Peak Translations

How much should translation cost?

The world is getting to grips with a new, albeit temporary, way of doing things. How do you continue as much as possible with ‘business as usual’?

In this period of unprecedented uncertainty, it’s important that your translation partner not only adds value to your project but is equipped to weather the challenges that the Coronavirus presents.

Let’s start with cost. If you’ve ever commissioned a translation project, you’ll know the cost can vary pretty dramatically from one supplier to the next.

Probably the most critical factor in determining price is the quantity of text. This is most often defined as word count rather than number of pages (since word count is not affected by the amount of white space and images on a page). Exceptions to this word count rule apply in languages such as Thai where the lack of spacing between words makes character count a more appropriate measure.

Some translation companies will use software to analyse the text that requires translation. There are benefits to working with a company that applies this approach. Firstly, the software spots any repeat phrases or phrases it has translated before and stores them as ‘memory’ thereby reducing word count and cost accordingly. Secondly, this memory ensures that any future translated material is written in the same ‘voice’, creating consistency across your published material. At Peak Translations we’ve used the market-leading Trados software for some 30 years. As a result, we’ve built up a highly impressive memory for each of our clients, guaranteeing them complete confidentiality and maximised efficiency.

When considering different cost quotations, it’s important to know you’re comparing like for like. Asking the following questions of your suppliers will help you to determine their level of quality and, as importantly, to avoid being stung with unexpected additional costs:


  • Will my work be translated by a native speaker? In every language, there are nuances that are difficult to convey unless it’s in the translator’s mother tongue.


  • How much industry expertise will be applied to the work? The most reputable translation companies will have an impressive database of translators to count upon, who are selected as much for their industry expertise as they are their knowledge of the required language.


  • Second stage revisions. Will your translated work be quality assessed by a second pair of eyes? Is any second stage revision included as standard or as an additional cost?


  • What support, if any, is offered to add value to the final product beyond the translation itself? Working with a translation company skilled in typesetting and formatting will save resource internally.


  • Project management can be a useful addition to any translation service, and will ensure the project is delivered on time.  It’s an approach that works particularly well for multilingual projects; a query from one translator can be shared across translators so that translations in all languages can benefit from the same learning.Is project management included in the translation rate or as a separate fee based on % of the translation cost?


  • Finally, how well is your translation partner responding to Covid-19? Do they have the capacity to work remotely? Does their scale of operation allow them to deliver should their workforce fall ill?At Peak Translations, our business model of remote, extensive translators and interpreters along with online access to our databases mean we continue to work at pace for our clients.




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