What is the average translation speed?

March 24, 2016
What is the average translation speed?

Knowing your translation speed is essential. It enables you to manage your workload and to quote appropriate amounts to your clients. But how does your translation speed compare to others? What is the average translation speed?

The latest Tomedes survey sought to address this question and the results are now in. Respondents shared their translation speed, with the most common speed being…

1,500 to 3,000 words per day

36% of respondents can translate between 1,500 and 3,000 words on a really good day, making this the most frequently chosen translation speed. Interestingly though, more than a quarter of translators felt that they could translated more than this when at the top of their game making… 

3,000 to 5,000 words

…the second most chosen translation speed. Some 26% of translators are able to translate at this speed. 

Slower translations

But not everyone can reach the dizzying heights of up to 5,000 words per day. More than one in five (21%) rank their translation speed as fewer than 1,500 words, even on a really good day. 

Fast translations

At the other end of the scale there is a fairly substantial contingent of super speed translators, capable of translating more than 5,000 words on a good day. Some 17% of respondents were in this category. 

How to boost your translation speed

There are numerous strategies you can employ to increase your translation speed, from learning to touch type to using speech recognition software. If you’re currently translating fewer than 1,500 words per day but looking to speed up, experiment with different methods to see which work for you. Sometimes even small differences can make a big change and an increase in your translation speed generally means an increase in your income, which is always good news. 

Final thoughts

Are you surprised by the translation speed survey results? Do translators generally work faster or slower than you had imagined? Share your thoughts via 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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