Rates for Website Translation Into Japanese
March 8, 2011 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone comment on the average going rate for translating a tech company's website into Japanese?

I've been compiling information from various translation services, but I was wondering if anyone here had experience with this on either side (translator or having hired a translator)? I'm trying to get an idea of what a good rate or the average rate is. I'm interested in per word/per hour rates, or per-page rates. Thanks!
posted by Sangermaine to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It would normally be a per-word rate, in the experience of the company I work for. There might be a per-page or flat rate for file handling or graphics, but the actual translation cost would be per-word as a pretty standard thing.

Now, here are some other questions you might not have asked yet, just to make things complicated:

Is the site database driven (you could export a file of all the files for translation)?

Is it a series of individual pages?

Will there be graphics to localize?

Is your English regular and standard enough (not too many colloquialisms) that you MIGHT be able to benefit from machine translation with a human editor? This can reduce costs substantially, but only for text unambiguous enough that the editor isn't having to basically rewrite the whole thing.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 10:41 AM on March 8, 2011

Individual pages, no graphics to localize, and machine translation would be more trouble than it's worth. For this I think human translators are a must. It's a tech company's site describing/selling electronic devices, so the material to be translated is technical to an extent which will drive the rates up a bit, I think.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:44 AM on March 8, 2011

I'm a Japanese-English translator, so I work in the opposite direction from what you need, but I'm acquainted with the business.

Most translators bill by the word or some equivalent unit, and I would expect most translation agencies to quote by the word (or possibly by the output Japanese character) as well.

Rates are going to be all over the map. The first decision you need to make is whether to hand over the whole project to an agency or deal directly with translators.

If you work with an agency, you excuse yourself from the burden of being project manager. Some agencies will split up the work among many translators, which is good for speed, not so good for consistency of style. Good agencies will have in-house editing, which can be a valuable service.

If you work directly with translators, you can answer their questions directly (agencies will always stand between the translator and the end client to preserve their stake). More work for you, possibly better translations. You can pay the translators more than they'd get from an agency (giving you access to better/more motivated translators) and less than you'd pay to an agency, so in that respect, both sides come out ahead. It would be worth it to see if you can recruit some translators to edit the work of other translators.

Individual E-J translators work for anywhere from 5¢ to 30¢ per word. Agencies mark up translators' work by anywhere from 15% to 200%. If you deal with an agency, you'll probably be quoted rates in the 20-30¢/word range, and the translator is probably seeing about half of that.

If you want to get a message out to solo practitioners, PM me and I can pass it along to a translators' mailing list that I'm on.
posted by adamrice at 10:52 AM on March 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

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