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How Long Does a Translation Project Take?

translation services project timeline

Last updated on June 22nd, 2023 at 03:06 pm

establishing-time-in-multilingual -translation-projectsYour Translation Project: One in a Million

Every translation project JR Language undertakes is unique and important. Today, we’re going to discuss the planning that goes into how we serve our clients.

You’ll find a lot of explanations for how long a translation project should take, but most are based on only a few factors, such as how many words a translator can translate in a day. There are so many more factors that go into a translation project, and it is important to go into detail about the work involved. We want to add some clarity by presenting elements that influence how long a translation will take, and some tips that you can use to prepare for your project.

Our professional translation company will do everything possible to make sure that your project work will flow smoothly and not take longer than it needs to, but we always follow the best timeline to ensure quality and best practices.

Elements That Determine How Long a Translation Project Takes to Complete

  • Project size. As you might expect, a high-volume project is going to take more time than a few pages.  Large projects often get split up between team translators and might require the creation of a terminology glossary to ensure consistency, as well as extra editing to reconcile all drafts.
  • Industry and subject complexity. The translation of an HR manual will likely take less time than a medical article or legal papers.  Translating a manufacturing manual is going to take a different amount of time than a marketing piece. The translation process is a deeply cerebral activity that requires a lot of thought and creativity. Often the translator needs to think hard to find the best way to write the idea in the desired language. Sometimes, research is needed to cover the usage of terms and different ways of spelling in different countries.
  • The type of translation project. If the translation project is a long document, most of the work is the translation of the content. But if the translation project is a website, a video, or several InDesign files, file preparation and engineering time goes into preparing the content for the translation services project.
  • File formatting. Differing degrees of file preparation is needed, especially if there are going to be differences across media.  Localization is an important part of our translation process, from print to graphics to audio.
  • Languages of the project. There are some complex languages like Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, and Japanese where most of the non-translation activities take longer. Some of those activities are engineering work and adjustment of design, for example. Languages that are written from right to left present added complexity for websites, and adjustments of forms and images are needed. The linguist needs to validate the display of content after publishing the work to ensure proper display. Assign your Multilingual Translation project to  a company that has experience with the languages that you need.
  • How the original copy is written. If there’s a lot of unclear or vague language, that’s going to require extra review time to make sure the message is clear and relevant to the desired audience.

A Professional Translator’s Work

Being a translator is not just a job, it’s an art, with practice, education, personal commitment, and passion put into it. A translator must be dedicated to clarity and correctness. They should never settle for anything but the best, most accurate output. The productivity of a translator is usually about 2,500 words per day, but some professional translators produce about 3,500 per day.
Some stages of a translator’s work include:

  • Research. If there’s a large amount of industry terminology and abbreviations, even an industry professional may need to research some of them to complete the work to the standard our clients deserve.  Even industries with lots of communication between language groups may have different professional jargon.
  • Drafting. This is the main body of the work, where the translator is converting the language from not only one language to another, but one grammar system to another, one culture to another, maybe even one legal system to another.  Multiple drafts may be necessary with multiple rounds of proofreading.
  • Reviews and feedback. We keep lines of communication open with our clients for feedback, so we can be sure they’re getting exactly what they need. This includes special terms for their industry and the voice, tone, and vocabulary they select for their company.

What JR Language Brings to the Table

  • Industry experts. We leave nothing to chance when it comes to industry terminology.  Mistranslations in professions like medicine can harm patients, while mistranslations in law can lead to a lost case. Even mistakes in signage can fail its purpose and make the client look silly.
  • Native speakers. Native, local speakers know what is appropriate, desirable, funny, familiar, eye-catching, and what is not for their culture and local language.  It’s important not to just translate the language, but the message.
  • An extensive network. Our translators and interpreters are accessible all over the world.  We aim to have resources ready for when our client needs them.
  • High-end professionalism. We believe strongly in using the power of language to express ideas, and want to promote clear, meaningful communication between languages, no matter how different the languages are.  We believe in using language to promote commerce, human rights, and human wellness.  We use a select group of professionals to work on your translation project: Translators, linguists, project managers, designers, localization engineers, and customer service experts prepared to evaluate your project and explain translations services options.

Working with Your Translation Company

If you know how to prepare for a translation project, that will save time and money.  Here are some tips:

  • Prepare a glossary. This makes it quicker for a human translator to translate terms consistently, and if machine translation is used, it helps AI to learn.  If you have a glossary approved for your industry or company, please share it with us. If you do not have one and it is needed, we will work on creating one for you. Please identify someone in your company to be an in-country reviewer. If you have that expert available, let them participate in the planning of the project from the beginning.
  • Prepare a style guide. A style guide promotes consistency in the style to use in the translation, and follows the style established for your brand and company. It is especially important if multiple translators are working on your project.  If you do not have one, we will ask the pertinent questions to follow a style in the translation. Examples: Formal or informal tone, using dual systems for measurement or using one in particular (inches versus millimeters). Define the usage of acronyms in the source language or both languages.
  • Write for translation. Use plain language that leaves as little room for misunderstanding as possible.  It may be necessary to create a separate version of the original work.  Be aware that text may expand or contract during the translation process.
  • Plan ahead. Be responsive and collect the information requested by your translation company.  Be as specific about your needs as possible.  Assemble all content that is going to need translation services so the estimates for budget and time are clear and precise.
  • Define Your Audience. Indicating your audience and their reading level is good information for reference for the translators.

Examples of a primary target audience:

  • Youth 14-19 living in California and their expansion nationally throughout the USA later on in the life of the project.
  • Youth that smoke/vape or smoked/vaped.
  • Youth that is interested in quitting their smoking/vaping habit.

Examples of a secondary target audience:

  • Adult facilitators (public health staff, educators, youth workers, etc.).
  • People interested in leading the in-person smoking/vaping cessation program for youth interested in quitting in school and community settings.

JR Language Translation Services Has Time for You

Call us today to describe your needs and find out how long your translation project will take. Please be precise in describing your translation services needs and defining the scope of the project.

We will do an assessment of your translation project to determine the scope, timeline, and budget to produce a translation project according to your needs and goals.

We maintain a track record of consistent prompt turnaround and are thorough with each translation project. Find out just how far translation and localization services can take your business in a globalized world.


Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.