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Translation Prices – Up, Down, or Unchanged?
Posted by Donald A. DePalma on July 8, 2012  in the following blogs: Market Data, Supplier Business Issues, Translation and Localization
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Common Sense Advisory’s 2010 report on pricing found that demand for language services continued to grow while the price for most translation and localization fell (see “Translation and Localization Pricing,” Jul10). Language pairs involving French and German were the only ones to escape substantial price drops since our 2008 report, while English and Russian pairs showed the most price compression over that two-year period.

What caused that decrease in rates? Looking to our research with buyers and suppliers, we attributed price compression to: 1) globalization – low-cost suppliers around the world can market their services anywhere on the planet, thus squeezing prices; 2) advances in technology increased translation re-use, which is typically billed at a reduced rate; 3) economic troubles caused buyers to push back on pricing; and 4) professional purchasing agents helped more aggressive customers reduce what they paid (see “Strategic Procurement of Translation Services,” Jul10). 

How about machine translation (MT)? Translators frequently blame that technology for depressing rates, but our research shows that it is more of a volume enhancer for buyers than a price reducer (see “Trends in Machine Translation,” Oct11). Companies frequently tell us they apply the reduced price of post-edited MT (61% of the human translation price, according to our 2010 study) to translating more content in more languages.  

What does translation and localization cost today? Has technology tipped the scales even more toward fully automated translation? Which language pairs are most in demand? Which have experienced the greatest pressure on prices over the last few years? 

These are some of the questions that we ask language service providers, freelancers, and even in-house translation departments in our 2012 survey on industry pricing. If you or your company provides translation or related services, please tell us about your practice and your prices in our survey. Respondents will receive a summary of the results six to eight weeks after we publish the report. The survey will be open until July 18, 2012. Click here to take the survey or type https://www.research.net/s/SCSHMMR into your browser. Your response to this survey will help buyers understand what goes into a language project and why it costs what it does. 


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Related Research
Translation and Localization Pricing
Strategic Procurement of Translation Services
Price Pressure in Language Services
The Price of Translation
Trends in Machine Translation
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