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A look behind the scenes (part 1)


A look behind the scenes (part 1)

Having a text translated? Submit it to a translation agency and receive it back translated. Easy peasy for the client, but sometimes it can be a different story behind the scenes.

Just an assignment

A client has a text of 100,000 words (2 books of around 200 pages) that needs to be translated. And, oh yes, there’s a bit of a hurry; the translation needs to be completed within a week. The client states the case without blinking an eye and only expects one response: “you can count on us!”.

As a guiding rule, a translator can translate roughly 2,500 words of a text, with an average complexity level, per day. And, of course it needs to be properly reviewed. There aren’t allowed to be any typos, no language, spelling or stylistic mistakes and the text must have the right tone. If the client submitted a style guide with the text, then all of the specified instructions must have been carried out.

Let’s calculate

So… 2,500 per translator per day. That means one translator will take 40 days to complete an assignment of 100,000 words. There’s not enough time. But, with 8 translators, the job should be completed on time, assuming working weeks of 5 days.

Another complication arises. No matter how good the translators are, when the different texts need to be assembled together there may be differences in style and the use of synonyms.

More work

To forge the translated texts into a single whole and remove the last cosmetic flaws, a proofreader will have to be put to work. For an assignment of this size the proofreader will need three days. This only leaves two days for the translators, of whom we suddenly need 20.

Work over the weekend

Alright, if we ask everybody to work over the weekend, giving us 2 days more, we can manage with 2 translators. We ask the project manager to be fresh and ready to go at the end of day 4 in order to neatly join the texts that are rolling into one seamless whole so that the proofreader can start their work early the next day.

Yes, we can!

Translation agency TranslationKings can rely on a pool of over 1,100 translators, so, in the case of a text of 100,000 words that needs to be translated between Dutch and English, for example, we regularly respond with: “you can count on us!”. But, if it is a specialised medical text that needs to be translated from Farsi to Finnish, even we might need a little more time.

  • Posted in: Translationagency facts
  • Julian Wagenhuis
  • 22.juli.2016
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