Urgent translation – how to maintain quality?


Translation takes time and the process requires good planning in order to produce high quality text. Of course there are situations where projects are urgent and extending the deadline would cause a lot of trouble, and there are ways of achieving those deadlines in responsible and professional manner.


A lot of people use Google translate because it’s instant. The second you paste your foreign text into the Google box and you press the translate button you have the translation ready. This speed is fantastic and it is attracting many business people to using the service. The fact that it is free as well is a bonus. However, don’t be temped by the speed as the quality is far from ideal!


We have covered many times before that machine translation does not provide good quality texts, so we’re not going to bore you with that again here. Instead, we’d like to cover what you could do to shorten the delivery times of professional translation project.


Every project is different, so it’s best to discuss your timeframes with the translation provider as soon as possible, but one approach that can help in these situations is splitting the translation work.


On average, a professional translator can translate 2,000 words per working day. Do keep in mind this is an average and the timeframe might be considerably longer if the text is very technical or if there are complex formatting issues. However, 2,000 words per working days is a good starting point for estimating your timeframes.


So, if you have a translation project with roughly 4,000 words and you need this to be done in one working day, the solution is to use two translators. Each one will translate 2,000 words and the file will be ready in one working day instead of two.


This approach can help in some circumstances, recently we have been involved with legal translation for solicitors which was very urgent, as most projects for solicitors are, and we ended up using three translators to deliver the work in time. We’ve managed to deliver the translation quickly enough for the solicitors to finalise their documentation, which made them very pleased with our work.


There is one caveat with this approach. Translation is not an exact science. Every translator will use slightly different vocabulary in order to convey the message, so if you use multiple translators on an urgent project some of the words might not be 100% consistent. The content will still be accurate and all messages will be conveyed, but there might be few instances where a word or two have been translated in couple different ways as translators might opt for different synonymous words. However, this slight inconsistency is most often an acceptable trade off for quicker turnaround times.


If you have an urgent translation project, do get in touch with us and we’ll try to accommodate your needs. With thousands translators at our disposal we should be able to help you out!

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