English French Translation: Reducing Your English French Translator Costs
Get a discount from your English French translator and cut your English French translation costs using the money-saving techniques on this page. At the bottom, you will find links to more French translation resources, including a guide to typical French translator rates. (Were you looking for a free online translation?)
How to reduce your English French translation costs
Here are some top strategies for cutting translation costs without affecting the quality of your translations.
1. Reduce the document size
Translation costs are directly related to the number of words to translate. So by cutting the word count in the original document, you can cut your English French translation costs proportionally. Before sending your text to a translator, review it carefully and ask yourself:
- Does everything here really need to be translated? For example, is there a preface or acknowledgments page that can go? Are there case studies, examples, or quotes that can be omitted without sacrificing meaning?
- Can any part of the text be replaced by a brief summary? Can anything be replaced by graphics or charts that don't require translation at all?
- Is there anything in the document that isn't actually part of the translation? (for example, code, programming instructions, etc.) Don't assume that the translator will know not to translate it or charge you for it. Use highlighting or another method to mark which parts of the document should get translated and which should not.
- Are there any chunks of text that are repeated word for word? Let's say a whole paragraph occurs three times in the document. Instruct your translator to translate it only once, and then you can paste that translation where the paragraph appears again. (Warning: only apply this strategy to independent chunks or sections of text, such as paragraphs or titles. Do not try to do this with individual words. The same word may require a different translation depending on the context).
2. Cut out the middle man
If your translation is only to a single language, consider hiring a freelance English French translator instead of a translation agency. Agencies often charge clients as much as double what they pay their pool of freelance translators, so going directly to the freelancers can mean significant savings for you. In particular, if you regularly need English French translation work, it might be worth investing the time to find a good freelancer for an ongoing collaboration. Click here for advice on selecting the right freelance English French translator.
3. Ask for discounts
"Hiring a freelance translator will cost you less, but you have to choose well."
- Perrine Souffez, English French Translator and Project Manager
Talk with your English French translator about the possibility of discounts on your translation project. Some translators will give discounts for:
- A large volume or regular translation work
- Fast payment
- Repetitions in the original (if your translator is using a software that tracks such repetitions)
4. Avoid last-minute changes
"Recently, I had to translate a catalogue, and the client provided the catalogue from the previous year. This was really helpful. Of course, the sentences weren't the same, but I could see what things were called. That saved me a huge amount of time. If something like that's available, I for one am prepared to work for a lower price than if I had to do all that research myself."
- Lindsay Gasser, German, Dutch, and French to English Translator
Always try to send the translator the final version of the document. Last-minute changes and modifications after the translation has already started can increase your costs.
5. Consolidate translation projects
Many translation agencies and some freelance translators apply minimum charges for small translations. You can therefore save money by waiting until you have several small English French translation projects and then sending them to the translator all together.
6. Avoid surprises
Make sure everyone is on the same page about translation costs before the project starts. If possible, agree on a final price ahead of time, and put that agreement in writing so that there can be no misunderstanding later.
If your English French translator quotes a per word rate rather than a total price, agree ahead of time on a method for calculating the number of words. This is not necessarily as straightforward as it sounds. For example, generally, translators charge based on the number of words in the original language ("source words"), but sometimes, translators charge based on the number of words in the translation ("target words"). In a translation from English to French, the target word count is likely to be considerably higher than the source word count. If the document contains code or any other content that you do not consider should be included in the word count, it's important to discuss that with the translator ahead of time. And if you are looking at an automatic word count in Microsoft Word or another program, keep in mind that the software may be ignoring words that are part of images or tables.
Find out in advance if you will be charged for anything beside the translation itself. For example, agencies sometimes separate "project management" charges from the English French translation rates that they quote.
7. What about free English French translation tools?
There are plenty of free English French translation tools available online (for example, you can find one here). On the surface, these may seem like the perfect cost-cutting solution; however, they often produce awkward or inaccurate translations and should not be trusted for anything important.
Tempted to use a machine translator for your English French translation? Think twice.
We took a French Wikipedia article about the late performer Michael Jackson and used one of the most popular online translators to translate it to English. Here is an excerpt of what came back:
"The d' wave; emotion which followed its death also caused a phenomenon of media without precedent, in particular through l' goes down for hearing measured by Akamai, which made state d' a progression of the consultation of the sites d' information of more than 50% . “On Facebook, the number of statutes at the s' minute; is flown away. [...]"
Read about typical English French translator prices
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