Re: Pricing Translation Costs

Subject: Re: Pricing Translation Costs
From: Richard Frederick <fred_ri -at- ENG -dot- PRINTRONIX -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 08:05:21 -0800

Christine,

I am the Translation Coordinator for the company I work for and have a small
consulting business of my own. A good ball park figure for translation cost is about
$0.20 per word and somewhere around $8.00 a page for DTP. This is of course dependent
on the complexity of the subject matter and the DTP tool you use. I would also toss in
a project management cost of 5% to 10% of the word/pages total. You can pay less (and
get less) and you can pay a LOT more (and get less).

As far as going to an independent, I would not. Translation is not the straight
forward process that one would initially think. I have been doing this for several
years and have made enough mistakes to have figured out the right way to do things,
most of the time :-> I don't mean to imply that individual translators are not
efficient at their jobs. Translation services have a process of checks and
verifications that are important. The European Community (EC) is becoming very strict
about translation requirements and ISO 9000 compliance is crucial.

The right way to get translations done is to employ a service that uses NATIVE
speaking translators that RESIDE in the target country. This is important for two
reasons:

1. All languages change over time. The America English language is one of the
newest languages in the world and is changing at an enormous rate. If the translator
is not resident in the target country, they can not be up-to-date with the current
vocabulary. This is critical with the language of technology. If a linguist has lived
in the US for five years, the target language of five years ago, like the technology
of five years ago, is antiquated.

2. Resident US translators cost more. Our cost of living is, in general, far more
than most countries. I recall getting a quote for Russian several years ago. The cost
was approximately 50% of other European languages because the Russian economy was so
bad that people would literally "Work for Food." The cost has gone up, but European
romance languages are still a bargain if done in the target country. Asian languages
are more complex, for a number of reasons, but are still a bargain if done in the
target country.

If you are interested, let me know (off line) and I will put you in contact with one
of the best organizations I have worked with. They are patient and understanding of
new translation managers. They are very reasonable. And they are very very good.

Hope this is a help.

Richard Frederick
Senior Technical Writer

fred1 -at- keyway -dot- net




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