Cheap translations good. Isn't they?

If you are getting bids from several vendors, you may well find some of them offering translation for one half or even one third the price that other agencies are charging. A great deal, right? Not really.

Why is there such a discrepancy in prices? Some agencies, and even individual translators (often ATA certified and well qualified), bid the work at an extremely low price. They then send the work to China or India and pay 2 or 3 cents per word. These low-priced translators do not translate only the languages of China and India. They translate Korean, German, Arabic, Russian - anything they can get. How good are they?

Most reputable agencies and translation organizations agree that translators should translate into their native language only, not into a language they may have studied for two years in high school. There are exceptions - people who have had many years exposure to a second language and live in the country where that language is the official language.

But the people doing cheap translations do not qualify. Translators who will work for 2 or 3 cents per word are not even qualified to do translations into their own language. They are desperate and willing to work for whatever they can get. Agencies that use them know that and are willing to exploit them. Quality is of no concern to such agencies.

Remember the old dictum: You get what you pay for.

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