The Truth About Pricing In The Translation Industry
Before buying any product or availing a service, the one inevitable thought that every buyer or consumer has, is about its value or worth. Usually the worth of any product or service is measured by the cost involved in order to acquire it. The perception about how much something should cost depends on how well the person understands the product or service. While it is common to see people having a correct idea of pricing for popular services related to healthcare, travel and hospitality, finance, education, etc. it isn't so with uncommon services or those required on a one off basis.
Translation is one such service wherein the buyer usually needs to understand the different variations in pricing which depend on certain factors like document’s volume, subject matter, format and sometimes even the geographical location of the service provider.
1. Per Source Word
- This is a common and also the most transparent way of costing that gives the buyer an exact idea of how much the service will cost overall.
- The cost per word also varies depending on the content or the domain. Standard rates usually apply for general or simple documents, however, as the content becomes domain specific (technical, legal, patents, transcreation, medical), there is a possibility of an increase in the cost.
2. Per Page
- Certain documents are charged per page due to the content and also their format. Eg: Certificates, bank statements, entry – exit permits, licenses, etc.
- Besides documents which have a set format, there are others which are also charged per page. Usually, the aspect that’s taken into consideration while quoting a certain price is page size (A4 being the standard type) and the amount of content on the page.
3. Per Line
- This method of costing is found mostly in Germany and other parts of Central Europe.
- The cost per line is calculated on the basis of number of characters (including spaces). 45-55 characters make up one line.
4. Per Character
- Languages which have a script different than the Roman alphabets fall under this category of pricing. For instance – Chinese, Korean, Japanese.
- A group of characters make up one word. On an average, there are 2 to 3 characters in a particular word.
5. Per Hour
- This kind of pricing is not found as widely and is dependent on factors like domain, output time of translators, volume of the document, etc.
- It also exists for more creative jobs where the work involved isn’t directly proportionate to the document length. Assignments which call for creativity are included in this category and so are jobs like proofreading.
6. Per Minute
- When it comes to transcription (conversion of speech/audio/video to text), the cost is calculated on the basis of per minute.
- There are variations in cost depending on no. of speakers, audio quality, and duration.
7. Minimum Billing Amount
- At times, people require translation of just few words, even less than 10 words in some cases. Even if the word count is less, the agency or company still has to go through the same process to get the work done and also has to cover administrative costs. In this case, the agency would charge the minimum billing amount for translation.
8. Urgent Translation
- When it comes to urgent translations, there are companies who either take up the assignment or they don’t. Whenever they do, there is a possibility (not a surety) that they’d increase the cost. This rests on factors like language pair, how urgent is the translation required, etc.
- If a certain document is already being translated and if there are edits to be made in it, that in turn lead to additional words for translation, the vendor may hike the price for those extra words.