There Is More That Goes into a Price Quotation for Translation Services Than Meets the Eye
Should translating English content into Chinese cost more than translating it into Liki? Which costs more to translate—blogs or technical manuals? What services are included in a price quote? We answer these questions and more in our look at how a quotation for translation services is calculated.
How Do Language Service Providers Charge for Translation?
There are essentially five common ways to charge for translation services:
- Flat Fee: This is a relatively rare fee structure where you are charged a certain amount for the entire project. With flat-fee pricing, you do not get to see the fine details of what you are paying for.
- Per Word: Many translators charge per word since this tends to be the fairest option. Make sure you know whether you are paying per source word or per target word.
- Minimum Price: If you have a small project (about 250 words or less) be prepared to pay a minimum fee that covers everything.
- Per Hour: This is another uncommon alternative. Per-hour pricing makes sense when performing updating or editing to already-translated text.
- Per Page: Documents with hard to obtain word counts, including court document, IEP, and medical record PDFs often require per-page pricing.
Hanna Sles developed a special online calculator on her Translate English to Russian website. It is based on the number of repetitions and new words in the document. In this way, you never pay twice for the same words.
What Factors Can Influence the Quote?
Several factors can influence how much you can expect to pay. The language service company may be able to cut you a deal for high-volume projects or for ongoing work. Another factor is the languages you want to be translated. For instance, English to Spanish will be more affordable than English to Chuukese.
Perhaps the biggest determinant of the price is the number of words to be translated. The more words you want to be translated, the lower the price per word. You may also have separate billing if desktop publishing (DTP) or advanced formatting is required.
Are you in a hurry to complete your translation? If so, you can expect to pay a premium for a faster turnaround time. And, lastly, the complexity of the material you want to be translated will play a role in your quotation for translation services. The translation of a technical manual generally costs more than that one of a fluffy blog post.
Make Sure the Quotes You Are Comparing Are for Similar Services
When shopping around for price quotes, the temptation is to simply compare prices and go with the lowest rate. But, you should use caution when doing this. Are you really comparing similar services? Or, is one of the estimates missing vital services?
If it seems like one company is charging half as much as another per word, it could be that they are only quoting you the translation price, and they are leaving out editing and proofreading services. Or, they may simply be using an automated tool before handing the material to you without checking it.
Always clarify what is included in the quotation for translation services that a company provides you with. This is the only way you can make an accurate comparison.
Does the Company You Are Considering Use the Latest Technology?
Leveraging technology is the smartest way to cut costs on translations. We are not talking about you becoming some sort of translation software wiz. Instead, the company you choose should utilize a translation management system (TMS) with translation memory technology.
A translation memory basically allow service providers to keep track of all of your content and access it for future translations when needed. This will help you save money.
You get more savings when your content is similar. Kilgray Translation Technologies, makers of translation software, explains how fuzzy matching does this. This boosts the consistency and quality of your finished product.
How Much Should You Expect to Pay?
Bells and alarms should go off on your suspicion detector if you find a company charging next to nothing for professional services. You can see by doing a little math. If the average pro can translate 2,000 to 2,500 words per eight-hour day. That works out to about 300 words per hour.
If they charge you four cents per word, then the translator is making $12 per hour. Not to mention, that the company would need its cut, and editors and proofreaders need to get paid. This sounds a little suspicious, doesn’t it?
You can get a better idea of the average rates charged by translators by visiting ProZ and Translators’ Café. Keep in mind these are just sample rates that do not take all of the above factors into effect. But, it should give you an idea of minimal rates you can expect to pay for quality work.
At Accelingo, we mainly charge per word for our services. We also charge minimum fees. If needed, we complement our translation services with DTP.
We leverage technology and use tools like TMSs and computer-assisted translation software. This software allows us to recognize repetitions and partial or fuzzy matches within the content for translation. We then use translation memory to find the most accurate translations and to avoid duplicate work.