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High quality inexpensive translations



Are high quality translations expensive?

Of course, for the same reason that building a good bridge is expensive: it won’t fall down. Bad quality eventually ends up being more expensive. As well, translations contracted with an agency or translation company are more expensive because they take part of the value paid to the translator (See Freelance, Agency or Translation Company).
However, if you search carefully you can find high quality translators that aren’t so expensive.


How do I find them?

You have to look for unsuccessful translators.


How’s that? Aren’t those the bad translators?

Well, you know life is unjust, don’t you. For example, if you lost your job because the owner of the company wanted to place his 5 year old nephew in your position, would you say that 5-year old is a successful job-seeker? Would you say your quality is below his? Life is unjust, and getting work in translation goes through many unjust barriers. Marketing know-how and prejudices can be barriers for many translators, who end up depending on an agency for work.


How do I know he’s good enough?

Sure, he could be in the group of unsuccessful translators, because s/he is hopelessly incompetent; so you should look for, and check, signs of competency.


Which are these signs?

See: What is a competent translator?


Aren’t references a good sign?

Maybe, or maybe not. It can happen that the references come from friends, or colleagues. Additionally, some translators don’t hand out references for small jobs because no customer likes to be answering emails for references every week, for every service provider that has worked with him. Other translators don't like to give out references that might be hijacked by other translators (or agencies) looking for new clients,
Letters of Recommendation from previous customers might be a better alternative, specially if they bring details about the jobs performed (No. of words, type of text, etc.), and if you have any doubt then call the client.


And still less expensive

I suppose you know why companies from first world countries establish branches in, or outsource services to, developing countries: services have a lower cost. In these countries the cost of living is somewhat lower. I say “somewhat” because cross-border transactions have costs, bank costs and currency exchange costs, on your side of the counter and on the translator’s side. But translation costs can still be lower if your service provider lives in a developing country, in some cases up to 30% lower. And quality shouldn’t be an issue, if the translator is competent and is capable of handling your translation.





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English-Spanish-English freelance translator with over 40 years of experience
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Since 1972