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How many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?

Translation turnaround times seem to be an important feature for many translation clients. The answer to the question "how many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?" can be a major determinant in the final approval of the translation project.

Some clients inquire about the typical translation delivery times because they are trying to meet their own deadlines. Not all translations are urgent by nature, but many clients believe that the best translation companies have the fastest turnaround; and freelance translators find it more profitable to craft translations as fast and accurately as possible. Expected translation times can, however, fluctuate depending on the individual, and many other factors

What is the average translation speed?

The general rule of thumb tells us that a professional human translator should be able to translate up to 2000 words a day while upholding quality standards.

If the document is particularly complex, the productivity tends to decrease to around 1500 words. If the topic is simple and particularly familiar to the translator, they can bash out roughly 3000 words.

Determining how many hours it takes to translate 1000 words is therefore a pointless math exercise if we don't have all the facts available.


Keep reading: What is the size of the translation industry?


How many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?

To get to the bottom of the question, we have estimated translation times that we think could work for most translation projects. Based on realistic translation speed and output expectations for human translators, the average turnaround times should be as follows:

Translation project word count Expected turnaround
Up to 1000 words 1~2 days
1000~3000 words 2~3 days
3000~4000 words 3~4 days
4000~5000 words 4~5 days

What are the key factors in determining translation speed?

We can see from the table above that the issue of "How many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?" can be resolved by estimating around 1 or 2 days on average. These translation times are mostly accurate when:
  • The project is undertaken by one single translator
  • The translator includes self-review in the service
  • The translation service is qualified as professional

The translation speed can therefore be accelerated by dividing the project between more than one linguist.

Hiring an independent reviewer can also red

uce workaround times and also pick up any inadvertent errors when translation speed is required.

Collaborating with a professional translation agency can also cut down translation times because there is more than one linguist available to take charge of the translation project.