High-speed translation – good enough quality

What to do when a deadline is looming and you still have a huge amount of text to translate? Short deadlines can be a cause of great stress and it is often impossible to find a translator willing to do the job. The average translator daily throughput is 2000-2500 words and even if you convince someone to take your order, chances are you will be charged high rush fees.

The resulting translation will be of low quality, because multiple translators will have to be involved – leading to inconsistencies and accuracy issues, but also expensive due to the short deadline.


However, before rushing in and ordering a last-minute translation for a high price, take a moment to consider the purpose of the documents for translation. Highly visible documents or documents for print need higher quality and will thus require more time.


But if your documents have low visibility or are required only for internal purposes, you can take advantage of high-speed translation solutions. The resulting translation will be of good enough quality for its purpose, and the costs will stay under control.


Consider the purpose of the translation. Will it be published? Who is the target audience? These question have a significant impact on the speed and price of the translation.


This is where modern technology comes into play. The recent advances in AI research have improved machine translation quality to the point where it can actually help translators translate much faster.


In some cases, we can achieve as many as 8.000 to 10.000 translated words per day. Using machine translation as the starting point, human editors fix the most glaring accuracy and consistency issues, but don’t pay too much attention to style and preferential linguistic choices.


The translated text may have some stylistic rough edges, but is accurate and good enough for its purpose. When tackling large translation projects with short deadlines, good project management is key. A project manager starts by analyzing the document content in order to determine the best approach to MT customization.


The next step involves devising a strategy for dealing with repetitions – words and sentences that appear multiple times throughout the documents. Then comes selecting the appropriate reference translation memories and termbases followed by setting up a team of translators.

It is important that one of the translators is given the role of the lead reviewer who is responsible for the quality and has to final say in all linguistic matters, such as terminology and preferential linguistic choices. Finally, the files are sent for translation and the PM constantly monitors the progress to immediately detect any delays or other issues.


Don’t pay through the nose for top quality where it is not needed. Instead, direct your translation funds where high quality has the greatest impact on your business.


Using a combination of machine translation, human editing and smart project management techniques can result in reducing costs by as much as 40% and doubling the speed of translation.

Next time you are in a hurry and have no idea how to translate your documents by the required deadline, stop for a moment and consider the purpose of your documents.

If the translation is not going to be used for print or in other highly visible settings, chances are your documents are an ideal candidate for machine translation and human editing.


Want to see stats from an actual translation project?


Click here to download our High-speed Translation Case Study!

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