How much will my translation cost?

stack of ianguage dictionaries

Shopping with my mother when I was a child, she taught me a firm (though not always helpful) lesson.  If it doesn’t have the price on it, we can’t afford it.

While that might have been somewhat shaky financial education, it does make a point.  Before we buy – whether a product or service – we want, and need, to know what something costs.

All professional translators should give you a clear quotation for their work before you commission them to translate your documents, but how do you know what to expect and whether their price is fair?

Here’s my short guide to how translation pricing works:


1. HOW TRANSLATION IS PRICED

Translators use various models for pricing their work:

  • Per word – This is currently the most usual pricing model for European languages. You’ll pay a price per word of your original document.
  • Per line/per page/per character – for some languages, translations are often priced per ‘standard line’, per ‘standard page’ or per character of the original document (eg. when the original document is in German – which generally has longer words than English).
  • Per hour – sometimes a translator will give you a ‘per hour’ price with an estimate of the number of hours required. This can be a fair way of pricing when a lot of additional research is required.
  • Per project – on occasion a ‘per project’ price may be more appropriate for you and your translator, for example if you need a combination of translation and design.

2. FACTORS THAT IMPACT PRICING

various language dictionaries

The Language

Don’t be surprised to discover that there are different prices for translating different languages. For example, English into Japanese translation will generally cost more than French into English translation. Factors influencing these price variations include the availability/scarcity of translators and the particular challenges involved in translating certain language combinations.

I translate French into English and Esperanto, and English in and out of Esperanto. If you need another combination contact me and I’ll put you in touch with one of my trusted colleagues who will be able to help.

The translator

Qualifications

Quality costs. As in most fields, you’ll pay more for a properly qualified and accredited translator. But can your business really afford for you to settle for less? Useful questions to consider are:

  • Is your translator qualified, not just in the languages they speak, but in translation itself?
  • Do they belong to a professional association (such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting) and adhere to their codes of practice?
  • Does your translator do regular Continuing Professional Development activities to keep their language, translation and business skills up-to-date?
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world globe

Location

Translators who live in countries where the cost of living is low will often be able to charge less for a translation. If you’re tempted by this, make sure that you check a couple of things. Is the translator qualified/experienced enough to be entrusted with your business document? Are they bound by a code of conduct? Do they have correct confidentiality policies and data protection in place? And if they don’t live in a country where the language they’re translating into is spoken, what are they doing to make sure that their language and business skills are up to date?

The Document

Length

The longer the document, the more it will usually cost. Sometimes translators will be able to give slightly discounted rates for some types of longer documents.

Terminology

As we translate, we’re checking and verifying terminology as we go along.  Even when a translator is working in their specialist fields, they are constantly checking and verifying their use of words.  Sometimes if your document has particularly specialised terminology, the translator will have to spend more time on research and often this means that they will need to charge a slightly higher rate. This is why I’ll ask to see a sample of the document before giving you a quotation, to make sure that it is accurate and fair for us both.

Format

If your document is in an unusual format, or has lots of images or complicated layout, the work may take longer and the cost may be higher.  

Deadline

Very tight deadlines that mean a translator has to work outside of their normal working hours will often incur a higher rate.


3. MY GUIDE PRICES

When you ask me to quote for a translation, I like to give you clear information, so that you can make an informed decision about whether I’m the right translator for you. I’ll look carefully at every text that you need translated and give you a detailed quotation showing cost and deadline.

Translations that you commission from me will almost always be priced according to the number of words in your document.  French to English specialist business translations start at £0.12 per word of your original document.  (So if you have a 1,000-word document, you’ll pay from £120 for a French to English translation.)  I also translate from French to Esperanto and from Esperanto in and out of English at the same price.

If you need specialist business proofreading, prices start at £35 per hour and I will always give you an accurate estimate and maximum price before starting work.


READY TO TALK?

Hopefully that’s given you some background information about how translators will price your project. You’ll find that qualified translators who follow professional codes of practice will always be happy to answer all your questions when you’re wondering whether to place work with them. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Have a question or want to discuss a project?  Let’s talk.

