation tool - think twice. In most cases it is very difficult to switch localization providers, once investing a lot of money in a tool developed by a company that also provides translations.


The best solution allows flexibility and further integrations with other systems.Go for those that won't bind you for years without the possibility of making any changes. They should complement your processes.


There is often no need to completely revolutionize your current workflow. The most efficient solutions will fill the gaps in the existing localization environment through integrations and built-in modules. 


Integrations allow the fully automated process of distributing content for translation. In WordPress, for example, you start by filtering and selecting the content for translation. Next, you need to assign it to the translation provider. From this point on, your only job is to wait for the content to be translated into Chinese, French, Spanish or any other language you wish.





Related content: A Lack of Translation Integration With Your System: Trouble Alert







Today, you may not be sure what authoring or programming software you will ultimately be using in a few years. Make sure that your translation supplier will be able to grow and develop with you and keep up with your growth.  


3. Your Location Will Slow Down the Translation Process


translation companies in different time zones


Another reason that companies give, when rejecting translation agencies that could possibly be the best fit for them, is the location of the translation company.

We've heard reasons like:


You are too far away.
You are in the wrong time zone.
You’re not located in our country .


Most of the people who translate your content are not located in your country. They are even not supposed to live in your country.


Living in the market location helps translators understand your customers and their way of choosing products and services. It allows them to translate your content more efficiently.


Operating in a different time zone is not a problem at all. Localization companies have been doing it for years. Moreover, running the production outside of your working hours allows some tasks to be finished before you even get into the office.


Accordingly, you can assign new translation jobs before leaving the office and the localization company will pick them up while you are sleeping and deliver before your alarm goes off. 


The physical distance between you and the localization company should not be seen as a disadvantage. It has recently been proven irrelevant for doing business. 


These days, when social distancing is a must, we have all migrated to remote operations. And this is exactly what remote, global localization teams are best at. Managing remote teams, freelancers from all over the world, having meetings on Zoom,  Microsoft Teams or any other video conferencing tool is how professional translation services do it. 


Managing risk, connecting to content management systems, integrating tools in distant servers, transferring money and data between countries, is how translation companies work.


Your business localization is in good hands, no matter what the physical distance between you and your provider may be.





Related content: Are CEE LSPs Ready for the Expectations of Global Business?





Being located outside of the United States does not affect the high level of service localization companies provide. 


4. We Prefer Big Translation Companies: You Are too Small for Us 


In life, what counts is the ability to adjust to the changing circumstances. Large ships change course slowly.


Mid-size organizations can pivot quickly and adjust their services and technology to changing circumstances. We have all seen how fast the world we live in can change. And it is the understanding and the ability to adopt to a "new normal" that helps businesses grow.


Mid-size companies understand your difficult points and challenges, therefore they can be your best localization partners.


Be sure to avoid translation providers that have stopped developing. Last, but not least, the huge players very often do not respond to the needs of start-ups and individual clients. Most often, the large cash cows are what counts for them. Other customers must wait in line and accept longer deadlines or slower customer service.


The Time to Embrace Localization is Now  

Whether your business is already embracing the power of localization services or has yet to assign the first lines of text for translation, the time is now to start asking your potential localization providers the hard questions.


Articulate all your questions , fears, concerns, and discuss possible solutions. Then ask for a translation proposal and compare apples to apples.


By doing so, you’ll be better informed.


Get started. Don’t over think it and just set up a call.


And when everything is explained and compared, every decision, regardless if it is in the business world or in your private life, comes down to that simple 5-letter word: Facts.


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How to Reduce Turnaround Time for Content Translation