When entering the word translation into a search engine, have you ever felt swamped by what you see and have no idea where to go?
The market for translation/localisation is massive, and it is growing every year. The opportunity to earn money isn’t just appealing for professional service providers, but also for those somewhat less scrupulous.
Clients receive quotes ranging from the suspiciously low to the unbelievably high, and they don’t know what to do with them.
How can the price for the same thing change so much?
Before being able to understand what the price of a translation will be, you have to ask the following question: what is translation? Everyone thinks they know the answer to this, but let’s reflect for a moment:
- Does translating something using Google Translate really count as a translation?
- If a student blessed with good language skills translates something as a favour, or as part of their homework, do they deserve the title of “professional translator”?
Whichever way we look at it, there is no standard definition. As with all creative professions you can debate on what is good and what is bad.
The good news is that there are tried-and-tested practices widely followed by people in the industry, apart from those out for quick and easy results with scant regard for substance or quality.
There are many ways to translate a text, ranging from the simple (free!) to the most sophisticated:
Here are a few examples:
- Translate it yourself, if you speak the language.
- Use Google Translate or some other free online machine translation tool.
- Ask a colleague or a friend to do it for you cheaply or free.
- Find a freelance translator.
- Upload your text to an online crowdsourced translation market.
- Engage the services of an agency specialising in one target language (Single Language Vendor – SLV).
- Engage the services of an agency specialising in multiple target languages (Multiple Language Vendor – MLV).
- Integrate an entire translation department into your company.
(EDMF falls into the penultimate category.)
Yet before you dive into any of the above, find out below how a reliable professional translation is prepared.
Before starting the translation
– collection of files to decide what needs translating and what not,
– compilation of reference materials, such as translation memories, term bases, style guides, etc.,
– decision on who will carry out the translation,
– setting of deadlines
When a highly trained bilingual professional puts words from one language into another, which faithfully and accurately reflect the original text, taking the specificities of the target language into account.
After the translation, three things can happen:
- The translator states that the Translation is finished, this is called “self-revision”;
- The translation is sent to another translator, who reviews the work sentence by sentence, comparing it with the source text, otherwise known as “Editing” – this raises the price by 33–40%;
- The translation is edited and then sent to another linguist who reviews only the target language version, otherwise known as “Proofreading” – this raises the price by 15-20%.
TEP is a type of language service often offered by LSPs where the client receives the final text reviewed by at least one additional linguist for a surcharge.
Finally, in most cases the translation is subject to an automated quality assurance check, to identify any errors that humans simply miss, such as double spaces or missing punctuation. These checks can be carried out by the translator, the editor / proofreader, or by the agency.
After the translation is completed
When the translation is completed, the text is placed into its original format. If this is a formatted document, for example .docx or .pptx, then the original text has to be replaced with the translated text, followed generally by a few adjustments to the layout, line breaks and the font for everything to fall in to place. If the text is part of a software programme, or a website, then things are a bit more complicated and integrating the text requires a bit more work and potentially some additional technology.
The big unknown factor in all of this is the client, because the translation isn’t really being made for the client, but with the client. The risk for a translator is entering into an assignment where the client doesn’t let them help.
A translation performed with the right professional and technical background has little to no bearing on the complexity of the text. What is important, on the other hand, is the quality of the cooperation, the human aspect. Because, you, as the client, know your own industry the best. You need to know exactly what you need the translation for.
Is it just for information, or do you want to sell your product abroad, for example?
How much does a translation cost?
It’s a free market, so people can ask as much for their work as they want, depending on how much they reckon their knowledge is worth, what their living costs are, whether they are beginners and would like to gain experience, or they are already experienced and have an established group of clients.
- Translation agencies often offer translation + editing or proofreading by another translator, which increases the costs.
- These prices relate to “new words”, yet every project has “repetitions” too, which many providers offer at a discounted price thanks to translation memory technology.
- Translation agencies can carry out work other than translation, such as preparing and updating style guides and terminology databases, localisation, DTP, testing, etc.
- Short, urgent, technical or creative texts generally attract a higher price, while simple, long and non-urgent texts are cheaper.
How to save money without compromising on quality?
There are a couple of simple things you can do to reduce translation costs:
- Group small documents together to avoid minimum fees.
- Large-volume projects and long-term partnerships can bring prices down.
- If a document contains repetitions (i.e. the terms and expressions occur regularly), then the translation agency can offer a discount.
Mobile: +36 70 315 2481
Email: contact (at) edmf.com
1118 Budapest, Budaörsi út 22.
Tel.: | +36 1 201 34 03