The price of a good translation is calculated by considering a number of factors:
- Time available
- Degree of difficulty
- Quality of original text
- The nature of the text
- Source and target language
Fast, faster, fastest
The translation agency is often not contacted until the very last phase of a project. The documents are ready, the offer has been made and the texts have to be translated, sometimes within a tight timeframe. This means that a translator is under considerable levels of stress to meet a short deadline.
A good translator who translates in the traditional way, using only a computer, dictionaries, and terminology lists, translates approximately 2,000 words a day. A fast translator can translate up to about 4,000 words and a beginner only about 1,000 words.
There are ways that a translator can increase their speed. In particular, if there are a large number of similarities throughout the text, then the translator can use translation tools to speed up the process. These translation tools are software programmes which make a translator’s life easier. They alert the translator to the fact that the current section of text is very similar to a previously-translated section. The system then suggests a translation based on those sections of the text which have already been translated. At this point, the translator only has to make adjustments to the text to suit its specific meaning. Examples of so-called CAT (computer aided translation) tools are Transit, Dejavu and, the most popular one of them all, Trados.
The advantage of translating with CAT tools is best seen with technical and legal texts. Almost all deeds start or end with the same section of text: ‘Today... appeared before me, a Notary Public...’. It is also obvious that many user manuals contain similar instructions for replacing a battery such as, for example: ‘Open the battery cover on the rear of the unit’.
If you need a translation within a very short timeframe, we can assign the text to several translators, and they will work together as a team in order to meet your deadline. In other cases, one translator may work through the night to get the translation finished in time. In both instances, we will have to charge an urgency fee, the amount of which depends entirely on the text and the desired turnaround time. For more information about urgent translations, please follow this link.
Degree of difficulty
Another factor is the degree of difficulty. Difficulty is relative. One translator is much better at translating a technical patent than another. Yet another translator will produce the perfect legal translation. This is why we have several translation experts in each language, all of whom are ready to tackle any possible subject area, no matter how obscure. Our translator database currently contains 4,200 native speakers for 150 languages. The term ‘native’ means that the translator translates into their own native language. A high level of quality and speed is attained by assigning your text to a native speaker, especially when they also possess the correct expertise in the subject matter so that they are able to translate a text using the correct terminology. Such a translator is already thoroughly familiar with the terminology and language style being used in the source text and knows how to translate this perfectly for the target audience.
For obvious reasons, easy texts are less expensive than highly specialised texts. Rates also depend on the availability of our specialised translators for your subject area. Texts that contain repetitions are eligible for a better discount. We can also grant a discount if the translator is given plenty of time to work on the text, instead of having to work day and night to complete it within a short period of time.
Source and target language
Translations are less expensive if the source and target languages are popular, widely spoken languages. For example, it isn’t expensive to translate from English into Spanish because there are plenty of people who speak Spanish and have a passive knowledge of English (meaning that they can read English). However, there are very few people who speak both Spanish and Danish, for example. Therefore, a translation from Danish into Spanish will be more expensive. The language combination and the content of the text form the decisive factor when it comes to translation rates: the more specialised a subject, the shorter the delivery time; the less translators are available for the job, the higher the price per word. Therefore, if you agree to a longer delivery time, we can often give you a better price.
Free quote for a translation
As there are so many variables to consider when determining the price for translation work, we recommend that you submit your text ahead of time, so that we can determine the price per word based on the number of words, the number of repetitions, and your required delivery time. Keep in mind the fact that we charge a minimum fee for small translations. Please refer to the following page for information about minimum fees: Minimum fees. You can also refer to the following page for information about our discounted rates: Discounts and surcharges. If you need a sworn, certified translation, you can send us a scan of your document by email. Sworn translations are subject to a different rate from that of standard translations.
Nicolette van Neer
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