Five Tips to Reduce Translation Costs, Improve Quality, and Accelerate Turnaround Times

Photo of a man holding a clock.At Inline, we strive to provide timely project completion, high quality translations, and competitive rates. Our efforts are most successful when clients follow these five guidelines:

1. Use translation-friendly design techniques

When you plan and design a document that will be translated, it’s a good idea to plan for text expansion, which is the increased word count of translated text in the case of the Romance languages such as Spanish and French, and increased word length, which is quite typical in German. For example, Spanish uses about 30% more words than English. If the document design has no wiggle room, then something has to give: additional pages, use of larger pages (going from letter size paper to legal), introduction of smaller fonts (sometimes prohibited by government regulations), elimination of limited white space if any existed, and even reduction of content.

In short, designers often have to spend time reworking translated documents. This rework cost can be minimized and even eliminated by carefully planning the design of the original document.

2. Send us the right files to translate

In many cases, Word files work best. We can usually take your Word files, replace the English text with translated text, and return similarly formatted files that are ready to go. Keep in mind that all Inline translators work with Word, which supports virtually all major and minor languages that you may need to translate.

If you only have a PDF file, please send it to us. Many PDF files (but unfortunately not all) have “extractable”

text, which permits us to quickly develop fixed-price quotes. If formatting is not an issue, for example, documents that are being translated for information only, a PDF file with or without extractable text will work well. However, if Inline will be typesetting your documents using page layout software such as Adobe InDesign, please send your layout file, along with all fonts and graphics as soon as possible.

3. Wait until you have a final copy before translating

While a draft version of a document is perfectly adequate for developing most translation quotes, it’s better to wait for a final version of the document before starting a translation.

Receiving new versions or changes to source text in mid-stream disrupts the workflow and increases the risk of errors. Change orders can also drive up costs, especially when multiple languages are involved.

4. Don’t wait until Monday!

Many translators work evenings, late nights, early mornings and on weekends. For translators in far off time zones, these odd times might just be their regular business hours. A five-day project released for translation on a Friday afternoon can often be completed with relative ease by the following Thursday or Friday. However, releasing text on a Monday will most likely result in completion late (or very late) on Friday after most clients have left the office, or in some cases, on the following Monday.

5. Tell us where the edits are

When it’s time to update the translation of a previously translated document, it helps to provide a detailed record of the edits to the underlying source text. Word’s “Track Changes” feature works well for this. Even a manual edit of the old text helps us quickly locate the translated text that must be updated in the translations.

By following these guidelines your company will have better control over turnaround, quality, and cost. Happy translating!

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