How long does a translation project take?

How Long Does a Translation Project Take?

When you need translation work done, it can be tempting to want to speed up the timeline a bit. Who doesn’t want to wrap up an exciting project as quickly as possible? While these feelings are understandable, trying to cut corners and rush through translation work can lead to less than desired results. Let’s take a look at how long an average translation project takes to complete, as well as how to speed up the process in an effective way. 

How Long Does the Average Translation Project Take to Complete?

How long a translation project takes depends greatly on the word count of the documents that you need translated. On average, a human translator can output 300 words per hour or 2,500 words per day. You also need to factor in some extra time for self-review of the work. After completion of the translation, giving the translator an extra day or two (depending on the final word count) provides time for them to proofread their work completely and allows them to approach their work with a fresh mind to make sure everything is polished.

Of course, this estimate is not a guarantee, but it can give you a general idea of how long a translation project can take to finish.

What Can Affect the Length of the Project?

There are many factors that can affect how long a translation project can take. Here are a few of them to take into consideration when trying to estimate how fast you can get a project completed.

  • The complexity of the text
  • Research requirements 
  • Experience level of the translators
  • Availability of the translator(s) and their current workload
  • Technical issues
  • Linguistic resources
  • Extensive workflow (edition, proofreading, DTP)
  • If a project involves more than one language

How to Speed Up the Process

If you’re looking to speed up your translation project timeline, without sacrificing quality, there are a few elements that can make the process go smoother and quicker. 

While it may be tempting to request a translator work longer hours in order to hasten their turnaround, we don’t advise this. Translation work requires deep focus and attention to detail. You don’t want someone who is overtired to work on your translation project. That’s how mistakes can happen

The Takeaway

While it’s impossible to nail down exactly how long a translation project will take without consulting your translation team, you can generally expect translators to output around 2,500 words per day. That being said, trying to cut corners in order to speed up your timeline can lead to quality issues. There are some legitimate steps you can take to help a translator work faster, like implementing CAT tools, so chat with your translation team about what resources they need to help you meet your timeline goals and to get the job done the right way.

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