When asking for a quote for a translation from a translation service company, the first thing you probably look at is the price for the translation. However, what you end up agreeing to pay may affect the turnaround time of your translation. There are also other factors as outlined below.
1. Length of the source text
Overall how many words the source text contains will of course affect the turnaround time. It takes far less time to translate a medical report just a dozen or so pages long than it does to translate how to use a medical device, which may be hundreds of pages in length.
2. The source text’s complexity affects turnaround time
If a text is highly specialised or very technical the time taken to complete an accurate translation by a translation service company may be considerably longer. For example, translating a general medical document on nutritional supplements would be completed far more quickly than the study of negative pressure wound be when using the same number of words. The more a text is specialised, the longer it will take to translate.
3. Formatting the source text
Putting a document in Word makes it easier for a translator to edit. If it’s sent as a PDF file the translation will take longer.
Additionally, if a Word or PowerPoint document has embedded, but non-editable images, pictures or graphs that require a translation, the whole process will take far longer to complete.
4. Source text’s quality affects turnaround time
If the source text is clearly readable and easy to understand the translation will be far quicker. If, however, the source text is poor quality the translator may be constantly contacting the client to get clarification of the meaning of the document. This will lengthen the translation time. Also a document which has been scanned but a poor quality image has been created the translator may need to ask the client for assistance when confronted with illegible text.
5. Language pairs
The choice of languages being translated may affect the turnaround time. Translating between 2 European languages is generally quicker than a translation taking place between a European language and Chinese or Japanese. Also, if comparatively rare languages need to be translated it can usually be done but there is a price increase and a higher turnaround time as well.
The facts listed in this article show that realistically estimating turnaround times for a translation service company is rarely possible, as there are so many factors at play.