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Words per day
Thread poster: Mariana Rodriguez

Mariana Rodriguez  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 28, 2014

In your experience, what is an average aceptable amount of words per day in translation?

Thank you


felicij  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:21
German to Slovenian
+ ...
In my experience May 28, 2014

it is between 2000 and 5000 words per day, depending on the subject and complexity of the source text...


Álvaro Dávila  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
About 2500 is ok ;) May 28, 2014

Hello Mariana,

In my experience, I consider that 2500 words per day is acceptable to achieve good production and profitability. However, with more experience you can translate about 3000 or even more words per day. Starting translators usually are capable of translating 1600 words per day. Many factos may help or difficult achieving those values. If you have a TM with a high number of fuzzy and exact matches you can't get a high volume of translated words in less time. On the other hand, if the format of the source file for translation is bad, for example a scanned document I would never think of reaching 2000 words per day.



Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:21
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
2000+ May 28, 2014

I think figures can vary enormously according to the type of work you do.

If you're translating long, repetitive contracts/technical manuals all day, drawing on the same terminology, looking things up on the same websites and using your favourite interface, you can achieve much more than if you're doing press releases describing a wide range of products due to be launched. Each product has its own specificity, if it's not even on the market you don't find any of the vocab out there, and you have to adjust your tone to the target consumer, factor in cultural changes, check that what you're saying matches the pictures supplied and polish the text until anyone reading it will be just dying to get their hands on the product.

So I can average out at 5000 words a day for a technical manual, but barely manage 2000 if it's marketing.
My record was 11000, translating stuff that was really similar to a previous translation that was still fresh in my memory.

I prefer marketing any day though.


Little Woods  Identity Verified
English to Vietnamese
Also 2000+ May 28, 2014

I find this number comfortable for me in terms of quality and a balanced life. With such source number, my target would be about 3000 words and for medical field which is my speciality, the target corresponding to 2000 source words is always much longer, about 4000 words. So in reality I have to type 4000 words in stead of 2000 words. I also have to take into account the time for reading instructions, reference material, doing research, opening software, dealing with tags in the text, replying emails, self-education and so many trivial but still time consuming tasks so I think 2000 is a healthy number.

@ Texte Style: I have my hat off for you. Only a very skilled and knowledgeable translator can pull that off. I know one who used to try that but in the end she had to outsource 1/3 of the total voume.

My record is 8000 words and I never want to attempt that again since it is very bad for my eyes, hands and back.


Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:21
English to Russian
+ ...
1,500 words May 28, 2014

I usually offer 1,500 words (translation) or 6,000-10,000 words (proofreading) daily. With this volume it will be easy to find some time for a quick small job (a regular update, a short certificate or an email message) from another client.


Joanna Rączka  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:21
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
1,500 words May 28, 2014

At a regular rate. Or more - with a 50% surcharge.


Andrea Diaz
Local time: 00:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
It depends. May 28, 2014

As everyone else said, it depends on your experience and area of expertise. I'm a newcomer, so I offer between 1500-2000 words per day. I second-guess myself a lot and triple-check most of the words. I hope that with a little more practice I'll be able to improve. One time, I managed 5500 words for a very difficult text in one day. I don't recommend it; my body didn't respond well to such abuse, and I even fell from the stairs.


Aleksandra Nikolic  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:21
Member (2013)
German to Serbian
+ ...
2000 - 3000 May 28, 2014

Dear Marianne,
I totally agree with Alvaro, it depends on the subject and the complexity of the source text. My translation record per day is 6000, and it was tough, although it was an "easy" project for me. To achieve a good quality it takes much, much more than just taping.


Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
~2,500 May 29, 2014

Hi Mariana,

We typically translate about 2,500 words a day. Our record, with both of us working together, was 10,000 words in one day, which was part of a 24,000 word project with only a 3 day turnaround... That was very stupid.


Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:21
English to Polish
+ ...
Depends May 29, 2014

Traditional rush threshold here is ~1500/day on the same job/for the same client, but 5000 is not rare and 10,000 not unheard of.


Hin und Wieder  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:21
Member (2012)
German to Dutch
+ ...
2000-3000 May 29, 2014

Thats the amount I feel comfortable with and when it's a text with frases. Single words? Depending on the subject.
There have been days of 8000 though...very very long, stressfull days with a nice invoice with a short payment term.


Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:21
Member (2010)
English to French
it depends on the domain May 29, 2014

in my main domains I can translate 3,000 - 3,500 words a day if necessary;

if it is a less familiar domain / if more research is needed, I would say 2,000 - 2,500 words.

Don't forget to allow some additional time for proofreading and for "post-processing" to clean the presentation, for instance for a Power Point.



Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:21
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
It depends on the domain and the style May 29, 2014

It depends on the domain.

I can do between 2000 and 3000 words per day (domain that I know well, no faults in the text which has to be translated, style not too complicated...)

I work a lot in marketing and journalism, where an excellent style is important and where sometimes your really have to be inspired to find a slogan etc. So it can happen that I only can do 1200 words a day...


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I never promise more than 10 000 words a week May 29, 2014

I have done more, but after a 12 000 words in a week I really need a serious break.
But it varies, as others have said.

Some languages are 'wordier' than others - it makes a 20 - 25% difference whether I count source or target words! On average English expands that much in relation to my source languages.

If I am working for a client I know well, it runs smoothly and I can work fast, but often I can't keep it up - I finish early in the day, and am too tired to start seriously on anything else.

Other days I poke about looking up terminology or background reading, and get very little translated, but I can go on a long time. The next day, I can use my findings to rattle through 3000 words or more... and now the results have to be proofread, which may take up half the next day. And so it goes on.

Many of my jobs are small, so there may be a lot of adminstration and time spent mailing the client etc. in relation to the number of words.

How long is a piece of string? or, as the Danes say, 'you are selling elastic by the metre!'

You really need to keep records and find your own averages for different types of texts and different situations.

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