The 4-minute guide to buying a translation

If you haven’t commissioned a translation before, here is what to expect.

How much time should I allow?

A translation typically takes about 1 day for every 2,000 words. However, as I have many other clients, I am not always immediately available, although I can usually start work within a couple of days. So, to translate a 5,000-word text, it’s best to allow up to a week, although I can probably get a 500-word press release back to you in a day or two. But some periods are busier than others, so it’s always wise to contact me as soon as you can.

When you place your order, we’ll agree a date and time for me to deliver the completed translation.

Help! My translation is urgent.

Even if I have other commitments, I can often reschedule them to fit in extra jobs at short notice. If that means working in the evening or over the weekend, then a surcharge of 40% applies.

What do you need from me?

The entire finished Italian text for translation, ideally in a Microsoft Word file. If it is a PowerPoint presentation or an Excel spreadsheet, those formats are fine, too. If you only have a PDF, then I’ll need to bill 20% more for the time spent reformatting it.

If you have your own terminology, glossary or style guide – or just a quick brief about the effect that you wish to achieve and the purpose for which the translation will be used – then that would also be very helpful.

And I will need confirmation of your order via email, if possible as an official PO.

What will I get back?

I shall return the translation to you, carefully crafted and thoroughly proofread, in the agreed format (typically Microsoft Word), by the deadline we agree.

How much does it cost?

The 64,000-dollar question!

I normally charge per word. Specifically, per Italian word, for transparency. What counts is the number of words in your original text, not that in the translation, so you know the exact cost before I start, and there is no incentive to pad the English version with unnecessary verbiage. There is no fat in my translations.

Not all jobs are straight translations – your text may be partly in Italian, partly in English, or perhaps you have an old translation to edit and extend. In that case, it is usually more practical to price by the hour.

I give each project special attention and treat it on its merits, so I do not have a fixed rate for all jobs. It depends on the amount of work involved – a straightforward document of 1,000 words can be less demanding than a more technical one of 500; similarly, a near-perfect text will be quicker to edit than one full of flaws.

In any case, my quotation will be concise and transparent.

I need an invoice.

Naturally. I shall issue a correct invoice with all the necessary information for your records. If you have any references, purchase order numbers, etc., then please let me know, and I’ll include those, too.

My payment terms (30 days end of month) are reasonable, so I would be grateful to receive your remittance in time, preferably by bank transfer or – only for amounts under €1,000 and for a small additional charge – via PayPal or Skrill.

I still have a query.

No problem. Just ask!

For more about how to get the most from working with me, see this article.