What You’ve Never Thought About Low-Cost Translations

For some time now, we’ve been hearing about the thousands of different ways the marketing departments of companies across all sectors have come up with everywhere—on the street, on the Internet and in the media—in an attempt to overcome the crisis we find ourselves in. There are low-cost airlines, apartments at “anti-crisis” prices, travel agencies offering discounted prices for last-minute holiday deals, and so on, with multiple companies and sectors… including low-cost translations. But alas, as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”.
A few days ago, we read on the Internet about whether offering low-cost translations or translations at “anti-crisis” prices was feasible, and after assessing several aspects, we concluded that yes, it is possible to offer low-cost translations as long as this does not affect the quality of the service offered.

For example, a client sends us an e-mail asking us for reasonably priced translation services (their company is going through a rough patch, naturally), and one of the reasons they’ll choose one translation agency over another will be the price for the translation.

A translation agency which has an office with a floor area of X square meters in downtown Madrid or Barcelona—or even in more expensive cities such as New York—and 5 employees on payroll needs a greater profit margin than translation agency C which has an office with a floor area of X-Y square meters on the outskirts of a city such as Soria and does not have any employees on payroll.
And in same vein, translation agency D, which has no physical office and no employees on payroll, needs even lower profit margins as it doesn’t have the same fixed costs every month.

One assumes, a priori, that this would be a good reason to offer cheaper translations. Another reason would be the use of machine translation systems to save on the costs of actual human translators. This is clearly not a good practice in the sector, although it does seem like a technique used to offer cheap translation rates. In this case, it is clear that the cost-saving measures involved in cheap translations do affect the quality of the service offered.

Lastly, as in other sectors, there’s the matter of middlemen. If company A requests translation services for language Z from translation agency B, and this translation agency does not have any collaborators working in this language, which leads it to request this service from translation agency C, it goes without saying that the final price will go up.

Obviously, the opposite can happen, in which translation agency B can offer translation services for language Z at highly competitive prices as it has more than enough regular collaborators who can cope with the demand and render services at affordable rates. Therefore, as clients of other services as well, don’t you request additional information on products and services when you get in touch with other companies in other sectors? In this regard, to listen to your gut instincts or dispel any doubts when you see that the rates of a translation agency are quite low, wouldn’t it be sensible to ask this translation agency about how they work? And taking things a step further, wouldn’t it be reasonable for translation agency W to offer low-cost translations or translations at “anti-crisis” prices or cheap translations or inexpensive translations—call it what you will—if it can really afford to?

We can be practical as long as advertising is not misleading and the services are within the reasonable bounds of good industry practice. That’s what the marketing departments of companies are for.