FAQ – Frequenty Asked Question

How much does a translation cost?
The price of a translation basically depends on four factors:

  1. the length of the text (obviously);
  2. its complexity (a technical manual costs more than a business letter);
  3. the language combination (Chinese costs more than English);
  4. the urgency.

There is no single answer; the price is decided on the basis of the material to be translated.
Our charges are calculated per word, and as a rough guide equivalent to € 0.10 per word + VAT for technical documents. At the client’s request, it is possible to change to price per cartella (150 characters including spaces): in any case the price we give you is the final one, in other words the lump sum for the whole project. We prepare estimates free of charge, within a very short time.

What is a “cartella”?
This is a unit of measurement used in Italy: it is conventionally 25 lines of 60 characters each, for a total of 1,500 characters. Dividing the number of characters by 1,500, from the command Characters (including spaces) on the wordcount function in Word, you can obtain a good idea of the number of cartelle. Starting with your file it is easy to calculate an approximate cost immediately, although you also need to consider other factors (such as the fact that English is more concise than Italian, which means that the same document can be longer in Italian than in the corresponding English version).

Why use price per word?
The word is the most standard form of measurement used in Europe. It avoids counting spaces which are normally used in estimates with an offer per cartella, spaces which, apart from anything else, are not translation material and which therefore considerably change the overall amounts of offers when large quantities of material are involved. To date, the word is absolutely the most accurate unit of measurement used to calculate an estimate.

What are your delivery times?
An average workload is around 5 cartelle – approximately one thousand words – per day, but this can be increased or decreased depending on the type of project, the urgency and the subject, etc.
In addition, once the due date has been decided, we will make every effort to respect it – and in recent years we have succeeded in 99.8% of cases. But we can still improve!

Why does it take so long for a large project? Can’t you use several translators on the same text at once?
It is certainly possible: but it affects quality, because the terminology may not be perfectly coherent, unless an in-depth final revision is carried out – however this has negative consequences for cost-effectiveness.

What type of experience and qualifications do your translators have?
All our translators are professionals working from the source language into their mother tongue, and have many years’ experience in specific fields.

Our selection criteria are rather strict, since we guarantee a high standard of quality.

Specifically, these are the pre-requisites for a translator:

  • university level education;
  • specific education in the field of technical or legal translation (depending on the field);
  • the number of years working as a technical or legal translator (three is the minimum);
  • passing a translation test set by us.

How can you recognise a good translation?
A good translation is simply one that transmits the message from the author to the reader, as if the reader were re-writing it at the same time as reading it: therefore with his exact words, overcoming the linguistic and cultural barriers which inevitably exist between the two. Easy to say, a little less easy in practice. A good translation can only be provided by a professional translator, an expert in the field, and is the result of a fully coordinated teamwork. Finally, a good translation is only truly good when the person reading it does not even notice that they are reading a translated text.

How can you assure me that a translation is correct?
How can we say this in words?
Our translators, all professionals, aim to show you with the real thing, also because our aim is to build a relationship with customers which continues over time, based on mutual trust.

Should I choose a single translator or a translation studio for my translation project?
There is no single answer. Rather, the only possible answer is: it depends! A serious, well-equipped translation studio can offer a wide range of services: since it is not limited to the particular skills of one individual but relies on the strengths of a consolidated team, including translators who are carefully selected for each project, and which has the ability to successfully conclude projects, even in a very short space of time. Essentially, using a translation studio means buying a service of extra checks on the text, which cannot generally be guaranteed by the individual translator. For projects on a larger scale, where even the smallest error can prove very expensive, and the projects perhaps involve various languages, short delivery times, unusual or complex subjects, then you certainly need a translation studio.

Can I give you the material in PDF format?
A PDF file cannot be modified, unless to a small extent by using the document as an image, and therefore has considerable restrictions which depend on the type of layout and the language in which the text is translated. If you can provide the source file in a format with easier layout (Word, Page Maker), we can always adapt the translated text to the existing graphics, saving time and money.

How can you assure me that the information will be kept confidential?
This is one of our clearly specified professional obligations, shown in writing on the assignment conditions on our Order Confirmation. All the information provided to us which we require to carry out our work in the best way, will not be transmitted in any way, for whatever reason, to third parties. Naturally, on request, we can sign confidentiality agreements which you may consider necessary.