The fees I charge for my services depend on the following factors:
The length of the text
The most accurate way to measure the length of the text in a document is calculating the amount of words it contains, as this suppresses the biases due to spaces without text, different page sizes, different letter sizes, etc. The number of lines can also be a good measurement, but this value can also be biased by letter size, margins, etc. My quote can be based on any type of measurement, as long as it can be homologated to my output, measured as number of words per hour or per day.
The difficulty of a text
If a text is highly specialised, a specialist in that field should be able to translate it effectively and quickly, but he must charge for the intellectual assets that allow him to perform with that speed and effectiveness.
The format of the document (file type)
Some formats are easier to work on, and others can double the amount of time needed to translate a text, if you want to produce a translation
with above average quality:
- Word processor: this is the best format for translating with translating tools, allowing faster translation and easier terminology consistency. Some of these tools allow us to translate without modifying the layout or style of the text.
- Spreadsheets (i.e.: Excel): most of the translating tools can extract Excel texts, aiding translation, but as each cell often includes phrases without sufficient context, the translation can become very slow, and with some cells, uncertain.
- PowerPoint: when the PowerPoint has been built with extractable texts (text boxes) its translation is not more difficult than translating an Excel. But when it has been built with images, it can only be translated with an image editor (i.e. Photoshop) or re-building the PowerPoint, something much slower than translating with WORD.
- Images: any text embedded in an image (.jpg; .bmp; .gif; etc.) must be translated with the aid of an image editor or delivering a double column word file in the pair of languages. Some image boxes created with WORD can be edited directly in WORD.
- PDF: when a pdf has been created with images the text cannot be extracted and the whole file must be converted using OCR software, or transcribed by a bilingual secretary or using voice recognition software. When a text can be extracted from a pdf file and is pasted to WORD it acquires a text format that must be edited, specially tabs, so that translating tools may work properly, this slows down the preparation of a project.
- Printed material: one can translate printed material just as fast as a Word document, without the use of translation software, but it will be much more difficult to ensure terminology consistency and apply quality assurance. It usually is desirable to convert the printed material to a Word document.
There are various ways of assuring the quality of a translation. I perform a routine quality check in all my translations. This check involves the critical revision and comparison of both texts in parallel (in English and Spanish) at the end of the translation process, segment by segment, and a review of the final monolingual version the next morning. During these reviews I examine and amend the following elements:
- That all parts of the text have been translated.
- Grammar, spelling and punctuation.
- Concept-based errors.
- Style consistency.
- Terminology and localization (Language and punctuation adequate for a country or language variant).
- Consistency of text format with the customer’s requirements.
- Verify the naturalness and fluency of the text in reading.
In some cases, when it’s required by the client or it’s necessary due to the kind of document, I can offer double quality assurance checks. Once the document is translated it’s sent to a second translator who reviews it and assesses the precision of the translation. This has an additional cost. Double checks are advisable for very sensitive documents or documents that carry legal responsibilities, and/or include complex texts covering three or more specialty fields.
The use that a document will be given, and its legal, economic and emotional consequences, are also factors that shape a translators fees and his professional reputation, as those consequences can depend on the accuracy of the translator.
If the final text must include layout or style parameters that are not transferred automatically by the translation tools or if the file format doesn’t allow this transfer, it will have to be done by hand, something that means work and has a cost.
Delivering a translation in print form
At present most of the work done by translators is done online. Sending out a printed sample of the translation is not the usual way we work, so if you need a printed copy you must state that when you ask for a quote, as it can have an additional cost, in materials and in transport.
Certifying a translation
If the customer needs the document to be certified, either through a simple statement or with signature authorized by a notary public, he must state that when asking for a quote. I DO NOT CERTIFY THE TRANSLATION OF OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS unless the recipient declares that he will accept a simple statement or with the translators signature attested by a notary public. In Chile official documents are translated and certified through the "Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores" translations office when requested by/sent to authorities in other countries and by courts for the extradition of fugitives. When translating Educational Degrees and Diplomas we use the most applicable terminology, but this is not a validation of any kind of equivalency (Homologation) a process carried out by the receiving institution, which compares the contents of studies not the names established by a translator. A translator who assures that a given name for a degree is equivalent to that of another country is deceiving his client or deceives him/herself.
A job is considered urgent when the translator must postpone any other activity, work overtime and/or hire additional staff, so a job can be completed before a tight deadline. I consider 8 hours to be a normal working day, with adequate breaks as any desk job. The amount of work that can be put into 8 hours (number of translated words) depends on the efficiency of the translator, the difficulty of the text, its specialty, the file format and the additional services required. I do not deliver my translations without quality assurance (at least two checks: bilingual revision and monolingual review).