Why do translations seem expensive?

The translation of a four-page document can easily cost 120-220 euros. This seems like a lot of money, especially if you need translations into multiple languages or a translation of several documents.

Some companies try to get around these costs. They use machine translation, look for cheap (nonprofessional) translators or they ask the receptionist to ‘quickly translate the text’. In the best case, the result is a text that everybody understands but that can hardly be called “good”.

Why the seemingly high prices?

  1. Most translators have a university degree and thus have studied for at least four years to be able to translate professionally.
  2. Translating is a challenging and time-consuming activity. Each sentence needs to be interpreted correctly and subsequently translated. This can involve hours of research and writing. Even when the translation is complete, the work is not over. The quality of the text is checked in various ways. All in all this is a time-consuming activity.
  3. A translator does more than just translate. He or she also informs you of possible errors in the source text and can also collaborate with you in other ways.

But…

Are these prices really high? Companies have no problem paying out thousands of euros to lawyers or marketing agencies to draft a text, so why should a professional translation of that same text have to be cheap? A translator is an expert who puts his knowledge at the service of your business in order to increase the success of that business. A translator is not only a supplier, he is a business partner.

In the translation world a good bargain is often a bad deal. You get what you pay for. Don’t forget that your name or the name of your business will appear above or below the translated text. Do you want to entrust your translation to an experienced professional translator or to a bilingual secretary who answers the telephone and takes messages?

If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait and see what an amateur will cost you.