- The language pair: The more exclusive the language pair, the more expensive. There are many more EN-ES translators than EN-SV, so it is logical that Swedish translations are more expensive.
- The tax pressure and the cost of living on each country: Translators have to make a living, so when establishing their rates they have to take into account the taxes they will have to pay. As we work with native translators, most of them living in their country of origin, this explains why Norwegian is a more expensive language than Italian.
- The type of text: Although translators get specialized in a given field, there are differences in the complexity of texts within the same field. For example, even if a translator is specialized in software localization, localizing a software file is usually more difficult than translating the user instructions of the same software product. This is because when dealing with pure software files translators usually have long lists of terms without further context. Therefore, the time spent on researching is higher and thus the rate for software is higher than for documentation. For example, let’s take the string ‘No’ in a software list. This can both mean ‘number’ or the rejecting ‘No’. As software lists do not follow a logical order, the translator will have to make more research to get the context for this string.
- The format of the file: We have already explained on previous posts how important it is to send the translation in a format that allows for easy editing. If you send a PDF file or a hand written document, just to name some examples, we will have to process your file before the translator actually puts his/her hands on the translation work. Depending on how long it takes to do these preceding tasks, the translation costs can increase.
And now, some simple notes about the translation quotation. A localization project involves many more tasks apart from translating (see our series The Localization Project for further reference, just do a quick search on our blog), and these tasks are reflected in the quotation you get from a translation company:
- Project Management: Your unique contact point at the translation company will be the Project Manager. He/she will be in charge of getting the files from you and preparing them to the translator, filtering queries (so that you do not have to spend time dealing with lots of emails with the same questions), implementing feedback or making sure that last minute changes are implemented, among other tasks. To summarize, the PM takes care of all the hassle of dealing with several translators and tons of emails that you would have to deal with if you handled the project yourself.
- QA checks: Even if the translation has been reviewed and edited by another translator, there are additional QA tasks done to make sure that the text meets your quality requirements. The files are checked for consistency, spelling errors, typos, untranslated terms, adherence to marketing instructions (trademarks, product names, product versions, etc.). When the delivery date is tight, different translators have to be used and therefore QA checks are more exhaustive.
- DTP: For some projects, if you want to have a final file ready for printing, such as a PDF file, the translation will have to pass through the DTP process and checks until it has the same formatting as the source file (you can learn more about the DTP check on our post The importance of the DTP check).
- Terminology management: For some projects, clients want glossaries and terminology lists to be created so that they can be used as a reference material for future updates. If the client wants this service, this is to be rated separately from the translation but can sometimes be included in the same quotation, as a separate concept.