Re: Pricing Translation Costs

Subject: Re: Pricing Translation Costs
From: Max Wyss <prodok -at- PRODOK -dot- CH>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 19:48:39 +0100


normally, in the US, transkations are paid by the word (or better by
thousand words) in the target language. If a client wants a guesstimate per
page, my rule of thumb is 3 1/3 pages per thousand words.

For the rate, it depends quite a bit on the language combination, your
location, and the quality requirements you need. For your accounting: the
translation is, just as the original documentation, part of the product
development, and should be depreciated similarly.

I am very much in favor of working directly with translators opposed to
work with agencies (as I am an independent translator <g>). But the
advantage is that, if you happen to find a good translator, you may end up
paying less, and the translator gets more. Of course, you will have to
provide all needed information, and it could be very worthwile to train the
translator on your software. If you do find a good translator with whom it
is a pleasure to cooperate, you may no longer have to worry about that
particular language.

One point, you better keep in mind is that it does really help to have a
translator residing in the target country and translating into his native
language. This may contradict with the training point, but if it would not
be reasonable to get the trainslator to your site, then you should at least
have someone available who has the competence (and the competences) to

Hope, this can help.

Max Wyss
PRODOK Engineering AG
Technical documentation and translations, Electronic Publishing
CH-8906 Bonstetten, Switzerland

Fax: +41 1 700 20 37
e-mail: mailto:prodok -at- prodok -dot- ch or 100012 -dot- 44 -at- compuserve -dot- com

Bridging the Knowledge Gap


>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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