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Process Improvement And Cost Saving Recommendations For United States Spanish Translation Buyers

While a reliable translation vendor who can be trusted with all of the workflow steps can be challenging to find, the good news is they do exist. Significant time and financial savings can be achieved by outsourcing some or all of the project management tasks to a translation vendor.

Project management labor costs can often be overlooked in the translation lifecycle, however it is important to note that the labor costs incurred in redundant project management steps can at times exceed the cost of the actual translation, not only at the corporate but also at the vendor level. Simplifying the translation workflow steps and eliminating redundant tasks between the translation buyer and the vendor is a proven process improvement practice that can drive reductions in both time to market and translation costs.

What drives higher project management costs in a translation life cycle?

Companies in the same line of business that are in the Fortune 100 category, go from no project management team at all to an army of project managers allocated to manage translation life cycle content. Complex processes, multiple entries in workflow management tracking systems, multiple translation vendors, lack of training, too much centralization or too much spanish companies database decentralization of the content writers and translation process are some of the primary factors driving unnecessary project management labor cost.

There is no money in complex formatting.

Formatting or design layouts may have higher production costs than the actual translation simply due to format complexity. Why have different design templates for every brochure? Use fixed design templates or standardized design templates to reduce formatting time. Avoid complex tables and challenging format options.

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The same message, written differently, can be expensive.

When English writers attempt to convey the same idea but are inconsistent with their word selection, not only does the brand and consistency suffer, but costs increase unnecessarily over time. Whenever English content writers change a sentence to express the same idea, the translation database is modified which can incur additional translation costs. Making writers aware of the impact their writing style has on the translation cost can yield big efficiencies in translation budgets.

Rely on technology.

For materials that do not change frequently, there is no need pay for a translation every single time that a variation file is required. Instead, contemplate automating all repetitive content. This reduces liability, shortens time to market, and potentially impacts both the translation cost and dependency on human translators often working within regular office hours.

Many companies with sophisticated content management systems may have already integrated their translation memories or translated content databases with their English content. If this is the case, then congratulations! A significant level of sophistication has been achieved. While this integration can require a substantial upfront investment, when properly implemented it will yield significant cost reduction over time. This provides tremendous benefits to organizations that spend millions of dollars annually on labor costs for English writers, advertising agencies, consultants, Spanish translators, project managers and designers for the production of content.


Create an extensive glossary of key industry terminology that customers and employees easily understand. Once the terminology has been selected, the best course of action is to get the glossary approved by the legal department. It is usually highly beneficial to engage the legal team, particularly the Spanish-speaking lawyers. Once terms are approved by the legal team, users typically won’t go against the legal department since they are the ultimate compliance authority. A carefully crafted glossary may range from 1,500 to 10,000 terms for a single language.

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Keep in mind that making preferential changes for companywide documentation not only can be very costly but can lead to inconsistency in the company’s voice. When there is a lot of conflict within the organization about which choice of words to select, gather all the feedback from the most vocal users and implement their key terms as long as their recommendations are valid.

If there is a need to add a new term to the glossary, writers or translators should provide all the supporting investigation that may come from scientific publications, regional Spanish newspapers, encyclopedias, industry dictionaries, etc. Local Spanish newspapers with well qualified journalists have proven to be a great asset in this process.

Translate Spanish content in generic terminology that is not specific to any country.

Using terminology specific to one country can bring significant conflict to an organization, especially when trying to target the entire Hispanic community. While many companies have their materials for the general U.S. audience, other companies choose to make these materials specific to a particular region in the United States. For instance, some clients require Puerto Rican Spanish for advertisement material in Puerto Rico, United States Spanish for Mexican agricultural workers in Iowa, or Modern Spanish for Mexican Diplomats living in the United States. Prior to translating a piece, it’s important to recognize the target audience. When a piece targets all the Hispanics in the United States, it’s best to keep the language more neutral. However, when specific material is targeting one community in particular, it is highly recommended to localize it. This way, the reader will be engaged in the communication and feel attached to what they are reading.

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Readability is very important.

When dealing with materials that impact lives or those that deliver an important message, it is best to use simple words. As the health insurance industry deals with sensitive material that impacts the health care of their members, it is common to keep the language at a 6th grade reading level or below, depending on the type of material. In Spanish, for example, one well-known readability test is Inflesz, while in Chinese this type of test is not commonly used due to the fact that all the characters are learned in the first years of school. Readability level and different types of tests will be extremely related to the language being translated and the rules applied to it.

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