Re: Translation costs

Subject: Re: Translation costs
From: cchris -at- toptechwriter -dot- us
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2004 09:33:16 -0600

Hi, David

Last year, my company was looking into translating some of our manuals
into French, Italian, German, and Chinese. After finding out how expensive
translating the entire installation doc would be, we created a two-page
quick start guide that had about 1,600 words in it. The quote we got from
a very reputable translation firm follows:

Edited Translations
French est. $200-$220
Italian est. $200-$220
German est. $200-$220
Simplified Chinese est. $300-$325

Desktop Publishing
Chinese est. $200-$250

Project Management Fee
(est. 1-2 hrs. @ $60/hour) est. $60-$120


When I was looking into translating our hardware guides, I downloaded
samples from a variety of companies. Each had its own philosophy of what
should be in a translated doc, but we decided on following the minimalist
path Intel uses: use as many diagrams and photos as possible, as few words
as possible, and just explain how to hook the device up to power and turn
it on/off, while referring to the English-only docs for configuration
information. Seems like cheating, I know.

If you're translating software docs, I hope you have lots of money
budgeted! Depending on how thoroughly your company intends to do the
translating, if they're going to translate the software GUI (and if
they're not translating the software GUI, then why bother translating the
software user guides?), they should start out at the early design stage
and make sure they leave at least 30% more space in all dialogs and menus
than they would use for English only.

Hope this info helps.

Award-winning technical writing and illustration services.

> Greetings,
> I have been asked by one of our product manager to provide a quote for
> translating documentation. I have never had to do this before. Does anyone
> have any pointers as to what questions I should be asking potential
> translating companies? Anything I should be watching for? Potential pitfall?
> Thanks in advance,
> David


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