Several reasons might prompt you to look for a freelance Thai translator, whether you need documents translated from English to Thai or vice versa. Maybe you have a business proposal you want to push in Bangkok or you want a legal document that requires translation. You’ll need to consider if the translator you’re looking to hire has industry specific knowledge in the area you’re particularly interested in, on top of looking into their experience and credentials. But for many people, the key question to ask a Thai translator is “what is the cost of your service?”. Once you hear their answer, you’ll know the amount you should set aside for the task and if it’s a fair price compared to the average cost for similar services.
So, what is the average cost of Thai translation services? Thai translation services aren’t one-size-fits-all. The rates can be as low as $0.01 per word to as high as $15 per page. Translation rates vary depending on several factors, including the nature of the content, volume, delivery time, and translator expertise. While you’re at it, it pays to get yourself accustomed to the translator’s service model. Does the translator require you to pay per word, per page, per minute, or hour? Let’s unpack the different factors, associated costs, along with the pros and cons of Thai translators, and more.
How Much Do Thai Translation Services Cost on Average?
As previously mentioned, different factors will affect the translation rate, and it’s not unusual to receive different quotes for the same document if you ask for rates from multiple translators. But to a large extent, the nature of the document is the key factor that impacts the rate. Thai translators charge more for complex, technical pieces as compared to simpler ones. General translations, free from technical jargon, are usually the cheapest. On average, you can expect to pay $0.25 per word or $12 per page, depending on the service model the translator uses.
Technical content requires industry-specific knowledge and therefore needs in-depth know-how from the translator. As such, the rate tends to go up a notch. On average, technical documents, such as medical manuals will cost anywhere between $0.05 and $0.075 per word. If the document is more complex, the rate can even go as high as $0.10 per word. Legal documents fall more or less in the same category as technical content. You’re looking at $0.05 to $0.075 per word, but potentially even more.
The volume of work requiring translation also impacts the price. The more words that need translation, the less you can negotiate to pay per word. At the same time, recurring projects can also lower the translation rate.
As for translator expertise, professional and more experienced translators are likely to charge an arm and a leg for their expertise, when compared to those just starting out in the business.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Thai Translator
It’s hard to escape linguistic barriers between two countries. But thankfully, translation services are available to save the day. Be that as it may, there are several advantages and disadvantages to using a Thai translator service. A proficient Thai translator will effectively curb the language barrier by being able to easily communicate the intended meaning of any document you have. Also, a Thai translator ensures apt communication between two parties, be it a personal conversation or a business deal.
But when you look at it, translation is never a simple exercise. It’s a complex process that requires reproducing the meaning of a text written in one language into that of another, while retaining the original intent. It might sound straightforward in theory, but hiring an inexperienced Thai translator often defeats the entire purpose. That’s because accuracy is never guaranteed. And when the overall accuracy is low, you run the risk of the intended message in the document becoming distorted. When this happens, you may need to have the document translated again, which can become quite costly. Plus, if the translated documents are business-related, a bad job can negatively impact your business, sometimes in a major way. That’s why it’s important to make sure you hire high quality Thai translators.
What Are the Different Service Models Used by Thai Translators?
While it pays to familiarize yourself with the average costs when hiring Thai translators, you’ll also need to know the different service models they use. Depending on the model, the translator will require you to pay per page, per word, per minute, or by the hour. But as a general rule of thumb, the pay-per-page model is the most widely used service model by Thai translators when translating from Thai to English.
The reason for its popularity over the pay-per-word approach is because word counting tools aren’t very accurate when working with Thai words. As a result, these tools may wind up displaying more characters and words than are actually present. In addition, calculation of fees is much easier using the pay-per-page model, especially with pdf files.
Despite the pay-per-page model being more popular, a good number of Thai translators still adopt the pay-per-word approach. But where the content is difficult to calculate per page or word, they may resort to the pay-per-hour model. In this instance, the translator charges according to the number of hours it takes to complete the task. But if you’re looking to have media scripts, such as subtitles and animations for TV translated, then you’ll usually be charged per-minute of translated content..
If ever you find yourself in need of a Thai translator, it helps to know how much you should expect to pay. Of course, the cost varies depending on a myriad of factors, such as the translator’s experience, task complexity, volume, and turnaround time. To a large extent, the rate you pay will determine the overall quality of the work and it’s accuracy.
However, this isn’t always guaranteed. Whatever you do, try and opt for a professional Thai translator with past experience working on documents similar to your current needs. Also, enquire about the service model the translator uses upfront, so you know how much you’re likely to be charged.