When you need a translation the first thing that most likely goes through your mind is, how long does it take to translate a document by an experienced translator? This is important because most people charge by the hour when they complete a job for someone else. This is not quite the same with translation work as most translators charge by the word not the hour.
So a translator has to be able to calculate the number of translation words per day they are likely to be able to translate for a customer. Many translators tend to work as freelancers so that means they need to be able to translate as many words as they can in order to make a real living as a freelancer in translation.
How Long Does It Take To Translate A Document
There is no easy way of calculating how many translation words per day are necessary in order to make a reasonable living out of it, as every translation job has its own challenges. Also, how often a translator translates for a single client is important, as translation memories and glossaries related to that client can be referred to which save time when doing the translation.
The decisive factors determining how many translation words per day can be completed include the following:
- When using a hard copy and not electronic software slows down the translation process.
- Availability of a good dictionary is crucial for a translator as it minimizes the time when looking up a word.
- Using CAT-tools really does add speed to the translation process.
- The more familiar the translator is with the subject matter the quicker a translation is completed.
- The style of the source text influences the speed of a translation.
- Typing speed is a key factor when calculating how many words can be completed in a day.
- The more motivated you are the more the words you are likely to translate.
In order to be sure a client will return, it’s essential to both translate and proofread the documents first.
Most translators will say they can translate up to 100 words each hour for a complex translation, but for a less difficult one it could be around 500 words. It is possible to translate 4,000 – 6,000 words each day but this would not be a comfortable speed but between 2,000 and 3,000 words would be far more comfortable for most translators.