Use In-house Translators or Outsource Your Translation Projects?

Jan 20, 2023

When expanding internationally, businesses of all sizes must rely on foreign language translators to ensure their products, services, and message is communicated clearly, concisely, professionally, and meaningfully. Effective communication is an important factor determining success in a translation project. Demand for multilingual language services increases every year and the challenge is to provide quality translation efficiently and quickly while maintaining information security. How a business approaches their translation projects can affect the quality, reliability, efficiency, security, and time to market of their translated information. There is no one size fits all solution to translation projects.

Your company wants to grow internationally or is growing an international presence and you would like to provide translation for your products and services. Where should you start? It boils down to two choices. Hire in-house translators or outsource your translation project. Which option best fits your company? The basics to a localization strategy are to increase efficiency, reduce cost, sustain quality, and speedy time to market. For the cost of translation, you must consider the labor, time, management, and quality. Let us see what it takes to make the optimal decision.

How Much Does It Cost?

Translation Costs

What are the costs when crafting a translation? First is having a professional linguist translate the text in question. Second is assuring the translation quality is adequate by having a second professional linguist check the quality. But first and foremost is finding those right professional linguists to handle your translation project. Naturally, if you spend a significant amount of time trying to find translators for your project, you are incapable of performing your core duties. There is a huge opportunity cost with finding the right translator. This becomes more of a problem when volumes of content fluctuate constantly and substantially with unpredictable swells. Another common problem is availability. There is a possibility the individual is not even available to complete your translation project. Even if you able to assign to the right person they may rush your project because their cup is full. Being overworked leads to careless mistakes which makes quality suffer increasing cost to correct those mistakes. In a perfect world we can find the perfect candidate with the perfect price. In reality, the search takes some time which increases costs and can lead to stressful situations considering deadlines.

Workflow Management Costs

Handling translation projects are easier said than done when you mention assigning translation projects to multiple translators in multiple languages. There are nightmare cases where promises were not met with deadlines well overdue with unacceptable translations which can’t be delivered to clients. Projects vary in complexity which requires project management, engineering, linguistic support, budget management, project timelines, translation data, and many other issues that come up which must be handled during the localization process. To manage large projects and multiple projects at the same time specialized teams of translators are necessary to complete within the required time frame. Ideally project management should have the help of technology with the proper expertise to optimize the translation process for each project’s specific needs. In a nutshell workflow management of translation projects are not as easy as it seems.

Quality Control Costs

Your company knows your content better than anyone else. But it is tough to ensure quality when hiring translators to work on your translation projects. Sometimes it is difficult to have translators understand and adjust to different types of content. Certain translators may excel at creating marketing content but instead have trouble with a web interface or technical documentation. What level of command do they have in the source and target language? How many years have they been a translator? What kind of linguistic background do they have? Who will review their work? Typically, additional support is necessary for quality assurance (QA). To manage the QA process effectively technology is leveraged to establish a seamless work environment for the linguists. A hybrid system is recommended utilizing software to catch mistakes with an additional layer of QA operators to support the linguist’s verification process. To build an effective QA team is an iterative process which takes time to implement properly.

Setting Up Your In-House Translation Department

You are considering establishing an in-house translation department. Where should you start? Your choice is mainly determined by the size of your company, number of languages required and its stage of growth. While business environment is important what the business can afford becomes priority. To build an in-house team of translators, it’s important to think about the costs. To hire professional translators and install translation technology requires a long-term investment not to mention the learning curve for employees. Consider the volumes of content that need to be translated in multiple languages, project management, quality control and while adapting to a completely new workflow. It can be slow in the beginning trying to manage your new localization team. Also, having in-house professional translators becomes expensive in terms of finding qualified applicants, conducting sufficient training, effective oversight, and supplying them with the necessary resources.

The advantages of having an in-house translation team are complete management of your workflow, sharing internal processes, knowledge of company culture and brand voice. You’ll have full control over the translation management process. However, as projects become larger further investments must be made for hiring, technology, and workflow management becoming increasingly complex. Not to mention projects which may require a particular set of skills such as multilingual copywriting, transcreation, technical knowledge which requires new translators for every language you want to add.