Strategies for staying calm and focused

Coping Strategy Documents

Stress and anxiety affect us all at some point in our professional lives and during the past year there have been few of us who haven’t had the occasional ‘wobble’. Whether we’re small business owners who’ve been trying to stop our business going under, sole traders with no work coming in, or large corporations needing to furlough our entire staff base, uncertainties have piled up. And that’s before we even mention the challenges of working from home, caring for elderly parents, juggling home-schooling the kids, etc.

Back in March 2020, a team of UK psychologists (at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) developed a series of techniques to help us stay calm and focused:

Covid-19 Coping Strategies

I was immensely privileged to work with an international team of professional translators to provide these techniques in a variety of languages. Each translator donated their time and skill, free of charge, to produce versions in 14 languages (so far!). Website development was kindly donated by Thomas Preece.

The resource is useful for everyone – and you are free to use it yourself and to distribute it to any individual or group who you feel would benefit from it. It’s also been designed to be inclusive of people with visual challenges, as well as those with neurological conditions, such as people living with dementia and their carers, families and friends.

Over the past year, it’s been used by staff and patients within the NHS and other countries’ health services, by carers and residents in residential care settings, by refugee groups, by company employees, and by numerous individuals.

I hope you find it helpful too.

(Based on FACE COVID-19 (Dr Russ Harris, 2020), adapted by Sophie Trees, Molly Laybourn and Dr Sally Stapleton, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.)

Why I’m not a conlanger

Conlang word clous
Do you speak Klingon?

Standing in the lunch queue, a colleague caught sight of the flags on my conference badge. “Hmm, Heather Eason” he read, “French and…” he hesitated, “is that Esperanto?!”

Even for a gathering of professional linguists, I was impressed.

“So”, he continued, “are you a Conlanger then? Ha, ha, do you speak Klingon too?”

I tried hard to keep the sudden uncalled-for frostiness out of my voice.

“No, no,” I said brightly, “Not a Conlanger.” And changed the subject.


Conlangs

I first came across the term ‘conlang’ (constructed language) about a decade ago (although OED puts its first usage way back in 1991).

Constructed languages can be a priori (all or most features not based on an existing language) or a posteriori (elements based on or borrowed from existing languages). Within these two categories fall various types of constructed language: those created for artistic purposes (such as Klingon or Dothraki); philosophical or experimental languages (such as Toki Pona or Loglan/Lojban); international auxiliary languages (such as VolapükInterlinguaEsperanto and its ‘offspring’) to name just a few.


An Accidental Conlanger

My parents simply did what many parents of bilingual children do. They spoke a different language at home from the dominant language around us, and I picked it up along the way. It just so happened that our home language was Esperanto (how and why is a story for another day…)

Clearly in the sense that one of the languages I speak is ‘constructed’, I’m a Conlanger. And there’s nothing wrong with speaking a constructed language – to rehash a well-worn phrase, “Many of my best friends are Conlangers”. So why don’t I think of myself that way? After a lot of pondering, I think that maybe it’s simply because Esperanto is as integrated into my daily life and work as the other so-called ‘natural’ languages I speak. As a child it was simply the language of my home; as a young adult I used it to travel; in these globally-connected days I use it to chat with friends on Skype, to ask for computer help on Twitter, to exchange all kinds of ideas about all kinds of things with people in all kinds of places.


Language is Language

As a translator, my work life largely consists of transferring meaning from one language to another. During the past few months, I’ve translated documents about property, business strategy, social partnership, and more, from French to English. I’ve also translated a language company’s website from English to Esperanto, articles for an academic degree from Esperanto to English and worked on the Esperanto portion of a multilingual language app. And although all language combinations have their particular challenges and quirks, generally it’s pretty much the same task. The puzzle of playing with vocabulary, sentence structure, meaning, intention to transmit messages to others.

So no, I’m not a Conlanger – but I am a Lang-er. And I’ll be happy to chat to you about it in the lunch queue.


Useful links

Constructed Language – Wikipedia

In the Land of Invented Languages: Arika Okrent 

Complete Esperanto: Judith Meyer and Tim Owen 

Of doughnuts and crullers

Working as a business proofreader and translator I’m often called on to localize documents from US to UK English and generally think I have a pretty good grasp of my bonnets and my hoods, my shalls and my shoulds, my gots and my gottens. But when a character in the US novel I was reading ate a cruller for breakfast, I suddenly realised I had no idea what was going on.

