How to get a Quick Translation Estimate from any Vendor

As a consumer of language services, you often don’t think about translating your documents until the last minute, right?

The good news is that you are not alone.

If you only require occasional translation services, it may come to you as an afterthought in your daily routine, as it does for many others. Once you’re ready to go, you will most likely contact several translation vendors for a quote and go with the one that best meets your project requirements.

As you scramble to get those quotes in from the translation vendors, keep the following points in mind so you can get a fair service comparison. These are the things you need to know to get a quick translation estimate from any vendor.

1. Have Your Files Ready

Emailing a simple description of your translation project won’t get you a quick estimate. Your translation vendor will most likely ask for the files that you need translated.

If you have the files ready, send them to your vendor at the time of your request. That will save you a few back-and-forth emails.

Source files for translation

To make things even more efficient, have your files ready in an editable format such as Microsoft Word. If you compare the same document that was created in MS Word to a scanned PDF version, the MS Word version will almost always cost less to translate.

Some files may contain confidential content. Such files should only be sent through a secure file transfer medium. Clarify your preferred file transmission method with your translation vendor before sending anything.

Your Task: Get access to editable versions of the source files and be ready to send them to your translation vendor.

2. Know Your Audience

You should know a few basic facts about your target audience (end users). The most essential piece of information your translation vendor will need is the language of your end users.

Know your audience

For example, if your end users are immigrants from Mexico that currently live in Seattle, the chances are good that Spanish is their native language.

There are a few cases where you need specify the language and script in more detail. The best example of such a case is the Chinese language.

Translating into Chinese is not as simple as translating into Korean, for example. When it comes to Chinese and a few other languages, you have to consider various spoken dialects like Mandarin and Cantonese and written scripts that go with them – in the case of Chinese, you’d be choosing between Simplified and Traditional characters.

If you do not already know what your end users need, your translation vendor will work with you to determine the best script for your end users.

Your Task: Specify the languages/scripts you need your documents translated into.

3. Know Your Deadline

Since you are already looking for a quick translation estimate, it’s probably true that you need the documents translated quickly. If time is not of the essence to you, you should still have a pretty good idea of your ideal translation turnaround time.

Know your deadline

On average a translator can translate about 2,500 words per day. Add proofreading and quality assurance to the mix, you’re looking at about 2 to 3 days turnaround time for small projects for common languages.

Languages of lesser diffusion, or projects which require advanced typesetting, may require a buffer of at least a day or two.

If you are really in a time crunch, your translation vendor may offer you an option for expedited delivery. As is the case with shipping parcels, be prepared to pay a rush fee for a faster turnaround time.

Your Task: Provide your turnaround time expectations when requesting an estimate.

4. Sample Email Template

Now that you have your source files ready in an editable format, know the languages you need them translated into and have a clear deadline in mind, contact your translation vendor for an estimate.

If you can send your files by email, that’s great! To make things even easier for you, here is a template you can use to request a quick translation estimate.

Simply copy & paste the text below into an outgoing email, customize the bold fields, attach your source files and click Send.


I would like a translation estimate for the attached documents.

Here are the project details:

  • Translate from Language into Language
  • Translated files to be delivered by Date/Time

Please send your estimate to me no later than Date/Time. Do not start the translation until you receive an approval.

Thank you!


Your Name

You can also download this template in a Microsoft Outlook-friendly format here.

Your Task: Simplify getting translation estimates by using an email template.

5. Estimate Response Time

After sending your estimate request to a translation vendor, you should receive an acknowledgement within a few hours. You may even receive an estimate within that time-frame as well.

There are no formal industry standards for how quickly a company should provide you with an estimate. However, for a basic project you should expect to receive an estimate within 24 hours.

Get a translation estimate quickly

I’d recommend you pay close attention to how long it takes for a vendor to acknowledge your request and provide you with an estimate. It will set a tone on how that vendor will treat you going forward.

If you are a serious translation buyer, you should be treated as such. If it takes a vendor more than 24 hours to even acknowledge your request, I would recommend you think twice about doing business with them.

Finally, the estimate you receive should be easy to understand and include all of the relevant data used to calculate the translation price.

Your Tasks: Make sure you receive a timely estimate and that it makes sense to you. Don’t forget to approve the project!

How much will my project cost to translate?

Every translation project is unique, including yours.

Let’s discuss your project specifics, so we can provide you with a ballpark estimate.

For most projects, we can typically provide a ballpark estimate the same day.

Contact us to get started.


Your source documents are ready and now you need them translated. You are inclined to get estimates from various translation vendors to determine which one meets your needs.

You need to receive the estimates quickly, so you can make an informed decision and use your allocated translation budget. Getting translation estimates quickly can be easy.

Remember to gather your files, clarify the language of your end users and determine how quickly you will need the translations completed. These are the things you need to get a quick translation estimate from any vendor.

Share your thoughts in the comments!

10 Best Tools for Creating & Managing Multilingual Content

There is a technical side when it comes to creating & managing content. This is nothing new to you, since you already create great content in English, right? You also know that the tools you create your content with play a big role in your overall content strategy.

You’re now ready to take your English content and translate it into another language. Or perhaps you’re looking to create multilingual content from scratch. As with any project, you need the right tools for the job to make your life easier.

If you already have access to these tools in your organization, that’s terrific! If not, you should consider getting them if you plan on taking your English content and making it available in other languages.

What I will do is provide you with a list of the best tools you can use for creating & managing multilingual content – from basic to advanced – along with tips to help you in your business process.

10 Best Tools for Creating & Managing Multilingual Content

As a busy professional, you can’t waste time. This is why you should learn about the best tools for creating multilingual content and implement them in your organization. Here are the tools:

1. Email

You need to communicate with your translation vendor and email is by far the best way to do this. You can send your English content as an attachment and specify all of the project details in the body of the email. Once translated, the content will be delivered back to you by email.

This makes email by far the most essential tool you will need for creating and managing your multilingual content, as it allows you to communicate with your project team quickly and efficiently.

Email to translator with an attachment

Outlook is a great email tool. I use it on a daily basis.

Additionally, written communication is vital for project record keeping. If a question ever comes up about project instructions or the project needs to be revisited for updating or revisions in the future, written communication is the best and clearest way to retrace the project’s life cycle.

However, as great as it is, email is not meant for all communication. If you need to transmit files that are large in size or contain confidential information, email is not the best way to do it. Use FTP or secure email in such cases.

Pro Tip: Many email servers block ZIP file attachments. To avoid having your attachment blocked, change the ZIP file extension to something else that won’t get blocked or filtered out, like ABC. Then let the recipient know to rename the ABC extension back to ZIP in order to open the file.

2. FTP

FTP, also known as File Transfer Protocol, is a great way to transmit large files that cannot be sent by email due to size restrictions. It’s also great for secure file transfer. If you don’t have one set up on your end, don’t worry. Most translation vendors know how to use FTP and can set you up with an account on their end.

FileZilla FTP Client

FileZilla FTP can be used to transmit files that are too large for email.

Once you finish transmitting and receiving all the files via FTP, don’t forget to delete them from the server. This will free up hard drive space for more files to be transmitted later.

Pro Tip: You can now set up cloud-based portals to transmit files securely. While they’re not true FTP sites, they pretty much accomplish the same thing by allowing you to transmit large files. ShareFile does just that for a small monthly fee.

3. Notepad

Notepad is one of my personal favorites. It’s a very simple tool that can open just about any file out there and display its contents. If you just need to view and edit plain text without any fancy formatting, Notepad is the way to go. You can basically view and edit files in their raw form without worrying about losing markup. Very basic, easy to use and comes standard with almost every operating system out there.

I also use Notepad for real-time project notes as I am working and as a copy/paste staging area. There are other practical uses you can find for Notepad since it’s doesn’t consume many computing resources and is very minimalistic in functionality. I’d be curious to hear how you use it.

