Process optimization

How to save money and boost productivity in your translation department

save money and boost productivity

In a challenging economic climate, lots of businesses are having to tighten their belts in order to survive. Cost-saving measures can have a big impact across the board, including at in-house translation departments. The translation team is often one of the first departments to be targeted for outsourcing and redundancies – but there’s a lot you can do to safeguard your team.

Are the costs for providing language services at your business getting too high? Perhaps you’re considering letting people go? Stop! In-house translation departments offer genuine added value. And there are other ways to keep translation costs down – here are some of them.

Flexible outsourcing solutions

The first option, of course, is to outsource some of your translations. When you’re snowed under, it’s important to have a partner who can help you out where needed and who has the flexibility to adapt to your in-house workflows as if they were a part of your team. Lean outsourcing solutions not only remove fixed costs from your budget – they also minimize risks and make it easier to control your costs. And it makes the most financial sense to outsource your translations to one translation partner, as this will give you the biggest savings and help ensure consistently high-quality texts (the more agencies you get involved, the less likely this is). Translations aren’t like toilet paper or other products, where you look at multiple suppliers every time you buy and then pick the cheapest. That method may initially seem like a good way of saving money, but it’s time-consuming for your translation team and will lead to an absolute mess in terms of terminology. Dividing translations between different agencies also means the savings won’t be as big as you hoped: the bigger the translation memory at one translation partner, the more money you can save with every subsequent translation.

Sharing economy

There’s no point clinging to outdated software or doing things the old-fashioned way, such as producing large translations without using CAT tools – it won’t give you the time and cost efficiency the bean counters want to see from your department. But state-of-the-art language technology can cost a lot of money, so you could consider outsourcing this as well by embracing the sharing economy and effectively “renting” the software you need.

Optimize your department to avoid redundancies

The second option, in addition to or instead of outsourcing, is to optimize and streamline your in-house translation department. Often there’s enormous potential to make savings, which can be identified using a 6D assessment. Once the areas in need of improvement have been established, you can use targeted sprints to introduce measures (focusing on developing scalable processes) that will get your department back on track. We recommend seeking advice from experts who know what they’re doing and can explain your potential savings in advance.

Scrutinizing workflows, training staff

Often its the small aspects of everyday work that consume the most time and end up costing the most money. One example is staff who don’t know how to use all the features of one particular program, which means workflows become more complex and take longer than they should. Providing training in how to use all the features of a CAT tool, or in how to manage terminology, post-edit machine translations and other areas, can be a highly effective way to make your team faster and more productive. And sometimes there’s room for improvement with in-house or in-country reviews too. Whichever steps you take, in the long run increasing your team’s skill set and expertise will save you considerable amounts of money.

Using machine translation

Depending on which types of texts you’re working on, machine translation and post-editing can save you lots of time and money (at least where it makes sense to do so). Using machine translation engines to pre-translate texts usually makes human translators’ work quicker, so they can translate more text in less time.

Get rid of the clutter!

Well-maintained resources will benefit you enormously, and not just when working with a translation agency. The tidier translation memories and term bases are, the quicker and smoother the translation process will be, with fewer questions to answer (whether from your own team members or the agency’s translators) and fewer laborious adaptations to make once the translation has been delivered. You could save a lot of time, money and stress – so it’s well worth doing.

Are you looking to maximize the potential of your in-house translation department by establishing scalable processes, increasing productivity and reducing costs? Speak to us and we’ll see how we can help.


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