Do This to Get an Estimate for Translation

1. Provide the document to be translated and state the language to translate into.
2. State your preferred delivery date and budget.
3. State what you are trying to accomplish with the translation.

Here is why.
1. We need the document to know
a. exactly how many characters (for Asian languages) or words (for non-Asian languages) because the unit of billing is the character or word, not “page.”
b. the content to be translated and the nature of the document to determine the difficulty: medical research is more specialized than corporate regulations, for example, and specialized translation costs more.
c. the language to be translated into is a factor in cost. Some languages are easier or more readily available than others.

2. Your preferred deadline tells us if this is going to be a rush job or not, and how many translators would be needed to achieve that deadline. The budget will determine how much you can afford in terms of quality. More experienced translators–higher quality–cost more than less experienced translators. Your expectations may be horribly unrealistic–20,000 words translated by tomorrow for $10, for example–and we will tell you what is possible in both time and money and the caveats for cutting corners, but it is good to know what your expectations are.

3. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish gives us an idea of what kind of quality you need, and where we can reduce effort and cost when possible. For instance, a company website would require much more attention to quality than a newspaper article for market research use.

To say “no two translations are alike” is an exaggeration, but this is not too far from the truth. Time, content, budget, and quality requirements are different from project to project, and so a single price for all translation is not practical from a business standpoint.

Sometimes a prospective client is preparing for a project that has not materialized yet, or they are simply “price fishing,” for which Honyaku Plus does have standard prices to quote. However, these are just for reference, and we will not give a definite price until getting the above-mentioned requirements sorted out.

Now that you know what goes into pricing translation services, you can understand why we cannot answer these types of questions:
“How much would it cost to translate five A4 pages, with a lot of graphics?”
“How long will it take to translate my presentation?”
“If I give you a document to translate into Chinese on July 1, can I get it back on July 5?”

To do it right, we need information as outlined above.
I hope this explanation will make your first experience with a translation project a smooth one.

About Paul Flint

American-born Tokyoite who loves the challenges of doing business in Japan. Other passions include sailing and long-board surfing on the Shonan Coast, barbequing on the balcony, playing classical guitar, playing with his children, and on and on and on. . . .
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