Client questions about accuracy and pricing

After submitting a quote for translation of several Korean patents to English, the prospective client replied with the two following additional questions.

Can your Korean-to-English translations be verified for accuracy both in technical and legal views?

Dear [prospective client],

I would do the translations myself; I would not outsource them to anyone else and I would deliver my best work. Therefore I can issue a certification of accuracy. I would also be available for clarifications later, should you have questions about certain wording. 

I suggest we start with the smallest of the three patents first. Since we haven’t worked together before, we might even begin with just a portion of that document.  Based on that, you can review the translation to gain confidence in my work. You’ll also be welcome to provide feedback, if any, so that I can tweak terminology or phrasing before continuing with the remainder of the content.

I hope this answers your questions and concerns.


You look trustworthy many ways, but I can’t understand the wide price range. Some US firms quoted a higher price than yours and Korean agencies quoted much lower, with a proofreading process plus a lawyer’s review. Is it because overall Korean costs and prices are much lower than here in the States, or is there something else I’m not aware of?

Dear [prospective client],

I understand your concerns. 

The price diversity you are seeing is exactly what I would expect. My prices are lower than the big guys, but higher than my competitors in Korea. You are also right that average translation rates paid by Korean clients in Korea are lower than in the US. Clearly though, it can’t be as simple as that since even in the Internet age, clients looking for quality and service still keep me and others busy internationally. Translation is a diverse industry with a variety of price points and combinations of competitive advantage.

I can’t tell you whether you will get the value you need from one of the cheap Korea providers. You may get more bang for your buck if they actually do deliver with the process they’ve promised, and especially if they put engineers and lawyers on the job who are experts in your field. On the other hand, the translations you get from translators in Korea who are not native speakers (or if they are using a post-editing workflow of machine translation, or if they are sloppy and leave steps out) may not read as smoothly and accurately as you would get at a higher price point. The large agencies in the US include multiple linguists on their jobs as a matter of policy. This (along with their corporate overhead) is what pushes up their costs. I’ve been involved in those workflows at times and sometimes wondered how much actual value the many steps add to the final product. When you work with me, what I deliver would be my work only. I check my work, of course, but it’s more of a craft, than an assembly line.

You may just have to try different options and see which one best matches your situation.  If you decide to try another option, feel free to check back with me later in the year if you are still struggling to find the right translation provider.

I hope this is helpful.



Steven Bammel

Steven S. Bammel is president and chief translator/consultant at Korean Consulting & Translation Service, Inc. A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington (B.B.A. Economics) and Hanyang University (M.S. Management Strategy), Steven has worked for over twenty years in Korean business and translation. | more about Steven

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