Myth Busted: It is cheaper to use your own employees as translators


You have a text that needs translating, and by coincidence you have an employee that knows the language. Naturally, you believe you have found the fastest and cheapest option. This is where you should tread with caution, because this is a scenario that can quickly become very costly and damage the reputation of your company. 
The employee may be a professional in their field, but just because a person is bilingual does not mean they can translate everything. Especially when it comes to technical documents, contracts, marketing material, etc. 
Translating does not mean you simply know the words of the language, it is a more complicated process than that. Translating means adapting the text to fit the target language and you need to have the skill to adapt the content to a culture or an audience in a manner that feels natural and is easy to read. To reiterate the message in a different language requires many years of experience to achieve correct and efficient results.

Case study:

A company claims they do not pay a single cent for their translations, and they have no need to purchase extra translation services. At the same time, some employees are reporting that they spend approximately 70-80% of their work hours translating various texts. So, it is costing the company 70-80% of the employee’s salary to translate these texts, and no one is controlling the quality, or the time spent. They have no translation tools either, so the work is not likely to be very efficient. 

“In many scenarios, you end up paying for expensive overtime in order for your employees to do the job they were hired to do in the first place.”

It is more expensive!

Translating a document means rewriting it. Even if your employees have the basic knowledge about your products and services, a translation may take up a lot of time. When the text is translated it needs to be proofread, which also takes up time from the employee’s normal tasks and has consequences for the efficiency level throughout the entire company. Feeling pressured into completing the translation, the employee attempts to finish as quickly as possible, potentially with a lot of typos and an unclear message. 

Something that was meant to help your company reach a larger audience becomes fruitless. You have paid large sums in salary, spent a lot of time and resources, reduced your productivity levels, and ended up with a text that does not manage to convey your message to your target audience. The translation has cost you in more ways than one!