Unicode Chinese HTML file open in Notepad++

Traditional Chinese characters inside an HTML file opened in Notepad++

Pro Tip: For advanced file editing, opt for Notepad++. What you get with Notepad++ is usability and readability of files that you don’t get with a standard Notepad application. There are also many options, including encoding for foreign language fonts.

4. Unicode Fonts

If you’re going create any multilingual content, stick with Unicode fonts. When you’re creating content in English, you probably won’t think twice about the technical aspect of the fonts you’re using. You’re more concerned with their appearance and how your target audience will perceive them, right?

The good news is that many common fonts are Unicode, so you are in good shape! You can find an extensive list of Unicode fonts here.

Here is why it’s important that you use Unicode fonts for multilingual content: Each font character has a unique number associated with it which conforms to an international standard for all systems. This makes it easy to distribute all sorts of content across different platforms, programs and languages. Whereas with non-Unicode fonts, you don’t have this flexibility.

Table of Various Unicode Characters


Latin Capital Letter A
Cyrillic Capital Letter Be
Arabic Letter Zah
Hiragana Letter Small A

Unicode Number






Pro Tip: A Unicode number follows this syntax: U+####, where #s are replaced with variable digits and letters associated with a specific character. Here is a cross-reference table you can use. It shows various characters and their corresponding Unicode numbers, and HTML equivalents.

5. Microsoft Office

Word, Excel and PowerPoint are the premier applications of the Microsoft Office suite and have been for decades. The chances are good that you already have them installed.

When you’re ready to create your content, just like I did with this blog article, you are most likely to do it in Word. You will then have the ability to export the text to another application if needed.

Almost all translators and language translation companies work with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These applications are also designed with other languages in mind, so font compatibility and usage is rarely an issue.

Perhaps the most critical part of all is that the files you save in these applications can be edited.

It’s much easier to translate content when you can easily edit it. If your content can’t be edited (such as a scanned PDF file), it has to be recreated from scratch in an editable format, adding unnecessary costs to the project.

Microsoft Office for Multilingual Content Creation

Word, Excel & PowerPoint can all be used to create and edit multilingual content.
Image Source:

Pro Tip: If you feel confident you can make edits to translated content yourself, you can do so by enabling multilingual keyboard support in Windows. Although, I’d recommend you have your translation vendor with handle this part.

6. PDF Reader/Creator

Portable Document Format (PDF) files are used everywhere in business to present documents and other content in a quick and efficient matter. What makes PDF great is that, like Unicode fonts, it’s cross-compatible across different platforms and operating systems.

There is no doubt you or someone you know “printed a document to a PDF” before. It’s very easy to do with Adobe Acrobat, perhaps the most popular PDF Reader/Creator software on the market.

PDF files are great for showcasing your multilingual documents once they’re created. Content created in Word, for example, might be difficult to share with a U.S.-based audience.

How many people do you know who have fonts for Amharic or Khmer installed on their computers?

I bet not many.

But if you save your multilingual content in PDF format, even readers who don’t have a specific font installed on their computer can usually see the text displayed correctly, as it is generally preserved in PDF format.

PDF is a good way to save costs as well. Instead of printing thousands of user manuals in different languages, you can now provide digital copies to your customers in PDF format.

Apple iPhone User Manual in Spanish

Apple iPhone User Manual displayed in Adobe Acrobat. When was the last time you saw a printed copy of one?

Pro Tip: In case you do end up having trouble viewing non-English text in a PDF file, there’s a way to fix that. You can do so by embedding the fonts in a PDF file upon creating it. Just ask your translation vendor to do this for you.

7. Adobe Creative Cloud

If you’re thinking of creating great visual content and anything that requires advanced formatting, Adobe InDesign and Illustrator are a must. These two applications are now more accessible than ever before, through the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

They’re also great when it comes to supporting different languages and character sets, which is why you’re here, right?

Japanese Translation inside Adobe InDesign

A brochure that was translated into Japanese and typeset in Adobe InDesign

For your next brochure or user manual, I’d recommend skipping Microsoft Publisher – and I’m a fan of Microsoft. It’s simply not robust enough to handle the needs of multilingual content. Go with Adobe InDesign for publishing and layout, and Illustrator for graphics.

Pro Tip: When working on lengthy content, write it in MS Word and then import it into InDesign. Here is a tutorial on how to do that. Also, be prepared to provide the entire InDesign package to your translation vendor. The package includes all fonts and linked files.

8. Translation Memory

Unless you work in a large organization with its own localization department, you probably won’t need to have a translation memory system (TMS) in-house.

However, when you engage a translation vendor to work on your translation project, make sure they’re using a TMS.

Kilgray memoQ Translation Memory

Translated content exported from memoQ TMS in a bilingual table.

Since quality is important to you, a TMS is a must-have tool in your multilingual content creation process. It tracks and leverages previously translated material, and helps to maintain quality and consistency throughout your content. Inconsistencies in translation can lead to customer confusion, and it goes downhill from there.

Pro Tip: If you decide to implement a TMS in your organization’s localization department, give memoQ a try. This tool is easy enough to use for beginners and has capabilities for most advanced users.

9. WordPress

As of January 2015, WordPress is by far the most popular content management system in the world. And it’s one of the best ways to showcase your digital content on the web.

You already learned about Unicode fonts in this article. WordPress leverages the Unicode standard to make multilingual content creation as easy as possible.

Creating a WordPress Blog Post

This blog and website are both powered by WordPress.

There are plenty of other great content management systems out there, such as Joomla and Drupal. From the ease-of-use perspective and ongoing support, WordPress is the way to go.

Pro Tip: Avoid free translation plugins for WordPress. Always have a professional linguist translate your content. Here is what happens when you play it cheap.

10. Social Media

Your multilingual content won’t do you any good if your target audience is not exposed to it. Social media is a great way to spread the word about your content and engage your audience. But before you use Facebook, Twitter or any other social networks, make sure they’re right for you.

Don’t waste your time promoting multilingual content on random social networks if you are not certain people will get your message. Communicating via social media with your audience is important, but must be done right.

Pro Tip: Create dedicated social media communities for specific languages and cultures, like McDonald’s did here. Be prepared to communicate with your customers in their languages.


You’ve now learned about the tools you need to create and manage multilingual content, and some practical use cases associated with them. Depending on the size of your business and the type of content you create, it may not be critical you have access to all of them, but I highly recommend you use at least some.

For project communication, you have email and FTP. For multilingual content creation, you have Notepad, Unicode Fonts, Microsoft Office, PDF Reader/Creator and Adobe Creative Cloud. If you can live without one tool, it’s the TMS, since your translation vendor should be using one on their end. You are now ready to use WordPress and Social Media to publish your multilingual content and share it with your multicultural audience.

Now that you know which 10 tools to use for creating multilingual content, you can apply them in practice within your organization.

What are your experiences with these tools? Do you have more to add to the list?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

7 Documents All Health Care Providers Should Have Translated

As a health care provider, you already know that you may be required by law to provide language access to your patients. The cost of providing interpreters is already part of your budget, right?

You might as well leverage it to provide a better patient experience and reduce your risk exposure.

A good way to do this is to have certain documents translated into the languages spoken by your patients. I will share my experience with you in helping hospitals and clinics provide translated content for their patients.

You will also be able to download several templates that were translated into Spanish for use in your practice. Read on to find out more!

For those of you in a hurry, download the templates now by clicking here and comeback when you have time to read the article.

Narrow down the languages

Before you hire a company or a translator to translate your health care documents, figure out your most frequently requested languages. I bet Spanish is probably your top language other than English.

According to Pew Research, by 2020 there will be 41 million Hispanic Spanish speakers in the United States, and not all of them speak English.