US-English etimology can be fascinating, especially for words that seem to have jumped from mainland Europe across the Pond to North America with almost no influence on British English.  Websters tells me that cruller comes from the Dutch krulle meaning a twisted cake. OED adds that it seems to be from the Dutch crullen to curl (which also gives us crewel, for a kind of twisted yarn).

“a small sweet cake in the form of a twisted strip fried in deep fat”

In Merriam-Webster.com

So it’s a cake and it’s twisty… But what does it taste like?

A bit of googling gives me regular Crullers (made of doughnut-type dough), French Crullers (made of choux pastry) and a whole lot of similar northern European treats. Wikipedia reckons that in Scotland you can even find an Aberdeen Crulla, supposedly imported from the US.

As I look at the online photos, they seem to ring a bell though.  Then it comes back to me – of course! Mister Donut in Tokyo.  I’m sure I’ve seen something similar there. I didn’t know the name – I’d have been using one of my half dozen essential Japanese phrases (chokorēto – literally ‘chocolate’ but surprisingly versatile when you have very little other vocabulary!)

I decide that more research is needed. Rumour has it that Tim Horton’s is the place for Brits looking for crullers. I have to pop to town for a flu jab so I make a quick stop there on the way home. And here they are! (Looking slightly squashed after having been stuffed into my bag because of the rain). So… doughnuty… twisty… and covered in sugar. Nice!

Cruller doughnuts
Canada saves the day!

Round up of the day so far: I’ve eaten a doughnut and I’ve learned the Dutch verb ‘to curl’… and when one of my US clients puts crullers in their business report, I’ll be ready!

Comment les traducteurs peuvent aider votre entreprise – 5 points clés

Erreur de traduction - produit

Vous voulez que vos clients étrangers comprennent votre offre de produits ; que vos employés à l’étranger suivent les meilleures pratiques de l’entreprise ; vous aimeriez entrer en contact avec des professionnels dans votre domaine – alors – Google Translate ? Eh non ! Google Translate, et d’autres solutions de traduction automatique, peuvent être très utiles pour obtenir l’essentiel de ce que vous ne comprenez pas dans une autre langue, mais pour votre précieuse image d’entreprise, vous aurez besoin d’un véritable humain.

Voici 5 façons dont les traducteurs peuvent vous aider :

Les traducteurs vous aideront à INSTAURER LA CONFIANCE

Que vous essayiez de convaincre des gens d’acheter votre produit ou de respecter les procédures internes de l’entreprise, le fait de communiquer avec eux dans leur langue maternelle renforce immédiatement la confiance.

…Environ 72% des consommateurs passe la majorité de leur temps en ligne à visiter des sites web dans leur langue maternelle. Le même nombre de personnes déclarent également qu’elles sont plus enclines à faire un achat si les informations sur le produit sont dans une langue connue. (textappeal.com)

En savoir plus


Les traducteurs vous aideront à éviter de GRANDES erreurs

Vous avez peut-être entendu dire que quand Mercedes Benz voulait se démarquer de ses concurrents occidentaux en Chine, la marque a raccourci son nom en « Bensi ». Malheureusement, en chinois « bensi » signifie « courir à sa mort ». Pas idéal pour l’achat d’une nouvelle voiture.

Ou, souvenez-vous de l’erreur de traduction commis par la marque Mango au sujet de bijoux “esclaves” sur son site français ? En espagnol, le terme “esclava” peut se traduire par “esclave”, mais désigne également une gourmette ou chaînette. Un dérapage qui a déclenché une vive polémique sur les réseaux sociaux, avec des invitations au boycott de la marque espagnole. Une erreur linguistique qui aurait pu être évitée.

Les traducteurs professionnels connaissent parfaitement votre pays et votre culture cibles. Nous vous aiderons à faire en sorte que les slogans et les noms de marque y fonctionnent.

En savoir plus


Les traducteurs vous aideront à éviter des erreurs MINEURES

No alt text provided for this image

Image by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay

Nous sommes tous tombés sur des publicités, des messages sur les médias sociaux ou des rapports d’entreprises qui sont si pleins d’erreurs que nous avons immédiatement envie de prendre un stylo rouge pour tout corriger. Certaines personnes y sont plus sensibles que d’autres, mais il serait mieux de ne pas prendre de risques avec votre copie destinée au public. L’orthographe, la grammaire, la composition et la ponctuation doivent être parfaites.

