I like peanut butter. Do you know how many different brands and types of peanut butter there are? (I stopped counting at 74). But I like just peanuts in my peanut butter – no added sugar nor salt – and I feel better buying the organically grown stuff too. Know how big my choice is now? A lot smaller.
When it comes to translation services, you’ve got another massive choice. And if you don’t speak German how can you judge the translation? How can you “filter out” translation agencies or freelance translators?
It’s not easy but consider an average UK-based freelance professional translator (sources/assumptions are listed at the end). A careful and thorough experienced professional can translate about 2,000 words a day or 10,000 words a week. If the translator works 48 weeks a year (well, they must take a holiday sometime!), they translate 480,000 words a year.
The entry-level translator salary is Â£22,000 a year: 4.5p per word.
Experienced translators can earn Â£35,000 a year: 7p per word.
And senior translators could reach Â£50,000 a year: 10p per word.
But just as every author has their work reviewed, so every translation should be checked. “Proof-reading” really means “copy-editing and proof-reading” because we compare the translated text with the original and check the translation. Rates tend to range from a third to a half of the translation cost (although many charge by the hour).
So the next time you need a translation done, consider a senior translator will charge 10p word, then the reviewer will charge 3p-5p per word.
And if you have a large project, or many language combinations, factor in the Project Management costs too.
If you’ve just Googled “English German translation” and agreed 3p a word, are you buying peanut butter made from just organic peanuts or are you buying peanut butter made with added dextrose, palm oil, sugar, salt, colouring, flavouring and preservative?
Which would you rather put into your system?
|Assuming translation from English into a common Western European language such as French or Spanish.