How to Measure the ROI of Your Document Translation

All of the reasons you have for using a Translation Management System (TMS) or language service provider in the first place have to do with the returns you get from paying for this service. While some industries like medicine and education do not deal with financial returns directly, the purpose of a professional document translation is to get more out of the documentation or software than you did previously.

How do you know if it is worth your while to pay for document translation services at all? In some cases where international business is necessary, you really do not have a choice. You need documents, software programs, or website platforms translated no matter what the return on investment (ROI). However, most companies have a choice. Understanding how to measure the return you get can help convince you that document translation services are one of the best options for increasing reach and ultimately success.

The return on website translation

Quantifying the return on your investment depends on your in-house mathematical formulas, how much you paid for the translations themselves, and what you earned because of it. This is basic accounting, which differs for every company in the world.

One of the most common types of translation services involves offering a website in more than one language. While some opt to do this with automated programs, this does not give the amount of accuracy or localization necessary to truly engage people on the other side of the world. What benefits does a professionally translated website localization project bring you?

  • Increase reach into new markets
  • Minimizes the amount of time it takes to engage an international audience
  • Improves scalability for every product or service you offer
  • Boosts engagement with proper localization of all content
  • Allows for improved communication to deliver exceptional customer service

Anyone who has ever marketed a business that sells products or services directly to consumers or professional contacts knows that the above five things increase ROI considerably. When the time between the first touch and the sale decreases due to greater understanding and accessibility, you earn more on an increasingly regular basis. Also, the buying public simply appreciates and values your company more if you make an effort to speak to them properly in ways they understand.

Improvements from eLearning translations

Non-financial returns on your investment exist, too. In the educational field, improved ROI initially focuses on how much every student gets from your coursework. If you sell classes to the public, this obviously increases your income, as well. If you focus on translated training materials for onboarding new employees or increasing the capabilities of existing ones, you get additional returns on things like productivity, improved efficiency, and greater employee satisfaction that helps you hold onto top talent.

Of course, these improvements to your employee training system also boost financial returns in the long run. Successful companies need to both engage the people they hire and increase their value by providing them with accessible and understandable eLearning opportunities.

How do you measure this type of return on an educational material translation expense? While you can simply ask the workers who are using the training materials if they understand it and test them on their increased knowledge afterward, the ultimate proof comes from improved business processes. Are specific employees finishing their jobs faster and with a higher degree of accuracy? Do they require less hands-on help from managers and supervisors to get their tasks done correctly? How much faster can you satisfy customers and clients if your employees are properly trained?

Other industry ROI measurements

The need to measure how much return you get on your translation investment extends beyond website content and training software programs. Every industry needs to understand the benefits they receive and make a specific determination about whether it is worth it to pay a professional language service provider or not.

In the realm of clinical translation, for example, doctors, scientists, and researchers collaborate on new cures or treatment strategies for a host of diseases and disorders. In order to facilitate the sharing of information and speed up the process of discovery, accurate and fast translations of jargon-filled documents and information charts are necessary. How would a research team measure the ROI on translation services of this type? How fast can they bring a new treatment to market and help patients?

In the end, the precise measurement methods for translation ROI come down to the same things used to determine whether a marketing method or training system was accurate for a company or agency. The basic formula includes the following concepts:

  1. Determine the cost per word for the translation services. In some cases, you can also consider the cost per document or project. For example, if you have an entire eLearning course translated for your new employees, that price would be compared against the benefits you receive.
  2. Track overall revenue improvements after the change were implemented. This really only works if the translation alone is traceable and no other factors were changed at the same time. As with any type of ROI measurement, you need to be able to separate factors in order to get accurate results.
  3. Pay special attention to the increase in engagement from countries with a lot of people speaking that language live. Of course, you will not engage many more people from India if you translate your website into French. Compartmentalize the data in order to get an accurate view of improvements.
  4. Determine if the customer or client engagement improves after the translation is complete and active for a specific period of time. Although things like customer satisfaction are not precisely quantifiable, you should have some type of system in place to gauge what makes customers happier and what fails to engage them completely.

No matter what type of system you put into place to measure the return on your investment for document translation and other translation services, we at Argo Translation feel confident that the types of accurate and localized language services we provide will improve your company’s reach, communication efforts, collaboration, and digital training services for employees or students of any kind. An investment in translations will help you reach a wider customer and client base in an increasingly global market and improve satisfaction and interactive efficiency across the board.


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