Price of a translation: 6 points to know to be an expert on the subject

Par Shane Hartford | 4 May 2017 Price of a translation: 6 points to know to be an expert on the subject

In response to the question “How long before a translation is ready”, we wrote a blog explaining that it depends on a number of factors. But when it comes to the question of price of a translation?

The answer is the same!

So, what are the factors that play a role in determining the price of a translation project?

  • The language combination

Translating to languages outside of the common, English, French, German, Spanish, etc., may require more time and effort for the translator tasked with the project. Consequently, translating “rare” languages will be more expensive than translating common European languages.

  • The type of the text

Depending on how technical the text is, a specialized translator may need to be called upon to provide a high quality translation. An experienced translator in a specific sector generally demands a higher rate than a non-specialized, less experienced translator.

  • The volume to translate

In the same way that two bushels of apples cost more than one, the price of a translation project will increase depending on the number of words or pages. That said, if there are a number of repetitions in a document, it’s possible to apply a special rate for repeated phrases that need only be translated once.

  • The type of the file format

As you may be aware, more and more professional translators work with Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools, in order to gain time and productivity. These tools are able to work with a number of file formats; however, some prove more problematic than others. Among the most trouble-inducing are PDFs. These non-editable documents can make life difficult for translators: deleted text, poor sentence segmentation, images superposed over text, etc. With so many elements that risk becoming time-sinks for the translator, there may be repercussions on the final price.

  • The quality you seek

Depending on the objective of the document, the quality the customer seeks may vary. We distinguish 3 general levels of quality

  1. The client simply wants a general understanding of the content of a document. We refer to these as translations for information. The content is translated in the simplest possible manner.
  2. The translated text is for internal use. This type of document requires revision in order to ensure the fluidity of the text. The style is simple and elegant. The translation needs be of good quality.
  3. The text will be published on a large scale. The translation must be extremely precise and should attract potential customers. Here, transmitting the message is the most important objective, but it must also have an irreproachable style and quality.
  • The time required to manage the project

Project management is often a poorly understood step in a translation project. And yet, it is still extremely important! It’s a step that helps define the client’s expectations, to create a quote, and find translators. The time spent managing a project is therefore added to the final invoice. Consequently, if a client wants to add another document, or change specific requirements, this will certainly augment the time spent in the project management phase, and therefore the cost.

Again, it’s difficult to try to define a general price for translation project. The project managers must be made aware of the above mentioned factors in order to offer you the best price!


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