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What is the average translation speed?

There are several factors to take into account when it comes to calculating the average translation speed. Many translation buyers have the tendency to place the turnaround times for their translation projects along with the price tag and the degree of excellence at the top of their priority list. Our expert project managers can provide an estimation of the average translation speed. These values are however approximate and they are subject to a variety of elements that can have an impact on their accuracy. 

Average translation speed

Average translation speed depending on multiple factors

What factors affect the average translation speed?

Answering the question of the average translation speed is quite tricky because of the wide range of factors involved in the process. One translator may complete a 600-word translation in one hour when working on a simple text, while another linguist may be stuck at 180 words in the same timeframe when facing a complex topic. This is why providing quantifiable amounts is not very realistic. However, we can provide you with some factors that could make the estimation a bit more reliable. If the turnaround time for your translation project is of utmost importance, ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Is the text of general nature?

If your text contains simple language, the translator will naturally understand it more easily and therefore replicate it more quickly in the target language. Simple language means using easy-to-understand terms, as well as clear expressions and informative yet brief sentences. The topic of the text is also important. If your text is highly technical, the translator will need more time to research the terminology. The process in this case will be more complicated, which would increase the average translation speed.
  1. Is your provider using computer-assisted translation tools?

Using translation programs can reduce the average translation speed drastically. These tools can be fast and furious because they save you the trouble of switching between your source document and target document back and forth. They also allow you to translate the repetitions automatically. They provide term searching functions that save you the trouble of using the dictionary if the term has already been translated. If your translator is using normal text-processing programs such as a Word document, the process can last much longer.
  1. Does the text have special formatting?

Professional translators provide you with your translated documents in the original format. This process is an integral part of the translation project. It can take some time for the translator to apply the same format, especially when a normal text-processing program is used. Computer-assisted translation tools have an incredible ability to maintain the original format to save the translator the trouble of manually mimicking the format of the client's document. The format is usually converted in tags that the translator has to insert in his or her translation for the final result to enjoy the same format as the original document. This feature can be so effective at reducing the average translation speed.
  1. Does the translation service include revision/proofreading?

Translation alone can be quite a lengthy process, but it can be even more tedious if the project involves revision or proofreading. That is because these steps include reading the text (maybe more than once) as well as analyzing the target text at a deeper level in order to ensure the terminology is perfect and the language used is appropriate. Expect the average translation speed to multiply when the project includes revision or proofreading. In conclusion, every case is different when it comes to average translation speed. Translation buyers have to provide professional translation agencies with as much information as possible about the text they wish to translate in order to take all the factors into account and have a somewhat reliable estimation of the average translation speed. You can read about the average translation output in a day here: https://www.pangeanic.com/knowledge_center/how-many-words-does-a-professional-translator-translate-per-day/.

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