Let’s not beat around the bush. A translation is an expensive product. That’s because each translation is unique to the source text and any instructions supplied by the client. Sometimes parts of a translation can be borrowed from previously-translated documents, but even so, each sentence is then checked, revised and refined to match the rest of the text. Ultimately each word is the result of input by a high-calibre professional – and this input comes with a price tag.
Something for nothing
As in any industry, there are people that claim to be able to offer a fantastic product at an unbelievably low price. Google ‘cheap translation agency’ or ‘cheap translations’ and you could be forgiven for thinking you had found translation nirvana. With rates so low that it feels like the client is receiving something for nothing.
Cheap = costly
It’s true what they say: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. What you often find when you request a quote is that these low rates are ‘starting from’ prices which are never the end cost in reality. We see the same thing in the travel industry. There are the ‘bona fide enticers’ (not actually a contradiction in terms): translation agencies that lure clients with the prospect of rock bottom prices, but which then charge more, albeit that they do engage translators to do the translation work. But worse still are business that act in bad faith, feed work into Google Translate and carry out the briefest of checks at the end of the process. No attention to layout, no checking of terminology, no attention to consistency of style. The result: an unusable translation. And that’s when you realise what a high price you pay for ‘cheap’, when you have to go through the whole process again.
As an ISO certified translation agency, we at Avanti are secretly pleased that there are such interlopers in the market. They ensure that we receive a steady flow of new clients. Clients who, bitterly disappointed with a cheap-rate service, search out a professional agency working in a professional manner producing professional work. It’s true there’s a commensurate price to pay, but in the end you get what you pay for, and you may even save money by having things done properly first time round.