Quality/price ratio and value for money - difference

Azazel81

Senior Member
Italy - Italian
Hello everyone.

this is, I think, my first time writing here in the English Only section. I was a regular user mostly of the Italian-English forum section.

Anyway.. when I'm at work I frequently have to deal with translations from/to English/Italian. This time I came across these two expressions:

- Quality/price ratio

- Value for money

Now, in Italian they're mostly translated with the same expression (or anyway with expressions which are very similar to one another).

I search the net to get a better idea of the usage, of the contexts, of how they both have spread, and so on.. and I found some interesting things especially about the second one (I found mostly economic stuff, of course)... but I'm not satisfied yet.

So, I was wondering... could you guys please help? What's the difference (or.. the differences) between these two expressions? How often do you use each of them?

I hope I opened this thread correctly (if not, I apologize... I'll fix it).

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. :)
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Quality and price are only two aspects of value. For example, a product that is designed specifically for my unique needs can offer me higher value than a general-purpose product that is designed to meet a wide variety of needs, even if the general-purpose product is of higher quality. Service and support are additional value factors that are not part of quality. There are many more aspects of value that are not part of product quality as that term is usually understood.

    Therefore, value for money is a broader concept than the quality/price ratio (which means "quality for money").
     

    Azazel81

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Thanks guys. So... Basically, if I'm simply analyzing one of my products based on those two aspects (quality and price) I could safely use the expression quality/price ratio, right? Is either of the two more common in BrE rather than AmE (or vice versa)? I saw (on google) that q/p ratio is more used... Is it because it's simpler/low-level (so to speak)? Any other reason?

    Any other useful info? Thanks again.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "Quality to price ratio" sounds like something that is trying to appear quantitative/scientific/academic and I would therefore expect it to have been preceded by an attempt at a definition of "quality". If that is the case, keep using it as specifically defined and distinct from the other choice. Without some rigorous definition of "quality" it just sounds like a pretentious way of saying (the common or garden expression) "value for money". (I'm not saying quality=value, just that both are usually subjective and they are often related by money).
     

    Azazel81

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Thanks Julian. I don't know if your question written in small fonts is pointed at me, or if it's just part of your signature, but.. No.. It's not specific.. I have no context in this case. Anyway, thanks.

    I think now I got the gist.. Or at least I have some more info about it, and for this I thank you all.

    Of course, should anyone have somethimg else to add, it would be appreciated... Like they say: the more, the better. :)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Thanks Julian. I don't know if your question written in small fonts is pointed at me, or if it's just part of your signature, but.. No.. It's not specific.. I have no context in this case. Anyway, thanks.
    It is my signature (new members are often unaware of the purpose of the forum, so it helps reduce the amount of moderating if more people see it:D). In any case, your question was a very clear request for guidance. The only improvement might be an example sentence, or a description of the sorts of documents you are translating, which might affect the choice of the two expressions.
     

    Azazel81

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Well, it's actually something I translated one year ago (I guess).. My boss was looking at it and asked me why I had chosen "q/p ratio". It's a sort of advert of one of our top products... So I thought I'd use "q/p ratio". If memory serves, it had a series of pros.. Like a list of them.. And one of them was it.. But I can't remember all of it exactly the way it was. :) hope this helps. Anyway, you've been quite helpful so.. Thanks again.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    If you are writing publicity material for the general public, I think "quality/price ratio" might be unfamiliar or a bit pretentious or technical sounding.

    On the other hand, "value for money" is widely understood and accepted. However, in British marketing you need to be a bit careful with the use of "value" as it is often used as euphemism for basic, not excellent.

    If products are described as "part of our value range" it suggests they are not top class, not market-leading in desirability, not outstandingly attractive but are adequate.

    "Value products" or "Essentials" or "Everyday products" would be aimed at very price-conscious customers, probably with less glamorous advertising and minimal packaging.
     

    Azazel81

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    No no no... I think I may have misled you a little here.. Sorry. :)

    It's an ad, ok, but it's not like it's described as part of our value range. It's a top range machine, and one of its features is its q/p ratio (or... It's good value for money). In this case, which one would see fit better?
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    In my language we say, literally, 'price/quality ratio' when we mean 'value for money'. So, maybe my language is not the only one in which this is a set phrase, I mean 'price/quality ratio'. Anyway, I would refrain from using it in English unless, as already explained, I was being very technical. :)
     

    Azazel81

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Well... How do you mean "very technical"?

    In the adv I'm giving details, features and pros about this machine, so... I'm probably being technical (but not like 100%) at some point.

