In-house translation vs. using a translation agency

Translation Management

2020-04-02-Translation-agency-or-internal-translation

Concerns over costs and time can make it tempting to translate company material in-house, but is the decision to do so short-sighted or valid in the long term?

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and thus human translation will cost money whichever way you do it. Translating in-house may not result in an invoice landing on your desk, but as long as the person translating is being paid a salary you’re effectively paying for the translation. Also, let’s not forget about the opportunity cost since time spent on translation by an in-house resource is time that he or she is not spending on tasks related to your company’s core business. Should a salesperson at your newly opened subsidiary in Germany spend time translating information on your website or getting new clients?

Aside from using the right resources for the right tasks, the most important fact to consider in the context of saving time and money is that in-house resources don’t generally have the technical tools that professional translators have.

Aside from using the right resources for the right tasks, the most important fact to consider in the context of saving time and money is that in-house resources don’t generally have the technical tools that professional translators have. When outsourcing translations to an agency, the agency will build what is known as a translation memory – a database consisting of all of your translations. When a client submits a new text for translation, the agency will analyze the document to see if there are any parts of it that match material they’ve previously translated for the same client. If matching segments are found, the cost of the translation will be adjusted since you shouldn’t have to pay full price for translating the same things over and over again (something you’re very likely to do when translating in-house). Furthermore, when the agency’s translators take on the new assignment, they’ll be able to work more quickly since material that has already been translated only needs to be approved in the new context.

In conclusion, translation agencies will help you reduce costs and delivery time in the long run. You may have perfectly bilingual colleagues that can handle translations, but if they’re not using translation memories they won’t be working efficiently. Therefore you’ll be better off outsourcing translations to an agency. If only you knew where to find one.

Also read our blog where we state three well-founded reasons why you should order language services from a professional.

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