A Bundling-Unbundling Strategy for Your Translation Business

translation services

Have you flown recently? Have you had the chance to experience and tell the difference between a legacy and a budget airline?

Budget airlines have succeeded in cutting their production (overhead) costs, which has made it possible for them to lower prices. Sometimes, being cheap is not enough, though. A cost-cutting strategy might be successful in the short term, but it might also backfire in some cases.

On the other hand, legacy airlines are reliable and transparent, and, in most cases, have better customer service. Yes, they too may apply an additional charge for special requests (extra legroom or extra luggage), and yet, with a no-frills service their prices remain competitive. They may not include all fixed non-optional costs in their basic prices but do not boast zero-cost flights just by not showing airport fees and taxes as separate additional charges. This price strategy is twofold, i.e. bundling & unbundling.

Bundling

Let’s start with bundling, which in this example corresponds to an airline offering package deals to passengers that include not just the ticket but also luggage check and so on. But if the passengers don’t need to check their luggage, the package appears expensive, because it offers more services than the passengers may need.

Unbundling

Here comes unbundling, which basically means breaking something up into smaller pieces. This can be advantageous to both a company and its customers who can enjoy the benefit of choosing whichever service is convenient and useful to them. In the previous scenario, the airline company might unbundle the package and offer services individually.

Bundling & Unbundling Your Translation Services

Implementing a bundling-unbundling strategy for your translation services helps you split an offer or package into various smaller offers and create value for your customers without having to create something new. Good examples of bundling-unbundling strategies are the option of buying individual articles instead of a whole digital newspaper or single tracks instead of a whole music album. The whole newspaper/album may cost less than the sum of a few articles or songs, but you’ll have just what you need.

Your company’s bundling and unbundling strategy will have to be based on your customers’ needs and requirements. You might want to start by taking a look at any business data you might have: Who are your clients? What service(s) do they buy from you (translation, localization, transcreation)? If you haven’t already done the research to confidently know the answers to these questions, a good starting point would be to conduct a customer survey to gather a better, deeper insight of your client base.

Now, let’s think for a moment: How would you break up your translation workflow into multiple offerings? You could concentrate on the essential components: translation, revision, and QA. You could also choose more granularity, for example: source text check, source content creation, creating a terminology database, review by a subject-matter expert, or maybe even come up with different rates for different content types, etc.

Once you’ve created a list of all the building blocks of your workflow that a client can request or take advantage of separately, you can also start to bundle them and create modular packages.

What follows are just a few examples of translation packages, that might be a good starting point for a brainstorming session with your team.

Basic Service

Translation with automated QA is like a basic airplane ticket to get to a destination in the cheapest way possible. The automated QA will help you to quickly smooth out any inconsistencies in the translation. If your company offers machine translation, this first level could comprise some light post-editing and automated QA.

Building Blocks

Revision

Translation with full revision and automated QA could be the equivalent of an airplane ticket for a frequent flyer customer who wants to enjoy a little extra comfort and service during the flight. A first round of revision could be done by a reviewer and a second round, for example, by a subject-matter expert. Again, the automated QA will help you take out any major imperfections in the translation. If you use machine translation, this level could comprise one round of post-editing (either light or full) followed by a step of proofreading.

Terminology

Translation with full revision, terminology management and automated QA is the equivalent of a business-class airplane ticket that gives you priority access at the airport, lounge access with a guest, seat options at half the price and so on… It’s a translation service that is meant for clients who are looking for a long-term partnership. Also, managing a customized terminology database for your client is a good way to work with them in creating source content that can be translated more easily and efficiently and a good starting point to offer other services/packages (e.g. writing and editing services or source content creation for machine translation).

Automation and Scalability

As always for an efficient business strategy, there are two essential elements: automation and scalability. Automation will help you get the most out of all available resources as well as increase efficiency and flexibility. Technological scalability will enable growth by allowing you to work with more customers, data and resources according to cases. If you do not have a way to handle these increases, you can lose efficiency or the quality of your service can suffer.