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How to Avoid Paying for Legacy Translations

7155138495_a100b01e45_zYou, the client, have a large text such as a user manual that has been translated previously. Now you have made a few changes and added a few new parts to the original. You want these redlined sections translated, but you are unsure how much you should expect to pay. All you know is that you definitely want to pay as little as possible for the legacy text, because it is already translated. Read this article to find out what your options are.

High quality and high price

You can have the entire text translated in the same way that you would with an entirely new text, but for the legacy translations, the so-called 100% or fuzzy matches, you will not pay the full rate, but just a portion of it, say, 30 to 70%. That rate means the translation team will review those 100% matches and revise them if necessary. So far, so good. But if your project is difficult and requires additional services, such as project management and DTP, the price skyrockets, and you are no longer sure about paying for 100% matches. After all, whereas if the 100% matches are reviewed, at least some value is added to the translation (i.e., you are not paying for nothing), but there is little value associated with doing DTP all over again. The choice is up to you. This route is ideal for clients who made quite a few changes to the original text and are prepared to pay good money for high quality.

Economy option 1

You can have the entire text translated again, but instead of asking your vendor to review and revise the 100% matches and paying 30% or 50% for this, request that they not be revised at all. In this case, you may be eligible for a significantly higher discount, down to 5% of the price. This approach requires several caveats:

  • DTP will still have to be redone from scratch, meaning you will pay the full price for it.
  • If the 100% matches have errors, by leaving them unreviewed, you will transfer those errors to the new translation.
  • The new translations will likely be inconsistent with the old ones.

Economy option 2

You can have your vendor extract the redlined sections into a separate file. The vendor will then translate this file and insert the translated redlined parts back into the old translation. In this case, you will likely not pay anything for the 100% matches and pay just a fraction of the full DTP price. You can save even more by doing the extraction and insertion yourself—just ask your vendor to indicate where the new translations should go in the old document. This approach requires several caveats:

  • If the 100% matches have errors, by leaving them unreviewed, you will transfer those errors to the new translation.
  • The new translations will likely be inconsistent with the old ones. This problem will be exacerbated by the fact that, unlike in the previous scenarios, it will be difficult for the translation team to see the context for the new translations, since you have removed the 100% matches from the file to be translated.

Of the two economy options, this is the worst one in terms of quality.

Small number of changes

In this scenario, you can do without a proper translation process altogether. Simply ask your vendor to make the changes directly to the old translation and pay for this work per hour. Although this approach is usually suboptimal in terms of translation quality, it might be okay in this case, since the number of changes is small, so the risk of quality problems is relatively low.

In conclusion

You choose the approach to old translations depending on your budget and quality expectations. If you want high quality, you pay more. But if you want to pay less, you can ask your translation vendor to limit the scope of work related to the old translations, such as revision or DTP. Remember, though, that the more you save on existing translations, the higher is the risk of translation quality issues. To learn what kind of issues you might expect, read the article “Inherent Problems of the Translation Industry: It Is Tempting Not to Pay for 100% Matches.”

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About the Author

Roman Mironov
Roman Mironov
CEO & Founder

As the founder of Velior, Roman has had the privilege of being able to turn his passion for languages into a business. He has over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. Roman has helped dozens of clients increase sales by making their products appealing for speakers of other languages.