Translations: When It Comes to the Right Price!

By Adriana Adarve – Owner of Adarve Translations

Lea esta bitácora en español

Translation pricing is a multi-faceted process that involves more than what meets the eye. More often than not, to “pay less to save more” can actually mean higher and unexpected expenses down the road, while paying the right from the start can only give us peace of mind and well-being for years to come!

When trying to buy anything in this world, one of the first things we look into is the price we will need to pay.

When it comes to translations, every so often there are blogs that relate to their high cost if they are not written by professionals. Also, about 99% of the translation sites have pages that aim to explain the pricing of translations, though the great majority of these sites do not actually give specific prices.

Since price is one of the driving forces to buying items and services, let me ask you this: Would you hire the services of a surgery student to perform a quintuple bypass on your Grandmother? Would you say that this is a minor surgery that any non-professional “healthcare provider” should perform?

When it comes to your high profile business finances, would you hire the services of an apprentice financial advisor and “save some money” in the bargain?

I don’t mean to appear callous. I acknowledge the importance money—more precisely, saving money—has in our personal and professional lives, but I also would like to give you some food for thought.

However, I also believe that paying the cheapest price for what we need is far from being the best policy, especially when it comes to our safety, the safety of our loved ones, our personal image, or the corporate image we want to show the world at large.

But, what does this have to do with translations? Well, what if the Grandmother I mentioned above happens to be someone who doesn’t speak English? Your spouse’s mother, for example, who needed to come to this country for the surgery, but who cannot speak one word of English, much less read it. How will this Grandmother read and follow the doctor’s instructions after the surgery, or how will she take her medications correctly?

Only a professional translation of the doctor’s orders, and post-surgery and prescriptions instructions can help guarantee her safety.

Keeping this in mind, wouldn’t it make sense to pay the right price of a professional translation that would help her on the way to recovery, instead of looking for the cheapest price possible and very probably risk her well-being or even her life?

Of course, not all cases in which we need translations are as serious as this one. Yet, when it comes to other cases in our lives, wouldn’t it make sense to think along the lines of “we get what we pay for,” and act accordingly?

In the corporate world, for example, how many people would be willing to pay the cheapest price possible for a translation not written by a professional and risk the corporate image of the very business that supports their lifestyle and well-being? Would anyone be willing to risk legal liability due to a poorly written translation by a non-professional, but a translation that cost only a few pennies?

Even though many people still wrongly believe that translation is not a real profession and that, in such case, it doesn’t justify spending money on the proper translation of their medical, legal or business documents; the truth of the matter is that it is indeed a true profession that requires a high level of education, certification and continuing training.

Let’s not forget then that, more often than not, to “pay less to save more” can actually mean higher and unexpected expenses down the road, while paying the right price from the start can only give us peace of mind and well-being for years to come!

All the best!

Adriana Adarve, Asheville, NC

 

Adriana Adarve is the owner of Adarve Translations and is fluent in three languages (English, Spanish & French), as well as pluri-cultural, multi-cultural, plurilingual and multilingual.
Adriana Adarve

About the Author: Adriana Adarve is the owner of Adarve Translations and is fluent in three languages (English, Spanish & French), as well as pluri-cultural, multi-cultural, plurilingual and multilingual.

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Published by Adriana Adarve

I’m Adriana Adarve, a multilingual, plurilingual, multicultural and pluricultural English to Spanish freelance translator. My primary interests—besides my passion for languages—are in science, chemistry, and medicine. That is the reason why I concentrate on medical, scientific and technical translations. I am also passionate about cultural diversity, which means that my translations always take into account my clients’ culture, as well as that of the audience for which the translations are intended.

5 Comments

  1. Excellent insights there, Adriana – thank you for sharing. From my day to day work as a voice actor I want to suggest a further step in ‘translation’: adapting text so it can be spoken.
    This isn’t necessarily in the bag of a translator, however skilled, yet it’s a necessary adjustment to the audience target. What we need for audio is short sentences, no parentheses or footnotes, avoidance of homophones and terms such as ‘as seen above’…
    It’s not in my brief to change these things, but whether the script is localised or native I usually suggest them so a well intentioned piece doesn’t fall flat!

    1. Thank you, Howard. I know exactly what you mean. From time to time, when I receive requests to translate voiceovers that is exactly what I do: I ask for the required specifications, that is, where the text is going to be used, and how, and then make the necessary adjustments. One of the things I like a lot is that my work allows me not only to work in translation, but also in transcreation, where the ‘translation’ follows more the source content than the words themselves. And, of course, as you mention, the ‘as seen above’ has no place in this specific type of work and needs to be adapted to a more understandable oral version or… eliminated altogether! 🙂

      I really appreciate your input. Thank you!

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