Having something translated is actually not that expensive. However, if you have a document that is quite long, you may hesitate to spend that much on document translation services.
Ways to cut down costs on document translation
Use translation tools to give you the gist
If you have received a document in a foreign language you don’t understand, you need to determine if it’s important enough to have it translated. Translation tools may not be perfect for a final finished product but they can give you a brief overview of what the document contains. It may turn out that you don’t need translation after all.
Use translation tools to give you a rough translation
If most of the words in the document are in the database of the tool, and accuracy is not that important then you can make a good enough translation by editing what the tool pre-translates.
However, if the translation really needs to be polished and accurate, you can take your rough translation and have it proofread which is cheaper than having it translated from scratch. Proofreading costs less and proofreaders are actually as experienced than translators. Still, you need to understand that most proofreaders will not accept machine translation.
Practice selective document translation
You don’t have to have the whole document translated. Look at each paragraph and section. Some may just be standard disclaimers or information that wouldn’t matter to you. Just select the ones with information that you do need.
Some paragraphs may also be repeated within the document. Eliminating those would take off a great deal from the overall cost. It always pays to take a look at it first before sending it off.
Search the web
If the source document is something that is publicly available and you are not the only one interested in it, there is a good chance that some other entity or the authors themselves have availed of document translation services, or there may be articles which summarize its main points. Some public companies regularly do document translation and release the translated versions within a week after coming out with the original document. So, if it’s not that urgent, you may want to wait a while before deciding to get the document translated.
It’s not a good idea to scrimp on document translation, but it’s good business sense not to spend more when you can save.