Calculating Average Translation Speed

Jun 22, 2017

Content calculating average translation speed

It’s a good idea for all translators to know their own speed, at least on average. This will allow you to gauge how much work you can take on at any given time. It’s also good to know how you compare with others in the industry and within Translations Deal.

We recently surveyed all of our translators, to find out what the average translation speed is. This will let you make comparisons.

The Most Common Average

Well over 1/3 of the respondents stated that, on a normal day, they can translate from 1,500 – 3,000 words. This, they said, can vary, based upon the languages involved. And many said when they were really focused and languages were more easily translated, they could do more.

Second Most Common = 3,000 – 5,000 Words

A little over a quarter of survey respondents said their average words fell into this category.

The Two Extremes

Slower: About 1/5 of the respondents said they translated less than 1,500 words a day. Hypothetically, it is because some of these may be involved on a more part-time basis.

Faster: About 16% of respondents said they can typically translate more than 5,000 words a day. This is really at the high end of translators in general.

Getting a Speed Boost

There are some tactics you may want to try to speed up your speed.

  • If you don’t know how to touch-type, learn.
  • Use speech-recognition software that is language specific, and the typing is done for you. You will have to proofread, however.
  • Experiment with your work environment and how you work best. Sometimes, small changes can make a difference.

Your Thoughts?

What factors do you think impact translation speed? Let us know in the comments below.