High-volume translation project: price? deadline?
Thread poster: Elisa Colliez

Elisa Colliez  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:20
Member (Feb 2018)
English to French
+ ...
Nov 24, 2017

Dear translators!

A friend of mine is willing to get a part of his blog translated from Turkish to English and asked me for advice. (The job’s not for me, I’m a TR>FR translator!) It is a blog about Paris/France - nothing far too technical.
He made a selection of articles he would like to get translated: approximately 1.000 pages / 335.000 words (2.091.000 characters (punctuation and spaces excluded) / 2.420.000 characters (punctuation and spaces included)).
He asked me how much a translator would ask for such a project… Since I’m used to working on shorter projects, I have a rate/word. But, for such high volumes, I was wondering how we should calculate (per page? Rate per xxx words? Discount?)?
Besides, he would like it to be translated by one translator only (to ensure coherence) and would like it to be translated within 3 or 4 months…
This means translating more than 4.500 words/per day for 3-4 months…
I might be a fairly slow translator but I think the average number of translated words per day is around 2.000 words, nope? In this case, it would rather take 6-7 months to translate the whole thing.
Is a deadline in 3-4 months realistic (for 1 translator)?
How much would you ask for such a high-volume translation projects?


Thanks a lot,

Elisa



[Edited at 2017-11-24 15:13 GMT]


 

Suresh Bomble
India
Local time: 09:50
English to Marathi
+ ...
Should take around 6-7 months Nov 24, 2017

Hi Elisa,

I think it will take at least around 6-7 months for one translator to complete around 335,000 words (that too considering it is not highly technical matter). In my opinion, a discount of 25 % could be considered for such a high-volume project.

* I am new to this site and I myself am a slow translator; someone like me would have taken even more than 7 months to complete such a big project !

Suresh


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:20
Member
English to French
Hope he'll generate money from those translations Nov 24, 2017

Elisa Colliez wrote:
....He made a selection of articles he would like to get translated: approximately 1.000 pages / 335.000 words (2.091.000 characters (punctuation and spaces excluded) / 2.420.000 characters (punctuation and spaces included)).
...
How much would you ask for such a high-volume translation projects?

I wouldn't offer to do that much for an individual, unless they inherited a chain of hotels or a bank. It's totally surrealistic.
To put things in perspective, ask your friend to evaluate how much time he would spent retyping those articles backwards, and if he plans to generate massive traffic and convert visitors into buyers/qualified leads of sorts after those texts are translated.
If he doesn't anticipate much ROI and wants those texts translated just for his blog to "look good" and global, the investment of having them professionally translated is likely too high.

The common alternative is to have them translated by DeepL/GT/CAT plugins, for free or a low amount. His translated texts will join the raw machine-translated rubbish flourishing on the internet, which doesn't even deserve reading. But it's quick, and it's cheap.

In the cyborg category, the cheapo players can probably offer the lot for 5 or 10 grand, for an outcome ranging from illegible to legible (PEMT). Accuracy remains unknown.
Direct him to sites like fiverr, Craiglist or Freelance to get offers in this price range. Maybe even proz.

As regards cheapening, I don't believe in discounts on the mere fact of having visibility into your future income, since economies of scale* are marginal (in my opinion) and devoting half a year to a single client generates risks to your business.

Finally, there are translators who can handle 5k/day for extended periods of time, so 3-4 months might be doable.

Philippe

*economies of scale: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/economiesofscale.asp


 

Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:20
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
He has no idea... Nov 25, 2017

... about the price of translations.
A 25% discount seems a very large discount to me, and even for a very fast translator, this would probably take at least 3-4 months working full time.
I would indicate what your price would be with a 25% discount, or whatever you usually earn in 4 months, and tell him he might be able to get it a little cheaper, but not significantly cheaper.
He may be counting on, or hoping for, something not much more than 1000 - 2000 euros.
When he realises this is not realistic at all, he may rethink about what he wants to have translated.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:20
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Exactly. Nov 25, 2017

Marjolein Snippe wrote:
He has no idea about the price of translations.
He may be counting on, or hoping for, something not much more than 1000 - 2000 euros.
When he realises this is not realistic at all, he may rethink about what he wants to have translated.


My thoughts exactly. I'd simply give him a standard rate: Based on the reported community rates for TR-EN, this job would amount to 33.500 EUR. Based on the widely accepted average daily output of 2.000 words (leaving aside that many translators will be able to work a lot faster), this roughly translates into 8 or 9 months of work. Chances are that your friend realises that his blog may not be sufficiently important to justify the expense of more than 30.000 EUR after all. If he still thinks it is, it's early enough to worry about discounts then - small discounts (a couple of percents) may be achievable, but certainly nothing like 25%.


[Edited at 2017-11-25 09:53 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:20
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Why give a discount? Nov 25, 2017

I'm afraid giving a discount would make absolutely no sense at all in this instance. The only translator who would have any sensible reason to offer a discount is one who fully anticipates spending the next six months scratching around looking for jobs of any sort and who is desperate for the money - any money. The better translators out there aren't in that position - we have other clients who would fill that time at our normal rates. Why risk a big loss if the job turns sour; risk losing other clients through non-availability; risk getting bored and stale - AND earn less per month than usual?

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:20
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
yup Nov 25, 2017

This guy has no idea how much a translation costs. Explain that most translators have at least five years of university study under their belt. You wouldn't expect to hire an architect without paying a hefty sum so why think that a translator would come cheap?

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
A friend with a blog Nov 26, 2017

I'm left wondering if this person with a blog is well moneyed to fund a translation project that will set him back around $25,000-$40,000. I agree with many here that the timeline suggested (3-4 months) is inadequate.

Still, what's the content? Is it a money-making tourism blog? What's the purpose of the translation (skopos theory at work)? Who are the potential readers and decision-makers? Again, skopos theory at work.

Plus, there are other questions to consider: who is reading this blog right now? How old are the blog articles? What are the blog metrics, such as number of visitors, clickbacks and such? In short, why does he want to have his blog translated in the first place?

In the end, I see too many questions and assumptions raised by this prospective project.


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:20
Member
English to Italian
Your quote Nov 26, 2017

Elisa Colliez wrote:


A friend of mine is willing to get a part of his blog translated from Turkish to English and asked me for advice. (The job’s not for me, I’m a TR>FR translator!)


To give your friend a basic idea, why don't you tell them what you would charge and how long it would take?

As for the time needed in particular, I would consider an average of 2.5k per day, so at least 6 months, working exclusively on that. This also means that whoever accepts this project with that (or a shorter) deadline will probably have to drop all their other clients for the duration, which is IMO quite a counterproductive move, so no "volume discount" would be really justified... (in addition to what Philippe was saying about economies of scale, which obviously don't apply here).


 

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 07:20
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
I'd ask my usual rates Nov 27, 2017

because translation is not a wholesale business. Same with deadlines - the usual deadlines.

[Edited at 2017-11-27 00:07 GMT]


 


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