Twice in One Week—Quality vs. Price


One of our clients called to say that his client needed language help. They thought they had it under control at a very very good price—until a native speaker in their office couldn’t figure out what the translation said.


A Tembua client called, frantic to help his client who was about to send a large document for print. Someone who grew up speaking one of the four languages contained in the document looked at the translation and said it must have been done by someone in a junior high language class. That prompted his client to ask people to read the other three languages which got similar reviews: incomprehensible garbage.

I took part in both conference calls, explaining how to evaluate a linguist/translation company before signing a contract. I talked about the team approach of translator/reviser/proofreader. I mentioned the cost-saving advantages of translation memory management software which captures the linguists’ work.

The Thursday contact said, “Just get this fixed. We don’t care how much it costs!” That’s nice to hear but I want people to know what they’re buying from us.

The Monday contact said, “What will it cost to have you redo this?”

I thought that was a reasonable response. There are situations where the cheapest product/service on the market is all you need. Think a single-use plastic table cloth for a kid’s outdoor party. There are likewise times when you simply need the gist of a foreign document.

We don’t sell that kind of service to our clients. Why should they spend their budget like that?

On the other hand, I’m absolutely clear about what we do sell: quality.

You see, this is my company and I am passionate about helping people communicate.

That means:

— we do everything in our power to make instructions for use absolutely clear for our biomedical clients. –we visualize the actual repair teams using the service manuals we translate for tech clients.

–we protect brands and, by extension, a company’s stakeholders, with exact translation.  

 There are many reputable sources in our industry. We are not the cheapest. If you need the lowest price and quality doesn’t matter, call me and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Tembua is also not the most expensive. We will tell you exactly what you’re buying from us and what it will cost.

Tembua has seen four recessions since our founding in 1993. The pattern is always the same. Budgets are cut, staff is laid off and the remaining people come looking for cheap work. We help when we can because we understand the situation.

Then, gradually, like my two clients last week, people begin to realize that low quality can have big ramifications. We are there when that happens.

I applaud the advances in technology and look forward to the day when I can have my own CP3O (“I am fluent in over 3 million forms of communication.)  

I remain passionate about exact communication across languages. It’s my job and my joy to help clients find the exact language they need for their customers and staff.


About tembua

Tembua: The Precision Language Solution provides comprehensive linguistic services for 100 languages to private industry and government agencies on a global scale. Services include document and website translation and localization; conference and 24/7 telephonic interpretation; glossary development; proofreading, text adaptation, editing, multilingual design and DTP; transcription; technical / custom authoring editing, foreign search engine optimization; translation memory management; subtitling.
This entry was posted in Tembua. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s