Why think ahead, when you need translation?

//Why think ahead, when you need translation?

We often receive requests from clients who ask us to translate hundreds of pages in 24 hours or a couple of days.

Since we have the resources to cope with large translation projects in a short time frame, we usually take them on.

Urgent translations are useful if you don’t need any proofreading,  just want to understand the rough meaning of the source language document.

But if you need one hundred pages of high-quality translation, including proofreading and editing, planning ahead is a better solution.

It’s because about 2200 words (4-5 A4 pages) can be translated within one day by one translator, but several factors influence the translation speed: the current workload, the complexity of the source text, the source and the target languages etc.

Even our most experienced and gifted colleagues can translate about 5500 – 6500 words (12-15 pages) a day (with the help of Computer Aided Translation tools), but this is a number we cannot exceed: we are human beings and translation is one of the most exhausting mental activities.

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That’s why we always say to think and plan ahead when it comes to translation projects in your company and send all documents well in advance.

But when you can’t avoid sending urgent translations, please understand that even with the help of the most advanced translation technology, there are some limits.

For us, it’s better to translate several independent documents instead of one single large text, because more translators can work on them simultaneously, without endangering the consistency of the text.

But it’s totally different, when we receive a single user manual or a 200-pages business contract where consistent terminology is crucial and the same expression must be translated the same way throughout the whole document.

Without Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools, it would be nearly impossible to produce perfect translation in such scenarios.

With CAT tools, a single translation memory is created and used throughout the whole project and is easily accessible to all participants: translators, editors and proofreaders alike.

In that case, even if 9-10 translators work on the project, it is easy to translate the same expression the same way throughout the whole text.

But it’s important to understand that one or two days are rarely enough for the translation of hundreds of pages.

So our advice is: think ahead, weeks ahead, and send the translation to us on time to receive the best for your money.

It’s easy to count the number of days we need for standard translation: if you need 30 pages, or about 13.000 words, it takes approximately 5-6 days for us to produce the best results with a daily average of 2.200 – 2.600 words.

Please take that in mind when you send  your next documents for translation.


About the Author:

In 1999, as a private entrepreneur, I started Business Team Translations and provided translation and interpreting services to businesses for almost five years. For six months during that period I was the corporate interpreter for the American construction giant, Washington International. We did a project for Carrier Corporation – the largest refrigerator manufacturer in the world – relocating an entire factory from Italy to Hungary; a job I was invited to do after I’d successfully completed another interpreting assignment that my six co-translators had found too hard to handle, dropped out and left me as the last man standing. I began to win more and more translation bids and tenders, the most remarkable of which was a quality assurance manual. I also translated several bestsellers and non-fiction books that were published in Hungary. Before long, we received a call from Canada, from a gambling company who urgently needed to translate a large quantity of legal materials. I was no expert at legal translation and I didn’t really know what to say to the company. Earlier, I’d translated everything; I did all the marketing, and I really enjoyed both. But this was a completely different situation. We had to find someone who could translate this multi-thousand-dollar legal project for us. We did and it became the beginning of a new era in which more and more translators and project managers started to serve our clients in several countries.