It’s safe to say that the need for language translation services isn’t exclusive to global companies. If you aspire to penetrate a new market or are trying to expand your business reach, you’ll need to take your content further and consider localization as well.
But while your translation needs may increase year over year, your budget likely is moving in the opposite way, especially when you're managing talent shortages, inflation, and recession concerns at the same time.
If you’re looking for a more affordable way to communicate with global audiences, knowing exactly how to maximize your translation budget is crucial. In this article, we’ll offer our expert knowledge on how you can support your business's global growth objectives while keeping the translation budget under control (and without having to cut back on any essentials).
1) Choose your languages wisely
As a global company, you are already targeting multiple languages. But how do you know which languages yield the most results for your business?
It’s vital to tailor your content to the locations where your company actively looking for prospects. But what if you're looking to further expand, but you're not sure how you can support your decision? That's when localization strategy consultants can come in handy. They'll bring their expertise to your global growth journey, helping you lay the groundwork for your success in current and new markets.
International SEO tools, although mostly known for optimizing content for the web, can also be useful for untapping marketing opportunities. Through keyword research and keyword gap analyzis you can understand local competitors' positioning or find which markets have high demand and low competition for the services you're offering.
Finally, get familiar with your web analytics to understand your audience. Check where your current traffic is coming from and if there’s a visible correspondence to the languages of your website. Consider those visitors with a higher conversion rate for effective investment.
All these actions will help you implement a well-founded language expansion plan to ensure the best return on your translation investment.
2) Harmonize your company's terminology
Keeping consistent and clear terminology will also help to cut costs and increase translation quality. A comprehensive terminology stack will decrease the time translators spend on your content, which leads to significant savings
If you’re starting from scratch, your Language Service Provider (LSP) should be able to create a concept-oriented multilingual terminology glossary for your company, based on your most frequently used terms, and fill it with target-language terms and relevant metadata.
With your harmonized term base and translation memory (TM) securely in place, your translation costs will be reduced because you never have to translate the same content twice. At the same time, when terminology stakeholders (i.e. content authors and translators) are able to tap into the harmonized terminology stack, content quality and consistency will also improve.
3) Analyze your content
Is your content still accurate and up to date? Think of your current messaging: is this what you want to share with your customers? Or, more important still, are they interested in reading or hearing it?
In order to optimize your translations, you’ll first need to audit your content by identifying targets and goals that will help you align each piece of content to the right format and need.
If the existing content is not in tune with what your customers are looking for, consider restricting your content or redefining your strategy.
4) Adopt the "minimalist writing" principle
Starting with a good source text is fundamental for an efficient localization process. When creating new content, it’s important that writers keep in mind that their text is meant to be multilingual. Ensure that sentences are well-written, short and clear, and remove unnecessary abbreviations or jargon.
Don’t hesitate to ask for proofreading or a complementary review in the source language before starting translation.
5) Repeat, recycle, reuse
When talking about content management and optimization strategies, repurposing just makes sense.
By employing a component content management system (CCMS) with a topic-based approach to authoring, you can manage your content at the most granular level, allowing you to simply reuse the same content in multiple places. By opting for this approach to content creation, you’ll automatically reduce your translation requests, thus saving that budget for new content projects, while also increasing consistency throughout your source language assets.
Making sure your localization partner uses state-of-the-art language technology like translation memories and glossaries will help you automatically apply this principle, since all repeated text segments will only be translated once, and reused from then on.
6) Set realistic deadlines
Last-minute requests and tight deadlines are not the best way to manage your translation budget, as they can lead to higher investment. Now think that content piece may not be of big strategic importance in the long run, and you've just seen a good chunk of your budget go to "waste".
Planning ahead and anticipating your needs gives your translation partner enough time for quality checks and proofreading, resulting in the most optimal output while keeping costs under control.
7) Leverage technology
From all-in-one translation management portals to computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, technology can be your best friend when it comes to saving budget and increasing productivity.
While machine translation has made impressive advancements to approach closer accuracy to that of human translation, they're still not interchangeable. However, it still plays an invaluable role to boost translator productivity while also saving costs.
Neural machine translation technology is making giant leaps forward, becoming more intelligent every year and thus further improving the cost-benefit ratio of machine translation in general.
8) Stay faithful to the same LSP
A long-term partnership will enable higher collaboration synergies, which will lead to more consistent results. Of course, make sure you're placing your bet on a team that can help you optimize your value chain: deliver high quality on time, cover different geographic reagions to minimize risk of talent shortages, and implement tools to automate the procure to pay processes.
So, although you might find some local providers with lower rates for certain languages, having a single global provider for all your translation needs will guarantee an optimized budget without jeopardizing the quality of your content.