How to save translation costs without compromise on quality

There is nothing wrong with wanting to save money – and this is true for translation services too. It does not mean however that you need to ask your secretary to translate a 10-page chemical study, or you have to use Google Translate for making your website multilingual. We’ll show you how to use your translation budget wisely.

Let’s assume

Let’s assume that you are a Chemical Company.

Let’s assume that you have a long list of various chemical documents from labels to MSDSs, from registration documents to exposure scenarios, from SPCs to product brochures, that you need to translate from English into all the official languages of the European Union.

Now you need to set up a feasible timeline for the entire project, and choose a translation partner.

How much is it?

A major mistake a client can make in this situation is to ask for translation word rates from several agencies, and put them side by side. Comparing merely word rates will not give you the full picture. There are so many other factors that can affect the final sum you are about to pay: various discounts, file conversion fees, additional quality assurance charges, revision costs. It is misleading (but unfortunately still common practice) to take the total translatable wordcount multiplied by the translation word rate, and select the lowest bid.

Since SDSs (Safety Data Sheets), exposure scenarios, product labels, SPCs (Summaries of Product Characteristics) and similar chemical documents tend to include repetitive parts, we always analyse them and offer discount for the repetitions. Why can we do that? Because we have the appropriate technical background and software. We don’t like double work; instead, we like to use our head. And we build long-term relationship with our partners, so we help them see how they can save money – without compromise on quality.

In case of large orders, an additional volume discount can be applied, and we always have various Special Offers for new clients too.

Do the math

Instead of looking for the lowest translation word rate, collect all the translatable documents and send them to the selected translation partner candidates for an exact price and turnaround time. You’ll be surprised!

Due to repetitions, the actual translatable wordcount could significantly drop – and so will your expenses. What’s more, for large projects we are always pleased to give an additional volume discount.

Imagine receiving the translation of almost 1 million words while paying only for 29% of the wordcount. (These are real numbers of a recent chemical project!) Now how does this sound?

Good, fast and cheap

We all know the Good-Fast-Cheap triangle. You might very well think that if the bill is impressively low (compared to the high total wordcount, of course) the project either takes forever to complete or the quality is poor.

As for quality – well, that’s not countable. Unlike the chemical companies who have been choosing to work with us in the last 15 years. They are numerous. Giant chemical companies, suppliers of plant protection products, biocides regulation consultancies, law firms specialized in regulatory affairs – they all have one thing in common. They require top quality in terms of chemical knowledge and language expertise. Nothing is more important than that.

Thanks to our large pool of translators with chemical and regulatory affairs background, setting up translation teams requires no special preparation for us. We work with chemical documents on a daily basis. Our project managers will set up a timeline for you (no, you don’t have to deal with this), will calculate partial delivery dates, and you will receive the translations in several batches if that is more convenient for you.

Translation of 1 million words into a total of 15 languages in less than 6 weeks. (Again, real numbers from a recent chemical project.) Would this be OK for you?

Written by Anita Salát, Business Development Manager

Get a first-hand experience on how our language services can contribute to your success!

Ask for an exact quote or get the detailed cost-optimized price offer from our project managers at

To stay updated with our latest SPECIAL OFFERS and to receive our regular newsletter, please subscribe here.

EP Plenaries

Brussels, 10-11 April, 2024 || Strassbourg, 22-25 April, 2024

For plenary sittings, the 705 Members of the European Parliament meet in the Chambers in Strasbourg or in Brussels.
The agenda of the next plenary sitting is available here.

Pharma 2024 – The world’s leading cross-functional event for pharma changemakers

Barcelona, Spain
16–18 April, 2024

Reuters Events: Pharma 2024 is the place where patient experts, leading solution providers, and pharma changemakers – from commercial, marketing, medical affairs, patient engagement, market access and RWE – commit to business transformation as the catalyst for maximum patient impact.

Meet our colleague at Pharma 2024 and explore the opportunities for collaboration and networking.

Human or machine? There’s a translation solution for everyone

It’s hardly news that today texts are translated not only by people but by machines too. Are those machine translations good for anything?

And if so, when and how should you use them? Here’s a pocket guide.

Human translation

If your text is complex and requires a deep understanding of culture, context, idioms and nuances, go with human translators.

Sensitive or legal content is in safe hands with human translators as they can ensure confidentiality (the same can only be said of machine translation if it can be performed in a closed system) and accuracy while also adhering to legal requirements.

Translating marketing materials, advertisements, slogans or creative content requires a certain degree of creativity and cultural adaptation. Human translators living in their respective countries can better capture the intended message, tone and impact.

For texts requiring specialised knowledge in technical fields like medicine, engineering or chemicals, human translators with subject matter expertise are essential. Machine translation may produce inaccurate or misleading translations due to a lack of domain-specific knowledge.

Human translators provide quality assurance by proofreading, editing and ensuring consistency of the translation. A text translated by a human translator is usually checked by another native-speaking translator. That four-eyes principle adds an extra level of scrutiny.

Unlike machines, people excel in understanding the context of the document. Human translators take factors like the target audience, purpose and cultural appropriateness into consideration and adapt the translation accordingly.

Machine translation

If the primary goal is to get a general sense of the content, especially for personal use or for grasping the main points of a document, machine translation can be sufficient.

Informal texts like emails, chat conversations or social media posts often contain abbreviations, slang or colloquial language. Machine translation can handle such content relatively well – though the resulting texts are not ready for publication without further editing by a native speaker.

High volume and tight deadlines call for machines. For large volumes of text needing to be translated quickly, machine translation can be used to provide a draft translation. Human translators can then review and polish the output, speeding up the overall translation process. The quality of a machine translation with post-editing is not equal to a human translation, but it’s a quicker solution and fits a smaller budget better.

Best of both worlds

Whenever the topic and type of document allow, the best approach is to combine the strengths of human translation with the speed and efficiency of machine translation.

By partnering with a professional translation agency, you can achieve a balance that maximises the accuracy, productivity and cost-effectiveness of the translation process.

If you have a translatable document, please feel free to reach out and we’ll be glad to advise on the most suitable service.

Contact us at for a quote.