We often get requests for a per word cost for translation. Here is why this is useless information.
Would you ask a builder for the per brick cost of a house? How about asking a tailor what the per stitch cost of a suit is? Even if you did get an answer what good is that answer? Would you then be able to take that information and determine the cost of the suit or the house?
Even better, could you then take that information and compare the same information from multiple tailors or builders to determine the best value? No. Not possible.
In order to compare vendors you should take a given project and draw up your requirements and distribute the project and description to the vendors you would like to evaluate. In a recent post I discussed the process in greater detail. Once you get the details, map the vendors on one access of a spreadsheet and map all the benefits you get with their service on the other access. Compare all the benefits for all the vendors along with the cost and weigh out your options.
The per word cost will only give you one very narrow aspect of what you should be considering in vendor selection. If you are looking to set up a long term relationship with a translation vendor I would suggest issuing an RFI (Request for Information) or RFP (Request for Proposal). This will give you all of the important information on your prospective vendors and increase the likelihood of a good choice. We offer a free request for proposal on our site.
Peter founded Argo Translation, originally based in Milwaukee, WI, in 1995. Prior to transferring his love of all things international and his savvy business expertise into Chicago’s premier translation agency, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he graduated with a major in finance and human resource management. After graduation he went on to become an Italian translator and project manager for an international medical equipment manufacturer and major airline.