Young and sweet, only seventeen. OK: I’ll admit it’s only been 15 years since we started at blc, we weren’t 17. But our memories are just as young and sweet as the stories told by ABBA. For our 15-year-anniversary, we’re going to be sharing some classic stories that we collected during all those years of language process consulting alongside you. In our series “blc-stories” you will laugh, be amazed and maybe even cry a little! Either way, you are sure to take something from it. We’ll start with our favorite question that we get asked from you, and some “food for thought”. Enjoy!
Our favorite question: “Uhm, what is it exactly that you do?”
We are so specific, that nobody understands what we do right away. Translate? No. Design systems? Nope. Writing texts? Not that either. Everyone on the #blcteam has developed their own answer to this question. My answer: I research and pinpoint the challenges that my counterpart faces, so that I can explain our business model using those concrete examples. This is often easier said than done.
Our favourite answer: “We are satisfied, but thanks!”
“Nah, everything is going great for us. We barely have any texts and they hardly change.” says my counterpart, reaching into the peanut bowl.
“That’s great,” I answer slightly sarcastically, because I already know that great doesn’t always mean great. “Then you must barely have any translation costs! “ One handful of peanuts for me.
My speaking partner frowns: “Our costs are always identical because the volumes never change.” clearly doubting my state of mind.
“But you said the texts hardly change. Then the costs would have to be close to zero.” I counter.
Unsure nibbling proceeds on the other side. “Uh, we always give our texts to the agencies as they are and always get an invoice for the same amount.”
Well, then it is truly going great, I think to myself. “But why do you keep paying for something that’s already been on your computer as a translation and hasn’t changed in years? “ My speaking partner seems unsure.
Easy is not always good
45 minutes and an empty bowl of peanuts later, my counterpart realizes that it might not be going as great as he thought. He sends his text alongside instructions to the translation agency, and the translation arrives a few days later. The invoice lands on his desk, the price matches the number of pages. Everything worked out! He hadn’t considered that a previous version of the same text had been translated a long time ago and since then, only the model number has changed.
Food for thought
“What if,” I ask him, “There was a system that magically compared your texts, used preexisting translations and only sent new text excerpts to the translation agency? “ I snatch the peanut bowl from the empty neighboring table and line up a couple of peanuts on our table. “On top of that, the system would give you an invoice which only includes the new texts that actually need translating. “ I triumphantly sweep the peanuts into my hand and into my mouth. “Is it a dream? No, it exists. It’s called ‘Translation Memory‘”.
Necessary no matter the volume
He declines: “Oh, we have far too little volume for that. For those few texts that we need translated a year, it’s not worth the investment.”, and reaches into our newfound peanut bowl.
“Are you sure? “ I keep digging, “Suppose you translate 500 pages a year into 3 languages. Using well-maintained Translation Memory, you can save up to 50% on similar Texts. Simply by not having the same content translated again and again. See! “. I can barely contain my impulse to throw the peanut into the air and catch it with my mouth. That only looks good in movies. “So your investment will have been worth it within the first year. And we haven’t even considered the benefits that follow with an increasing numbers of languages or volume. Not to mention the other advantages of translation memory- higher quality in all languages, faster translations and so on. ” .
Uhm, and what now?
My counterpart nods and rinses the peanuts down with a big gulp of water. “Yes, fair enough. And you have this system available for me?”
Not quite, but there are several professional software vendors both locally and in the cloud. But we’ll tell you how it’ll actually work great for you, and help you achieve this with the correct systems for your specific processes and formats.
The answer: language process consulting
And if you don’t want to introduce tools, we’ll help you set up a process with the right translation service provider that includes Translation Memory. We also provide this language process consulting for machine translation systems; terminology and ontology systems; language quality assurance systems….
In the coming weeks and months, we will be sharing more blc stories from these past 15 years of consulting with you on our blog! Stay tuned!