Showing posts with label medical translation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label medical translation. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fixing Translation Rates and Prices

translation rates
As an independent translator one of the most important things to consider is what translation rates to set. A professional translators dilemma is being caught in one of two undesirable situations: ” Am I pricing myself out of the market or I seem to be working all day yet barely making enough to pay the bills?” The following article discusses some of the issues facing the translator when setting their translation rates:

Background and Experience

An experienced translator with an established client base can afford to set higher translation rates than a graduate with little or no experience. The experienced translator has been tried and tested and has the luxury of relative financial security with other clients. They are not desperate for the work. On the other hand an inexperienced graduate with little or no commercial experience is more desperate for the work and they have little or no financial security. This is why their rates are often cheaper.
The area of specialization often affects pricing. Highly specialized fields with a lot of technical jargon like for instance pharmaceuticals, technical engineering, legal and medical translation often require the translator to have a skilled qualification as well as experience in this field. This often leads to fewer qualified translators in this sector leading to higher prices. For example general business texts are less technical with less terminology and most translators can translate them no problem. This means there is a huge supply of translators to choose from leading to lower translation prices in this area.

Language Combination

The language combination has a huge effect on translation rates. It also often boils down to the old case of supply and demand. The more translators there are for a particular language combination the cheaper the prices will be. Certain combinations are simply more competitive than others for translators thus pushing the prices down.
The cost of living in the target language country where more often than not the translator is located influences translation rates. We notice that when the target language is a language from a developing country for instance Spanish translation services for Peru, the rates tend to be much cheaper as the GDP or standard of living in this particular country is very low. The translator can afford to charge much lower translation prices. A hundred EURO in Peru goes a lot further than in Spain.
We also should note that rare language combinations, for example Icelandic to French tend to be more expensive than more common language combinations such as English to Spanish translation. This is of course because there are fewer translators for the Icelandic to French combination so the translator can in effect name his price.


The culture of a country. For example we notice that German translation rates tend to be much higher than Spanish translation rates. This is down to a number of factors but a major bearing is the simple fact that a German translator will not work for €0, 05 per word whereas it seems to be a standard rate in Spain and Italy. This also ties in with the fact that the cost of living in Germany is much higher. From my experience there seems to be a lot of German translators but they just charge higher rates.
All in all setting realistic translation rates is one of the essentials to a successful translation career as a freelancer. A very low translation quote tends to have potential clients wondering why is this guy so cheap, plus often leaves the translator short of salary whereas too high a translation quote simply prices the translator out of the market. It is indeed a delicate balancing act that must be approached with caution.

If you like this post please "like" or "share" for more content

Mark Kieran - CEO - One Stop Shop Translations

Mark Kieran, CEO, One Stop Shop Translations

One Stop Shop Translations is a translation services company based in Madrid, Spain. If you just want to browse over our translation rates, click here or get a great value personalised translation quote here.

Try One Stop Shop Translations for Quality, price and timeliness!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Your Spanish Translation Quote – Tips and Advice

Choosing the correct translation services is often a very difficult and time consuming. These days there are thousands of freelancers, agencies, directories, software and methodologies. To add to this, the difference in the Spanish translation quotes from agency to agency can vary greatly. This mish-mash of decisions make it very difficult for a person to be happy with the choice they have made and may make them always wonder what they may be missing.
The aim of this article is to aid the reader to make informed decisions when purchasing translation services. The article touches many translation issues and hopefully some will be applicable to you the reader when making a safe decision.

The core resource of translation is course the translator. Let’s take a scenario where we have a friend who is bi-lingual in Spanish and English and a medical patent to translate from English to Spanish. Easy, he’s a friend and he’s cheap although he has no translation experience. Wrong, the consequences of choosing this resource, although cheap, could be disastrous. Every particular field of translation requires particular skills. In this case where we have a medical patent translation the translator needs to have grounding in medical science and be up to date with the latest medical terminology. In addition, they must also be experienced in writing in the particular style of medical patents, something which is learned over years of practice. At One Stop Shop we have medical patent translators with PHDs in fields such as chemistry, biology and biotechnology and years of experience translating in these particular fields. Even within the Medical or life Sciences field a translator with education and experience in chemistry would be a much better choice, than for instance a translator with a background in Biology, for the translation of a drug patent. It must also be emphasized that your translations should be handled by professionals. A good translator is a linguist, they have studied the art of translation, specialized in the language combination and fields they are most suited to and built up years of knowledge and experience. A linguist also has to mold the Spanish translation for an international audience meaning that the language must be neutral and not have any slang or regionalisms.

Some people may query the importance of being so selective when choosing a translator, after all, it’s only translation but take the example of the drug patent which is written by a chemist. To the average lay person the patent is double Dutch. The patent will only be understood by peers in the industry. This is why peers in the Spanish speaking drug patent field deserve to receive a high quality translation from a translator with grounding and experience translating drug patents regardless of the translation price.
The image of the company depends on it. A poor quality translation will cause untold damage within your industry and affect your standing within this industry.

