Latest update date: February 17, 09

Have you ever needed to translate a document but couldn't estimate the appropriate deadline? Don't worry, that's completely normal because calculating translation time is not an easy job. Read this article to learn some helpful tips to make it even simpler!

Factors to consider when estimating the time to complete a translation một

A rough estimate is usually 2.000-2.500 words per day, or 8-10 pages (about 250 words per page), which takes about an 8-hour workday. However, this estimate will always be inaccurate by the number of factors that need to be considered. For example:

  • Complex text: a blog post is not the same as a machine manual or a pharmaceutical analysis. Each type of text requires a different level of study, terminology, etc.
  • Available References: The more references you give your translators, the less time they need to research before starting to translate.
  • How clear the original document is: if the document contains unclear or unreadable passages, lacks logic, or has any other flaw in its presentation, it will take time for the translator to understand its meaning Solve problems, consult with you, etc.
  • Software used: some professionals translate from scratch while others rely on translation memory to speed up their productivity.
  • Whether you hire just one or a whole team of translators: the more people involved in the project, the faster the turnaround.
  • Length of document: if a project requires several working days, the number of words a translator can complete each day will vary. It may take them a while to get used to the topic, and then they will translate faster.
  • Specific assignment: if you have hired a professional linguist to translate only one text, they will deliver the translation faster than if you requested it according to the TEP process (translation + editing + proofreading). Prices also change accordingly.

Furthermore, beware of these people telling you that they are working out 10k words a day on their own. Maybe they are using automatic translation to speed up the process! This poses a serious risk to quality, so you should be wary.

+ Note: The secret to self-study translation

Request for allowance fee

As explained in a Nation 1099 article, most freelancers will eventually have a client contact them saying something needs to be done urgently.

Translators will have limited capacity to cope with other projects or change management plans by pushing resources away, they often charge for urgent translation or urgent fees. In other words, to complete your project urgently, the translator will need to do one of the following:

  • Spend less time on usual activities
  • Stop executing the business plan
  • Stop receiving more leads
  • Night or weekend work

This is why the less time you give translators, the more they will charge you. Consider the next time you hire a linguist! Now you have some useful information to estimate the time to complete a translation!

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