Re: Pricing Translation Costs

Subject: Re: Pricing Translation Costs
From: Tom Johnson <johnsont -at- FREEWAY -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 10:32:28 -0500


From my experience, you'll need to give the translators something to work
with. Most likely they will prefer to have both hard and soft copies to
work with. They like to do things like word counts and page counts. Giving
them an opportunity to look at your files gives them an idea of the
complexity of the project. They need to think about graphics and index
entries and a lot of stuff we do as part of our normal routine and think
nothing of it.

Having said that and knowing you haven't written the document yet, I would
find a sample of whatever you have that is close to what you think the
document will look like. Pick out a few translator companies, maybe three
to five, and send your sample to each of them. Ask the translators to give
you an estimate and make sure they know it will be for a SIMILAR document.
You may not have a valid estimate for your project, but you can learn some
things from the process.

One, you can get an idea of the comparative costs among different
translation companies. You will get an idea of the magnitude of the expense
(hundreds of dollars for several pages, thousands for dozens of pages, tens
of thousands for hundreds of pages).

Two, you can get a feel for how well you will work with the translator.
Translators vary a lot in terms of quality control and professionalism. A
couple phone calls to discuss their estimate can be very revealing. Don't
work with someone you don't feel comfortable with. When it comes down to
working with them, you'll be surprised at the number of phone calls, e-mail
and faxes it takes to coordinate a translation project. Having a good
relationship is vital to the success of the project.

In general, plan your project. Plan everything you can and make things as
simple as you can. Take whatever steps you can to minimize the directory
structure for your project. When you start transferring files back and
forth, you want to make it as easy as possible to maintain links.

If you have any other questions, contact me directly and I'll try to answer

Tom Johnson

business johnsont -at- starcutter -dot- com
personal tjohnson -at- grandtraverse -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: Christine Lienhart [SMTP:clienhart -at- PREVUENET -dot- COM]
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 1998 8:36 AM
Subject: Pricing Translation Costs

Hi, everyone! I've been asked to come up with a cost estimate for
translating a set of documentation that has yet to be written. Right
now it is only to be written in two versions: English and
Spanish...doubtful any other languages will be needed. I don't know
much about how many pages or components it will ultimately have, so this
is no easy task, I'm sure. But I have never worked with a translation
company or an independent translator so I'm wondering if there is a
starting point for estimating, like a price per page?

I looked in the techwr-l archives and saw where someone suggested using
an independent if there is only one language involved, any more thoughts
on this? Also, I'm curious about the hours involved for translating,
say, a 50-page user guide for a software application. (No translation
of screen shots would be necessary.)

I suppose any information about the general translation process would be
very helpful, but I'm most interested in how the pricing is done. And,
surprise! -- I'm supposed to have something formulated by this

Thanks in advance for all your sound advice. : )

Christine Lienhart
Prevue Networks
Tulsa, OK

P.S. The files to be translated will probably be in Word.

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