How Our Client Saved Thousands of Dollars from Chinese Mechanical Engineering
Sophie Ao, Author
26 February 2019
Mechanical engineering is one of the most challenging fields among other hard specialties. It requires good translation skills and comprehensive knowledge on the topic at the same time. Moreover, it’s also huge in size, which always invites innovative ways to reach a perfect balance of high-quality results, shorter time frame, and maximizing the budget.
We see it as our mission to achieve all three in every project that we work on for all our customers. In this post, I’d like to share how my team and our mechanical engineering translators successfully finished and “wowed” our client.
It’s a story about saving thousands of dollars for standard technical manuals and increasing productivity by 280%!
Huge mechanical engineering translation tasks and high-quality work
A manufacturer of mechanical engineering and automation in Germany approached us with a technical manual for a Simplified Chinese translation proposal. Supplying Chinese version manuals is part of the deal to do business with their Chinese clients. After signing an NDA (non-disclosure agreement to keep information safe) for the client, we received a 180 pages Word document of a total of 31,925 words (according to Microsoft Word).
They also had to find out the price for translation service and if we could complete the translation in 20 days.
We ran an analysis of the file with our tool and found there are quite a few repetitions. It turned out these 31,925 words document contained translatable texts of about 27,916.8 words according to our analysis.
Since the total word count is over 10,000 but less than 50,000 words, we applied additional volume discount of 10%.
As this is a new client, so she’s entitled with 20% off as a welcome gift for this particular project. So, we applied a 20% discount off on top of everything.
Save $1,419 USD from Chinese translation? For real?
It turned out initially, they had to pay $3,831 USD for the Chinese translation if calculated by word count information in MS Word. But they only needed to pay $2,412 USD with a volume discount, CAT savings (we’ll cover this in later part) as well as new client promotion all applied together.
From $3,831 to $2,412, we helped the client save $1,419 USD from Chinese translation for a single document of 30,000 source words. That’s a 37% savings!
Moving forward with delivery time calculation, a moderate speed of translation for technical documents is around 1,500 to 2,000 source words per day per person. It also meant with only 1 translator and 1 proofreader, and we can complete the translation task well within 20 days. After confirming the work schedule of translators, our project manager thought it we could finish within 15 days.
The client was happy with both the price and the returning schedule. Though they did not ask for test translation, we did a 300 words short sample translation for them to form an idea of quality expectations.
They reverted shortly to us that their Chinese liaison had positive feedback for our sample translation, so they would like to go ahead with the full-length translation.
Our project data below
* Our project managers know the translators best. Their performances have been long tested by time. Moreover, good translators need booking for they never lack jobs! That’s why we always handpick the best suitable translators, neither the ones that replied us earliest (believe us, there are quite a few agencies work in this early bird mode – whoever answers the bid wins it, this is not controllable. Senior translators with over 10 years of experience do not have the time to click on bidding platforms because they have a long queue of jobs lining up. We need to book their precious time to make it happen) nor the ones that would bring the most profit (there are many agencies out there looking at translation business as a number’s game: revenue, profit margins, growth. They don’t give it much thought for the best option for clients but the best deal for them – whoever bidding the lowest, making them most profits stay on the project).
You can tell by their working attitude: do they care anything about your needs? Be aware!
To ensure high-quality standards, our project manager ran QA checks from head to toe of the translation to check the following:
1. All translatable words are translated without any omission.
2. The un-translatable words are kept as they are, per client request.
3. Numbers, dates, measuring units were translated correctly.
4. Property names and terminologies are consistent throughout the entire document.
5. No redundant spaces or wrong use of punctuations.
6. All translation formatting tags are correctly in place, the same as the original language.
Our project manager (PM) composed and built a bilingual terminology base (TB) and translation memory (TM) for the client for future use. With our way, the client would never pay for the same translation again, a huge saving in the long run.
In summary, the client was thrilled with our performance. Good translation quality, fast delivery, prompt communication and most importantly, BIG savings on the budget!
But wait there’s more.
In fact, because of the success of the first project, the same client came back again two weeks later with another project, which they saved even more!
Chinese mechanical engineering translation second round: better, faster, and CHEAPER
This time, they sent over 2-word documents for similar product lines. The source words are 30,285 in total. However, thanks to the effort of our PM on building and maintaining translation memory and terminology base, the client saved 52.8% this time, as we applied our principle that “Clients will never have to pay for the same translation again!”
Our project data below
We saved and archived for the client the actual word count and was diminished to only 14,279.50. The company saved 57.58% for this project since they have to pay for those actual words.
The same team who handled the first project also worked on the translation and proofreading. The client is amazed by the high quality of work and the speed of the delivery. Remember, the first project took 14 days to complete. For this one, such task similar to the size and scope took five days to complete. It’s a 280% increase of productivity and saved over half of their budget back to their pocket.
The client was elated to receive the same high-quality, consistent translation from us and happy that we delivered it ahead of time, plus with a much lower price, thanks to our effective project management team and skillful application of CAT tool.
Third time around: consistent, high-quality work and they keep coming back
Our business relationship with the client didn’t stop there. The second project opened another opportunity for the third one, fourth and more. Compare the work scope change of the projects for the same client:
The client never had to pay for the same mechanical engineering translation ever again. We finished the project after five days, which makes this round, faster, cheaper, and higher quality of work since our team knows the “nuts and bolts” of the technical documents in Chinese.
Our team upholds transparency and honesty whenever we manage this type of translation project. We know that there might be instances that the CAT Tool had a list of phrases that shouldn’t be charged to the client. I also shared the powerful features of CAT tool in my previous blog post to help clients understand better how we run our translation work and how we charge them.
For these documents, they have similar content structure, including the following: User Instructions, Intended Use, Guarantee, Safety Information, Transport, Assembly and Commissioning, Decommissioning and among others.
These are the information we had to translate in the manuals. For mechanical engineering translation projects, it’s best to combine both the manual work of a professional translator and CAT tool features to speed up the work and most importantly, help the client save more money.
If you have technical documents that need translation in Chinese, let us know, and we’ll give you a quote in 24 hours on a working day or in 48 hours on weekends.
We have seen good clients and bad ones as well. As we are constrained by resources, we will only serve those deserve our attention and time. We will only focus on clients who are already decided which projects to prioritize and understand the importance of translation and localization efforts.
Sophie is the founder and CEO of AZ-Loc Language Service Inc., a Wuhan-based translation agency that provides professional Chinese translation, localization, design, and multimedia production (video translation, subtitling, voice-overs and dubbing services). She has been in the language industry for more than 16 years and knows her stuff pretty well. She excels at taking the initiative to get things done without compromising customers’ requirements. Sophie loves to collaborate with like-minded people who share the same passion and commitment at work. Well versed with overseas and Chinese markets and a self-confessed polyglot who speaks Mandarin, English, Japanese, Hungarian, and French, she founded AZ-Loc in 2011 to make a big difference in greater China where you rarely find professional language services.