How long does a translation take?

I have a document consisting of around 10,000 words of French which I need translating into English. How long would that take? Thanks in advance.

10,000 words of French to English would normally take about three working days for a single professional translator to translate.

In general, the length of time taken to translate a document varies considerably depending on many factors, in this short article we summarise some of the most important things to be aware of.

The 3,000 words a day rule-of-thumb

An experienced professional translator can normally translate around 3,000 words a day of text from the source language to the target language.

The ‘source’ language means the original language the document is written in and the ‘target’ language is the language in which you’d like it translating into. For example, if you need a French to English translations, French would be the source language and English would be the target language.

So, to work out how long it would take a single translator to translate your document, simply divide the number of words in your document by 3,000 and you have the number of days it will take.

Of course, that’s a gross oversimplification as there are many ways of speeding things up which loosely consist of splitting the document up between teams of translators all using special software to keep the style consistent and using other software tools to make the process more efficient.

The actual number of words translated also depends on the factors below.

The complexity of the document being translated matters

Complicated legal and technical documents often take longer than more straightforward texts as the translator will need to make frequent recourse to reference material to ensure accuracy.

Repetitions increase speed

Many texts include repetitions which once translated, do not need to be translated again and hence increase the speed at which they can be translated. Websites are a good example of this where portions of text such as headers and footers are repeated on every page.

We use special software to identify these repetitions and reduce our charges to you accordingly.

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