Alternative title: How long is a Piece of String?
Unfortunately, and seemingly contrary to popular belief, translation can be a surprisingly complex process. In reality, the turnaround time for a translation is affected by a myriad of factors. How fast a linguist can type is only a tiny piece of the turnaround time puzzle. Here are a few more that are worth bearing in mind:
1. Project Size: It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that more work takes longer to get through. It’s not only the linguist having to translate more words, though: the larger and more complex the translation project, the bigger the need for more people to be involved. A large project may need splitting between multiple linguists, reviewers, quality assurance, and at the end of it all, there are the talented project managers who have to keep on top of it all and make sure it comes together in one piece.
2. Project Complexity: Even if your project isn’t necessarily massive in terms of wordcount, some projects require a greater level of expertise to translate than others. Legal and medical documents require greater expertise than internal business emails or repetitive instruction manuals for instance.
3. Language Pair: Some languages simply have fewer resources available than others. If you need something translated between a rarer language pair, it is entirely possible it could take a bit longer to turn around – it is also likely to be more expensive.
4. Specialism: As alluded to above, specific types of projects require linguists with expertise in that particular field. For example, asking a linguist that specialises in marketing translation for the make-up industry to translate a medical report or legal contract is unlikely to result in the best output…
5. Repetition: If a document frequently repeats the same words or phrases, it will usually require less effort and time to translate. This is because linguists are able to ‘recycle’ previous translations of the same sentence, where applicable, using industry standard tools.
6. Context and queries: As you might imagine, it takes a lot longer to translate something where very little context has been given. Being provided with a detailed explanation of the project along with any available reference documents at the outset can save a lot of time: making the content for translation easier for the linguist to comprehend not only helps linguists hit the ground running, but also ensures less time is wasted through back and forth queries throughout the project.
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If you have a translation need and want to know how long it may take to translate and how much it might cost, get in touch with our expert team for a non-obligatory chat or quotation at: email@example.com or on 03309121530