Hispanic Spanish Speakers in the U.S.

Translation can get expensive as you add more documents and languages. If you are going to have your documents translated into just one language, I’d recommend you choose Spanish.

Here is more on how translation pricing works.

Gather your documents

As you get ready to have your documents translated, you should first gather them all together. The last thing you want to do is take a paper copy of a document, scan it in and send it off to your translation vendor.

That scanned copy is most definitely going to be low quality and will need to be retyped.

Avoid scanning documents when possible

And retyping leads to additional costs.

What you should do is provide your translation vendor with the documents in an editable format such as MS Word. Editable files are much easier to work with.

Editable files such as MS Word are the way to go

Working with editable files also helps maintain quality and consistency, and reduce overall cost.

Contact your translation vendor

Since you have the editable files, you can simply email them to your translation vendor. In your email, specify what language you want them translated into and your turnaround time requirements. Your vendor will provide you with a cost and time estimate to complete the project.

Email Request for Translation

Once the translation has been completed, the translated documents will be emailed back to you. You can then start using them in your health care organization.

Recommended list of documents for translation

I’ve worked with dozens of health care clients in the past decade and helped them translate hundreds of documents. As a result, I am providing you with a narrowed down list of most popular ones.

Here are the documents all health care providers should have translated.

1. Patient Information Form

This is one of the most essential forms you should use in your practice. It captures all basic health information about the patient that you can then input into the electronic health record (EHR).

Your front desk staff will give this form to the patient to fill out before the appointment is scheduled to start. If the patient speaks Spanish, it will just make it that much easier for him or her to fill out the form.

Patient Information Form

The patient information form may include the following elements: patient’s contact info, medical history and changes since their last visit with a doctor. You can get as detailed as you need, but I’d recommend keeping this form limited to two pages.

2. Patient Rights & Responsibilities

This should also be a fairly short document. It includes the rights your patients have when visiting your practice as well as their responsibilities to you.

Remember that one of those rights is having an interpreter available at no cost to the patient.

Language access in Spanish

I’ve included a sign for your convenience that you can print and place near your reception area that will make it easier for the patient to know that interpreter services are available.

You can download it with the rest of the templates.

3. Consent and Assent Forms

Your patients have the right to consent to treatment. They also have the right to refuse treatment. In many cases, you may be required by law or corporate policy to have such decisions documented.

Signing an informed consent

Some of the common consent and assent forms include:

  • Release of Information
  • Consent to Treat
  • Consent to Procedure
  • Consent to Immunization

If your patients don’t understand what they are consenting to, it does not do you any good having consent forms to begin with.

Have your consent and assent forms translated to keep your patients informed.

4. Patient Instructions

Your patients will need instructions that they should follow after they visit with you and perhaps even before their next visit.

For some procedures, such as a colonoscopy, one has to prepare. He or she does that by following your instructions.

Patient Instructions

In physical therapy, you may have just treated someone for a sports–related injury. That patient now needs instructions for what to do and what to avoid in order for his or her treatment to be effective.

Translate those patient instructions and give them to your patients.

5. History Questionnaires and Progress Notes

This is something that you may or may not need translated. For history questionnaires, you can write down the answers provided to you by the patient with the help of an interpreter.

As you interview the patient, the interpreter will relay the information between you and the patient in English and your patient’s language. Your task is to write down the information in English.

Things get a bit tricky with progress notes. Let’s say your patient presents you with progress notes from Mexico.

Those progress notes are handwritten in Spanish. There could be critical health information in those notes and you should have them translated from Spanish into English.

Handwritten progress notes are hard to read

Handwritten text is difficult enough to read. Handwriting done by a doctor or nurse in Spanish is even more difficult.

Scan those progress notes into a PDF and send them off to your translation vendor to have them translated (this is the only time it’s appropriate to scan your documents).

Your vendor will provide you with a translation in an easy-to-read, typed-up document.

6. Missed Appointment Policy

Everyone hates untimely cancellations and no-shows. It’s a huge waste of time for everyone, including the staff at your practice. In this case, time also equals money.

If your patient doesn’t show up for an appointment, you lose money. Additionally, the interpreter will expect to be compensated in such occurrences.

Medical appointment schedule

To mitigate patients missing their appointments, many health care providers implement a missed appointment policy. According to the American Medical Association, it is ethical for health care providers to charge patients for missed appointments.

However, your patients must know of this policy in advance.

Have your missed appointment policy translated and provide it to your patients so they understand the consequences of missing appointments without providing you with sufficient notice.

7. Patient Financial Responsibility Waiver

All citizens and legal residents of the United States are now required to have health insurance, or face a penalty. I bet most of your patients are insured, with the exception of those few that prefer to pay cash.

Having the ability to bill your patient’s insurance for your services is great. Of course, until the claim is denied and you’re in an awkward spot having to contact your patient with the bad news.

Medical bills

Clear this up in advance by having your patients sign off on a financial waiver. This will cover you in the event insurance doesn’t cover a certain medical procedure or refuses to pay for your services for one reason or another.

By communicating this information to your patients in advance and having them sign a financial waiver protects you. You now have an ability try and collect from your patients directly.

Free Templates to Get You Started

The American College of Physicians has many great patient care and office forms you can download here. With the permission of the ACP, NWI Global went ahead and translated some of these forms into Spanish.

This is great news for you since you can start utilizing these forms without any additional overhead cost for translation.

Click Here to Download the ACP Patient Care and Office Forms in Spanish

These are just general templates, so if you need to customize them, make sure you work with your translation vendor to do that. You can also reach out to us for assistance.


Providing interpreters for your patients isn’t enough. You should also provide them with written content that’s been translated into their languages. You now have a good starting point and a list of recommended documents to have translated.

By doing this, you are going to improve patient satisfaction. You will also reduce your risk of not being in compliance with Title VI and other regulations.

It’s true that translating documents will cost you, but in the long run the payoff will be immeasurable.

What other documents can you think of that need to be translated for your practice?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

The Ultimate Checklist for Your Business Localization Strategy

You are looking to sell your products in other countries, whether directly or through a distributor. Your products are popular in the United States and you believe there is a market for them overseas. In fact, there is data that confirms your beliefs. You’ve also heard the word Localization and maybe saw other companies “localizing” their content, but may not fully understand how it works.

In order for your business to succeed in other countries, you must have a documented localization strategy. What I will do is show you some of the things you can add to your strategy that will set you up for success.

Importance of Localization

Why localize your business content anyway? It seems like a costly endeavor. You might be thinking that you can just provide your content in English and succeed, right?

That thought process will not set you up for success, and I will prove it to you.

Here is how.

I recently went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for vacation, a wonderful destination to relax and enjoy some sunshine on the beach. My proficiency in Spanish is mediocre at best, so communicating with the locals proved to be a challenge and at times a frustrating experience. Thankfully, many locals in Cabo San Lucas speak a bit of English since it’s such a popular destination for U.S. tourists.

I went to purchase some goods at a local convenience store, including sunscreen, trail mix and other items that I charged to a credit card. When I looked at the receipt I was shocked. The total shown on the receipt was $300. I only bought a few things, how can the total price be that much?

I later realized that the currency displayed was in Mexican Pesos, not U.S. Dollars, even though the $ was shown on the receipt. Understanding that put me at ease, although it wasn’t immediately clear whether the charge was in pesos or in dollars.

Luckily, I also know how to use sunscreen since the directions on the tube were not of any use to me, since they were in Spanish. I can only read some Spanish, but not enough to understand the specifics.

Sunscreen in Mexico

The trail mix that I bought contained a variety of nuts. The package included a nutrition information label, and possibly allergen information as well. Even though I was not allergic to any ingredient in that trail mix, it would have been nice to see allergen information in Spanish as well as in English, since it’s sold to consumers who speak both languages, and food allergies can be life-threatening.

