How the Translation Market works and Translation Price Logistics?
Most translators calculate their charges per source word, meaning, each word contained in the original document (that requires translation) is counted and the total charge consists of the price per word multiplied by the total number of words. This formula is usually used when working with a Microsoft Word document or a live PDF.
Sometimes, the translation is billed per page or per target word, which is the translated word count. Those alternate methods are usually 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.
When billing per target word, usually, an additional formatting charge would be added. 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.
The per page price is based on the average number of words per the document type, the amount of formatting it requires, and complexity of the text.
The price per word or per page depends on a number of factors:
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 of 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.
Complexity of the material and specialized knowledge needed
Technical: Might refer to a technical field (such as engineering or automotive) or any field that requires specific expertise such as law, art, psychology, medicine, pharmaceutics, oil & gas, etc.
Linguistic: Linguistically complex documents, such as literally translations of novels, etc.
Document format and legability
Format: 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.
Legibility: Typed documents are easier to read than handwritten ones. The less legible the writing, the higher the price
Tip – How to get a high-quality scan
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.
Do not Fax documents
Faxes produce low-quality copies, which will compromise the accuracy of the translation and cost you extra.
When a translator secures a large project/document, they are more willing to provide a volume discount. So do the translation agencies.
Money Saving Tip
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.
Translation Price Logistics
How the Translation Market works