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Richard's comments are all fairly accurate except for one omission. You need
to allow a cost for someone else to proofread the translated text. This has
proven very beneficial to our organization as the terminology used in the
power generation equipment business can be extremely technical. Even the
best translation companies we use are still developing customized lexicons
to translate specific technical terms. And as Richard states, these terms
can differ within dialects of the same language (Argentinean Spanish vs.
Scott Van Nostrand
> From: Richard Frederick[SMTP:fred_ri -at- ENG -dot- PRINTRONIX -dot- COM]
> Sent: Thursday, March 19, 1998 11:05 AM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: Pricing Translation Costs
> I am the Translation Coordinator for the company I work for and have a
> 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
> forward process that one would initially think. I have been doing this for
> 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
> 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
> speaking translators that RESIDE in the target country. This is important
> for two
> 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
> is not resident in the target country, they can not be up-to-date with the
> 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
> 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
> romance languages are still a bargain if done in the target country. Asian
> 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
> Hope this is a help.
> Richard Frederick
> Senior Technical Writer
> fred1 -at- keyway -dot- net