Identification: Before you set a price for your translation service

If you are a freelance translator, you need to learn this simple identification, so there is nothing you pay more to get less. If you are a translation company, this simple identification will be great resource to add your existing arsenal.

There are a lot of things we have to consider when we are supposed to give potential clients quote. In addition to turnaround, price and CAT tool feature (if any), you need to fully know the types of translations you will work on. This is very basic, but this will be your great starting point before you enter into the translation deal! The ideal turnaround and price as well as quality translation will significantly start from this basic identification.

The study case will be as follows:
A potential client from one of the reputable companies contacts you for a potential big project. He does not explicitly tell you the subject; he asks for the quote for the translation service he needs for his company. Now, you are challenged to fast provide him with the translation quote (price and turnaround). You know the word count manually; or you use CAT Tool to give you a detailed overview of the project word count. However, you do not really know what type of translation you will handle. It is simple thing, but if you fail to identify the type of translation or text in preliminary stage, this will greatly impact on the price and turnaround you propose to your potential client. The worst case is that you cannot meet the deadline and the price you charge is too low for such type of translation; say you set the turnaround and price for general translation while the text or translation is medical translation or legal translation. The level of difficulty is much more different.

To avoid the issue above, you need to familiarize yourself with the common types of translation. We cited common types of translations below on which you can base your quote:

  • Administrative translation
  • The translation of administrative texts. Although administrative has a very broad meaning, in terms of translation it refers to common texts used within businesses and organisations that are used in day-to-day management. It can also be stretched to cover texts with similar functions in government.
  • Commercial translation
  • Commercial translation or business translation covers any sort of document used in the business world such as correspondence, company accounts, tender documents, reports, etc. Commercial translations require specialist translators with knowledge of terminology used in the business world.
  • Computer translation
  • Not to be confused with CAT, computer assisted translations, which refer to translations carried out by software. Computer translation is the translation of anything to do with computers such as software, manuals, help files, etc.
  • Economic translation
  • Similar to commercial or business translation, economic translation is simply a more specific term used for the translation of documents relating to the field of economics. Such texts are usually a lot more academic in nature.
  • Financial translation
  • Financial translation is the translation of texts of a financial nature. Anything from banking to asset management to stocks and bonds could be covered.
  • General translation
  • A general translation is the simplest of translations. A general text means that the language used is not high level and to a certain extent could be in layman’s terms. There is no specific or technical terminology used. Most translations carried out fall under this category.
  • Legal translation
  • Legal translations are one of the trickiest translations known. At its simplest level it means the translation of legal documents such as statutes, contracts and treaties.
  • A legal translation will always need specialist attention. This is because law is culture-dependent and requires a translator with an excellent understanding of both the source and target cultures.
  • Most translation agencies would only ever use professional legal to undertake such work. This is because there is no real margin for error; the mistranslation of a passage in a contract could, for example, have disastrous consequences.
  • When translating a text within the field of law, the translator should keep the following in mind. The legal system of the source text is structured in a way that suits that culture and this is reflected in the legal language; similarly, the target text is to be read by someone who is familiar with another legal system and its language.
  • Literary translation
  • A literary translation is the translation of literature such as novels, poems, plays and poems. The translation of literary works is considered by many one of the highest forms of translation as it involves so much more than simply translating text. A literary translator must be capable of also translating feelings, cultural nuances, humour and other subtle elements of a piece of work. Some go as far as to say that literary translations are not really possible. In 1959 the Russian-born linguist Roman Jakobson went as far as to declare that “poetry by definition [was] untranslatable”. In 1974 the American poet James Merrill wrote a poem, “Lost in Translation,” which in part explores this subject.
  • Medical translation
  • A medical translation will cover anything from the medical field from the packaging of medicine to manuals for medical equipments to medical books. Like legal translation, medical translation is specialisation where a mistranslation can have grave consequences.
  • Technical translation
  • A technical translation has a broad meaning. It usually refers to certain fields such as IT or manufacturing and deals with texts such as manuals and instructions. Technical translations are usually more expensive than general translations as they contain a high amount of terminology that only a specialist translator could deal with.
  • Literal translation, also known as direct translation in everyday usage
  • has the meaning of the rendering of text from one language to another “word-for-word” (Latin: “verbum pro verbo“) rather than conveying the sense of the original. However in translation studies literal translation has the meaning of technical translation of scientific, technical, technological or legal texts. [1] Other term for literal translation in translation theory is metaphrase and the prasal (“sense” translation) is paraphrase. ( A literal English translation of the German word “Kindergarten” would be “children garden,” but in English the expression refers to the school year between pre-school and first grade. Literal translations in which individual components within words or compounds are translated to create new lexical items in the target language (a process also known as “loan translation”) are called calques, e.g., “beer garden” from German “Biergarten.” Literal translation of the Italian sentence, “So che questo non va bene” (“I know that this is not good”), produces “Know(I) that this not go(it) well,” which has English words and Italian grammar.)
  • Homophonic translation
  • renders a text in one language into a near-homophonic text in another language, usually with no attempt to preserve the original meaning of the text. In one homophonic translation, for example, English “sat on a wall” [sætɑnəwɑl] is rendered as French “s’étonne aux Halles” [setonoal] ‘is surprised at the Market’. More generally, homophonic transformation renders a text into a near-homophonic text in the same or another language: g. “what a big nose!” becomes “water bag noise”. (Frayer Jerker is a homophonic translation of the French Frère Jacques (1956).[1] Other examples of homophonic translation include some works by Oulipo (1960–), Luis van Rooten‘s English-French Mots D’Heures: Gousses, Rames(1967), Louis Zukofsky‘s Latin-English Catullus Fragmenta (1969), Ormonde de Kay’s English-French N’Heures Souris Rames (1980), and David Melnick‘s Ancient Greek-English Men in Aida (1983). Examples of homophonic transformation include Howard L. Chace’s Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, published in book form in 1956. Other names proposed for this genre include “allographic translation”,[2] “transphonation”, or (in French) “traducson”,[3] but none of these is widely used.) (this was cited from https://www.scribd.com/doc/33291459/Translation-Theories-Elements-Types-Principles-Definition)

You can add more theories if need be. Contact us if you have any questions!

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