Top 10 tips when getting a translation quote
Top 10 tips when getting a translation quote
Commissioning translation services? Use our quick contact form above, call us on + 44 (0)115 9788980 or read our top 10 tips before getting a translation quote:
Translation quotes can be simple or complex, depending on the nature of the job. Our smallest individual quotes are likely to be single language, and a small amount of text, at the other end of the scale large translation projects may cost thousands of pounds (or USD, or Euros), involve multiple languages, and involve the work of many translators, proofreaders, editors, and translation managers. There are some common issues to consider when getting a quote. We are always happy to discuss translation needs without obligation. Contact better languages to discuss your requirements.
We had an enquiry today from a company where the conversation went something like this, “not sure of the language we need, or the length of the document, as its still being written, but we need confirmation that we can have it by Friday, and we need an exact price. ” – You may think I’m kidding, but this was a genuine enquiry. Being clear in what you need is absolutely vital, even if a document isn’t finalised we can give an estimate based on an early draft. You may not be certain of the language(s) needed, but some general background will help us understand your needs. The problem with this type of enquiry is that you really would have to stick a thumb in the air and guess. A quote so vague would be completely meaningless.
2) Translating and Quoting from Editable text:
If you can supply a source document in an editable format it will make quoting much easier, and quicker. We don’t give a per page price, simply because amount of content on a page can vary widely. Sometimes you can’t avoid a text being uneditable, for example in a court case where the other side have made available paper documents. In this type of situation we will give a best estimate.
3) Translation Deadlines:
We are very fast, we work extensively with the retail sector, which often needs to meet very tight deadlines, but you also need to be realistic. The best translators are not just sitting waiting for your call, and we want to do a professional job. An average translator will be able to translate 2500 – 3000 words a day depending on the nature of the text. For larger projects we can use several translators working together, but this isn’t infallible, you always get a better flow, feel, and consistency with a single translator per language.
4) Translation and Confidentiality:
We respect client confidentiality, and you can have total confidence that documents supplied for quoting purposes will be treated carefully and will be handled in confidence. We are more than happy to sign a confidentiality agreement in advance of receiving documents. We occasionally get quote requests with a nonsensical level of confidentiality e.g. “can’t tell you the languages or target markets, its confidential, can’t give an idea of document size, its confidential. Unsurprisingly, we wouldn’t be able to quote in these circumstances. The reason is simple, to be able to quote we will need to be able to judge the amount of work involved. Language combinations are important because prices vary with the rarity of the language combination, and sometimes with the technical specialism involved.
5) Purpose of the translation:
Specific client needs can vary, for example if you need a translation for legal purposes you may need the document to be certified. With legal translation the approach of the translators may vary depending on client requirements. For example in patent translation, if our client were the applicant, they would want the translation to be very clear, very specific, and to accurately describe the application. If our client was contesting an application, they may want the translators to show up weaknesses in the original text. Where documents are going to be published, the likelihood is that there will be a higher level of scrutiny involved, for example in food label translation, by the time the translation has gone to print, it has is often been checked a minimum of 5 times.
6) Process of translation:
The benefit of using a translation agency, is that they manage the process of translation, dealing with queries about the text, collating and organising the work of the translators. One of our large corporate clients made a telling comment recently when interviewed as part of a research project, they said “you aren’t just a middle man”. We work at our relationship with clients, and our preferred way of working is to work with clients over a period of time. The better we understand your needs, the better we can work with you.
7) Translation cost:
Pricing is normally based either on a minimum charge for small items, or based on word count. In most cases cutting word count will cut cost. If you write very long narrative, it will cost more to translate, and take longer. We are sometimes asked about the impact of more languages when translating. As the translators all work at the same time, it doesn’t make much difference to the length of a project how many languages are involved. There is some difference, as the amount of project management time involved rises with number of languages, but there are also some synergy gains. For example if the source text is in any way unclear or ambiguous, it can be clarified once, rather than lots of times as in the case where one translation is undertaken at a time.
8) Native language translators:
Translators normally work into their native language. The reason for this is that very few people are genuinely bilingual. It isn’t just a matter of vocabulary, form of expression, flow and feel of text will all sound better when expressed in someone’s native language.
9) Translation Specialism:
All translators specialise. This means that even when working in a language pair where we translate regularly, we may need to source different translators for a specific project. Specialism can sometimes impact on price, if a rare type of expertise is required, but generally most specialisms in a given language pair will cost the same price.
10) Language locales and translation:
If you know the primary target market for the translation it is incredibly helpful to us when quoting, and when starting work on a project. Most of the time locale doesn’t affect price, though there are some differences, for example we charge slightly more for Canadian French than for French for France. With Chinese Translation, we translate into both Simplified and Traditional character sets, but price is the same for both. Knowing which is required however is really important, the wrong character set may well not be understood at all in the wrong location, and products could get stopped at port.
This guide is intended as an introduction to some of the issues involved when seeking a translation quote. It should not be viewed as a definitive list, and we are happy to discuss specific translation requirements without obligation. Contact better languages for translation advice and support and for a prompt translation quote.