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How many words...
Thread poster: AKB
English to Spanish
Feb 28, 2005

Can anyone please help me with the following: What is the translation industry standard as to how many words a translator would translate per day?

Thank you!

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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
Maybe you can calculate them Feb 28, 2005

You could take the standard rates per word and per hour (if you can identify any) and use them to calculate the implied words per day, which depend on the same manifold factors as the rates.

words per day = hours per day * (rate per hour / rate per word)

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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:11
Member (2002)
English to German
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Try the search function Mar 1, 2005

This is one of those frequently asked questions that keep popping up - after all, most of us are curious to know how fast we work compared to our colleagues, how many words experienced translators can handle as opposed to a beginner etc. In the upper right corner of this screen is a search field. Try entering 'words per day'- and you will have instant access to previous discussions of this topic.
Good luck,

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Local time: 02:11
English to Italian
depends Mar 1, 2005

This is one of the latest discussions on this topic:

There are different opinions, but it does depend on the quality. I never even thought about daily output at the start, it's only after a while that you can get an idea of how much you can do without compromising quality.

It also depends on the language, kind of text, style, degree of specialisation and familiarity, use of CAT tools, and so on. Normally, 2,000-3,000 is the kind of average on which there seems to be more consensus.

See also this other thread:

and this:

Some comments I found particularly helpful:

Don't overestimate your speed
Like many others on this board, I can manage from 2500 to 4000 words a day, depending on the subject matter and file format. However, I never commit to more than 3000 words a day, and usually tell clients that my limit is 2500. That gives me ample time to check over my translation, check terminology, ask any questions and sort out the paperwork.

Thinking back to my time working as an in-house translator for a translation company, the novice translators were expected to handle between 2000 and 2500 words a day, on the whole.

about 2,000 would be a conservative estimate. I work as a project manager for a translation company and when we work out timelines for clients we allow 2000 words per day for translation.

You may find gradually that you can work faster than this, but as a beginner it might be better not to give your clients false hopes and end up missing deadlines. If they say that's not fast enough, impress upon them the need for quality as well as speed, and as someone above said, if you go too fast it only makes more work in the revision stage.

Hope this helps!

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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:11
Member (2011)
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survey done on translation speed statistics Mar 1, 2005

See the following post which provides the reference to my online article on a survey of translation speed that I conducted in early 2004.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:11
Member (2005)
German to English
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What's a day? Mar 1, 2005

Consider what you mean by a "day". A standard working day in the US is 8 hours, but as you know that can go up a lot sometimes when you're a freelancer.

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:11
German to English
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What's a day? Mar 1, 2005

Daina Jauntirans wrote:

Consider what you mean by a "day". A standard working day in the US is 8 hours, but as you know that can go up a lot sometimes when you're a freelancer.

Or, for that matter, down: even if you work an eight-hour day, it isn't all translation. Other tasks need to be done such as administration/bookkeeping, marketing, training, IT, etc.


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xxxNathalieVVT  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:11
French to English
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What's a day? Mar 18, 2005

For me a day os 8 hours. Because after 8 hours, I am tired and I become less productive. And I like to think I have a life. MIND YOU I work week-ends too sometimes.

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