InterNation is frequently contacted by clients requesting cost estimates for translations and related services for material they can’t make available for review for one reason or another. While we’d love to give simple, quick answers to such inquiries about our rates, quoting prices without specific information is much like… wondering how long a piece of string really is. Or, how much does a house cost?
Providing cost estimates for translations and related services can be a complex equation with many variables, including but not limited to the languages (and number of them) involved, types of service(s), subject matter and degrees of difficulty, quality and QA expectations, multiple client reviews. project management tasks, layout and formatting requirements, and others. And last but not least, cost estimates for translations will also take into consideration the volume of work and turn around time, because as in many other industries, time is money. While we are more than happy to oblige and provide cost estimates for translations and other services, doing so frequently requires our client’s active participation and a bit of patience that comes with… the client education that can also be involved.
VO services in particular are hard to quote “off the shelf.” Does the project involve straight audio recording or some form of timing or sync-to-video and if so, what type of sync-to-video? Off-camera narration/UN-style VO or lip sync dubbing? How many VO talent are needed? Are translations provided by the client/a third party or will InterNation be responsible for translating the scripts? If so, will there be a client review of the translations prior to recording? Does the client want/require a dialog coach or phone patch? Do audio files need to be cleaned up, edited, mixed and assembled or delivered raw? Is there a layback to video? Are there any conversions to other formats? Are there budget constraints that don’t allow for a professional recording studio and require talent to use their own home studios? And what is the usage? Is this for a commercial that will be broadcast (inter)nationally on TV networks for a limited time? Or does usage require a buyout for use in perpetuity? Or are the recordings for an internal corporate video with no public exposure?
To be sure, there are are more questions, but I think you can see why cost estimates for translations, voice-recording services, etc. are not necessarily as straight forward as it may seem. That being said, we are more than willing—we are eager—to quote our services for projects with specific parameters that can be quantified. And also, we’re willing to work within client’s budgets and match or beat legitimate competitor’s offers. But knowing the details of project specifications is critical, because, as is well known, the devil is in the details.
All of the aforementioned aside, InterNation does send out a rate guide sheet to clients inquiring about cost estimates for translations. But we do so with the caution that it should be used as a reference only. The emphasis is on “guide sheet” and it should not be treated as if it were written in stone. Clients should do themselves a favor and let us review their materials for translation, recording, or subtitling, we’d be happy to give you a proper quotation—with a smile. And all those questions should be taken as a reflection of attention to detail based on years of experience, which is really important if you want to know exactly how long that piece of string actually is.
Get a free estimate for your upcoming translation project by clicking on the link. For further information about what to consider when requesting a project estimate, check out our “Truth in Estimates” blog.