Overall, this made me think of the importance of localization, because as a consumer I was going through a confusing customer experience.

Now, imagine someone buying your product in Mexico that was manufactured in the U.S. and you are expecting them to read the user manual in English. The customer experience will be equally as confusing, and if your product is not intuitive to use, you risk losing that customer for good. And who wants to lose customers? I am sure you don’t.

Checklist Items for Your Localization Strategy

As a business looking to expand overseas, what do you localize? Here are some essential items to include in your localization strategy.

1. Country

When you are looking to localize your content for a specific locale, there is no better example than the country you are localizing for. After all, the country is the location you are targeting. A good example of such localization is for the Spanish language. Spanish is the official language of Spain and is also spoken in many other countries around the world, including Mexico, Argentina and the United States.

Last thing you want to do is have your content translated into Spanish intended for audience from Spain and then distribute it in Mexico. You will create a poor customer experience for the consumers in Mexico, because the dialect of Spanish there is unique to the country and culture.

Select the country, then the language

Another example includes countries where multiple languages are spoken, such as Kazakhstan, where Kazakh and Russian are both official languages. You will have a group of consumers that only understand one or the other, not necessarily both.


Localize content for specific languages and cultures in the target countries.

2. Language

Language translation is perhaps the most important aspect of your localization strategy. When you are expanding into a specific market, you must understand the language of your customers.

A good approach in this case would be to identify the official language or languages in the country you are looking to sell in. For example, in Germany the official language is German. With over 95% of the population speaking German, you are in pretty good shape translating your content into German for that specific market.


Identify the language or languages of the target market.

3. Units

United States remains one of the few countries that don’t use the metric system for measuring units. In other words, when doing business in Mexico or other countries, have a unit conversion calculator handy.

Units to consider include length, area, volume, temperature, mass and weight. Think miles to kilometers and pounds to kilograms conversion.

One important consideration is to tie the units to the locale you are targeting and not to the language you are translating into. This is because different countries display units in different formats.

For example, if your content is translated for the Spanish-speaking population in Portland, Oregon, the translation will be in Spanish, but the units may be displayed according to U.S.-standards.


Localize units based on the target market standards.

4. Date & Time

The way date and time are displayed differ from country to country.

For example, 5/12/15 (mm/dd/yy) is understood as May 12, 2015 in the United States. In many other countries, it would be understood as December 5, 2015 since the local date format is (dd/mm/yy).

Localized Date & Time

This is an important detail, especially for legal documents such as contracts and financial statements.

Date & Time

Format the date & time display for the target market.

5. Currency

When doing business in other countries, be ready for financial transactions using the local currency. If you are selling your products on the internet, display prices in the currency of the countries you are targeting.

Foreign Currency

If you are selling something to consumers in Mexico, and display prices in U.S. Dollars, you will cause confusion.


Quote prices in local currency.

6. Colors

Color psychology plays a huge role in determining how consumers perceive your brand. What may work well in the U.S. market, could have negative effects in China and other countries.

Localize colors to send a positive brand message

Source: The Logo Company

Be prepared have separate brand identities that are localized to specific cultures. This could mean going away from your corporate color scheme.


Research the psychology of colors for your target market and use the colors that will get your desired results.

7. Logo & Slogan

Your logo and slogan are closely related to the colors you use in your brand. Your logo and slogan may have to be adapted to the country you are doing business in. There are many companies that do this successfully, including Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola understands localization & global branding


Again, you want to do this so you don’t offend your target audience and lose their business. When you do it right, you will only gain their trust and establish yourself as a reputable brand.

Logo & Slogan

Adapt logo & slogan to the country/culture you are doing business in.

8. Local Presence & Customer Service

One of the best things you can do for your business is having local representation in your target market. Preferably, the persons representing you are familiar with the local language, culture and customs. It will make customer interaction a lot easier.

Of course, local presence may not be an option for all businesses due to cost associated with it. Alternatively, you can provide customer service in your customers’ language, whether online or by telephone. If you do it by telephone, you can establish an agreement with a telephonic interpreting service provider or hire bilingual staff.

Local Presence & Customer Service

Research local presence & customer service options, including bilingual staff.

9. In-Country Review

A friend recently told me a story about a project his company completed for a multinational manufacturer headquartered in Germany, with production facilities in Poland. The project scope was to “fix” the translations another company completed.

The translations included training and human resources materials for factory workers in Poland. The problem was, that those materials were not well received by the factory workers and didn’t provide the desired results the manufacturer expected.

The reason was that the content was translated for a more sophisticated audience, such as business executives. When the factory workers read it, they found it offensive and felt like they were being talked down to. The translation was simply not the right fit for the target audience.

As part of the fix, my friend’s company hired a team of subject-matter experts in Poland to help localize the translated content in a way which was not offensive to the factory workers. This included in-country review and feedback by a few select workers. With the feedback in mind, changes were implemented in the translated content.

The result was a much more successful training and human resources program that yielded desired results.

In-Country Review

Consider in-country review for your translated content before making it available to your target audience.


You’ve now learned about several aspects of localization and what to include in your business localization strategy.

To position your business for success, you must communicate with your target audience in their language. If they can’t understand your message, they won’t buy from your company.

One way to do this is to translate and localize your business content. And now you have a checklist to help you with your business localization strategy.

Please share your localization story in the comments.

10 Reasons to Translate Your Business Website

You know what many successful companies have in common, regardless whether they have a dozen employees or thousands around the world?

They communicate in more than one language.

There are many examples of this, especially on the internet.

Here is a great example:

Alaska Airlines Spanish Language Website

You are probably wondering how you can make your business more successful, right?

One way to do it is to communicate with your customers through your website and do it in their language.

It seems like a daunting task, and it can be if not carefully planned and executed.

The good news is it’s now easier than ever before to translate business websites.

In this article, I won’t show you how. That will follow later.

What I will do is give you 10 solid reasons, backed by research and real business examples, on why you should translate your business website.

1. Grow revenue and increase profit

Without revenue and profit, a business cannot sustain itself.

If your company hit a revenue plateau, it’s time to think about how to continue growing your revenue.

Netflix did just that. According to a recent article in The New York Times by Emily Steel, Netflix will be enlarging its global footprint in the next two years.

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, said that expanding the company globally is important since its growth is slowing down in the United States. Hastings believes that delivering its services in more countries will help Netflix reach its target revenue of $10 billion and allow the company to reinvest in its service.

Netflix U.S. Website

Your company may not be the size of Netflix, but it can still replicate its success.

You can start by thinking about translating your company’s website into another language to increase your revenue and profit.

2. Expand into new markets

If you are thinking about expanding your business into a new market, whether within the United States or abroad, consider translating your website as a part of your expansion strategy.

By translating your website into Spanish alone you will be able to cater to the over 37 million Spanish speakers in the United States.

And according to the Pew Research Center, that number is set to rise to as many as 43 million by 2020. Similar data provided by Pew Research indicates that more than three-in-four (78%) Latinos say they use the internet.

Internet Use Trends Among Latinos by Pew Research

If you want to go beyond the United States, consider expanding into Canada.

As part of your expansion plans you will be required to provide content in both English and French. Both are Canada’s official languages. With over 87% of Canadian households connected to the internet, Canada is a very lucrative market to consider expanding into.

3. Provide better customer experience

According to Common Sense Advisory, the first task of any visitor on a global website is to find a language he or she can read.

If they can’t understand the content of your website, they will most likely leave and go to your competitor.

Provide great customer experience by speaking your customer's language

Providing a great customer experience goes beyond translating content into another language. You have to make sure it’s done right.

This means that you should avoid plugins and services that translate your content automatically without human review. I recommend working with a company that specializes in translating content for multilingual websites.

