Translation turnaround times: How do we calculate them?
The first thing customers want to know when they order a translation of any kind is when it will be finished. For translations of large projects, there is no magic formula for calculating exact translation deadlines.
If you have already ordered translations from us, you may have been surprised to receive some the finished product on the same day you ordered it. We’ll give you a brief explanation of what ABC Translations’ project managers take into account when calculating the delivery dates for your orders.
What elements do we use to calculate the translation deadlines?
To begin with, the format of the text to be translated is important. If it’s a file in a non-editable format or printed on paper, the deadline will be longer. We will have to translate it manually or convert it to a format suitable for Computer Aided Technology (CAT) tools.
On the other hand, if the file is in an editable electronic format, we will be able to process it with CAT tools. These tools have multiple functions that speed up the work: they allow us to consult terminology and previous translations, take advantage of the possible internal repetition of the text and even previous similar or equal translations. If the repetition or coincidences with previous work are considerable, the deadline can be shortened. You can read more about the ideal formats for translation here.
At the same time, the scope of the document must also be considered. On one hand, we have the specialized texts (technical, legal, medical, etc.). Although these are always dealt with by expert specialist translators, they involve more documentation and research work. As an example, we have the patents: sometimes they are such recent innovations that it is very difficult to find information on the subject. On the other hand, we have non-specialist texts such as advertising, which have a significant creative component: this also increases translation times.
Do all languages have the same translation deadlines?
The characteristics of each language increase or decrease the number of words a translator can assume per day. For example, if we have a Spanish text of 10,000 words, we have to take into account that there could be a text expansion of 20% on average.
You should also consider what the language combination of the job is. For uncommon combinations for which there is not much translator availability, you have to adjust the availability of the translator. And you may have a rather long queue of work that delays the delivery deadline.
Is there anything else to be considered when it comes to translation deadlines?
Yes, and it is something we often forget: the work of project management. Making the estimate, calculating the deadline, preparing the files with the CAT program, contacting the translators to find out who can take care of the job. Everything we do besides translation we try to do quickly, but as everything does not always go smoothly, we have to leave some margin for possible unforeseen events. That way, if there is an emergency, it will also be easier to manage.
What do you do if you need an urgent translation?
In these cases, we will analyse exactly what it is about to see what options there are. Normally, if the text is of considerable length, it can be divided between more than one translator. However, there are some extra management tasks that involve a cost. The result will also not have the same quality and uniformity as if the text was translated by one person. This is why we always ask you to have some foresight when ordering translations.
In any case, if you have a translation (whether it is urgent or not), please contact us. After calculating the deadline for the translation, we will send you a quote with a clear explanation of the required timeframe, or we will tell you what we can do to adapt to your needs.