In many cases, costs will not only vary by translation agency, but also by text. This is often due to different translation options that are provided and the varying overhead costs that translation agencies incur. Some translation agencies charge a rate per word, whereas others apply an hourly rate. For customers there are often so many possibilities that it becomes difficult to make a decision. This blog provides a brief overview to provide readers with a little more insight into the costs associated with translating documents.
Hourly Rate or Rate Per Word
The majority of translation agencies apply rates per word. These rates may vary from 0.05 cents to 0.25 cents per word. Alternatively, some translation agencies may apply an hourly rate. Although hourly rates are rarely used for regular translations, they are more common for sworn translations and the proofreading of previously translated texts. There are various factors why the rate per word may differ significantly. For example, rates may depend on overhead costs, the language combination, the specialisation of the translator, the turnaround time and quality control.
Common languages, such as translations into English, French or German, usually do not involve additional costs. However, a surcharge may apply for more difficult translations into, for example, Chinese or Russian. The main reason for this is because it is more difficult to find a translator for these languages.
Specialist translations include texts such as legal documents or technical manuals. The translation of a technical manual, for example, requires an expert translator who has the relevant knowledge. Terminology and instructions must be translated correctly to avoid accidents and the like. Specialist translators charge a higher rate per word than translators who translate regular texts. As a result, this also affects the rates that the translation agency charges.
The turnaround time of a translation is a major factor when it comes to price differences. When opting for a regular turnaround time, the rate per word will not differ much. However, urgent translations (often more than 2,000 words per day) will always be charged at a higher rate. The faster a customer needs the translation, the more the rate will increase.
In most cases, documents are translated by one translator. It is always recommended to have the text proofread by a second translator. This may either be a quick check or a complete check. The latter provides a greater quality guarantee. Should a customer opt for a greater quality control, the rate per word will likely increase.
These days there are also cheaper translation solutions. For example, customers may opt for post-editing or predictive writing. In post-editing, the text is translated by a machine and checked and proofread by a translator. With predictive writing, the translator is presented with several pre-translated sentences to choose from. Although both of these solutions are more cost-efficient, customers should be willing to compromise on quality.