How Much Time Do Translations Take?

November 21, 2022

How Much Time Do Translations Take?

How long will it take? This question is understandably one of the first to come up when discussing translation services. To meet their own deadlines, customers inquire about the translation turnaround time for their project. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Factors that Affect Translation Turnaround Time

Translation turnaround times depend on numerous factors that greatly vary from job to job. The following are some of the variables that have the greatest impact on the time needed for the agency to complete the jobs.

1. Project Volume & Repetition Level

The turnaround time is proportional to the volume of the project. The more words the client need to get translated, the longer the delivery time is. That being said, it does not mean that two projects with the same number of words of the same text type (for example financial report) will necessarily have the same exact delivery time.

There are new words and repetitions in each project (words and phrases that appear multiple times in the document or are repeated in previous jobs). Translating repetitive words naturally takes less time than translating completely new ones.

2. Content Complexity

The complexity and scope of a translation project can greatly affect the speed. For example, a document including highly technical legal or medical content will require translators with a history of experience in that specific field since they are generally not used in everyday conversation. The translator may therefore need a lot of time researching and analyzing information to guarantee accuracy and consistency.

Estimates of Translation Turnaround Time at INTLINGO

Quality should triumph over speed when it comes to translation. Afterall, it is a complicated business, and processes may be rushed at the expense of accuracy and readability. However, sometimes it is still helpful to have a ballpark figure to aim for when planning your project. With that in mind, INTLINGO has compiled some average turnaround times for a variety of translation tasks with the hope of enabling you to set realistic expectations.

For standard financial documents like prospectus, annual reports, circulars etc., our translators can translate around 20-25 pages per day for new draft of English to/from Chinese translation. While for other financial, legal or commercial documents, we can translate around 3,000-4,000 words per day. Marketing or technical documents would need longer time, around 2,000-3,000 words per day.

The following table illustrates our turnaround time for the standard English to/from Chinese translation process that would include translation, editing and proofreading. This is subject to change considering the job complexity, nature and document type, etc.

Word Count Normal Rush Super Rush
Below 2,000 24 hours to 2 b-days 8 hours to 16 hours To be determined
2,000 to 5,000 2 to 3 b-days 1 to 2 days 1 day
5,000 to 10,000 3 to 4 b-days 2 to 3 days 1 to 2 days
Larger Projects Larger documents can often be translated at a faster pace than small files. We create and maintain translation memories, style guides and glossaries for faster turnarounds. Translation memory can also maintain the consistency among several documents with related terminology while reducing cost.

Still not sure what to expect? Contact INTLINGO today for an instant quote specific to your needs.

Our Contacts

  • Diners Professional Translation Services Limited
    +852 2545 2227  diners@diners.com.hk
  • Hong Kong Legal Translation Limited
    +852 2370 2038  cs@hklegaltranslation.com

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