4 March 2009

Cutting costs: less words... or more?

In the current economic crisis, language service providers are often focusing their marketing message on the cost-saving effects of their services or expertise. VistaTEC's 15 Top Tips explain how optimized source content will indeed result in significantly lower translation costs.

Since translation rates are often based on the number of words, one simple but effective tip is: reduce the word count.

For instance, don't write
In this dialog box, click the Save button in order to save your changes.

if you can replace it by
Click Save to save your changes.

However, a major software company has recently modified its user documentation in a way that actually results in a higher number of words.

Old style:
If you select text formatted with the properties you want to use...

New style:
If you select text that is formatted with the properties that you want to use...

Does the new style result in higher translation costs? Probably not in the long run. By applying stricter style guides (more consistent and explicit style, less ambiguity), translation memories and machine translation will produce better pretranslations, and the costs of post-editing by human translators will go down.

For more information about controlled language and machine translation, visit Uwe Muegge's website.

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