Have you ever wondered why translation prices vary tremendously?
Maybe you paid a certain price for a translation of one document in the past and, then, when requesting a quote for a new document, you ended up receiving a completely different offer? Ask yourself the following questions in order to better understand how translation prices are determined.
As with any language related services, the languages that are considered rare have a higher price tag. The good news is, the translator does not have to reside in your town, state, or even country! In some cases, hiring linguists residing outside the US can be beneficial as you always want to have the linguist translate into their native language, rather than the other way around.
The less time you have for your project to be completed, the more expensive it will be. Translators bill extra for rush delivery.
Large projects might have to be split between multiple linguists and, although modern day translation memory tools aid in keeping the accuracy in check, coordinating more linguists means more work for the translation agency overseeing the project and more work for the proofreader, hence the higher fees.
Might refer to a technical field (such as engineering or automotive) or any field that requires specific expertise such as law, art, psychology, medicine, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, etc.
Linguistically complex documents, such as literary translation of novels, etc.
Typed documents are easier to read than handwritten ones. The less legible the writing, the higher the price!
Use the black & white setting on your scanner rather than color or gray-scale. Providing black & white copies between 300 dpi and 600 dpi will produce the best readable version possible. Use the higher end of the range when the text is very small, such as below 9-point, or for handwritten documents.
Faxes produce low-quality copies which will compromise the accuracy of the translation and cost you extra.
Live/editable PDFs or Word files reduce the amount of technical work involved in producing a final translation product and, therefore, will reduce the price.
When working with scanned documents each table or graph needs to be reconstructed, which increases your cost. The price quote may look different depending on the format type of your source document.
*When billing per target word, the downside of this pay structure is that you won’t know exactly how much you are paying until the translation is completed, so many clients prefer to pay a flat, “per page” fee.
Most translators charge per source word. However, these alternate methods may be used when the number of words cannot be calculated due to the file format, like a scanned document where the words would need to be counted manually. The per page format may also be used for documents containing a substantial quantity of charts and graphs, requiring extensive formatting work.
When a translator secures a large project/document, they are more willing to provide a volume discount.
So do the translation agencies!
If you have multiple documents that require translation, combining them into one big project, rather than ordering them separately, will secure you a better price.