Translating documents require attention to detail and when done properly, a well-translated document will read as if it were originally written in the target language. The quality of the translation services relies on several factors including the type of document being translated as well as the translator’s experience. Below are some important factors to consider before setting your translation costs for translation projects.
The Number of Source Words
The number of source words is the most important factor when it comes to determining the price of a translation project. The number of source words is the number of words found in the source language that needs to be translated into the target language.
When it comes to pricing translation projects, a translation agency or translator will first check how many source words there are and calculate their price on a per-word basis. This also includes any repetitions in the text.
Rates per Word
The rate per word is usually defined as the currency amount per one source word. However, this may vary depending on the language pair and specialty. For example, legal translations cost more than general translations because they require more knowledge and expertise from the translator. In addition, some languages are generally more expensive to translate than others. For instance, Scandinavian languages often have higher rates than German or French due to their complexity and special characters.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some agencies charge according to the translated word count (rather than the source word count) with a minimum fee applied for projects of less than 250 words. So if yourvproject contains 200 source words, they may charge you for 250 translated words instead at a higher rate.
The delivery date is the number one consideration when pricing a translation project. Agencies will charge more for quick turnaround jobs because those projects require more resources on their end. The longer lead time, the lower the cost. That's why it's so important to get started on your international marketing as early as possible. A few months of planning ahead can save you thousands of dollars on your translation cost.
The language pair determines how difficult it will be to translate your document. For example, translating from English into Spanish is going to be less expensive than translating from English into Chinese. This is because there are more translators who are fluent in Spanish than those who are fluent in Chinese.
The subject matter is also another factor that affects the price. Certain types of documents such as legal or technical require special knowledge and experience on the part of the translator and therefore will cost more per word than say a marketing brochure or a simple website translation.
Translation Software Tools
Translation prices may also vary in correspondence to the software which is used
Translation software is a type of computer-assisted translation (CAT), which assists human translators in the process of translating. Translation software includes machine translation and interactive translation, which is similar to MT but requires human confirmation.
Translation software helps professional translators save time and money by making the translation process faster and more efficient. Translation software typically uses a translation memory database that stores previous translations, with each saved as a complete segment. This memory-based TM system allows translators to translate sentences or paragraphs in chunks, so they don’t have to start from scratch for every new sentence or paragraph.
In addition to time savings, translation software also offers consistent formatting, terminology and style. Another benefit: Because the software can store data for each piece of text, if texts are updated or changed, only the updated text will need to be translated again.
However, because of the way machine translation software works, sometimes word-for-word translations aren’t possible with certain languages.
The format of the source text
The file formats is going to have a major impact on the time it takes your translator to complete the project. In general, the more complicated the file format, the more time it will take to translate. The simpler, the less time and money it will cost you.
PDF - PDFs include both text and images and are typically not editable. That means that a translator has to go through each page of your document and type in translations manually.
Images - Images files (JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF) can only be translated by typing in translations manually. Larger images will take longer for a translator to complete than smaller ones.
Microsoft Office Files - Microsoft Word (.docx), PowerPoint (.pptx) and Excel (.xlsx) files can be opened by any translator using Microsoft Office or comparable software (e.g., Google Drive). These are considered "simple" formats because translators can easily select the text they need to translate without having to type it all in again. This saves them time, which saves you money!
The agency will base its pricing on the type of project you are assigning to translation agencies. If it is a simple translation project, then the pricing is usually easy to figure out. When the project becomes more complicated (for example, involving multilingual DTP and audio/video files), then the price can vary depending on how much resources and time the agency needs to complete the project.
Don't forget to look at additional costs like desktop publishing (DTP), proofreading, audio recording/transcription, graphics design, etc., because these charges can add up quickly.
The key to successfully estimating prices for translation projects is anticipating the complexity of the job and the timeframe for delivering it. Even if you don’t have previous experience, you can begin by researching your industry’s standard rates for the various project types we covered above. In addition, you should also consider your own expertise when determining pricing.
If you have extensive experience translating documents from one language to another or from complicated formatting like legal language, you should know what kind of projects are feasible within certain budgetary constraints—and determine how much time and effort will be required to complete them. Armed with this information, you can offer fewer bids and charge lower premiums for any extra tasks that arise.