Budgeting for Translation

Whether you are considering your first translation project, or are a veteran, the subject of budgeting for translation often comes up. How, when, where and why to budget translation service.

We believe that as a company considers international business, translation and cultural training should be considered along with other business expenses that are incurred when servicing global customers.

The reality of the budget question is that often organizations don’t recognize the need and benefit of translated materials early enough in the process. When considering “going global”, each part of an organization should consider translation and cultural training expenses as part of the cost of doing business…whether they are in marketing, sales, product development, service, employee communication or legal. Like a crew on a sailing vessel, each part of an organization does its part to make the trip into global waters successful.


Consider the use of translation and budget accordingly for potential use of marketing materials around the globe. Product and brand name word choice can lead to embarrassing  situations when translated improperly. The costs of translation and localization may be considered as part of brand development, design and production costs.


Rarely do organizations consider the cost of globalization when pitching new product or service work outside the United States. Yet like any necessary and beneficial aspect of delivering a quality customer experience, translation can be considered part of the price of a product or a part of a project quote. This way the translation work is considered part of the deliverable to the customer and therefore, the value of the translation into their language is understood by the customer.

Product Development and Service

Product literature can become a liability when translated poorly. Unclear directions translated with cultural inferences or language nuances can lead to incorrect use of equipment, accidents and injuries. Product development costs could include a contingency budget for translation and potential localization costs that arise when sales opportunities develop in the future. This avoids the issue of a contract award followed by a scramble to pay for translation!

Employee Communications

When a business expands globally, the culture of the organization changes. People from different cultures work together and bridge the gulfs between them to achieve the common mission. It is critical for the organization to aid in this confluence of peoples by budgeting human resource and employee training dollars for translation and cultural adaptation/transcreation of employee materials. 


International legal issues are costly and can sink a company’s efforts to build its business globally. Understanding of intent is vital to contracts and documentation of business agreements. For this reason, as joint ventures, affiliates, representatives and other business relationships are formed internationally, a budget for translation and adaptation of legal documents will make these agreements better understood by all parties.

Because of our experience working with many types of organizations and different types of projects, Confluent Translations can assist you in developing work and budgeting processes that satisfy your organization’s management and accounting requirements.

We will be glad to discuss your situation with you and help you plan the best strategy. Contact Charlene Nagy at cnagy@confluenttranslations.com.