Both translation companies and individual translators have often had to deal with potential clients pushing for a quick delivery, using various arguments, ranging from “how long can it take, it’s only three pages”, to “I would do it myself in a couple of hours, but I’m swamped with other stuff…”
So how long does a translation really take? Is it something that you can calculate in advance, or does it involve a more complex procedure?
A quick search online soon reveals various different time-lines for the translation process. Most are based on the volume of work that a professional translator is capable of producing on a daily basis, ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 words. However, the reality is much more complex, since a translation delivery deadline arises from a multitude of factors, and not just from the individual translator’s speed and productivity.
This does not mean, of course, that it will take weeks for your translation to be ready!
This article aims to highlight the most important factors influencing a translation delivery schedule.
The reality is much more complex, since a translation delivery deadline arises from a multitude of factors, and not just from the individual translator’s speed and productivity.
5 factors that affect a translation delivery deadline
Translation can prove to be a very complex process with multiple obstacles, which will cause delays in the delivery schedule. Let us have a look at some of the factors that affect the completion of a translation project:
Volume of the translation project: obviously, the larger the volume of text that needs to be translated, the longer the time needed for its translation. However, for speed and flexibility, large translation projects are often divided among several translators; this entails many levels of editing and quality control, to ensure stylistic cohesion and consistent terminology.
Complexity of the project: some texts are, by nature, more specialized than others, which means that their translation also requires increased specialization. Imagine a text containing a large volume of technical jargon, abbreviations or detailed technical explanations. All this would mean that the translator needs extra time to research the relevant terminology in the target language. Legal, medical and pharmaceutical texts are examples of such specialized language.
Specialization: Just as there are wedding photographers and fashion photographers, and one cannot do the other’s work, so do translators differ. The rule that “everyone cannot do everything” is also true in the field of translation. Thus, if a translation project ends up in the ‘wrong’ translator’s hands, its completion will be a much longer process.
Volume of repetitions: many documents contain repeated terms and phrases, or even entire paragraphs that are either identical or very similar. Naturally, this reduces translation time significantly, considering that we now have many software programmes, used by all professional translators, which identify such repetitions and reduce the translator’s workload accordingly.
Access to translation tools: Besides the translation software mentioned above, technology offers many more valuable translation tools, such as approved terminology glossaries, translation corpora or spelling tools, which reduce the translator’s workload and shave off days from your translation delivery schedule.
Translation can prove to be a very complex process with multiple obstacles, which will cause delays in the delivery schedule.
WHY CHOOSE PODIUM?
At Podium, we work with a wide network of translators, who only translate into their mother tongue, and only in their fields of specialization. Moreover, we avoid opportunistic partnerships, preferring long-term translation ‘bonds’ that have been forged by extensive, exhaustive and exhausting translation projects.
At the same time, our translation department consists of an in-house team of project managers, proofreaders and QA managers, who go over every project with a fine-tooth comb, no matter how big or small it is, before delivering to the end client.
Finally, we have our own extensive translation memories and all modern assisted translation software, as well as several translation databases that we have built over time.
Thus, every time Podium takes on a translation project, you can be sure that no matter how big it is, we will do everything in our power to minimize the delivery time, but always without undermining the quality of our work, which is, after all, our priceless capital!