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Joanna Tarasiewicz
November 04, 2022
10 min read

How to Budget for Your Technical Translation Services


technical translation agency guys working on technical documentation-designed by vectorjuice-freepik



There are many aspects to consider when determining how to budget for technical translation services. Many companies do not have a single budget for translations, and budget planning is usually split between various departments and stakeholders.


Technical translation is a specialized form of translation that requires a deep understanding of both the source and target languages, as well as the subject matter. There are many factors to consider when creating a budget for technical translation services.


The first is the type of project you are undertaking. Different types of projects will require different levels of expertise and will take different amounts of time to complete.


The second factor to consider is the language combination you are working with. Some language combinations are more difficult than others, and this will impact the cost of translation.


The third factor to consider is the target audience for your translation. Depending on who your target audience is, you may need to use different terminology or make sure that your translations are culturally appropriate.


When creating a budget for technical translation services, it is important to work with a professional technical translator or language service provider who has experience with your specific needs. They will be able to give you a realistic estimate of how much time and money your project will require.


One of the best ways to get a sense of what you should budget for your project is to request a free quote from several different translation agencies. Be sure to provide them with as much information as possible about your project so they can give you an accurate estimate. And don't be afraid to negotiate – many agencies are willing to work with you on price if it means winning your business. Finally, keep in mind that the cost of translation is an investment – one that can pay off handsomely in the long run by helping you expand into new markets and reach new customers. So, if you're considering skimping on quality in order to save money, think carefully about whether it's worth sacrificing.


No matter what your translation budget is, translation industry offers many options to get an accurate translation. Apart from the above, here’s what you need to consider when looking for the best solution for you.



Costs of Hiring a Professional Translation Agency



There are various factors that influence the costs of hiring a professional technical translation agency. For one, language is a significant factor, as translations into some languages are much more expensive than others. Additionally, some regions have high demand for certain languages, which makes them costlier to translate. Luckily, there are ways to reduce translation costs and get the most professional translation possible.


Unlike with other types of translation services, prices for technical documents like technical manuals also vary. Generally, the more technical the subject is, the more the translation will cost. In other words, translating an article about nuclear reactors will cost more than translating a review of the best Miami restaurants. Other factors that can influence the cost include the urgency of the translation, formatting requirements, and whether or not you need certified translation.


Per-word rates are the most common way to charge for translations in Latin alphabets. Rates for a senior professional translator (with over ten years of experience) are typically $60k per year, while a junior translator earns between thirty and forty thousand dollars per year. However, if your organization is looking to outsource your translation needs, you’ll most likely get the best results with a technical translation partner that offers not only competitive prices and quality control but also takes the burden of coordinating translations off your back so that translation doesn’t slow you down. That means a dedicated project manager, vendor manager, as well as translation management systems and other technology in place. This means higher cost, but you need to think value here and how much the time of you and your team would cost if you kept it internal, went with a distributor or had to manage a group of freelance translators.


You also have to factor in the cost of revisions. A quality translation can boost sales and reputation. Therefore, it's important to hire a qualified technical translation agency. You can find several advantages of hiring a technical translation agency, and there are a few things to keep in mind before hiring one.


A good translation service will always have a list of credible references for you to check. The best companies will also assign teams of specialists to your project. This is especially important if your project is large and complex.







Related content: 6 Tips on Preparing Your Content for Translation






Cost of a Harmonized Term Base



Harmonized term bases with approved technical terms can help companies reduce the cost of translation and reinforce consistency throughout projects. It also saves time and money, as clients no longer need to review and approve translations. Additionally, a harmonized term base can reduce rework, as reworking materials is more costly than the original translation.


Costs vary greatly based on various factors. Some of the factors that affect cost are project management fees, page layout costs, revising a translation and linguistic quality testing. You should be aware of these before selecting a translation company. It is best to work with a vendor that has a transparent pricing structure.



Cost of a Translation Memory



There are some important factors to consider when determining how much to budget for technical translation services. The first step is to understand the nature of your project. While technical translation services vary widely, some common tasks may require repeated translations. If this is the case, translation memory software may help you save money by storing translated content.

If your project requires several thousand words, choose a company with the necessary resources to complete it in a timely manner. This is especially important if your project is urgent or needs intensive attention. If you need to have a high volume of translations completed on a regular basis, you may be able to negotiate for lower translation costs. Additionally, translation technologies such as Trados, memoQ, Phrase, Smartling or Lokalise automatically identify and discount recurring content, which can reduce the overall translation cost, from 25 to 36% on average.



Time Is Money



Another factor to consider is the quoted cost per word because the word count is what’s usually used for calculations using Translation Memory technology. This number may be overly high or low, resulting in overcharging. While this may be a tempting ploy to get a cheap quote, it's essential to understand that cost per word is only one factor among many. Some translation providers may provide a simple calculator to help you determine how much your project will cost. Others, with TM implemented, base their quotes on detailed word count analyses.


Another important factor to consider when estimating the costs of language translation services is the timeline. Remember to factor in regulatory deadlines when building a timeline for your translation project. This way, you will avoid having to pay a rush translation fee, which can increase your costs by as much as fifty percent.


