Business Translation Center

How long should your business translation take?

by OFER TIROSH 19/04/2017

For most companies who decide to use a professional translation service, one of the first things they will ask is how long the translation will take (along with how much it will cost, of course!). The answer will vary depending on the language used, the type of content and the format of the original file and the format that the translated file needs to be presented in. 

How fast do translators translate?

In terms of individual translators, speeds can also vary, just as they can with professionals in other fields. Some translators work faster than others. Many also work faster or slower depending on how familiar they are with the subject matter. 

To provide an indication of speeds, the Tomedes translation speed survey found that the majority of translators (36%) translate between 1,500 and 3,000 words per day. Businesses with lengthy or multiple documents to translate can use this range to work out a rough estimate of translation timescales prior to speaking with potential translation companies. 

A further 26% of translators advised that they translate between 3,000 and 5,000 words per day, so there are certainly faster human translation options out there for companies that are in a hurry. 17% of those surveys reported being able to translate more than 5,000 words per day, although that was counterbalanced by the 21% who advised that they translate fewer than 1,500 words on an average day. 

Specialist subject matters

The subject matter of the documents being translated also has a bearing on the time that the translation will take. Complex legal translation for businesses, for example, is likely to take longer to translate than more general copy, which isn’t packed with specialist or technical terms. 

That said, a good professional translation company should be able to pair its translators’ skills with the subject matter of the content being worked on, assigning technical translators for IT documents and apps, legal translators for contracts and so forth. This should help to speed up the process, as those working on the documents will be familiar with the specialist terms used and know instantly how to translate them. 

Urgent translation

For companies who haven’t left enough time to have their documents translated (it happens more often than you might think!), many companies offer an urgent translation or rush translation service. Usually available for a small extra cost, this service will see their work given priority in order to ensure that their tight deadline is met. If you’re in a hurry to get your business documents translated, it’s always worth asking about this type of service. 

The Tomedes team includes a network of 5,000 translators spread around the world. Feel free to contact us if you would like to know more about professional translation and how it can benefit your business.