The aspects that influence a quote for a translation

It is very common for many of our customers to ask us how we calculate our quotes for translations. Or, sometimes, to compare us to other translation companies. We know how much the subject of quotes for translations matters to everyone, so we decided to write this post where we explain in detail the aspects we consider when drawing up a quote for a translation.

The aspects that influence a quote for a translation are:

1 – The number of words and the languages involved

A quote for translation, localisation or revision of a translation is normally based on a per-word price. So, in theory, we only need to know the total number of words in a document, the language it is written in and the language it is to be translated into to work out the cost. This is why some people, knowing that the per-word price varies from language to language, only mention the languages and the number of words when they ask for a quote. At Letrário, however, we always recommend sending us the editable files. This is because we use specialised software for our translation services that can reduce the word count of the document to be translated, significantly lowering the price for the job. Indeed, for some types of documents, the savings can be very considerable and any quote that Letrário provides for translation services will always show them in detail. Additionally, large jobs can also benefit from a volume discount. Conversely, the number of words to be translated can sometimes be very small: not more than 100 or 200, or perhaps even fewer. Often, in such cases, the aim is to translate into many different languages, which means involving a native-speaker translator for each one, a number that could easily be as high as eight or ten. In such cases, the work required to coordinate the team of translators and revisers is much greater than the work required to actually translate the small number of words. And this is a factor which also reflects on the final quote.

2 – Delivery deadline

Preparing a quote involves more than simply counting the number of words. The delivery deadline is another aspect that can affect the overall cost. If a translation is very urgent, it will necessarily be more expensive. Many people think that in such cases we are taking advantage of the circumstances, but this is not true at all. If a translation has to be done in a shorter space of time than normal, we may have to divide the job up among several translators, resulting in extra work for whoever is coordinating the job, especially during revision. For example, different translators may translate the same specific concept in different ways and this is something that we need to avoid. We must ensure consistency. So an urgent translation may mean that a bigger team has to be assigned to the project; and it will certainly mean a more concerted effort is required, which in turn may imply adjusting the team’s schedules and, frequently, paying overtime.

For all of these reasons, it is always best if you can plan your project far enough in advance to avoid urgent translations. If there is no way around it, the quote will reflect the extra effort required although, at Letrário, we systematically do our very best to avoid such additional costs or keep them to an absolute minimum.

3 – Regularity

Some customers regularly need documents translated from and into the same languages. In such cases, and to avoid constant interruptions to draw up quotes and award jobs, prices may be agreed in advance for jobs which meet typical requirements. Consequently, a quote will only be asked for and provided when a job does not conform to those typical requirements and the pre-agreed prices and rules will apply to any others requested by the customer.

4 – Hourly rates

For some translation services, such as conference interpreting, the cost is calculated not on a per-word basis but as an hourly rate. These jobs typically involve teams of two interpreters who take over from each other every half hour. Depending on the duration and type of event, Letrário always assigns a team coordinator for this type of service. The coordinator will ensure that everything runs smoothly so that the customer does not have to worry about anything.

We believe that the best way of providing a quote is to focus on the specific details of every request. This is why, at Letrário, we have a dedicated Customer Support person, who is responsible for analysing every request and clarifying all the aspects that we require to provide a rigorous quote offering the best possible value for money. The details taken into account will include the languages, the ideal delivery deadline, the purpose of the translation, any recommendations from the customer, whether or not there are editable documents, and so on. These are all aspects that enable us to ensure customer satisfaction.

If you need a quote for translation, localisation or revision, you can contact us by clicking here.