Translation is usually charged either based on the final length of the target text (the text into which your text has been translated), which means that the price is not known until the final text has been prepared, or based on the number of words in the source text (the text you want translated), in which case you will know immediately how much the final price will be.
To help you with your financial planning and to increase transparency, City Translations is happy to charge either by the length of the source text (a fixed price will be agreed prior to the translation being prepared) or by the length of the target text (the final price will be calculated based on the length of the translated text). The number of characters and words in a finished translation will almost always differ from the original. There is no simple rule to say whether the translation or the original will be longer. My experience has been that most translations of German into English tend to have around 90-98% of the number of characters in the original, but more words. Texts containing a lot of abbreviations or names of laws are generally longer when translated.
Some companies who charge based on the target text charge by the number of target words (or 1,000 words), some by the number of standard lines in the target (55 characters including white spaces – no one ever counts the number of actual lines, what they do is count the number of characters and then divide by 55), and one or two by the number of target characters.
It is hard to compare a price per line rate with a price per word rate because of the varying lengths of words – and the tendency of average word length to vary by language. Translations I have collected statistics on have varied between an average of about 5.5 characters per German word and about 8 characters per German word. Not forgetting to take the white spaces into account, this could mean 1,000 words was equivalent to anything between 111 and 154 lines. The English target texts I have counted have varied between 4.6 and 6.5 characters per English word, which makes 1,000 words equivalent to 133 and 178 lines. It is hard to say which is the better measure, but from a personal point of view, I find the per line payment fairer, as shorter words not only each take less time to type, but are also likely to be a sign of a less complex text which takes less time to translate correctly – but under the per word system would result in a higher price for your translation.
How much you will pay for a translation depends what you want. As a rule, the less you pay, the less likely you are to be getting a translator with specialist experience, the less likely the translator is to be consistent, to carry out research to ensure correct translation or to adopt the client’s preferred terminology and style. City Translations’ fees reflect a thorough approach to translation by experienced specialists using research and the client’s preferred terminology and style.
Most translation agencies and companies have a minimum price per order. City Translations’ is just £20/€25.
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