How fast are fast translators?

November 30, 2015
How fast are fast translators?

We all know that a fast translation speed is one way to boost your translation income over and above that of the competition. But how fast is fast? 

It all depends…

It all depends on the kind of documents that the translator is working on. If it’s a complicated document that is outside of his/her area of expertise and that requires a lot of research, then a rate of 100 words an hour might be realistic. However, if it’s an easy translation on a subject that the translator knows inside out then a rate of 500 words or more is achievable. 

The general consensus is that the average translator can produce between 2,000 and 3,000 words per day. In this context, ‘fast’ would therefore mean producing more than 3,000 words daily. 

Quickly increase your translation speed

Increasing your translation speed from average to fast is actually much simpler than you might think. Simple tips like using a typing programme to boost your typing speed or learning to touch type can make a surprising amount of difference. Even reviewing your working environment to ensure you have suitable peace and quiet and the right tools to hand can boost your speed and make a fast translation rate more achievable. 

Always review the text

Of course the only way to know your likely translation speed for a certain document is to review the text before you begin. It’s always a good idea to ask for a sample before you commit to a rate or words per day. That way you can gauge before you start the amount of time you are likely to spend turning to the dictionary or researching words and phrases online. 

Final thoughts

What is the fastest translation rate that you have ever achieved and what made it possible? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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