How long does a translation take?

Not sure how long to budget for a translation? Read on to find out more.

If you’re planning a project and keen to know how long to give the translation stage in your schedule or Gantt chart, I’ll give you a few pointers here. Starting early is, predictably, ideal, however not so early that you have to keep revising the translations as the source texts are amended.

You can expect a single translator in a single language pair to output around 3000 words per day, at quality. This can be faster for lists, or where a previous translation memory is involved, or for numeric operations, but that is the ballpark for “standard” text.

You would need to work out how many languages you need and how many translators you’ll be working with to find out how many words per day you can expect to be produced in translation.

For a typical project of 1000-5000 words, however, you can expect to have your translation in 1-2 working days, from when your translator is available.

So it’s not something that needs to disappear for a month before resurfacing, you can have quite a tight loop for revisions or queries. Multiple translators in a range of languages can of course work simultaneously on your project, multiplying the daily output by each translator added. These are often checked in-house by clients, so that phase can take additional time, but hopefully now you have a better idea of what to expect when factoring translation into your own projects.

I’m on hand for any questions relating to the industry or projects of your own, just use the chat, phone or email links below or on my translation service page.

Thanks for reading. I do translation from French and Swedish to English, so if that's useful to you, feel free to connect and message me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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