Translation turnaround times seem to be an important feature for many translation clients. The answer to the question “how many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?” can be a major determinant of the final approval of the translation project. Some clients inquire about the typical translation delivery times because they are trying to meet their own deadlines. Not all translations are urgent by nature, but many clients believe that the best translation companies have the fastest turnaround; and freelance translators find it more profitable to craft translations as fast and accurately as possible. Expected translation times can however fluctuate depending on the individual and many other factors.

The answer to the question "how many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?" can be a major determinant of the final approval of the translation project

The answer to the question “how many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?” can be a major determinant of the final approval of the translation project

What is the average translation speed?

The general rule of thumb tells us that a professional human translator should be able to translate up to 2000 words aday while upholding quality standards. If the document is particularly complex, the productivity tends to decline to 1500 words. If the topic is simple and particularly familiar to the translator, they can bash out roughly 3000 words. Determining how many hours does it take to translate 1000 words is therefore a pointless math exercise if we don’t have all the facts available.

How many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?

To get to the bottom of the question, we have estimated translation times that we think could work for most translation projects. Based on realistic translation speed and output expectations for human translators, the average turnaround times should be as follows:

Translation project word countExpected turnaround
Up to 1000 words1~2 days
1000~3000 words2~3 days
3000~4000 words3~4 days
4000~5000 words4~5 days

What are the key factors to determining translation speed?

We can see from the table above that the issue of “How many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?” can be resolved by estimating around 1 or 2 days on average. These translation times are mostly accurate when:

  • The project is undertaken by one single translator
  • The translator includes self-review in the service
  • The translation service is qualified as professional

The translation speed can therefore be accelerated by dividing the project between more than one linguist. Hiring an independent reviewer can also reduce workaround times and also pick up any inadvertent translator errors when translation speed is required. Collaborating with a professional translation agency can also cut down translation times because there is more than one linguist available to take charge of the translation project.



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