Nowadays we live in a very competitive world. As individuals we compete against each other for every piece of work available, companies do the same. For both individuals and companies alike, the aim is profit.

Investors want maximum profit out of their investments.

There seem to be two rules for increasing profit, a) increase income and b) pay less. This means earning more from the sales of our products or services and paying less for the products or services provided by others.

This has reached a degree whereby we try to sell our products or services at the highest price possible and we try to get the products or services we need at the lowest price we can. The dream of any investor is now to get maximum profit with no investment.

In an attempt to reduce expenses, companies ask to their providers for the most competitive price (the lowest price), and the result is products and services with lower prices, less material, less services and less quality.

This is not a joke. Recently I bought a pocket knife from one of the best factories. This knife is one of the finest you can find on the market. Included was their User Guide in English, with its translation into Spanish. I found that the expression "thumb stud" was translated as "husillo de pulgar"; a "husillo" is precisely a spindle, so no relation between a thumb stud and a spindle. The correct translation for stud is “botón”. Also, the “carabiner clip" was translated as "cierre tipo carabinero". You can try for eons but you will never find such a thing in Spanish. This translation just does not make any sense; the correct translation of carabiner is “mosquetón”.

One of the best knife makers in the world, with such a ridiculous translation. There´s no point complaining about the translator. We can imagine the "good bargain" of the purchase department who got a cheap translator resulting in a considerable reduction of the budget and, of course, in the quality of the translation as well as the reputation of the company.

That’s the wrong way to play this game. Anything on the market has a fair value. A good knife has a fair price. Many translation companies are trying to compete with each other offering a more "competitive" price, making their translators compete with each other to offer a more "competitive" price, and the result is less and less quality, because the only ones that offer a lower price are the ones that are less experienced or less qualified.

If you want to increase your income as a translation agency or as an outsourcer, get good translators, and pay fair, that way you will be able to deliver quality and receive fair pay too. I'm quite sure the purchaser and the agency that did the translation for the knife factory are no longer there.

When you think of a more competitive price, think that “competitive” has to address competence and not competition and you will have more chances of succeeding.

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