How Long Does Translation Take? – Speak Your Language

GET a Quote




Live Chat

How Long Does Translation Take?

Posted on: January 19, 2022 by admin

A question that we often get asked is how long the translation of a document take. The answer varies depending on the components. The translation time and speed can vary depending on numerous factors and can become complex if the project is large or has specific requirements.


Factors That Affect Translation Time

The translator’s speed is only one piece of the puzzle. We’ve put together a breakdown of the factors that can contribute to the translation time. Here are some details to consider if you are looking to use a translation service.

Type Of Document

The first thing to take into consideration is the type of document. It shouldn’t be a shock that the larger the document, the longer the translation project will take. For example, a website is much more complex than the translation of something like a birth certificate. It’s not as simple and translating word for word. The flow of the website must make sense, feel natural and have usability. On top of text translation and specification, your translator should have a firm understanding of the local vocabulary, grammar and style of speech. All of these factors must be considered to ensure the language used reflects the target audiences culture and society. On top of the actual translation, quality checks are necessary no matter the size or type of document that is being translated. These are just a couple of examples of what’s involved in translation, so the more you have to translate, the more time it will take.


Word Count

Your word count will ultimately affect the translation time. Word count refers to the number of words that are required to be translated. Something to consider is that a single word in a language could equal 4 words or even a phrase in another.


Sometimes we have projects that require multiple translators due to the project size. Multiple people working on a project will ultimately result in more checks and reviews to ensure that the document is consistent with minimal errors.



Documents related to the medical, legal, or business sector require a significant level of expertise. It will usually require an industry-specific translator that has a firm understanding of the topic. If your project contains in-depth explanations, technical terms, references or abbreviations, your translator will require more time for research. Engaging in a translator who’s well immersed in industry-specific terminology ensures a professional and accurate translation that conveys the original message. If your translator isn’t well-versed in the industry, it can lead to severe misinterpretation. You wouldn’t go to an accountant for medical advice, the same theory applies to translation.



Another time factor to consider is the language you are translating. Some languages are more complex than others, therefore taking more time. Latin-based languages such as Portuguese, Spanish and French have thousands of words that are almost identical to English. On the other hand, Chinese is a highly complex language and one of the most complicated languages to translate. Some Chinese characters convey different meanings when combined. It has no official alphabet, nor are there characters that indicate past, present or future tense.


How To Speed Up Translation Time

So, you must be wondering how you can speed up translation times?! There are a few different things that you can do to help speed up your project, and we’ve outlined them below for you.

Use An Experienced Translator

The first thing we recommend is using an experienced translator. A translator doesn’t develop their skill sets overnight, and you should ask them about their qualifications and experience. Translation should be practised in an academic environment and requires a substantial amount of time to develop fluency. Relevant experience can speed up and improve translation time. Along with translation experience, a good translator should have a qualified degree in the relevant language and be NAATI certified. NAATI stands for the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. It’s an Australian standard organisation responsible for setting, maintaining, and promoting professional standards for translators and interpreters. A NAATI certification demonstrates that the translator can meet the professional translation standards.


Respond Quickly

Another thing you can do to speed up the translation process is to be prompt with your correspondence between yourself and the translator. The translator may ask questions during the translation process, and immediate replies can speed up the timelines. Before the project commences, tell them what your preferred communication channel is. Clarifying this makes it easier to respond and can help avoid missed messages, emails or phone calls. This will save both parties time.


Discuss Translation Deadline

Like most things, projects have a deadline. If you are on a tight timeline or have a specific time you’d like your project completed, this should be discussed and agreed on upfront. Most services offer a fast translation service, so be sure to discuss this in your initial correspondence if your project is urgent.


So, what factors should you consider in your translation timeline? There are many elements to consider. The most common include the document type, word count, complexity, language, translator experience, fluid communication and expectations.


Speak your Language is a national organisation providing expert translation and interpretation services in Australia. Contact us today for a free translation quote.