Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Translation rates and Prices

One of the main difficulties when choosing a Translation services company is understanding why the translation prices vary so much from vendor to vendor.

There are many factors that contribute to the price of translation apart from straight forward translation. Many translation companies include the revision cost within their translation rates whereas other translation company’s prices simply cover just translation within their translation rate.

With regard to the language combination it tends to be reliant on different factors:
• The supply of the language combination. The rarer the combination the more expensive it tends to be.
• The cost of living in that particular target language country. For instance the cost of Scandinavian languages tends to be a lot higher than other languages as the living costs and average wage costs in countries such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark tend to be much higher. Translation into Spanish is one of the cheapest rates per word as there is a high supply of Spanish translators and the cost of living in these countries tends to be much lower.

The level of expertise required for the subject matter. In addition to be being a qualified translator the translator may also need to be qualified in the subject matter being translated. For instance a general business text will cost a lot less to translate than a medical text that requires a medical qualification in addition to a translation qualification.

The type of translation requested has a bearing on the translation rate. For instance in the case of software localization the rate may be higher as the translation rate includes resizing of the translated strings. In other cases the translation rate is charged separately to the additional services. For instance, in the case of desk top publishing the typesetting of the translated pages is charged separately to the translation itself.

Finally, does the company use translation memories? This may increase the rate. Translation memories involve a complicated workflow where the files to be translated need to be converted into a compatible for the TM environment. However, this extra work and cost is beneficial in the long run as previously translated texts can be re-used thus saving time, ensuring consistency and quality and cost in the long run.

As one can see there are many factors that have a bearing on the translation rate. The best thing to do is to shop around when requesting a translation quote. Request an itemized translation quote per word, language combination and additional translation service required. If you have requested three to four different translation quotes and you receive an itemized quote in this format it should be easy to compare which agency is the cheapest. Alternatively, it may give us an idea of where to outsource different translation services. For instance we may outsource French, German and Italian to company A, Spanish to Firm B and Publishing to Firm C as they are the cheapest in these respective services.