Translation costs?

Subject: Translation costs?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2011 14:59:58 -0400

Our products are not sold to consumers.
The people who would configure and administer our products would normally be technical - engineers, IT types, developers, etc.

So far, we've not had to translate. I produce docs in English and that's what goes out the door, to every country.

But there are rumblings.

QUESTION: What might be a ball-park guesstimate of the cost to have (say) a 1000-topic WebHelp system translated to one other language, from English?
Assume a European language or Japanese. Only a few illustrations have text embedded.

What might be the considerations regarding the source material that might double (or halve) that guesstimate?

Current docs are NOT done in Simplified or Controlled English.

I just want the voice of recent experience to speak.
I don't want solicitations - you'll just annoy me in case we ever DO develop a business case that demands translation.

I haven't dealt with a translation company since ... um... a previous century, when we did no help and everything was printed.

A rule of thumb would be helpful when the topic comes up at an early requirements discussion for an upcoming project.
Yes, I know about translation memory, but it's helpful to mention that a second project can be 1/3 the cost of a first one, after the translation memory has already been developed, ONLY if you also say what that first project is likely to cost in 2011 dollars. Ballpark. SWAG. Nothing binding. Just a throwing-around number that the suits can wrap their heads around.

No Mil-spec. Not medical industry. Not aircraft. Not nuke... so far. :)

Anybody been through the grind recently? Saw the invoices? Got your heart successfully restarted after seeing the invoice?

- kevin

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