Four ways to reduce translation costs

Translation can seem expensive, but fixing a bad translation costs double. Here are four ways to reduce translation costs without sacrificing the quality of your multilingual content:


How many different departments in your company purchase translation services from different vendors? By centralizing the function and assigning an internal “chief localization officer” to work directly with a single language service partner (LSP), you streamline the process and maintain control of your localization spend.

Some of our clients chose Scriptis to replace an internal translation department. Why? The actual per-word cost to translate content by a professional linguist generally remains steady. However, rapid changes in communication technologies make in-house translation project management more and more challenging. An LSP prioritizes efficiency in the face of changing technologies. Project managers are constantly learning new tools and workflows. This is how we reduce translation costs for the client while maintaining linguistic quality: continuous improvement on the project management side.


Besides reducing administrative costs, working with an LSP allows you to bank prior translations in a translation memory (TM). A strong TM cuts costs over time by allowing you to re-use previously translated content. For example, one of our clients in the insurance industry has relied on Scriptis to translate plan documents for over ten years. At this point, their comprehensive TMs for Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese significantly reduce their ongoing translation costs.


Prioritize your translation needs by languages and markets. For example, a website translation project can proceed in stages. Start with landing pages and expand the scope as needed. Find out which communication platforms matter most for which markets, and prioritize translation accordingly.

You can also triage your content according to its use. Publication-quality translation and review are performed two independent professionals. Alternatively, machine translation, with or without human review, provides an economical alternative for certain types of content.  Read more about automated translation solutions here.


Translation-friendly source content reduces the cost of localization. Follow best practices for writing for translation, using simplified language. Professional editing of the source document reduces word count, which will reduce translation costs as well. Establishing a style guide and multilingual glossary at the start of the process reduces ambiguity and speeds the review process.

Preparation is the key to reducing project management and integration costs for software and e-learning localization. As we pointed out above, expect the per-word base translation rate for a particular language pair to remain relatively stable. The weighted translation rate will reflect the repetitions and matches with your TM. Costs will go down as you centralize all your needs with one LSP. For more information on how we manage translation for software, websites, and e-learning, see our post on localization engineering.

In summary, developing a good working relationship with your LSP maximizes the return on your localization investments.