Every business aims to grow sales, maximize profits and minimize expenses. This of course is business 101 and an obvious tenet every entrepreneur or corporation adheres to. There is clear direction when we focus on growing sales and maximizing profits. There seems to be less clarity when focusing on minimizing expenses. What expenses do we eliminate or reduce? Do we sacrifice quality to reduce our expenses? Is finding the cheapest rate the best solution to cut costs?
As it relates to our language translation service industry, we occasionally find potential customers focused on finding the lowest priced translation service provider. There is nothing inherently wrong in this approach. It’s just that the cliche of putting the cart before the horse might be the resulting unintended strategy when the primary focus is price. Here are 3 pointers to help you when shopping for the cheapest translation service agency.
1. Have an accurate benchmark of what the market rates are.
In our business, determining the source and target language is the first step. The second is to account for the number of words to be translated. Third is the type of document we are translating. How simple or complex is the document? Fourth is deadline. A competent translation and interpreting company should be able to give you a free quote based on these parameters. Get a quote from at least three reputable companies to determine the fair market price. When you have a quote that sounds way under market, then you need to find out why. What are the justifications? Does it sound reasonable?
2. Ask for references of past clients to vouch for the quality of work.
Quoted prices can be legitimately low and extremely competitive. Now do your due diligence to make sure your potential service provider delivers the kind of work you expect. When you’ve got a short simple document that needs to be translated in a fairly common language such as Spanish to English, then you’ve got a better chance that nothing much can go wrong. But when the degree of difficulty of the document and language increases, then the probability of mistakes by a lesser trained translator or interpreter can create that stressful problematic situation everyone wants to avoid. It is a terrific match when you find that expert competent translation service company providing very competitive pricing. As long as they churn out consistent quality work for you, stick with them. Finding the right mix of a reliable quality and affordable language providers is not easy.
3. Understand that cheap now can be expensive later.
Another saying that rings true is that you get what you pay for. In the beginning you may get an above average quality work with below average pricing. Be vigilant in making sure that the quality of work does not slowly deteriorate in succeeding projects. Sometimes we stay complacent with our service providers as long the cheap prices remain the same. We’ve had our share of horror stories from clients that have complained about having a good start with cheap providers but ended with shoddy work costing them more in the long run to fix it. Don’t be lured solely on the basis of price. It can be deceiving at times.
The take away here is that searching for the cheapest translation service company should not be the main focus. Stay smart and look at the big picture to make a well balanced decision.