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“Wait” Your Way to Higher Quality

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Buying translation often involves making a decision about what is more important to you: speed or quality. Read this article to learn about the advantages and drawbacks of both approaches.

Comparison

Advantages Drawbacks
Speed
  • Since you get your translation faster, you can start using it sooner, and it can bring you the results you want more quickly.
  • Going for speed makes sense if you delayed initiating the translation project until the point where only a rush translation can meet your deadline.
  • Quality invariably takes a hit—from inaccuracies that make it difficult to understand, to mistranslations may even subject you to ridicule. Remember that there is no shortcut to high translation quality. Quality translation takes time and dedicated people who are hard to find (again a matter of time).
  • Speed means stress for everyone involved in the project. An urgent project can make every stakeholder unhappy, leaving them with the feeling that it should and could have been done much better.
  • An extremely urgent project may call for a surcharge, as the translation team may need to put other projects on the back burner and work overtime.
Quality
  • You get a translation that is much more likely to bring you the desired results.
  • The project follows an orderly procedure, ensuring stress-free work for every stakeholder.
  • High-quality translation takes more time, which means having to wait patiently.
  • With more challenging texts, high quality is also more expensive.

Why choose quality over deadline?

Although I admit that some projects are truly urgent, I believe that in most cases, it is better to sacrifice speed for quality. Here are a few reasons in addition to the advantages listed above:

  1. Is not it fascinating that all you need to do for a higher quality of translation is to wait a little bit more? Whereas with other products and services, you usually pay more for higher quality, with translation, you just wait for higher quality.
  2. Urgency is often exaggerated. Clients ask their vendors to complete translations in just a few days, but then keep those translations untouched in e-mails for weeks or even months. Now that you know how translation quality hinges on the time available to do it, do not fall into this trap. Instead, set deadlines based on real needs.
  3. It is too easy and tempting to ask for and get a quick turnaround. Since competition is high among translation agencies and translators, there is always someone available to do the job within your deadline, even though it is obvious to a reasonable person that a “rush” deadline makes it impossible to do as good a job. You will get the translation back quickly, but you may find that it is too literal or riddled with errors to the point of being completely useless. Is quick turnaround really worth it?

I have barely scratched the surface of this issue. Your comments and additional ideas are more than welcome.

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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.