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Why Does Translation Cost So Much?

So a customer calls and says, ”I would like a price for translation on a document?” The response on the phone is, “Well Sir, we can’t give you a firm price because we need to see the document for content technicality, word count, format, and so on. There are more words in French than in English once a document is translated, therefore you can expect a 20% increase in word count.” The phone goes silent and then a voice says, ” So you’re telling me it will cost more to translate the document than it cost to create it?” Unfortunately this is a normal conversation between translation firms and clients and like many other specialty service prices they are often high.translation-blog-header.jpg

The reason services such as translation are costly is due to the fact that there is a very small community that can do the work properly. A document created in its native language from someone that knows the content very well will be able to create a document easily that people can understand. When translating a document into another language however to make sure that the document has the same tone, meaning, and is appropriate for the audience intended is very time consuming. For instance if the document is for corporate training then translating it with slang from the street won’t impress your audience. Often that means a lot of investigation on the translators part to make sure they have the best wording for the content. In French sentence structure is often changed dramatically and that can create a problem as to how to keep the meaning of a sentence during translation. That sentence structure also causes the extra words that may increase the cost of translating a document as most translation services charge by the word. Additional charges come from other things like rush charges, formatting issues and so on.

So if you are trying to save money on translation services remember three things. The more technical the document, the size of the document, and the time frame of the project will all impact the price of translating a document. Think ahead and you will save money on your translation needs.

About the Author

Carmen Outridge is owner and translator for Outridge Translation Services. She has over 25 years experience in the industry and understands the dialect of the Province of Quebec. To learn more about Outridge Translation Services visit their website at www.outridgetranslation.com

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