– outsource or not to outsource; the age-old question
So, your company is ready to expand and go more global. To reach out to a more diverse customer base, you will need to localize your website. You have two choices: establish an in-house team of translators or outsource to a company that specializes in translation. Before making such a crucial decision, you best consider the pros and cons of both options.
The main topics to review are translation costs, scalability and quality control.
Be cost-conscious, not cost-driven. A common misconception is that having internal resources is more efficient and costs less. In fact, there are numerous hidden costs associated with going all in-house. Outsourcing translations to an agency is proven to be much more cost-effective: just think about recruiting, training and managing an in-house team.
Outsourcing also means that you only pay for the work that is completed. Volumes of work often fluctuate, and your in-house team might just “sit around” during less busy times, while you still are paying the hourly wage.
Talking about fluctuating work volumes, in case of extremely busy times, your in-house team might not be able to cope with the higher workload, and hiring new team members takes time and HR resources.
Internal resources are also difficult to scale as the business grows. When entering a new market, you cannot know yet if it makes sense to hire in-house professionals. Many companies start with a light version of their website to test and probe the new market.
Having an in-house team is therefore advisable for steady-workload companies, that are able to plan their content needs months and months ahead.
Employees of the company definitely have more insights as to the products and services, and therefore have a better understanding of how it is best to sell them to customers. However, they might not be experts in translating all kinds of content.
Optimal quality is best achieved if you combine in-house and external resources. Outsourcing the translations of your content does not need to mean that you give up control. Native speakers in your company can provide substantial feedback on outsourced translations, and can be of great help of compiling a glossary, for instance.
So what is better?
Should you outsource, or keep everything under direct control, in-house?
It really all depends on your company’s specific situation and needs. Even massive companies decide to outsource, and very small companies vouch for insourcing.
In my experience, best results are achieved by applying a hybrid approach: keep quality control in-house as much as possible, but outsource big bulks of content translations, so you can keep focusing more on the core of your business.