1. Number of words to be translated
Do you have a one page document with a few hundred words or a series of manuals with over 50,000 words?
The price you pay will largely be driven by the number of words you need translated.
Generally, the more words you translate, the lower the price per word will be.
2. Complexity of the subject matter
How complex is the subject matter of your content?
If you have highly technical content that requires a scientific level of expertise, be prepared to pay for such expert services.
Be cautious of companies that provide you with the same pricing regardless of the subject matter. If it’s quality that you are after, you need to budget for it accordingly.
3. Language combination
Some languages are more common than others.
At NWI Global, Spanish is by far our most frequently requested language. This applies for both English
into Spanish and Spanish into English translation.
As a result, we’re able to offer competitive pricing for those language combinations. Same can be said for other language services companies as well, since all companies will have a specific language combination that’s more in demand than any other language combination that they service.
When you have a rare language such as Chuukese or Marshallese, a competitive price similar to Spanish is tough to achieve.
This is a simple supply and demand issue. There are very few translators that specialize in rare language combinations and there is simply not enough demand for those language combinations.
So, when you need something translated into a rare language, be prepared to pay a premium.
4. Turnaround time
How quickly are you looking to have your content translated?
A good baseline to use for realistic turnaround times is 2,000 words per day. On average, a translator can translate about 2,000 words per day.
You should note that this is for translation only. It doesn’t include editing and proofreading by additional translators.
Can a project like this be completed in less than 24 hours?
But you’d probably be looking at paying rush fees since you are pressing for a quicker turnaround time.
Ideally, you should expect a 2 to 3 day turnaround for a 2,000 word translation that also includes editing and proofreading.
5. Volume of work
Are you looking to form a solid partnership with a language services company or have only one piece of content you need translated and be done with it?
The company is more likely to give you preferential pricing if you are willing to make a volume commitment.
Customers translating 200-page user manuals every quarter will definitely see more volume discount than those translating a one-time birth certificate.
Be upfront about the volume of work you anticipate and let your language services company know about it.
They should give you a discounted price for your ongoing commitment.
So now you have an idea about price models and its structure. The question left – WHY SHOULD YOU PAY for each of services separately.
Proofreading is a separate service in the language industry for the same reason that auditing is a separate service in the financial industry.
The process is a vital part of our quality assurance process. While the initial service provided by the translator will be of outstanding quality, the task of the proofreader is distinct. The process of review by a second, independent native-tongue linguist will eliminate the small errors that can slip through the net when just one person works on the same job for a long time.
The service is recommended in every instance, but when the text is particularly complex, technical, or creative, the collaboration and scrutiny of a second opinion will make the product as sharply focused as can be. In particular, when your text is to be published or otherwise disseminated to a wide readership, a proofread translation is invaluable to you.
Formatting & DTP requirements
All I’ve mentioned so far really focuses on the translation part of the process, with perhaps some editing and proofreading thrown in as well.
In reality, your content may not be a simple MS Word document. You may have charts, graphs, tables, graphics and other visual content.
Your document may even be laid out in Adobe InDesign or one of many other popular content creation tools.
You’ve now taken a simple translation project and added an extra level of complexity to it. Advanced formatting and DTP (desktop publishing) layout services are usually billed as a separate line item.
Keep that in mind as you create those wonderful brochures in Adobe Illustrator or Microsoft Publisher.
You will have to budget to have them typeset.
Formatting & DTP services are generally billed for on a per hour basis.
Let’s return to our example – you need to translate the website. However, for your website to resonate properly with your international audience, it is not enough just to translate the words from source to target language. You must also attune other aesthetic features of your website, such as layout, date format, currencies, image, humour, and cultural references that will likely miss the mark if left alone.
This process is known as localization, and we have a trusted network of highly-skilled specialists who understand what is required.
In the interests of avoiding technical issues, please be aware that by far the easiest way to conduct a website translation is for you to provide us with the original XML files. These contain the coding of your webpage. Once we have these, the translated text can be directly ‘flowed’ onto your webpage, avoiding the need for laborious re-coding.
Hope now it is clearer for you to understand why human translation costs not so cheap as you expect.
The polished end product you receive is the result of a many layered collaboration between highly- trained experts or a hard work of high level professional whose work cannot be of a low cost.