Some clients may say that they have this great software that translates automatically. One thing to bear in mind that machine translation is only approximately 60-70% accurate, the rest of the fine tuning needs human intervention. While machine translation is good for informal translations and getting the general gist of something, professional translation that represents the image of the company requires a human. Then a client may say to edit the machine translation thus saving up to 70% of the costs. The reality is that a professional translation agency or translator will probably refuse to do this as editing a machine translation involves re-writing the whole translation and may involve more work than starting the translation from scratch.

The next question is whether to use a freelancer or a translation agency? The main question is what the difference is. With an agency the text is revised which is why the translation quote tends to be more expensive. The main advantage to having the text revised is that it is better to have a “second eye”. No matter how good the translator they are bound to make errors from time to time and in this respect, the revision cycle is like an extra safety net to eradicate these simple errors providing a higher quality translation.

To summarize, here are a few questions to ask oneself, before deciding on the translation service to use:
• Is the translator experienced and qualified in this particular field. Ask for a profile of the translator or better still ask for a sample of profiles and decide on the best fit
• Why is the translation so cheap from this agency? In some cases the translation rate may not include revision, hence the reduced fee. The translator may not be fully qualified either and cheaper to sub-contract.
• Does the Translation Agency use the latest Translation memory technology? This is very useful in the case of updates. The previous translation is re-used and hence reduces costs and ensures consistency.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Medical Translation Services

Medicine is an ever changing field due to scientific and technological developments. Consequently, there is always new terms being added to the medical dictionary. Due to the nature of medicine, medical professionals tend to use the original source term in the target language. This results in a lot of English terms being used in the medical lexicon, similar to all the English terms used in the information technology sector.

When these terms appear for medical translation later we are left with heterogeneous translations across publications. In some cases the medical students translation lacks sufficient knowledge of the target and source language while the professional translator’s translation lacks in-depth knowledge of the subject matter.

This goes a long way to explaining a doctor’s reluctance to adopt new translated terms into the medical lexicon. The next question is of course how can we navigate these difficulties. Firstly it is important that the amateur translator with a strong background in the specialist field have strong relations with a professional translator. Visa versa, it is important the professional translator have reliable contacts in the subject fields he/she is translating. In the perfect scenario we are hoping for a professional translator qualified and experienced in the specialist field he/she is translating.

Finding the perfect scenario is in reality a very tall order. This is mainly due to the fact that most medical fields are better paid than professional translation.
Extensive bibliographical research should always be done on previously published terms, making an effort to stick with the original choice made by the first translator (provided it makes sense). Consistent translations make the text easier to understand and facilitate the incorporation of new words into the terminology. Finally, if publishers and translation companies are committed to the services they provide, they will pay their professionals well. Poorly paid work leads to poor quality work. These measures will help improve the quality of medical translations, whether the terms are left translated or not.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hiring Translation Services and Due Diligence

As a translation services manager on the client side you are probably aware of the many questions you should ask when hiring translation services companies. Your department is centralized with linguists and project managers specialized in the area. But often, especially in many smaller companies, employees are tasked with sub-contracting large translations under the assumption that their task should be simple thus ignoring due diligence and causing mayhem.
Typical problems often ignored include differing file formats requiring different engineering tasks and ensuing costs. On the linguistic side there are many considerations to be taken into account to ensure quality such as the volume and deadline, the translation agency quality procedures and the flavor of the language into which the document is being translated.

The following is a series of questions and answers to consider when outsourcing your translation services needs:

1. What is the source language and target of the document? One must bear in mind that certain language combinations are harder to come by than others which has a bearing on availability and cost. Translating from English to French is a much easier outsourcing process than from Zulu to French.

2. What is the flavor of the target language? For instance a French translator from Paris translating into Algerian French can lead to a lot of quality issues.

3. What is the reason for the translation? For instance in the case of a legal translation, does the translation need to be sworn or certified.

4. What is the standard required for the translation? Will it be published and be the corporate face of the company or is it just for internal purposes only?

5. Is there a particular style of the translation? For instance does it have to adhere to an in-house style guide? Are there particular terms for the translation to adhere to? Perhaps the layout has to adhere to a particular in-house style?

6. What is the field of translation? Is it a legal, business or medical translation? In this case ensure the translator has the relevant experience translating in this particular field, ask the agency for a translator profile.

7. Check and see if you can provide the translation services company reference material such as previous translations, glossaries etc.

8. What format is the document in? Depending on the format there maybe additional engineering costs for the target language. Do you have the capacity to do these tasks in-house or is it more cost beneficial and realistic to outsource these tasks? Ask for a quote and ensure that you understand the additional engineering costs that are involved and decide from there. If you have done your homework in advance you will often get a feel for the level of professionalism and expertise that the client has.

9. Be aware of the translation metrics involved in translation and it’s engineering tasks. If your deadline is too soon you may have to realize that this will have an effect on quality and consistency

10. Will you have to send updates of the files after the agency has started translating? Has there been a system devised to cope with these updates between you and the client. Are you prepared for an elevated translation quote due to the updates and advised your boss?

11. Do you require Translation Memory technology to be used by the vendor? Are their Translation memory rates as competitive as other vendors? Shop around and get other translation quotes.

12. It often helps to proofread the source text before being sent to translation. This avoids updates and poorly written texts which lead to poor translations

13. Is copyright to be retained or transferred?

14. What are the payment terms?

15. Is there a set of business terms and conditions?