When tasked with localizing business content, many organizations find themselves weighing the costs of fulfilling translations in-house versus outsourcing them. Choosing between these two translation methods is often challenging and time-consuming. Understanding the factors that influence companies in this decision process can help come to a determination that best fits the company’s needs.
In order to choose which translation method best fits your organization's needs, consider these 3 following factors.
Number of Languages
The number of target languages that an organization needs to translate their content into is a big factor to consider. For example, hiring a team to translate content into 1 or 2 languages is much different than hiring a team for 10, 20, or 50 languages.
It gets even more complex when considering the size of the translation project. Having consistent translation needs for a few core languages but sporadic needs for several other languages makes it challenging to hire and retain the correct amount of staffing needed to fulfill those translation needs.
It can be difficult for organizations to staff the correct amount of translators on their localization team while keeping them busy enough to merit the cost to the company. In fact, the average cost of keeping one translator on staff in 2016 was $71,895. This means that the cost of having a translator on staff must be less than that of what you would pay an agency to translate the same volume of content.
If your organization finds itself translating content into multiple languages, it will be beneficial to have a translation partner ready to help. Established translation agencies have access to a pool of translators in many languages and can help fulfill your translation needs in both high volume languages as well as sporadic languages. This can often be a more cost effective method than trying to staff multiple translators and then finding out that the translation volume doesn't merit the cost or that your current staff can't handle the full volume needed translations.
Complexity of Content
The complexity of the content being translated can also be a key factor in how translations are fulfilled. The complexity can vary based on the type of document being translated. For example, document translations for the most part are simple and easy to manage, while translating
E-Learning content requires expertise in the platforms in which the content is built. It also requires additional work to complete that standard document translations don’t.
From another angle, the actual complexity of the subject matter itself can vary. For example, a company handbook may vary in complexity in comparison to legal documents being used to penetrate new markets. One translator may be certified and qualified for less complex translations, such as the company handbook, while at the same time not having the experience or expertise to successfully execute the translation of legal documents.
Perhaps your company hired a translator that is qualified for general translations, such as that of the company handbook. But is he certified to do legal translations for your new international expansion? If not, he's going to spend a whole lot of time in the dictionary looking up words he is not familiar with and not understanding the true context of the language in use. This usually results in longer projects, lower quality translations, and increased translation costs.
Working with a translation agency on the other hand means working with a team of translators. This means you may have one translator work on the company manual and a different translator work on legal translations. This assures that each project has an appropriate translator based on experience and expertise. This will help decrease project turnaround times, improve translation quality, and decrease overall translation costs.
Company culture can also have a big influence on how companies may choose to fulfill their translation needs. A company that looks to control every aspect of the business is less likely to inquire on how they might benefit from outsourcing part or all their translation processes. Rather, they will likely look to set-up the processes internally in order to fulfill their translation needs.
In contrast, a company that has adapted their business culture to outsourcing business processes is more likely to look at the benefits of outsourcing part or all their translation processes to a qualified translation company.
Though some companies may value keeping most business processes in-house, most companies will likely benefit from outsourcing at least part, if not all, of their translation processes. Doing so can save time and money on some of the ‘other’ costs incurred from in-house translation.