Localization is a critical piece of the communication puzzle for any organization that counts limited English proficient (LEP) speakers among its audience. As a result, localization has become ever more commoditized, prompting the industry to ask if this is not a mistake.
Given a rather low barrier to entry, the translation and localization market has grown, which continues to drive down prices. But the reality is that not all of the new language service providers (LSPs) bring the requisite expertise. So, while those in need of such services are enjoying ever cheaper rates, choosing those providers can be a real gamble. Just consider the math for a moment:
Using 2,000 words per day as a baseline, a bilingual, college-educated person with some translation experience should make about $45,000 a year. Assuming standard benefits, 401k, sick time, and vacation pay, that person will average out at about a $0.12 per word. Now add another $0.05 per word for proofreading. This figure rises still further if a company is managing the project and resources.
The truth is that age-old adage still applies: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
So, if you’re getting a steal, just make sure the LSP is providing real value. Otherwise, the stealing might just be going the other direction.
For a closer look at this issue, check out the recent study conducted by the European Union, “Studies on Language and Multilingualism: The Size of the Language Industry in the EU.”