Translation in general

How urgent deadlines affect translation quality  

Sometimes an urgent need for a translation emerges. Maybe a client waited until the last minute to send their instructions or maybe someone just forgot to order the translation ahead of time.

While we can deal with urgent requests please be aware that quality will suffer to some extent. That is unavoidable as a translator can only translate a certain amount of words per day and in urgent cases, double-check is not always possible.

You might find websites of translation companies that claim that quality does not suffer from urgent deadlines. We cannot agree with this. In this article, we would like to explain how urgent deadlines do affect quality.

1. Limited time to look for a suitable translator

Usually, when we get an inquiry for a translation, we will check the list of available translators and see who is most familiar with the field of the translation so you can get the best possible translation of the document. When deadlines are short, we have less time, and this might result in a translator taking over the project that is not the best choice.

2. Translators have limits

As a rule of thumb, a professional translator can translate about 2.000 words per day. This number varies depending on languages and complexity of documents and drops to around 1.500 words for legal or technical texts. With overtime, it might be possible to increase this number slightly however there is a natural limit of how much a translator can translate in a day. If e.g. you need a translation of a 10.000-word document tomorrow this would be impossible for a single translator to handle. In such cases, some companies split the document among several translators. If you do not care about the quality of the translation this might be an option but in general, we would not recommend this method. Translation quality might differ from translator to translator also different translators might choose different translations for certain keywords which results in a non-consistent translation that might be difficult to understand.

3. No time for double-check

Our quality policy states that a translation is prepared by one linguist and checked by another linguist. As translators are only humans when they read their own translation over and over mistakes are sometimes overlooked. Therefore, we make sure that every translation is checked by a fresh pair of eyes that do catch these mistakes.

With urgent deadlines, there might not be enough time for a double-check. When the client agrees we can omit this step to provide a translation faster, but we cannot guarantee our usual quality.

As described above, with urgent translations you will not receive a perfect result. Nevertheless, we will always provide the best quality possible within a certain time frame. If at any possible we recommend ordering translations with the number of words a translator can translate per day and time required for double-checking in mind.

If you need an urgent or not so urgent translation feel free to contact us.


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