“By the way, I was wondering...”
Answers to five regular translation FAQs
No, I only translate into German, my native language but I certainly know a colleague who works in the opposite language direction, and whom I can recommend, especially in my areas of expertise. Please don’t hesitate to ask me.
The simple answer: It depends.
Without really wanting to resort to empty phrases like “quality has its price” and “every text is different,” I still have to admit that they are true.
For your orientation, here are a few examples:
Article for a professional journal, 3,000 words, processing time: 3 weeks
A magazine publisher asked me for the translation of a dental professional article from English. The field is familiar to me, I've worked for this publisher already and know their editorial guidelines, so the desired delivery date in three weeks leaves me plenty of time to coordinate the order with other ongoing projects.
Estimated cost in this unstressed scenario: about €550.
Environmental report (baseline report), 8,000 words, processing time: 2 weeks
A British company is planning a marine construction project, which will possibly affect the coastal areas of different riparian countries, including Germany. As part of the approval process, various environmental impact reports must be generated and translated into the languages of the neighbouring states. I've translated frequently in the area of marine ecology, which significantly shortens the preparation period and two weeks are enough for me to process the project easily.
Estimated cost: €1,750
Clinical study, 5,000 words, processing time: 1 week
A pharmaceutical manufacturer needs the clinical trial of a competing product translated into English. Accommodating the order within a week between my current projects is not easy but luckily, I do not have to bend any other clients’ deadlines.
Estimated cost: €1,000
PowerPoint presentation for a new medical device, 5,000 words, urgent
A medical device manufacturer asks me on Wednesday about the translation of a presentation for his new product, with which his representatives should be travelling to various clients in Switzerland early next week. The presentation is written in French, but the representative also suddenly want to take it along in German for safety's sake Since, the German text is longer than the French in many places I have to accordingly adjust the layout in PowerPoint by changing font sizes, magnifying text frames etc. There remains only a half weeks time for the translation, I have two other, less urgent projects for push back.
Estimated cost about €1,500
Product brochure from a medical device manufacturer, 1,000 words, urgent
A medical device manufacturer urgently needs the translation of an English brochure for his new device. The printing deadline has been fixed for weeks but the texts of this multi-language brochure are still being waited for. On late Friday afternoon, they finally arrive and the customer needs the translation back on Monday morning. The texts consist of the typical mix of marketing passages and keywords from the product specifications. I sacrifice a part of my weekend, so that the customer can meet the printing deadline.
Estimated cost: about €480
Of course, these are only very rough estimates that should give you a general idea of the cost of a translation and the factors that influence them. Naturally I will give you a detailed quotation with a detailed breakdown of individual factors such as word price, any surcharges etc.
Incidentally, the following rule of thumb generally applies to translations from Japanese: They take twice as long and cost twice as much as translations from English or French, if the number of characters is the defining factor. If the aforementioned journal article had therefore been translated from Japanese instead of English, costs of approximately €1,100 would be expected. (The processing time would however been sufficient in this case.)
Here, too, it depends of course very much on the text. In a running text of average difficulty, about 2,500 to 3,000 words a day are considered to be possible with correspondingly less output in the case of more complex technical texts. Moreover, the processing time depends of course strongly upon my current workload. If you need your translation by a certain date then enter that in your request, so that I can say whether this is feasible without further ado or whether a little “magic” needs to be applied. Either way: we will find a solution!
Of course it sometimes happens that I work on texts that do not explicitly correspond to my areas of expertise, especially when the field is not possible to narrow down precisely. However, it is within my areas of expertise that I work in the safest and most effective way – in a word, at my best. Translations in the fields of marketing, law, economics and finance, I always prefer to pass to the specialised colleagues, who, in turn, achieve the best results in these areas. Within my extensive network of colleagues, there is certainly someone I can recommend without reservation, so – do talk to me!
I am available most weekdays from 9am to 5pm. However, it may happen that I am not at my desk, but at an on-site meeting with a customer, hunting in the library for secondary literature and very special dictionaries (that actually still happens in the Internet age!), or I am visiting a symposium or a conference. Then it may be that I cannot answer your call directly, but if you leave me a message with your request, I'll call you back immediately. Or please send me an email, as I also regularly read these outside office hours.