Professional translation cost
There is non doubt that the cots is the first (if not the only) aspect that customers consider when they purchase a professional trnslation: for this reason translations are going to become a commodity.
As you know, the term “commodity” generally refers to a good marketed without any differentiation, for example sugar, flour, or oil. A good may start out as a commodity, but it may also turn into one if the buyer loses interest in the elements that distinguish it.
The pages dedicated to our Vision illustrate some of the reasons behind the commoditization of translations.
However, translations are not a commodity, far from it, in fact! After all, there are many elements that can distinguish one translation from another: complexity of the source text (shouldn’t technicalities, terminology, syntax, etc. require special skills?), the subject of the text (is a simple colloquial text that can be handled by a student, or is a nuclear physics textbook which should be handled only by a specialized engineer?), destination audience (is the text meant for the casual, informed, or highly skilled reader?), purpose of the translated text (is a basic understanding sufficient, is it necessary to be understood by a foreign correspondent, or should the original text be adapted to the target audience in a different culture or to purchase a good or a service?), the budget (is it enough to hire a beginner or is there a need for the mastery of style that a senior writer can offer?). The list could go on.
It should therefore be clear that it is in customers’ best interests to be able to fully express their requirements and make choices that are based on more than just translation cost. After all, buying an undifferentiated “quality service at the best price” could have serious consequences: the cost of reprinting a magazine, the costs necessary to restore faith to a brand weakened by a wrong message or the costs produced by a sales campaign, which doesn’t lead to any good result because of the inefficacy of its texts…And this list could go on…
That’s why we suggest not to focus on translation cost, but to always wonder if the service is really able to meet the needs that it is supposed to satisfy trough the translation: if you look at translations as a service that has to satisfy a specific need, you will notice that translations are not a commodity and sometimes differences are really clear!