Furthermore, when there isn’t enough work for your in-house translator, you may want to share duties across different departments for work unrelated to translation. This switching between assignments, obligations, and responsibility causes stress and fatigue for the unprepared linguist. The translator becomes an employee pulled in different directions receiving assignments instead of translation projects they should be focused on. Translators with shared responsibilities are rarely efficient. They are likely to develop the skills that lead translation to be completed quickly with quality suffering to compensate for their alternative roles. This is a nature course amongst small and midsize companies that may not have consistent translation projects.

In the end though there is a possibility you find a balance between cost and convenience with your in-house localization team. The problem becomes continuously investing in staff and technology to make sure you’re achieving the quality, accuracy, and reliability in your translation projects. With hard work and perseverance your investment could pay off and you could have an in-house localization team to handle your translation projects.

Why Outsource Your Translation Projects?

You are considering outsourcing your translation projects. Where should you start? To outsource your translation to a translation provider it can be managed by your departments where employees are underutilized who become the liaison for your translation projects. Then through them you can simply provide the necessary information to a professional translation provider, and they can help you meet your requirements. Project management, technology, quality control, and workflow management will be handled with care if you find the right translation provider to do the job. An outsource translation provider is likely to have access to technologies and translators who are trained to take advantage of all resources available for speedy deliveries, accuracy, and high-quality translation which fits your expectations. Translation Management Systems (TMS), specialized dictionaries, and reference guides are integrated with the translation process giving you the opportunity to maximize the value for your purchase. Over time, the translation provider will become increasingly knowledgeable about your business, its operation, products, culture, brand, and employees. As the translation provider engages with different departments, they gain a better understanding about the complexities of your business. The culmination of these experiences will enable their translators to provide their service in a more resourceful, efficient, and effective way.

As mentioned before recruiting, training, setting up, monitoring, and growing an effective and efficient translation department takes considerable investment. By outsourcing your translation projects, the translation provider can focus on what matters most. Also, by outsourcing translation projects, your employees are free to perform their regular duties that they have been academically and professionally educated and trained to perform. They will function more efficiently, because they can focus on their primary duties with an uncluttered mind. Freeing these employees to perform their primary duties will allow your entire organization to run more efficiently. While an in-house translator may have acquired specialized knowledge and vocabulary, this same level of knowledge can be handed over to the translation provider in the form of glossaries. Therefore, it is possible to achieve the same level of experience with less cost by outsourcing your translation projects.

Regarding scalability it is difficult as the business grows when translation is managed in-house. Working with an in-house team means the pool of translators available to you is incredibly limited, so if your company decides to expand, it’ll be hard to acquire additional translation resources. You’ll also need to reinvest in new technological tools to help your growing demand in your localization process. By outsourcing scaling can be done freely where structure is a non-issue to recruit and administer a network of translators with different levels and expertise, availability, and translation technology access. If you plan to add new languages to your product or service, it can be especially complicated to assess the quality of the translations without a professional team. By outsourcing your translation projects to a trusted partner is the ability to scale your team up or down without any substantial risk. All in all, outsourcing translation to a translation provider can offer substantial benefits that is difficult to be achieved with an in-house team. By now, you can probably see why outsourcing your translation projects is the smarter way to go. Yes, you could handle the entire localization process yourself—but why bother? Choosing to handle the process in-house is costly, cumbersome, and complex. By choosing to outsource, a trusted partner can work with you to find the optimal solution and grow alongside your company, freeing you to concentrate on your core business. Working with an experienced partner can make all the difference in helping you achieve the maximum ROI on your international efforts.

Outsource your translation projects to idioma®

idioma ® has been a translation provider for 40+ years and has the experience to help you achieve your international interests. We provide our ISO certified translations with professional translators utilizing the latest technologies. We believe communication is key to cultivate long term relationships with our clients. It is not just a matter of outsourcing but being reliable and building trust. Although there is a bias on our part that we recommend outsourcing translation projects because as a translation provider that is our main objective. But weighing the advantages and disadvantages it is safe to say objectively outsourcing works better overall for clients in the short and long term.

As Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet would suggest it is best to stick to your circle of competence.

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