Case study

How Swindon Council used Translate to cut translation costs by 99.6%.

The challenge

Swindon Borough Council faced two significant challenges when translating content for citizens where English is not their first language.

The translation process was time consuming and demanding requiring manual inputs from multiple colleagues internally. On average, this process consumed 12 days, coupled with an agency's 3–5 day human translation process resulting in a 17-day translation period per document overall.

Additionally, cost was a concern, the cost for translating documents on average was £160 per document. In addition, allocated budgets per department were nearing their limits.

In partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Swindon council developed a solution that effectively addressed both problems. It drastically reduced costs to a mere £0.07 per document and slashed translation times to an average of 14 minutes, a significant improvement from 3 days.

The solution

By developing an open-source solution, using AWS neural machine translation, a form of deep learning and language translation automation. 

Swindon Borough Council staff can now:

  • Upload documents to their own secure account.

  • Translate documents into 75 languages.

  • Receive accurate translations within minutes.

  • Save money compare to other translation methods.


The benefits


in annual savings

10 minute

translation time down from 3 days


positive feedback from the community


Customer insight

"AWS was really engaging, easy and open to work with, and seemed to really care about the people of Swindon and the potential social good this project could do."


Sara Peña

Emerging Technologies Lead
Swindon Borough Council


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