    However, before being printed, this page was also checked by our US distributor who gave his "ok" to it. That's why I didn't say anything. But after one year, a British guy said he'd say "value for money" without knowing the exact context, though... He was just asked the question "how would you translate the Italian expression 'rapporto qualità/prezzo'.."

    And this made me search for more info. :) when it comes to the English idiom I'm always willing to delve deep... The more I learn, the better. :)
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    My theory - the American distributor okayed it because it is grammatically correct and quite understandable (for me at least it definitely is); the British chap suggested 'value for money' because this is the normal English way of getting the message across. :D

    Anyway, for me having a good price/quality ratio is the same as being good value for money.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with boozer. If the material you are discussing is to be read by the general public, "ratio" is probably a word to be avoided --it's a little too reminiscent of school maths class.
     

    Azazel81

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    I double-checked the exact context, and double-checked it with our US distributor too.. Apparently the "q/p ratio" version fitted better.. Actually it fitted perfectly with our context.

    I still wasn't happy with that, as I wanted to know more about these two expressions, so I googled it a little more and actually what I found is really interesting.

    If you're interested too, then I suggest you take a look at it for yourselves. :)

    Thanks to you guys now I have some more info to "paint the whole picture". Thanks again. :)
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    ... so I googled it a little more and actually what I found is really interesting. If you're interested too, then I suggest you take a look at it for yourselves. :)
    Telling us to check google in order to see something you have discovered is like telling us to look at the ocean to see what a herring looks like... Would you not like to share with us the gist of your findings?
     

    Azazel81

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    What I found while googling the expression "price-quality ratio" is that it is very commonly used:

    1) if you look for "price-quality ratio" you'll find around 25kk results, as opposed to the 685k results you'll get by looking for "value for money"
    2) "price-quality ratio" is used in various ways/sentences (other language websites report many examples ... I don't know if I can put links here ... I don't remember all of the rules of this forum). And some of them report the two expressions as if they were almost synonyms.
    3) as explained by egmont, Q/P ratio seems to be simply referring to the mere ratio between (technical) quality and price, while "value for money" seems to be a "wider" expression where "value" implies also quality (and many other values, of course).
    4) but this is my assumption: it seems like Q/P ratio is more common in the US, whereas "value for money" is more common in the UK. It's probably almost ironic that the latest post in this thread, written by Sound Shift (BrE native speaker) said something along these lines. :)
    5) in economics, "value for money" has mainly two meanings/uses: the first one is (like we said) similar to Q/P ratio, the other one is in brief: "
    • The HEFCE describes VFM in the following way:
      'Value for money' (VFM) is a term used to assess whether or not an organisation has obtained the maximum benefit from the goods and services it both acquires and provides, within the resources available to it. Some elements may be subjective, difficult to measure, intangible and misunderstood. Judgement is therefore required when considering whether VFM has been satisfactorily achieved or not. It not only measures the cost of goods and services, but also takes account of the mix of quality, cost, resource use, fitness for purpose, timeliness, and convenience to judge whether or not, together, they constitute good value."
    Taken from University Of Cambridge website (it goes on...).

    I hope I didn't forget/misread anything (if so, please tell me)... and I also hope this helps. :)
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ... if you look for "price-quality ratio" you'll find around 25kk results...
    If you click through or skip ahead, you'll find that the actual number of hits is* 316. "Value for money" gets 430. The difference is not significant.

    (Google often thinks it has a huge number of hits for a search string, but can't really find them and reduces the hit count drastically as you move through the list.)

    ____________________
    *Or was, at 2:45 pm Eastern (U.S.) Daylight Time on May 13, 2014. Your results at a different time may vary, but probably not by much if it isn't long after that time.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    The BNC produces 730 hits for 'value for money', while COCA stops at 50. It may be that the phrase is "more BBritish" than American. However, both produce zero results for any combination of words to the effect of price to quality/quality to price ratio that I could think of. Those still sound to me a bit like a fellow countryman of mine speaking English :) - perfectly understandable and logical but not soemthing that I remember hearing in English :)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Now perhaps you can understand why we ask for a specific sentence in a question. A general discussion of where expression A is used versus a similar expression B is not usually very fruitful. This thread is an example. If you have an example sentence and would like to duscuss the likelihood of A versus B, we might make some progress.:)
     

    acme_54

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Now perhaps you can understand why we ask for a specific sentence in a question. A general discussion of where expression A is used versus a similar expression B is not usually very fruitful. This thread is an example. If you have an example sentence and would like to duscuss the likelihood of A versus B, we might make some progress.:)
    I stumbled across this thread tonight and found it very useful anyway, the discussion was interesting... :)
     
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