Translation Workflow and Quoting

19 Apr

After reading this great post on the Translation Journal Blog, I started to think about conventions in translation pricing and, although the suggestions made in the post may not be serious, I think there is a case for breaking down charges on a quotation, in order to clarify the breadth of skills required and employed by a linguist throughout a translation project.

I have a rather large translation project on the go at the moment which, rather that frying my brain, represents an opportunity to test and improve my time management skills and my quotation and planning process for other potential translation jobs.

There are lots of things to consider when it comes to deciding whether you can (or want to – we are freelancers, after all!) take on a job following an enquiry. It may be that the text is outside of your comfort zone as regards the subject area, or that the client’s expectations of costs or turnaround are unrealistic. Is there room for negotiation? It’s always worth explaining the value of your expertise to them.

I have considered a few of the factors that I consider when evaluating a project, and producing a quotation, but please do add to these in the comments section:

  • How long will I need to research/read around the subject? This will be significantly reduced if the source is in one of my areas of specialisation.
  • Will I need to compile a glossary for yourself or the client? Will I need to work with the company’s style guide?
  • How long will it take to complete the translation stage? Factor in time for potential software/formatting issues and calculate output per day.
  • What is the QA process?  Is an external proofreader required? Remember to factor in this time – it is vital to add the final layer of gloss to your work.
  • How long/what steps are needed to return the file? Will I be required to change the format/return multiple formats/do any DTP work?

There is an argument that this is all part of a translator’s work, but I think there may be some scope for itemising (and even adding) costs to your quotation. Such a clear and extensive explanation of the time, effort and expert skills involved in their translation project can’t fail to impress a client, can it?

What do you think? Please do share your opinions and experiences!


3 Responses to “Translation Workflow and Quoting”

  1. Chiara Vecchi 21/04/2012 at 12:23 #

    Hi Megan! Thanks for this post. I believe that it is worth to explain (prospective) clients what they are buying. This will not only educate them about what you can offer and what translation is, but in the long term it might also be useful to avoid misunderstandings, such as ‘You are a translator, so you must also be able to teach foreign languages, be an interpreter, do voiceovers, …’ 🙂

    • Megan Onions 21/04/2012 at 15:20 #

      Hi Chiara,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I completely agree that (gentle) client education is vital in order to raise the profile of translation and translators. Misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations are prolific in our industry, and it is our job to redress the balance in favour of the humble linguist!

      p.s. the translator/interpreter mistake is one of my pet peeves!

  2. Riya Sharma 27/04/2012 at 09:59 #

    This is one of the most informative information..I completely agree

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