Evaluating Translation ROI from Two Perspectives: Translation Quality and Corporate Results

Three Key Points for Estimating Translation ROI

October 15, 2015

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 Translation, ROI

Content marketing is experiencing rapid growth via a variety of media including mobiles, email and social networking services. Providing information to its customers enables a company to make overseas sales despite a lack of presence there. Translations of websites and other materials are essential to raise the profile of products and services overseas.

But it isn't easy to estimate the benefits of investing in translation. Will the investment result in the desired quality? How much will it ultimately boost profits? From these two perspectives, we explain three key criteria in gauging return on investment (ROI).

Tips for Estimating Investment Benefits: Set Benchmarks!

Translating content has many conceivable benefits: e.g., increased page views and queries, as well as leads, unit sales and revenue. Really, the list of potential benchmarks is endless. Decide on which one to look at, focusing on the most important.

Separate to this, decide on criteria for evaluating translation quality. Those that hire the translator need to clarify what they are looking for in the translation-its purpose and target readership, understanding of the product and market conditions, preferred writing style and so forth.

Once the desired benchmarks are set, decide on a method to evaluate how well they have been met. Regular evaluation is important, and doesn't have to be carried out in great depth. Also important is to set success criteria for the chosen benchmarks.

Estimating Translation Costs: Quality Is Also Important

Calculating translation costs looks simple: count the number of characters to be translated, subtract repeated sections and multiply by unit cost. However, reality is not so simple! The quality of the translation company and amount of time spent on the project will have a big impact.

For example, quickly translating a big project involves multiple translators, and there tend to be wide variations in quality and style. Correcting the disparities often takes extra time and effort, hence driving up costs. You need to make some allowances for this when calculating costs for a rush translation project.

To ensure that translation quality is of a certain standard, the first order of business is to choose a reliable translation company. Give the company sufficient background information to do the job properly; respond to its questions and suggestions in good faith; and give regular feedback on what's right and wrong. This helps the translation company carry out its work smoothly and improves the end product.

Set and Compare Success Criteria

Consider ROI from a variety of angles. It is possible to calculate ROI simply as net profits divided by costs, but this approach can overlook various aspects. For example, revenue or units sold may not increase very much in a certain period. But if there is solid growth in page views or queries, there are obviously some benefits.

As we can see, it is useful to compare numbers achieved with set success criteria and measure the investment results from a variety of angles. This approach has an advantage. If sales growth is not particularly strong, this makes it easy to ascertain whether the problem is the translation, marketing approach, or the products/services themselves.

To Wrap Up

Estimating the benefits of translation requires two perspectives: corporate results and translation quality. The key is to set specific benchmarks, compare results with success criteria and evaluate them from a number of viewpoints.

When expanding into new countries or markets, a company will find that each has its own unique characteristics. In many cases indicators will behave differently; this will call for a different approach. Having two perspectives viewed from a variety of angles makes it possible to take a balanced approach that suits conditions.

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