4. Build trust and credibility of your brand

Shawn Hessinger, the editor of Small Business Trends, said that people instantly assess you and your business when they visit your website.

What this means for you is that if your visitors speak a language other than English, they will have a hard time understanding what you are selling.

You can gain their trust and build the credibility of your brand by offering them content in their language.

Build Trust with Your Customers

There are many other ways you can improve your credibility.

To find out what these are, check out the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.

5. Comply with laws and regulations

You may have the best intentions to provide multilingual content on your website.

When you do, make sure you comply with all the local laws and regulations. Anthropologie, an American women’s clothing retailer, learned this when expanding into Quebec.

Anthropologie’s website was taken offline because it didn’t meet the linguistic regulations in Quebec. As a result, Anthropologie had to drive their Quebec-based website visitors to their brick-and-mortar store in Montreal.

Anthropologie Quebec Website

The lesson learned from this case is that you have to provide multilingual content on your website in certain markets and do it in a way that complies with laws and regulations.

6. Increase traffic to your website

Neil Patel increased search traffic to his website by 47% when he translated its content into 82 languages.

Even if you translate your website’s content into one language, such as Spanish, your traffic will increase. This is because people who speak Spanish use search engines such as Google.

Drive more traffic by translating your website

It is tempting to use automated translation tools, like Google Translate, or translation plugins for WordPress.

I would advise against using such tools for your business website. The reason why is because these tools are not perfect and even one small translation mistake can be disastrous for your business.

Always opt for a professional translation for your business content.

7. Not all web content is in English

Did you know that as of March 2015, English made up only 55.5% of global website content?

According to W3Techs, the other languages that round up the top 10 are: Russian, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian and Polish.

W3Techs usage of content languages for websites

If you compare these numbers to the most spoken languages in the world, you will find that a very significant population is underserved.

This is especially true for Spanish.

In 2014, there were 392 million Spanish speakers in the world compared with only 4.6% websites in Spanish.

8. Get news coverage

If you build it, it does not necessarily mean they will come.

In other words, launching a website in another language does not automatically guarantee you will get results you want.

One way to get results is to publicize it.

Send out a press release announcing what you are doing and why. You may not get the national coverage that Netflix got from The New York Times, but you are likely to end up in your local business journal.

Translating your website can get you press coverage

Expanding your business into new markets and translating your website into another language can be a news-worthy event.

As a result, you will get more publicity for your business.

9. It’s easier to do it now than ever before

The world is more connected than ever before.

As of 2014, there were 968,882,453 websites on the internet and that number is increasing every second.

This growth can be attributed to many factors, and one such factor is that it’s easy to launch a website.

Total number of websites on the internet

It’s also easy to have your website translated. There are many reputable translation companies that specialize in this area.

The only thing you would need to do is figure out what languages you need your website translated into and why.

Once you do, get in touch with a translation company to start the discussion.

10. Beat your competitors to it

If you made it this far in the article, you are probably intrigued by the idea of translating your company’s website.

So, why not do it?

Do some research and see if your competitors have their websites translated.

If they don’t, beat them to it.

If they do, see how they did it and make yours better.

Need assistance with translating and localizing your web content?

Let’s discuss your specific needs. Contact us.


You’ve learned that there are many things successful companies have in common.

One of those things is having the ability to communicate with their customers in different languages.

You can communicate with your customers in their language through your website.

The best way to do it is to have your website professionally translated. And if you have a boss to convince, you now have 10 solid reasons to support your case.

What other reasons can you think of to translate your business website?

Share in the comments.

Translation Pricing – How does it work?

You shop online and get frustrated when a company’s website just doesn’t give you the answers that you need, right?

One of those answers just happens to be to a very important question.

How much does it cost?

After all, before you decide to work with a particular company and buy products or services from it, you’d like to know how much you will be spending on those products or services.

And you are right.

You should be able to quantify the value you get for the money you pay, and in order to do that you need to know the price.

Professional translation and services related to it happen to fall into this category.

You won’t find many companies listing prices for translation services on their websites. The reason is that each translation project requires a unique approach and there are many variables involved in determining its price.

Sure, there are companies out there that list their prices for translation services, but I would be hesitant to work with them in a professional capacity due to their blind approach to pricing.

So, how does translation pricing work?

Read on to find out.

If you are in a rush, download this article in PDF format to read later.

Measuring the cost of translation
Pricing Models and Structures

Here is how most language services companies charge for translation services.

1. Per word

This is the most common unit you will encounter, since many translators and companies charge for their services per word.

Per-word pricing tends to be the most fair for all parties involved. The reason behind this is that the actual effort involved in translating a document may vary from translator to translator.

For example, a blog article that contains 2,000 words may take one translator 8 hours to translate, while another can do it in 6 hours.

Paying per word helps you keep project costs in control as opposed to paying per hour.

Another thing to look for in per-word pricing is whether you are being charged based on the source or target word count. For example, if the source word count is 2,000 words and you are charged $0.25/word, the total cost will come out to $500.

But let’s say your document is being translated from English into Spanish, and the target word count will increase by roughly 20% in the Spanish version due to expansion.

In other words, 2,000 English words all of the sudden become 2,400 Spanish words after translation is completed and your bill comes out to $600.

The difference between paying per source as opposed to per target word could have a significant impact on your translation budget, so be aware of that.

Finally, sometimes you will see quotes from companies quoting “per thou”, or per thousand words. This is common for projects that are over 1,000 words in volume.

In the example above you would be paying $250 per thou (or $0.25/word).

2. Per page

Some companies will charge to translate your content based on the number of pages your document contains.

Per-page pricing works well for documents where an electronic word count cannot be obtained. A good example of this would be any documents that were scanned to a PDF file, such as medical records, court documents and IEPs.

Per-page price is determined by an estimate number of words on a single page.

Let’s say you have 50 pages of medical records you need translated. We can assume there are roughly 500 words of content on each page.

The content may be typed and include handwriting as well, since many medical records have progress notes on them. Your language services company quotes you $100 per page.

The total project price you will be paying is $5,000.

This sounds expensive and there is a chance that you could probably pay less, since not all pages have 500 words of content. The way to do that is to ask for per-word pricing.

However, in order for per-word pricing to be accurate, you should provide the language services company with editable files whenever possible and avoid scanned PDFs.

3. Per hour

It’s not very often you will find companies charging for translation services by the hour.

As I’ve previously noted in the per-word pricing, it’s hard to estimate the amount of effort each translation project will take.

You will encounter per-hour pricing for editing and updating content that’s already been translated.

For example, that 2,000 page document you had translated into Spanish is now due for an update. You update a few paragraphs in the English version and send it along to your language services company, so they can update the Spanish version accordingly.

Sometimes it doesn’t make economic sense for the language services company to charge for such updates per word.

Instead, they may quote you to complete the updates on an hourly basis. And this usually works in your favor anyway.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you make many revisions, your source content may suddenly yield a whole new document. In such cases it might be more cost effective for you to translate the content from scratch, rather than having it revised.

Just be sure the Translation Memory the company is maintaining for you is updated as well.

4. Flat fee

When per-word, -page or -hour pricing just doesn’t make sense; you may see a flat fee estimate for your translation project.

I can only think of a few examples that I’ve encountered over the years that required flat-fee pricing.

One such example included content in Traditional Chinese that needed to be translated into English. Per-word and per-page pricing didn’t make sense for this project since the contents were actually JPG files with Chinese characters.

Per-hour pricing would’ve worked in this case, but we decided to keep things simple and quote it as a flat fee. Our client was satisfied with this approach and approved the project.

Perhaps the biggest downside to flat-fee pricing is that you don’t get the fine details of what you are actually paying for.

