Translation FAQs

As you will probably already know, I am a translator of Arabic and French into English. You may have come across this page because you are looking for someone who can perform this service. However, you might have a few questions before you embark on your translation journey and I want to help!

What is translation?
Translation, for me, is taking a text in one language (so Arabic and French, in my case) and rendering it into another (English), whilst making it as readable as possible and making it read as if it were written in the target language (English) in the first place.

How much does translation cost?
This can really depend on the length of the text to be translated, its complexity, the experience of the translator, any complicated formatting and how quickly you want it. The rates that translators charge vary vastly, but I would say that if a translator quotes less than £0.04/word, you may wish to consider finding someone else, as that’s an indication that the translation may not be of the highest quality.

Translations are usually charged per word in the source text (text to be translated), though some translators prefer to charge per hour. Extra charges may be added if you want the translation quickly (a rush charge) or if the text requires a lot of formatting (e.g. if the source text is a PDF with lots of fonts, pictures, logos, stamps and/or graphs). Furthermore, a less experienced translator may charge slightly less than a more experienced translator. The best thing to do is to send the source text to the translator and to ask for a free quote (all my quotes are free and no-obligation!).

A translator may also offer a discount on larger projects or have a minimum rate charge.

How long does translation take?
Again, this massively varies depending on the genre of text, its complexity, the language combination, whether CAT tools (Computer Assisted Translation Tools) or Machine Translation is used and the translator’s availability and experience. More experienced translators may be able to translate a little faster, but as a rule, I personally translate for 5-6 hours a day (I spend the rest of my day on other tasks, such as admin and marketing) and can translate about 300 words of Arabic an hour or 500 words of French an hour. The reason for this difference is that French and English are more similar languages and therefore a lot of the syntax remains the same, whereas Arabic requires quite a lot of rearranging. This means that an Arabic translation will take longer than a translation from French and this is reflected in both the pricing and deadline. When you request a free, no-obligation quote, I will also let you know an estimate of when I can complete your translation by.

What is proofreading?
Proofreading is reading a text (or translation) for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and general cohesion. If you are proofreading a translation, there are two forms of proofreading: monolingual (just reading the target text) and bilingual (reading the target text alongside the source text to check for errors in translation). I, personally, proofread all texts that I have translated upon completion, but can refer you to a colleague if you wish for it to be proofread by another pair of eyes – never a bad thing! I can also proofread texts that you have already had translated, as well as general copy in English.

I hope this has answered some of your questions about translation. If you have any more, you can contact me on or send an email to this address for a free no-obligation quote!

Published by verityroat

Verity Roat BA CANTAB MA TRANSLATION CIOL Career Associate is a UK-based Arabic and French > English translator, Copy-writer, Copy-editor, Transcriber, Role-player & Tutor.

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