Keeping Legal Translation Costs Down



1. Less text

Translating a 10-page document requires an effort that is five times less than a 50-page document. Therefore, it should cost five times less.

Legal language gets more complex by seeking to be objective and avoid misinterpretations, such as using synonyms. The result can be a proliferation of redundant words or unnecessary noun phrases, which in no way help to clarify the document's purpose. This way, while rereading your legal documents, we recommend you check for unnecessary words, sentences and paragraphs.

Your power of synthesis in revising a contract or petition, for example, will enhance the text's clarity as well as reduce translation costs.


2. Fewer documents

Do you really have to translate every document and the respective annexes? Reducing the volume of words will help to lower costs. Are all of the exhibits necessary for the petition? Can some documents be excluded without negatively impacting the legal argument?

The best way to cut costs without compromising quality is to reduce work volume by removing unnecessary content or documents for the desired effect.


3. Reuse old/approved translations

Imagine you have added new clauses or changed other ones in an old contract that will be used for other customers or situations. 70% of the document is the same, without any modifications. If you have already had the previous version translated, then the required translation effort should now be roughly only 30%.

It is now advisable to consider whether you have already requested a full or partial translation of some of the documents needing to be translated in the past. If the answer is yes, then provide the original and translation versions to the translation agency and ask them to reuse the existing translation. This will result in a better price.


4. Take advantage of parts in common

In the same way you may use draft contracts to save time by not always having to rewrite the same clauses, translation agencies work with software that keeps the translations done for each customer in databases. This way, past translations can be reused to cut costs. Talk to your translation partner to see if you can get a discount for sentences repeated internally or between current and previous files.


5. Use artificial intelligence with weighting

This has nothing to do with sharing procedural documents or petitions containing sensitive data with Google, but instead using paid solutions that ensure complete data confidentiality by signing strict business agreements. In this way, you can get a translation that is 55% done in minutes, with the translator and then the reviewer taking care of the remaining 45% to ensure an exact and accurate final text. If the human work is cut nearly in half, you can expect a significant discount on the total cost of the translations. 

In no way do we want to suggest that machine translation is a miracle solution. Artificial (machine) intelligence does not produce a text as fluid and natural as the human brain of specialized professional translators, nor as well adapted to the context in question (thus requiring post-editing by a human linguist). Still, it can be a good tool for the more budget-minded.

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