If you are okay with this, flat-fee pricing may work great for you. You just won’t see how your language services company arrived at the price you are paying.

5. Minimum price

Be ready to pay minimum fees to language services companies for small projects.

A small project is considered to be any document that contains up to 250 words of content. Please note that this number is arbitrary. Some companies may have a different threshold for a translation project to fall in the minimum fee category.

In other words, whether you need 25 or 250 words translated, you will still be paying a minimum fee. The minimum fee covers not only the translation part of the project, but other tasks associated with it, such as project management.

Translation ingredients
Factors that Determine the Price

Now that you learned about the most common translation pricing models and structures, you must also understand other factors that determine the price.

These factors include:

1. Number of words to be translated

Do you have a one page document with a few hundred words or a series of manuals with over 50,000 words?

The price you pay will largely be driven by the number of words you need translated.

Generally, the more words you translate, the lower the price per word will be.

2. Complexity of the subject matter

How complex is the subject matter of your content?

If you have highly technical content that requires a scientific level of expertise, be prepared to pay for such expert services.

Be cautious of companies that provide you with the same pricing regardless of the subject matter. If it’s quality that you are after, you need to budget for it accordingly. Here is more on that.

3. Language combination

Some languages are more common than others.

At NWI Global, Spanish is by far our most frequently requested language. This applies for both English into Spanish and Spanish into English translation.

As a result, we’re able to offer competitive pricing for those language combinations. Same can be said for other language services companies as well, since all companies will have a specific language combination that’s more in demand than any other language combination that they service.

When you have a rare language such as Chuukese or Marshallese, a competitive price similar to Spanish is tough to achieve.

This is a simple supply and demand issue. There are very few translators that specialize in rare language combinations and there is simply not enough demand for those language combinations.

So, when you need something translated into a rare language, be prepared to pay a premium.

4. Turnaround time

How quickly are you looking to have your content translated?

A good baseline to use for realistic turnaround times is 2,000 words per day. On average, a translator can translate about 2,000 words per day.

You should note that this is for translation only. It doesn’t include editing and proofreading by additional translators.

Can a project like this be completed in less than 24 hours?


But you’d probably be looking at paying rush fees since you are pressing for a quicker turnaround time.

Ideally, you should expect a 2 to 3 day turnaround for a 2,000 word translation that also includes editing and proofreading.

5. Volume of work

Are you looking to form a solid partnership with a language services company or have only one piece of content you need translated and be done with it?

The company is more likely to give you preferential pricing if you are willing to make a volume commitment.

Customers translating 200-page user manuals every quarter will definitely see more volume discount than those translating a one-time birth certificate.

Be upfront about the volume of work you anticipate and let your language services company know about it.

They should give you a discounted price for your ongoing commitment.

6. Formatting & DTP requirements

All I’ve mentioned so far really focuses on the translation part of the process, with perhaps some editing and proofreading thrown in as well.

In reality, your content may not be a simple MS Word document. You may have charts, graphs, tables, graphics and other visual content.

Your document may even be laid out in Adobe InDesign or one of many other popular content creation tools discussed here.

You’ve now taken a simple translation project and added an extra level of complexity to it. Advanced formatting and DTP (desktop publishing) layout services are usually billed as a separate line item.

Keep that in mind as you create those wonderful brochures in Adobe Illustrator or Microsoft Publisher. You will have to budget to have them typeset.

Formatting & DTP services are generally billed for on a per hour basis.

Translation companies are like apples and oranges
Comparing Apples to Apples

Are you feeling more confident about your ability to understand translation pricing?

You should be now that you’ve learned about how companies charge for translation services and what factors determine the price.

You are now ready to shop for translation services and know what to look for.

Your instincts tell you to make an apples to apples comparison, right?

They absolutely do.

Why pay more for the same service that others are offering for a lower price?

If it’s a true apples to apples comparison, you should go for the most cost effective option, right?

Here is where you should stop.

And consider what it is that you are getting for the price you are paying.

More often than not, it’s not a true apples to apples comparison. You might see some companies charge half the price per word compared to what others are charging.

But they may be charging for translation only, not editing or proofreading. Those could be priced out separately.

Or worse, they may be charging you pennies and then running your content through an automated translation tool and presenting the finished product to you.

You think you are paying for a professional human translation, but really you are getting something else. Find out what makes a good translator here.

How to avoid such experiences?

When a company quotes you a price for translation, whether it’s per word or any other way always clarify with that company what’s included in the price.

Otherwise, you can’t make a fair comparison. You will end up spending less upfront, but it will cost you more in the long run.

Leveraging translation technology leads to quality & consistency
Leveraging Technology

Perhaps the best way you can save money on translations is by utilizing technology.

I don’t mean that you need to do anything technical on your end. Your language services company will do this for you by using a Translation Memory System (TMS).

In a nutshell, a TMS allows the company to maintain all your translated content and leverage when needed. This leverage will yield you cost savings in the long run.

The more similar content you have translated, the more savings you get. This is often done through fuzzy matching. At the same time, you improve quality and consistency of your content as well.

Always make sure the company you work with uses a TMS and that they start a dedicated translation memory for your projects. It’s important that they do this, because should you decide to switch to another company, you will have the translation memory you can take with you.

Professionals are not going to work for peanuts
What’s a Fair Price?

If you see companies charging pennies for professional human translation services, that should be an immediate red flag.

I will show you why.

As I’ve mentioned before, on average a translator can translate up to 2,000 words of content per day.

Let’s take that number and divide it by an 8-hour work day. You get about 250 words per hour.

You then find a company that’s offering you translation services for $0.05/word. Multiply 250 words by $0.05/word. That comes up to $12.50/hour.

That company then needs to keep some of it for a profit, since they’re outsourcing the translation to a contracted translator.

The translator will probably end up getting less than $10.00/hour for his or her work.

I don’t know of any professionals that get paid less than $10.00/hour, do you?

I’d certainly question the abilities of a company that’s charging such a low price and claiming to provide professional translation services.

It simply doesn’t make sense from a mathematical point of view.

According to ProZ, here is how much individual freelance translators charge. also has a similar rate table here.

When you work with a language services company as opposed to a freelancer, expect those rates to be marked up.

What about Free Translation?

If you are serious about having your content professionally translated, stay away from free translation tools.

Free translation has its own place in the market, but it just doesn’t work for business content.

Find out if you are truly ready to have your content professional translated here.

How much will my project cost to translate?

Every translation project is unique, including yours.

Let’s discuss your project specifics, so we can provide you with a ballpark estimate.

For most projects, we can typically provide a ballpark estimate the same day. Contact us to get started.


You are now an expert on translation pricing and how it works.

You’ve learned about different pricing models and structures, along with the factors that impact translation pricing.

You also have a high level understanding of the translation memory technology and how it can be leveraged to save you costs.

Most importantly, with this information you now know what to look for to make a truly informed decision when buying translation services.

Don’t be fooled by companies offering unbelievably low prices.

If those prices look too good to be true, they probably are.

What other questions do you have about translation pricing?

Ask them in the comments.

Download this Article

Get the PDF version of this article now by downloading it here.

How to Save Costs When Updating Translated Content

You know that professional content translation comes at a price.

The more content you need translated, the higher the price will be.

It’s a direct relationship between the number of words being translated and the cost associated with translating those words.

If you need to translate only a few documents or other content pieces per year, this may not seem like a big deal.

However, if you have content that needs to be translated frequently and then updated on a yearly basis, the costs can add up fairly quick.

Would you like to learn some methods for reducing your overall translation costs?

If you do, read on.

I will show you how to save costs when updating translated content. You can then take the money you save on translation and use it elsewhere in your organization or just have it fall to the bottom line.

Business Case of Saving Translation Costs

Let’s say you have an employee handbook that you need translated into Spanish.

