How Much How Fast?

To get an idea of how large an amount of text can be translated in one day, simply try to imagine writing a text in your native language. How many pages will you be able to produce in a day? Two, three maybe? If you are experienced in writing, perhaps four or five pages? That is, of course, high quality text without typos, with good and steady grammar, logical sentence structure and idiomatic style. Oh, yes, and not to forget with a catching effect on the reader!

Actually, the amount that can be translated by an experienced translator ranges between about 1000 and 4000 words per day. In other words, ten standard pages tops. The actual quantity depends on the text type to be translated.

Simple texts, such as easy-to-read narratives, standard non-marketing business correspondence or intellectually undemanding essays are easy to translate once you get into their flow. Such texts therefore go fastest.

Highly technical texts with specific terminology are much harder to get used to. Translation is frequently interrupted by terminology research. Therefore, such texts take longer.

Marketing texts and scientific treatises take longest. The former, because a plethora of cultural, social AND technical aspects must be taken into account. The latter, because scientific language has its own rules, being a subset of every natural language. Such so-called jargons must be learned like an own language. Most professional translators therefore specialize in a certain subject matter field of expertise.

So long and cheers



2 Responses to “How Much How Fast?”

  1. Naftali Greenwood Says:

    My experience is the opposite: narrative translation requires narrative attention, which slows things down badly. Technical translation, assuming that the translator has a grasp of the terminology, does not have this problem and goes much faster.

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