July 29, 2019
Maria Joaquina Marques

crossingwords good

How do we evaluate the price of translation services? Does it depend on how many hours were spent on the project? Do we calculate how many words or lines there are on a page? We take all of this into account, and much more. Providing translation services does not only require linguistic knowledge, it also requires techniques or specialisations, the ability to work with range of tools, whether related to translation, research or editing, or time.

All of these factors must be considered when preparing a translation quote. It takes time for the translator to research, edit, translate and revise their work, whether we're talking about 100 or 100,000 words, a three-minute or a 90-second video, a manual or a novel. Large projects require hours and hours of work which should be paid for accordingly.

It’s up to the translator to provide their price, of course, and the client has the right to accept it or not. The client, however, should always want the best for their business and this certainly isn't achieved through translation generated by a machine or by that distant cousin who speaks the language well. The client needs to be aware that a professional job requires specialised tools, specific knowledge, sensitivity and reasoning of a human nature, not of a mechanical nature, and this costs money!

The translator must neither allow their work to be underestimated or undervalued, and should charge according to the abovementioned factors, explaining their charges with honesty and transparency. If both parties take these things into account, they can then come to a cost-effective agreement that ensures quality for both sides. Failure to understand translation pricing can have negative consequences for client, such as a target text that doesn't transmit the desired message, for example. At the same time, failure to provide accurate pricing can create an unaffordable standard of living for the translator. That’s why understanding and explaining the translation process, and everything it involves, is fundamental in any client-translator relationship.