Many organizations do, since they employ Spanish speaking employees who may not have the best command of the English language. Making HR content available to your employees in their language is not only a good practice, but also may be a matter of law.

Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is perhaps one of the most important documents you use with your employees. It’s essentially a contract that your organization and its employees must adhere to.

You probably had several people work on your handbook and most certainly had it reviewed by your attorney, right?

And I bet that you’ve already spent valuable time and money creating the handbook in English and are now ready to have it translated. Not to mention, you have other related documents such as workplace policies, procedures, training materials and employee communications that also need to be translated.

You’re Ready to Translate Your HR Content

You find a language service company to translate the content into Spanish and get a quote for the work. The company comes back with a fair quote and you approve the project.

Let’s assume this company you’re working with has a great reputation, resources, technology (such as translation memory) and works with professional linguists who have subject-matter expertise to work on HR content, so you’re in good hands.

You get the translated content back and it looks great! You’re ready to implement it in your organization and do so immediately.

What happens next?

A year later, your attorney recommends a few changes to the employee handbook, or your training department changes the content of the English materials.

Editing existing content

You now scramble to have your Spanish materials updated, but for some reason can’t remember the language service company that originally did the work. Or you simply decide to try another language service company to see if you can save costs.

You find a new language service company to complete the work, but are shocked when you see the quote. The new company quoted you to translate all of the content from scratch.

That doesn’t seem fair to you. And you’re right. It’s not.

It doesn’t need to be like this. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your budget from over-paying for translation services when updating your content.

1. Avoid “Free” Translation Tools

If my assumption was correct, you’ve already spent a significant amount of time and money in creating the English versions.

Why cut corners on the translated versions?

Trusting a free online translation service with your HR material is like not having your original English employee handbook vetted by human professionals, such as your lawyers.

Are you prepared to invest in quality translations?

By doing this, you’re opening yourself up to potential lawsuits. Or worse, your employees may not understand what you’re trying to communicate to them due to poor quality of the translated content.

This will create a poor user experience and lower employee morale.

There’s a place for free online translation tools. However, that place is not in your business.

Since you’re quality-focused, trust your translations only to humans who know what they’re doing. It will pay off in the long run.

Savings Tip: Content that was created by professionals should be translated by professionals.

2. Save All Editable Files

If there’s only one thing you can do to help you save money on updating your translated content, do this.

Make sure you save and keep track of all native files. This includes your English source files, as well as the files that have been translated into other languages.

A native file is any file that can be edited with a native application it was created in.

Microsoft Office for Multilingual Content Creation

For example, a DOCX file is native to MS Word and can be edited. An INDD file is native to Adobe InDesign and can be edited.

Here is an example of a file that cannot be easily edited. It’s a PDF file that has been distilled from another format such as DOCX.

Or worse, a PDF file that was created using a scanner. Sure, there are ways to edit such files, but they will not save you money. In fact, they will likely add formatting and typesetting costs to your project.

Just remember, if a file can be easily edited in a native application, it will help you save costs.

Make sure to always provide all native files to the translation company you’re working with. If the native files are not available, be prepared to pay for formatting and typesetting costs.

Savings Tip: Always work with native files that can be edited in applications they were originally created in.

3. Remember Your Translations

You probably took a few foreign language classes in high school and all you remember is how to count to ten.

I know I did and that’s the best I could retain from two years of learning Japanese. Luckily, that was years ago and you’re not being tested on it.

The memory I’m referring to is translation memory, also known as a translation memory system (TMS).

Kilgray memoQ Translation Memory

Your language service company should be using one. If they’re not, you should look for one that does.

Here’s why.

Using translation memory in your process will help you save costs.

HR content and other types of business content will generally have a lot of words to be translated.

Once that content is translated by human translators, it is stored in the TMS. A translation memory is essentially an asset that you own and your translation service company manages for you.

Here’s how you save money with a TMS.

Last year you had your employee handbook translated into Spanish.

Roughly 30,000 words of content!

You now have some edits you need to implement, which come out to about 1,000 words. Your translation service company will then make sure that the new content is translated and the existing content is updated respectively.

You need to make sure that the savings are passed on to you.

Why pay for 30,000 words at full rate, when you can pay that for only for 1,000 words and get a substantial discount on the rest?

Savings Tip: Make sure your language service company uses a Translation Memory System (TMS) and creates a dedicated translation memory for your organization.

4. Make Friends with Templates

Chances are good that your content will contain a lot of redundant and repetitive text across many documents.

Instead of creating such content from scratch every time, get in the habit of creating templates.

Editable Templates

For example, in HR settings you may have a disciplinary action form and policy that can apply just to about any employee. Instead of writing a new one up every time, create a fill-in the blank template.

You can then share the templates with your language service company and have them translated. Once the templates are translated, they can be reused by you without incurring additional costs.

Remember, the more words you need translated the more expensive translations will get. Using translated templates will help you reduce costs.

Savings Tip: Use translated templates whenever appropriate to save time and money.

5. More is Better than Less

If you just have 1,000 words of edited text to implement in a 30,000 word document, you’re better off doing it all at once.

If you decide to do 100 words here and 200 words there, by the time you get to 1,000, you’ve already requested at least 4 to 5 revisions – each of them potentially charged at a minimum fee rate.

Volume discount when you buy translation in bulk

Translation service companies treat such revision requests as separate projects and bill you out accordingly.

Whenever possible, combine as much work into a single content update project as you can. Not only will you save money doing it this way by avoiding minimum fees, you will also save yourself time in getting everything done and published.

Savings Tip: Combine all updates and edits into a single project to reduce costs and improve turnaround time.

6. Communicate with Your Partner

The translation service company you’re working with is your partner.

Any successful partnership requires good communication. If you’re not communicating your exact needs to your translation partner, you’re likely to spend more money on translation services and not get your desired results.

Communicate with your partner

The reason behind this is simple – You’re leaving it up to the translation service company to figure the scope of your project out for you.

Conversely, your translation partner should be actively involved in figuring out your project scope and making sure both of you are on the same page. It’s not unheard of for a translation company to decline projects it’s not qualified to work on.

Savings Tip: Communicate your project scope clearly, because the more you leave to interpretation the higher the cost may be.

Can NWI Global help you save on translation costs?

Let’s find out together. Contact us.


You’ve now learned 6 methods for how to save costs when updating translated content.

Whether you’re in human resources, or any other business sector that requires translation services, you can learn and apply these tips to save costs.

If you only have one or two documents that you translate here and there, some of these tips may still be useful to you.

If you require translation revisions and updates on a larger scale, you’re looking at saving some serious money. You can then spend this money elsewhere.

What is your experience with updating content and then having the updates translated?

Please share in the comments.

2 Things You Should Know About Certified Translators & Translations

Certified Translators & Translations

This year I had the pleasure of attending the American Translators Association (ATA) conference in Chicago on behalf of NWI Global.

As a first time attendee, I did not know what to expect or where the experience would lead me. I hoped that I would network with fellow project managers and meet some great new freelance translators, but what else was in store was a mystery.

I ended up attending some beneficial sessions that helped broaden my perspective regarding my own work, the work our translators do, and how to better serve our clients.

My passion for the language services industry was nurtured and reinforced, and I hope to use my new skills and inspiration to cultivate the same fire throughout our entire translation department.

Languages spoken at the 2014 ATA Conference

I also came home with a bag full of business cards and resumes from translators to sort through.

As I settled back into my routine here in Vancouver and attempted to pick the “good” translators out of the bunch, I realized how very many ways there are to define what a “good” translator is!

What does “Certified” Mean?

One distinction that we look at closely is whether or not a translator is certified. This is particularly emphasized because our clients often request certified translations.

But there is a difference between a certified translator and a certified translation… so which do you actually need?

I will explain what “certified” means when it comes to translators & translations.

