When it comes to translation on a budget, less is more, as we saw in Part One of Localization Cost Savings. The more you can reduce the word count of your content, the bigger your savings—25% fewer words, for example, will earn you a no-nonsense 25% translation discount.
So let’s say you’ve already taken a knife to your content; you’ve gotten rid of verbosity, eliminated text repetitions and honed in on the most essential content for your specific markets. How can you shave additional dollars off of your localization budget and finally secure that executive buy-in to move forward with your project?
In Spanish they say, “Lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno.” The good, when brief, is doubly good. Brevity is considered a virtue in most communication circles. In the world of translation, however, brevity is even more: it’s a money saver.
The first thing any localization vendor will tell you about the cost of translation is that it's a direct function of word count. The more words your document, brochure, program, app or website contains, the higher the cost for translating it. Rather straightforward, right?
Containing your localization budget through reducing word count at the pre-translation stage requires a challenging time investment on your part, as no one can really perform an “audit” of your resources in your stead. To execute this effectively, you need either to distinguish between must-have and nice-to-have content through a complete content review, or pare down all of your source texts across the board through avid and diligent editing. It would definitely be easier to simply send all of your files to your language partner and hope for the best.
Yet when implemented, this phase of content review will ultimately pay off two-fold: it will save you a good sum of money on translation across all target languages, and it will make your end product better, since content that has been reviewed with a global audience in mind can be rendered more accurately.
Here are a few ideas for reducing your content as you go global with your program or product.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
What are some ingenious ways to do away with words in the context of your product? You may have the ability to substitute appropriate imagery, for example. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Take the example of the Apple iPhone OS. English has the wonderful benefit of offering two practical and short words for the settings buttons: on/off. But in most languages, the translation would occupy the whole width of the phone screen and result in what we call TVA: total visual awkwardness. Here is what Apple did to solve that problem:
There's a complex (but necessary!) process that has to take place before your translation agency can confidently deliver those final foreign language versions of your software.
Many companies fear that such a thorough process equals high cost and loss of control. What they might not realize is that this is actually an opportunity to help control costs.
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