We’ve heard it said more than once in our lives, “you get what you pay for,” meaning that buying cheap stuff alludes to a false economy, since what appears to be cheap is actually expensive in the end. This is true for many things, but applies particularly well to the world of translations.
There are several ways to take on a translation project, but not all of them are always correct or applicable for every request. There are simple projects, with few words and a simple format, which can be carried out with just translation and proofreading steps and without the need of additional design services. This is often the case with invoices, purchase tickets, banking transactions, etc. Although it should be mentioned that this depends on the quality of the submitted file which will determine whether or not extra editing and design steps are needed, which of course imply extra costs.
There are more complex projects, such as those which exceed 5,000 words, or documents with text embedded in images that require additional graphic design work, since the text must be extracted for translation and reincorporated into the image by a designer so that its format stays true to the original. In most cases, large and complex projects, in which, in an attempt to lower costs, the client chooses to skip editing and design steps, the final result requires additional work by the client, which can take a long time if they are not familiar with editing tools used by translation agencies.
The quality of the material to be translated, the complexity of the context, the language pair and the availability of resources are the main factors that determine the cost and production time of each project.
It’s not always the responsibility of the contracted translation agency if the client is dissatisfied with a translation. It’s important for someone who is knowledgeable on the subject to recommend the proper steps relevant to each individual project, but at the end of the day, the final decision will always be the client’s.