If you are looking for a “certified” service, these are the two things you should know.

1. Certified Translators

Certified translators are linguists who have passed some kind of exam which assesses their ability to accurately translate from one language into another.

The exam is usually given by a professional organization, such as the ATA or by a state or local government. A degree in translation from a university, while impressive, is not the same thing as a translation certification.

It is important to note that translation exams, unlike interpreting exams, are one-directional, meaning that if you are certified in translation from English into Spanish, you are not certified in translation from Spanish into English unless you have taken a separate certification exam for that combination as well.

I ran into quite a few certified translators at the ATA conference!

ATA-certified translators are often regarded as top translation experts, as the ATA examination is viewed as one of the most prestigious certifications with the most rigorous standards in the United States. When our clients ask us for certified translators, we frequently recommend ATA-certified linguists as their best option.

However, there are thousands of languages in the world, and ATA certifications are currently offered in only 27 language combinations. Depending on the language you need, you may not have the option of using a certified translator.

2. Certified Translations

Certified translations are translations that are certified by the language services company or the linguist who provided the service.

They usually will provide a signed and dated certificate saying that the completed translation is true and correct to the best of their knowledge.

This is a great option for translations that are going to be used in legal situations. Especially when the translation is in a language for which there is no translator certification available.

What This Means to You

Certified translators do not automatically produce certified translations, and certified translations are not always done by certified translators.

Another way of looking at it is that a certified translator is an individual who is certified in a specific language combination. A certified translation is a document that has been certified by a translator or a language services company to affirm translation quality.

Now that you’re more knowledgeable about certified translators and translations, you will know which one to request for your next translation project.

What are your experiences with certified translators & translations?

Share your thoughts and questions in the comments.

How To Get the Right Translation

When it comes to language, things are rarely “right” or “wrong”.

There are so many ways to express the same feeling or convey the same point, and everyone seems to have a preference.

In spontaneous conversation, this is rarely a problem. Differences in preference either go unnoticed, or are good for a laugh.

We’ve all poked fun at a friend from a different part of the country for a slightly different word choice or pronunciation, but even if you say “y’all” or “yous” instead of “you guys”, the meaning behind your statement is flawlessly conveyed.

These kinds of variances are fodder for laughter, rather than a real communication problem.

But when it comes to your translated content, deciding whose way of saying something is “right” can become much more serious.

Matching the Language to Your Brand Image

Your brand image is important to your business, and using “y’all” may not be in keeping with that image.

In fact, small linguistic choices like this may be damaging to your brand!

Maybe your clientele is high-end and requires a more formal tone. Or maybe the exact opposite is true, and you want to make your brand seem accessible and need a more relaxed attitude.

The tone you use to communicate with your customers is not the only important linguistic decision you make.

Using the correct vocabulary for your industry and for the context of the text is also important. No matter who your target audience is, the linguistic choices and the way you communicate with them is important – both in English, and in other languages.

You take great care in producing your content in English, and now you need to make sure your linguists pay the same attention when translating your content.

There are different tactics you can employ before, during, and after translation in order to ensure that you end up with the “right” translated content for your target audience.

Before Starting the Translation

Tactic 1 – Choose a professional, qualified linguist or language services company to assist you with your translation.

Tactic 2 – Work with a linguist or company that works with a Translation Memory (TM) program, so consistency can be maintained throughout current and future translation projects. And send any relevant existing TM files to the linguist/company so they can leverage the content you’ve previously created.

Tactic 3 – Inform the linguist/company what level of formality you need.

Tactic 4 – If you have terminology or abbreviations that are specific to your industry or to your current project, put together a glossary and provide it along with the content you’re having translated.

The glossary can either be a monolingual list providing definitions, or it can be a bilingual list indicating how you’d like specific words to be translated.

During the Translation

Tactic 5 – Make sure you are available to answer any questions that come up about your preferences. Professional translators will never guess about anything, and will always check with you if they are unsure of a definition, how to handle an abbreviation, or any other linguistic issue related to the project.

After the Translation

Tactic 6 – If you have the resources available, have a native speaker who works with you internally review the translation and make suggestions.

Tactic 7 – Don’t panic! Professional translators are used to receiving feedback, and they will be open-minded and review your suggestions fairly.

Tactic 8 – Be prepared for the linguist to disagree with some of the suggestions. If you have chosen a good translator/company, they will not be led astray from what they know to be correct.

But if you still prefer a different translation after they have voiced their opposition, continue the dialogue – even professional linguists are capable of misunderstanding the context and may need more clarification.


Translators and language service companies share your same goal – to successfully convey the meaning of the original source content in another language.

If all involved parties are open-minded and remember that there is always more than one way to say the same thing, an agreement on the “right” translation can always be reached.

Please feel free share your experiences with getting your ideal translation in the comments.

Navigating the Translation Process Obstacle Course

I’m a big fan of obstacle course challenges and have competed in multiple Spartan races in the past few years.

In a typical obstacle course you have to run, walk, climb, crawl and roll your way through various physical and mental challenges along the way.

While not as physically demanding, a translation process is very much like an obstacle course.

Navigating through it can be mentally draining and costly depending on the size of your project. Each step in the translation process is an obstacle that must be completed.

Whether you are completely new to language translation or have experience in working with language service companies, learning about the translation process obstacles steps is the key to success.

Navigating the Translation Process Obstacle Course

Here is what you can do to successfully navigate the translation process obstacle course.

Which One to Choose

Choosing an obstacle course to run in is no different than choosing a language service company to work with on your translation projects.

They all appear to be selling the same thing. Now you must determine which one is right for you.

If quality is important to you, be cautious of low cost providers.

One thing I like about the Spartan Race is that you never know the about the types of obstacles, until you’re actually racing the course. While this level of unpredictability is exciting for running through rugged terrain, it could be a bit unsettling when you have important documents that need to be translated.

When choosing a language service company, you’d probably want a predictable translation process, where quality can be measured.

Make sure the company you choose can describe its translation process to you, so you can determine how it will fit within your overall communication strategy.

Prepare to Navigate

Unless you’re an exceptional athlete (I’m not), running an obstacle course without any training or preparation is a terrible idea.

In the most recent race I participated in, more than half of all competitors didn’t finish the course. Even though I finished, my overall time wasn’t as good as I’d hoped to achieve.

The good news is that you don’t have to be athletic to prepare your documents for translation. Make sure you gather all native files for the documents you need translated, have an idea of how quickly you want them translated and into what languages.

Your language service company will help you scope out the project.

Execute to Perfection

On a 5K obstacle course you’re looking at conquering 10 to 15 obstacles that will test your physical & mental toughness. This is something you can do alone, or with a team.

Having a solid team to run with makes things a lot easier as you help each other push through the obstacles. Take a look at this awesome team at K International that just completed the Swanbourne Endeavour in the U.K.

Your translation project also needs a great team to make sure it’s executed to your specifications. It all starts out with the project manager (PM).

If your translation company didn’t assign you a dedicated PM, make sure you ask for one as he/she will be the team leader. The PM will work to coordinate translators, editors, proofreaders, terminologists, desktop publishing professionals and other key personnel assigned to your project.

Each step of the translation process is as unique as a race obstacle. It requires a calculated approach to complete by a team member and do so in a timely manner.

You should be able to sit back and have the confidence that your team will deliver the project on time, within budget and according to your specifications.

Get to the Finish

There’s no better feeling on race day than crossing the finish line. Once you finish the obstacle course, no matter how long it takes, you have sense of achievement and relief.

You may also be rewarded with a beer in the end and have something to look forward to in your next race.

Your translation project should also be completed with the same type of dedication, so you can trust your assigned PM and the translation team with more work.

Remember, it’s the people involved that make the translation process go smoothly. You always want the best people on your team.