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Translation quality, translation rates : fuzzy concepts

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All translators or translation services providers boast they offer "the best value for money".

However, quality and rates in the translation industry are both very difficult to define. Whereas bad quality translations are quite easy to pin down, for a linguist at least, high quality translations can be less easily identified - and are quite impossible to define.

Nearly as much can be said about rates: while anyone can understand that no professional translation can be achieved for, let’s say, 0.01 €/word (regardless of the language pair, the volume or the subject), it is much more difficult to assess a market price, even for a typical language pair, volume and subject.

Therefore, the occasional buyer of translation services may wonder what is the right price for a professional job.

As there is no simple answer to the "value for money" question, we would tend to give the following common sense advice:

  • avoid abnormally high or low rates
  • choose the people you trust most

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