2 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ask for a Localization Rate Sheet

2 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ask for a Localization Rate Sheet

Before booking localization services, clients typically reach out to several localization specialists to ask for their rate sheet. That way, they can compare different providers and how much it will cost to work with each one. Good approach, right? Not exactly.

It’s understandable that businesses have budgets they have to keep top of mind. However, asking for a rate sheet and comparing your localization options by just analyzing their rate sheet may not be the best route to take when you start out on a localization journey. Why? Keep reading to find out.

What is a Rate Sheet?

A rate sheet is a document where a vendor lists how much a client would pay for a given service. In the localization industry, rates are usually expressed per word and per language pair.

Rate sheets can also include what the discount matrix for repetitions and fuzzy matches will be if the content can be worked on using a CAT Tool.

Reasons Not to Ask for A Rate Sheet

Now that you know what a rate sheet is, let’s look at some reasons why it’s not beneficial to ask for one.

Not All Projects are Created Equal

The truth is that each client brings a unique project to the table. In order to determine a fair rate for the work that needs to be done, it’s essential to dive deep into the project and for the localization partner to understand its specific needs before they can determine a rate.

A localization partner should analyze elements like type of content, volume, specialization, number of languages, rounds of edits and quality assurance, project management, format of the files, and deadlines in order to determine a rate. They would also take the need for a dedicated lead linguist and formatting and design requirements into consideration.

Rate cards don’t take the specific needs of a project into consideration. Some projects might require more steps than just translation. For example, creative projects that need transcreation or files with specific designs that need to be reformatted and adapted to suit the target market or the target audience.

The subject matter of the project is another important factor that may influence cost. It’s not the same to translate a legal contract that will require the use of specialized legal translators or an e-learning course that might need an experienced project management team that will know how to handle the different types of file format, the extraction of the content, and the localization of the content included in the course. Another example of this is when a video may require subtitling by a specialized audiovisual translator that knows about temporization and other specific rules that apply to that medium.

Rate Sheets are Vague

When you ask for a rate sheet, it won’t likely specify what is included within that rate. Numbers can be very misleading and while it may seem logical to choose the most affordable vendor in order to free up room in your budget, you need to make sure you don’t accidentally cut corners by doing this. You always want to work with professional and specialized translators.

Be very wary if the vendor you are choosing has low per-word rates, because that means they might not be working with native professional translators who are experts in the target market and industry, which is absolutely essential to get a good quality final product.

A serious partner would learn all about your project, ask about all key details, and then would create a customized proposal.

The Takeaway

There’s no formula for pricing a localization project. A project rate should always be calculated on a case-by-case basis. However, once a client becomes an established partner and they get thoroughly familiar with the type of content they work with, a customized rate sheet could be established for ongoing projects to facilitate budgeting and provide transparency to both sides.


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