Are you looking for technical translation services? If that’s the case, you’re probably wondering how much the job is going to cost and what factors could increase or decrease your technical translation rates.
Technical translation is a complex process, which usually involves far more than just dealing with words. In fact, the best translation companies will consider factors such as your target country’s local laws, or your document’s layout, when crafting your final deliverable.
You might be tempted to go for translation solutions that are low-priced, or even free. But that’s not the best option when dealing with documents that can have a huge impact on your business’ future.
In this post, we’ll explore the importance, scope, and challenges of technical translation to provide you the answers you’re looking for.
Let ‘s get started.
What is Technical Translation?
Before discussing technical translation rates, it’s worth establishing a common definition of technical translation and exploring why it is something you should be investing in, to begin with.
Technical document translation is the process of adapting documents that facilitate a production process, so they can be understood by speakers of a different language, operating in a completely different culture.
Aside from making the contents of a document intelligible for a new audience, technical translation often involves adapting measurement units, dealing with terminology for which there is no direct translation, and even restructuring the document completely so it complies with local legislation.
Of course, technical translation is complex and has challenges that vary depending on the type of document in question. If you’re interested in diving deeper, check out our overview of the 10 most common types of technical translation.
How Much Does Technical Translation Cost?
If you want the most accurate estimates for your next technical translation project, you can useIf you want the most accurate estimates for your next technical translation project, you can use bayantech’s free online calculator. Fill up this form and you’ll get an estimate for how much the project is likely to cost, within a few minutes. bayantech’s free online calculator. Fill up this form and you’ll get an estimate for how much the project is likely to cost, within a few minutes.
Why Technical Translation is Worth Investing in
The importance of technical translation can be best explained through an example. Let’s say a perfume company is going to start outsourcing the production of its bottles to an overseas manufacturer. It’s only the production of the bottle, not the production or design of the fragrance, nor the assembly of the final product, nor the design of the bottle itself.
To make their international partnership with the bottle manufacturer successful, the perfume company will need to provide its partner with detailed documentation. This documentation should help the manufacturer truly understand the specifications of what they need to create and the volume of production that’s expected of them. With all the information about the product they need to create, the manufacturer can design processes that make it possible to meet (or even exceed) the client’s expectations.
Let’s say that the perfume company in our example is based in Germany, and the bottle manufacturer is based in Russia. In that case, all the documentation that will help the manufacturer produce the perfume bottle is originally in German. But it should be flawlessly translated from to Russian, so it can be implemented by every relevant employee, regardless of German proficiency.
Proper technical translations will facilitate understanding between the stakeholders in a production process. In some instances, technical translation can also be the difference between a successful market entry and costly legal drawbacks. For example, technical translation is key when filing for international patents.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the factors that can hinder a translation process or render its outputs unusable.
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How Technical Translation Can Go Wrong
There are five factors that can damage your technical translations’ quality:
The best way to prevent these problems from setting you back in the pursuit of your business goals is to partner up with a renowned translation company with the resources and experience to guarantee great results. A professional translation company’s technical translation rates may be less affordable than those of an individual freelancer, but the results are more efficient and completely worth it.
Let’s dive into the problems that the wrong technical translator could bring to your project and how world-class language services providers prevent them.
Lack of Expertise
Competitive LSPs understand that their people are their greatest asset. That’s why great translation companies only hire pre-vetted linguists with considerable expertise. And, of course, they only employ them for projects that match their skills.
Especially if your language pair is rather rare, you might be tempted to reach out to a translator whose only relevant skill is bilingual proficiency in your language pair.
But there’s far more to a technical translation project than just words. If your linguist of choice has no experience in manufacturing translation, or in the legal systems involved in your new business venture, your translation will probably include conceptual errors. And if those in charge of the quality assurance process aren’t specialists either, these mistakes will slip under their radar, producing a translation that looks correct, but won’t help you achieve your goals.
The Wrong Toolkit
High-performing LSPs employ cutting-edge translation technologies such as translation memory, CAT tools, and even machine translation solutions to make their process more efficient and precise.
The right toolkit can guarantee high-quality translation outputs, at cost-efficient prices, within reasonable deadlines.
Meanwhile, a freelance translator is unlikely to be equipped with these tools, which makes the whole process challenging and time-consuming, giving you less quality for considerably higher technical translation rates.
A Handy Guide to Technical Translation Rates
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A Limited Approach
As we explored in a previous section, technical translation isn’t just about having professionals translate your documents’ words. Instead, a 360° approach to the document should be taken, involving elements commonly related to localization and DTP services.
The right technical translation company will involve designers and DTPiers, as well as other professionals, whenever necessary. By doing so, they will guarantee a project output that’s ready to be implemented. Meanwhile, an individual translator or a low-quality service provider will just offer you the translated source files.
Having a holistic approach to your technical translation project will be especially necessary in three types of cases:
It’s also worth bringing up that a holistic approach also involves taking a little extra time to analyze the source material in multiple levels, deciphering unclear passages, as much as adapting for legal compliance and technical precision.
When left in the hands of experts, technical translation isn’t just about words. It’s about helping your business achieve strategic goals.
One of the key traits that differentiate reliable translation companies from amateurs is whether they conduct the translation process in an orderly manner, or they’re unpredictable and all over the place.
Best-of-class technical translation agencies rely on project managers, guaranteeing reasonable delivery times, implementing quality assurance processes, and creating a workflow that’s predictable, orderly, and within budget.
An unpredictable process might not only leave you with a poor-quality translation but also come with elevated translation prices. Especially if your LSP of choice charges post-delivery fine-tuning and corrections on top of their regular technical translation rates.
There are three ways to make sure your potential LSP has the right processes:
Lack of Confidentiality
You want the documents that power your manufacturing process to be kept where they can’t be found by competitors or malicious third parties. Random freelancers usually implement third-party cloud platforms to handle your most sensitive documents and may not be able to guarantee your project’s confidentiality.
This lack of security makes your documents vulnerable to leaks and social engineering.
On the other hand, reliable translation companies are used to providing NDAs, implement enterprise software and robust collaboration tools, and operate under confidentiality best practices.
Technical Translation Rates: What to Expect
Now that we’ve established a common definition of technical translation, why it’s important, and how these projects can go wrong, let’s look at how technical translation rates are built.
The main three factors that will determine the price you’ll pay for your technical translations are:
Format and subject matter
Whether your document’s layout has to be adapted and whether the subject matter at hand is common or uncommon will affect the resources your LSP will have to deploy, and therefore, the translation cost and pricing.
Most LSPs work with base rates per word, so a longer document will be more expensive. Technical translation rates per word are, in a sense, quite limited, since they only cover the translation part of the work and exclude formatting elements. But per-word pricing is fair and transparent for the client since it’s easy to understand that a long document will require more work than a short one.
Your technical translation rates will vary depending on how rare your language pair is and the language combination of your choosing. The rarer the language pair, the more resources the agency will need to invest to find (and manage) the right talent for your project.
Two Decades Facilitating Communication Across International Supply Chains
For the last decades, we at bayantech have collaborated with some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies. From Canon to Samsung, to HTC. We’ve been the translation company of choice of hundreds of global businesses delivering outstanding results at scale, every day.
The reason is simple: Our translation services for manufacturing combine unparalleled quality with predictability, confidentiality, and competitive pricing. See them in action.