While fast turnaround time may save money on a translation project, it often affects the consistency of the finished product. This is because a super-fast turnaround time means more translators working individually rather than working together as a team. This means that the translation process will be rushed, and you may end up with inconsistent results.







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The Scope of Your Technical Translation Project



A good way to start budgeting for technical translation is by mapping out the scope and type of your translation project. Technical projects generally require more effort and expertise than other types of translation, so they often come with a higher price tag. If you're working on a large or complex project, you may need to budget for additional resources like language experts or subject matter experts.


Additionally, the source and target languages you're working with can also affect the cost of translation. Language pairs that are less common or require special expertise may be more expensive to translate than more commonly-requested language combinations. Finally, the quality of your translations is also an important factor to consider when budgeting for technical document translation services. Make sure you request quotes from multiple providers and compare rates to ensure you're getting the best possible value for your project.


The languages involved will have an impact on price. More difficult or rare language combinations will typically cost more. In addition, the length and complexity of the source document can affect the budget. A longer, more technical document will usually require more time and effort to translate, and thus will be more expensive. Another important factor to consider is the type of project. Different types of projects (e.g., user manuals, software documentation, etc.) may have different requirements in terms of accuracy and precision, which can impact the price. Additionally, the target audience for the translation can also influence the budget. A translation for a highly technical audience may be more expensive than one for a general audience.


How many different language combinations you need means how many different translators you'll need to hire. The more languages you want to target, the more expensive it will be. Technical projects generally require more specialized knowledge and expertise and as a result, they tend to be more expensive than non-technical projects. Similarly, larger projects will also generally cost more than smaller ones. Finally, you need to consider the quality of the translation you're looking for. If accuracy is critical, then you'll need to hire professional translators who can guarantee a high level of quality. This will obviously be more expensive than using machine translation or hiring someone who is not a professional translator. In general, the best way to budget for technical translation services is to get quotes from different language service providers for your specific needs. Prices can vary significantly depending on all of these factors, so it's important to get a few different quotes before making a decision.



Economies of Scale



The more content you need translated, the lower your average cost per word. If you can, try to work with a translation agency that offers several languages for a lower rate. You can also work with a global content strategist to identify any opportunities for localization savings.


By using a language services provider, you can get high-quality translations without breaking the bank. These organizations have a network of expert vendors that can detect potential problems early in the translation process and resolve them before they cause errors or delay. This will ensure that you get the best value out of your translation services.


Speed and accuracy are two key aspects of any translation. Fast turnaround can save money and time, but it can compromise the quality of the translation. For this reason, you should avoid super-quick turnarounds if you can. This is because super-fast turnarounds require more translators and less team cooperation.


You should also take into account the additional costs involved in your project. For example, if the content is user guides or layout file, you might need extra services such as desktop publishing or graphics localization. These tasks require serious resources, which may include a complex quality assurance testing process.






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Other Aspects of Technical Translation Budgeting



When translating technical documents, there are a number of factors to consider that will affect the budget for the project. Take the source document type and whether it is ready for translation, for example. If it is not, then the cost of editing or reformatting it will need to be included in the budget. Another factor is the target audience and what languages they speak. If the audience is global, then the budget will need to reflect that. Then goes the type of project and what kind of accuracy is required. If it is a user manual, for example, then a higher level of accuracy will be needed than if it is a blog post. Language combination is another one to consider. Some language combinations are more difficult than others and may require more time from the technical translator or use more specialized software. Finally, the turnaround time. If the project needs to be completed quickly, then that will affect the price. To get an accurate quote for your technical translation project, it is best to contact a language service provider with experience in your industry and specific needs. They will be able to give you a competitive price based on all of these factors.



In Brief



Technical translations can be quite costly, so it's important to have a clear idea of how much you're willing to spend before you start looking for a language service provider (LSP). There are a few different factors that will affect the price of your translation project, including the source and target languages, the length and complexity of the text, and the deadline. If you're working with a tight budget, it's a good idea to get quotes from several different LSPs before making a decision. In general, machine translation is the cheapest option, followed by human translation. However, machine translation is not always accurate, so if accuracy is critical for your project, you'll need to hire a professional translator. The cost of human translation will also vary depending on the languages involved and the expertise of the translator. As a rule, it's always best to work with an LSP that has experience translating into your target market. They'll be familiar with the specific language needs and cultural considerations of that market, which will result in a higher quality translation. This is especially important for technical projects where even small errors can have big consequences. When choosing an LSP, don't just focus on price. It's also important to consider their technical expertise and whether they have enough time to complete your project on schedule.


The truth is there's no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much you should budget for technical translation services. The cost of translation will depend on a number of different factors, including the source and target languages, the length and complexity of the project, the type of translation (e.g., human or machine), and the specific needs of your target audience. That said, there are some general rules of thumb shown above that can help you get an idea of what to expect. They should certainly cover at least the initial groundwork involved in your proper budgeting for technical translation.


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