• Czech translateOur platform

    • A single vision
    • Leading technology
    • Hand-picked teams of well-established professionals
    • Streamlined and effective process
  • Czech translateBelisarius

    • Building a platform of language resources for the international community.
    • Download and subscribe for free information and resources.
    • Buy our published works for use in your business.
    • Engage our team for your bespoke language projects.
  • Czech translateShared core values

    • Service driven ethos.
    • Quality and consistency.
    • Accountability for our work.
    • Trust in our working relationships.
    • Ease of doing business.

Building the cheapest translation in the market

It is not true that quality needs to be sacrificed to get good value in a translation.  What it actually takes is a minor change of approach.

Unsurprisingly, clients seek value in all their dealings with third parties; clients’ translation projects are no exception.  At Belisarius, we make no secret of our pricelist and of the elements of our service comprised in it.

Broadly, our Standard service is designed to be bullet-proof. Our Draft service makes available to our clients a translator that meets our strict requirements and is a proven expert in the relevant field, and our Gist service gives an economy time-based service where it is uncertain at the beginning what will actually be required of the translator. Given the above, how do we remain competitive and offer value? Here’s how.

The cheapest translators in the market are seldom the best.  If a translator is prepared to accept less remuneration than a cleaner, his long-term freelance life is jeopardised (as is his ability to feed his family) and, more importantly, the client will not receive a consistently adequate product.  The translator, in all probability, will not have the time nor the inclination to check his own work properly at rock-bottom rates.  The burden is then on the client to invest its own time and resources to verify whether the translation is adequate – and as a result, the true time-value of the final translation grossly exceeds the initial cost.

One of the primary aims of Belisarius is to complete a full review itself so that our clients do not have to.  Our people are cross-verified by other translators, our multi-lingual translator project managers and other experts in the relevant field so that material post-editing is not necessary.  As such, the Belisarius fee structure is much closer to the time-value of the finished translation than at other agencies – and there are no material internal post-editing costs at the hands of our clients.

Second, if a Belisarius client wishes to cut costs, there are better ways to do it without sacrificing quality:

  1. If the work is important enough to use the Belisarius Standard service but not all of it needs to be translated, we can omit the non-essential content.  A short discussion on that may pre-empt substantial time by the translators (and, therefore, cost).
  2. Can some of the words of the document be replaced by a clear diagram?  If so, clearly the text for translation will be smaller.
  3. We can cut costs over the longer term by compiling a translation memory based on our ongoing cooperation.  In order to keep translation costs down, the client simply has to re-use historical text (which has already been translated) in its new documents and the translator can rely on the old translation at a much lower cost.  This process does, however, require the client to write its documents having regard to the fact that it will later be translated using this technique.  But at the same time, that is what frequently happens in practice.  A law firm’s standard form directory or a bank’s standard communication letters are classic examples of this.  So why not leverage on the old translations?
  4. If terminology is a key factor in the accuracy of a translation, we can build and agree a terminology list using Belisarius Gist (ie time billing) before we start the translation.  This will radically reduce the need for post-editing – and therefore will reduce the overall time-value of the translation.
  5. If the work is not absolutely critical, then we can dispense with some of the additional checks and balances in our Standard service and use the Belisarius Draft service (ie one translator only, plus minimal support). This will typically reduce the cost of the overall product by more than one third.
  6. If the client simply wants to understand a text rather than receive a full translation, it may be more economical to ask a hand-picked translator with particular expertise in the field to summarise it in his own words.  This will dramatically reduce the cost by dispensing with need to stay faithful to the original text.  If required, the same translator can still provide a full translation afterwards if the matter increases in importance.  Our Gist rates are hourly and broadly track those of a competent office contractor.
  7. If the document is not sufficiently important to get an accurate translation or to pay a fee consummate with a competent office contractor, there are many free translation tools on the internet delivering instant translated results, which sometimes can be sufficient – although sometimes not.  If the client’s preferred fee is so low that a good translator cannot survive on it, clearly whoever is doing the work will be using the free tool on the internet anyway and muddling through, so in our view, there is no need to go through a translation agency (or directly to a random translator) for that.  The client can achieve as reliable a result (ie not very reliable) without going to external translation resources.

European studies have recognised in very clear terms that it is imperative that the market perception of the translation industry improves in order for translators to raise their status and command more sustainable remuneration.  At the same time, even the cheapest translation agencies in the market profess to deliver great quality, whether or not that is so in reality.

In response to this, we simply ask all those who are particularly cost-conscious to ensure that they find out exactly what service elements they are getting for their money.  If the level of information from any given agency falls below that set out on this website, plus the agency is significantly cheaper, the chances are that the service will not be adequate for a professional business.

In order to find out about the qualifications specific to Belisarius people, please contact us.  For example, our legal team comprises, lawyers, university lecturers, post-graduate legal translators and those with decades of experience.

Ultimately, getting the best value in a translation depends on internal process and exercising consistently sound human judgement.  For that, costs aside, you need the best people having regard to client requirements.  Cost would (and in our view should) then rather be a question of how that resource is managed.  It is, with respect, a recipe for disaster when bare cost prevails ahead of quality and proper resource.

for Belisarius Translations

Leave a Reply