Why Should You not Hire a Cheap Translator?

Why Should You not Hire a Cheap Translator?Why Should You not Hire a Cheap Translator?

Why Should You not Hire a Cheap Translator?

By Salah Al Zein

Owner & General Manager of

Communication Legal Translation


Backed by more than 40 years of service as a translator, 22 of them as owner and general manager of Communication Legal Translation in Dubai, I would like to share my experience as to why translation customers should not use the service of translators who choose to go cheap in the market:


A cheap rate is anything less than 60 UAE dirhams per page of 250 words of legal text. Here are the reasons why translation customers should not use the service of translators who charge cheap rates:


First: At the Translator’s Level

Such translator:

  1. is desperate to get a job at any rate;
  2. does not proofread. Low rate does not motivate translators to invest more time in proofreading. As a result, quality suffers;
  3. is not sufficiently qualified. Good translators are never short of jobs; therefore they do not go cheap. Why go cheap if you are always busy.
  4. may outsource the job to another translator who is less qualified at even a lower rate. Imagine what the output will be!
  5. It should be noted here that respectable translators’ associations worldwide make it unethical and unprofessional for translators to undercut their qualified colleagues by charging low rates.


Second: At the Translation Office Level:

  1. Offices charging low rates cannot afford hiring qualified translators. If you get translation jobs at AED 30 per page, how much of this amount you are going to pay your translator and what kind of quality will your translator give you for dismally cheap rates.
  2. Offices accepting jobs at cheap rate may abuse their translators by paying them low salaries and requiring them to work long hours without overtime or fair overtime rates.


Third: At the Customer’s Level:

  1. In most cases, quality will not be up to expected standard. Inaccuracies may require you to redo the translation by more competent translators or by a more respectable translation office. This means that you are paying twice for the same job. Having the same translator redo the job will not solve the problem. If he were capable to do a good job, he would have done it in the first place.
  2. Apart from the extra unnecessary charges, you job will be delayed. If you are doing the job on behalf of your customer, he/she may not be happy for the time loss. Customer dissatisfaction may cause you to lose your customer for investing in the wrong translator. You may have saved a bit of money, but losing a customer due to bad translation is difficult to absorb.
  3. Translation is often a corporate communication channel. Bad translation will reflect negatively on your corporate image. It does not make sense to save on translation and sacrifice your corporate image.


Fourth: A Piece of Advice for Desperate Translator Charging Low Rates

  1. Do not despair. Never think that you will not get another job for which you can charge a fair rate.
  2. Respect yourself and your profession. Do not short change your skills for low rates.
  3. Charge fair rates and provide the best quality you can to your customers. Doing this will enable you to build customer loyalty and will enable you to hire qualified, professional and experienced staff.
  4. This, and only this, will enable you to build reputation and a brand in the market.
  5. Prescription for success is very clear:


  • Quality breeds customer satisfaction
  • Customer satisfaction breeds loyalty and commitment
  • Loyalty and commitment breeds good reputation
  • This gives you a brand to be proud of and your business will successfully last for years to come.