If a builder gives you a quote for a job and then asks for twice as much when the project is completed, you’ll be left pretty angry.
Well the reaction is the exact same in the localization world – or any other business sector for that matter – and this highlights how important it is to define the scope of any task before starting.
When it comes to providing an accurate quote for website localization, there is a common misconception that it is an easy process. All the linguists have to do is look at the portal size and make a judgement, right?
This couldn’t be further from the truth, as there is actually no meaningful average size for a website, with the layout of a site depending on the sector, topic and requirements of the business.
Furthermore, simply knowing the number of pages or HTML files is no guide to how much work will actually be involved, as a client might have a page of 100 words on ‘how to contact us’, and another page of 3,000 words detailing their services. Remember, accuracy during the planning stage is your friend.
Localizing even a simple website requires the client and localization agency to have a close working relationship, where they can establish exactly what content needs to be localized and what doesn’t. Don’t forget, decisions taken at this stage will have an effect on the final cost of the work.
How can you create accurate localization quotes?
The first stage is for the client to send across all of the relevant files, such as HTML and graphics, that they want localized. From here, analysis tools can be used to come up with a realistic indication of how much work is required.
However, the tools cannot be used on their own, as they cannot make intelligent decisions and therefore could include old or duplicate versions of files that have been left on the webserver, pages of links and tables of figures. If they are included in the project accidently, it would vastly increase the costs of a localization project.
Moreover, text contained within graphics, content in PDF/Word/Excel/Powerpoint files and Flash or other animations may be missed out and added onto the project at a later date, slowing the whole process.
The actual database files should also be provided if a significant part of your website content is database-driven – they will typically be in a format such as Microsoft Access, Oracle, MySQL and will eventually be required anyway to perform the proper localization, so it’s best to give these at the start.
In terms of establishing a point of contact, it is best if the localization agency deals with the person responsible for creating the original content. As a rule, it is also best to keep contact down to just one person, although regional offices can have some input.
So as you can see, a lot of hard and effort goes into coming up with an accurate quote for a localization project. However, if your website was created by a third party, be prepared for a big sigh of relief, because there is a good chance it will cost far less to localize!