Saviez-vous que la ponctuation varie d’une langue à l’autre ? Votre traducteur se chargera de régler tout cela pour vous.

Qu’il s’agisse d’un site web, d’une brochure, d’un manuel du personnel ou d’un rapport annuel, très peu de personnes liront votre copie aussi attentivement que votre traducteur et nous vous signalerons tout ce qui ne semble pas “couler” dans votre original également.


Des traducteurs assureront la COHÉRENCE

Vous avez travaillé pour créer une “voix” de marque cohérente, que ce soit pour les publications internes ou externes. En tant que traducteurs, nous nous efforcerons de créer la même cohérence dans la langue dans laquelle nous travaillons afin de maintenir la cohésion et la cohérence de votre image sur vos marchés et sites. Nous pouvons également vous aider à créer un glossaire interne.

Le fait de disposer d’un glossaire interne pour toutes les langues dans lesquelles vous travaillez permet de conserver la cohérence et la cohésion des documents de votre entreprise, quel que soit leur auteur.


Des traducteurs vous aideront dans le cadre de votre référencement multilingue

Les entreprises de toutes tailles savent à quel point la stratégie de référencement est importante. N’oubliez pas que si certains de vos clients vous recherchent dans une autre langue, vous devez alors optimiser votre contenu en ligne traduit dans cette langue également. De nombreux traducteurs peuvent vous aider dans le domaine du référencement multilingue, alors demandez-nous conseil.

En savoir plus


Plus d’informations :

Traduction – faire les bon choix

The Impact of Language Barriers on Trust Formation in Multinational Teams

5 Ways a Human Translator can help your business

Mistranslated Menu

You want your overseas customers to understand your product offer; you want your employees abroad to follow company best practice, you want to connect with professionals in your field – Google translate, right? No! Google translate, and other machine translation solutions, can be great for getting the general gist of something you don’t understand in another language, but for your precious business image, you’re going to need an actual human.

Here are 5 ways a translator can help you:

A translator can help you BUILD TRUST

It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to get someone to buy your product or adhere to internal company procedures, communicating with them in their native language immediately builds trust.

…Roughly 72% of consumers spent the majority of their time online visiting websites in their first language. The same number of people also state that they are more inclined to make a purchase if the product info is in a familiar dialect. (textappeal.com)

Tell me more

A translator can help you avoid MAJOR mistakes

You may have heard the now well-worn story of how when Pepsi Cola first tried to tap into the Chinese market, their upbeat slogan “Come alive with Pepsi“ was translated literally as “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead”. Or how Electrolux tried to introduce its vacuum cleaners to the US with the branding “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”

You may not be a Pepsi Cola or an Electrolux, but bad translation can still damage your customers’ trust, potentially compromise your employees’ safety and generally make you look a bit daft.

Translators know your target country and culture inside-out and we’ll help you make sure that slogans and brand names work there. 

Tell me more

A translator can help you avoid MINOR mistakes

We’ve all come across the adverts, social media posts or company reports that are so full of errors it makes us want to immediately take a red pen to it. Some people are more sensitive to this than others, but you really don’t want to take risks with your public-facing copy. You need correct spelling, grammar, typesetting and punctuation.

Did you know that punctuation varies from language to language? Your translator will sort this all out for you.

Whether it’s a website, brochure, staff manual or annual report, very few people will read your copy as carefully as your translator and we’ll alert you to anything that doesn’t seem to ‘flow’ in your original.

Tell me more

A translator can help you keep things CONSISTENT

No doubt you’ve worked hard to create a consistent brand ‘voice’, whether for internal or external publications. A translator will be aiming to create the same consistency in the language they’re working in to keep your image cohesive and coherent across your markets and sites. We can also help you create an in-house glossary.

Having an in-house glossary for all the languages you work in helps keep your company documents consistent and cohesive whoever authors them.

Tell me more

A translator can help you with your multilingual SEO

Businesses of all sizes know how important SEO strategy is. Don’t forget that if some of your customers are searching for you in a different language, then you need your translated online content to be optimized in that language too. Many translators can help you with multilingual SEO, so ask us for advice.

Tell me more

Read more:

Translation: Getting it Right – A Guide to Buying Translation

The Impact of Language Barriers on Trust Formation in Multinational Teams

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