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Posted on13 February 2024

Translation Turnaround Time: How Long Will It Take You To Complete My Project?

Searching for the right translation agency but also under a time crunch? Atlas Translations understands that timing is an important factor for many people. Immediate answers, short-term projects or government requirements can all add a sense of urgency to your needs. Read on to learn about the varying factors that can affect the translation turnaround time on your project.

What factors influence how long a translation will take?

The time it takes to translate your project can depend on certain factors. However, we’re able to give a clearer time frame once we know the ins and outs of your project. Some of these affecting factors include:

  • Length of the document
  • Language combinations involved
  • Subject matter and complexity
  • Formatting requirements
  • Level of certification required
  • Additional services needed

Let’s take a closer look at each of the above:

Length of the Document

It won’t be a surprise to learn that the length of the text involved plays a key role in translation turnaround time. The shorter a document is, the quicker the translation will be completed. Longer documents naturally demand more time for translation due to the increased volume of content that needs to be accurately translated. 

At Atlas Translations, our quotes are based on the total word count. If you already know the approximate word count of your text – excellent! You can use our handy price calculator to get an immediate estimate for pricing and turnaround time.

Language Combinations Involved

Our translators work in over 300 languages, so it’s extremely likely we’ll find the right translator for you. However, the choice of source and target languages can directly affect the turnaround time of your translation project. Certain language pairs may lack direct equivalents for translation, leading to prolonged translation processes. Be aware that some language combinations may take longer than others if the pairing is a rare combination. Time zones for the translators’ location can also be a factor.

Some language pairings are more commonly requested, such as French or Spanish. When a project involves these types of combinations, we’re more likely to find the ideal translation professional for you much sooner. All of our professional translators work in their native tongue, so you can rest assured knowing we’ll provide the perfect match for your project.

Subject Matter and Complexity

The complexity of the subject matter plays a significant role in determining the time required for translation, as there’s a big difference between translating a personal document and a technical manual. If a translation requires subject-specific knowledge or extra research, it can take longer than more straightforward work.

Atlas Translations will always make sure to match your translation project with a professional translator. One who has the needed experience in the required subject area. It’s part of what makes our translation agency stand out from the rest!

If you need a specialised translation, we’ll find the right translator for you; just bear in mind that it may add to the translation turnaround time.

quote from client snell advanced media stating how they appreciated the translation turnaround time and quality of work.

Formatting Requirements

How we receive your translation project, i.e. file format and layout, also plays a part in the turnaround time. Clear, plain text in an editable format can make it much easier for a translator to complete your translation project quickly and efficiently. 

On the other hand, documents with unclear information or handwritten content may take longer to sort through. If a project requires complex formatting or typesetting services, the turnaround time on your project is likely to reflect this.

Level of Certification Required

Many translation projects will need a certain level of certification. Depending on the level needed, the speed of our translation turnaround time may change.

Certified translation can take as little as one business day. A short document (500 words or less) with a common source and target language combination would be a great example.

For notarised translation, the turnaround time may be a little longer. This is because we’ll need to arrange an appointment with a recognised notary.

When it comes to legalised (apostilled) translation, the minimum waiting time is generally three weeks. This is because we’ll need to certify and notarise the translation before sending it to the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). We highly recommend getting started with legalised translation well in advance of any deadlines to avoid any last-minute stress. 

Additional Services Needed

Something to keep in mind is that the total turnaround time for our professional translation services may depend on any additional services you want. Atlas Translations provides many different types of additional services. For example, you may decide to include:

Subtitling (closed captioning)

Voiceover (accents, dialects, dubbing or time-code insertion)

Proofreading (syntax, clarity, information confirmation or conversion)

Typesetting (desk-top publishing, layout)

Adding on any of these services will likely increase the time it takes to complete your translation project. As an example, proofreading services may add at least one business day to the total completion time as more than one translator will be working on your translation.

Again, we recommend getting started with your translation project well in advance of any deadlines if you plan on including additional services.

How speedy are professional translators? 

As a general rule, we estimate that translators work at a pace of approximately 2,000 words per business day. However, it should be understood that this is just a rough guide. More than anything, translation turnaround time will be affected by the factors we’ve covered in this article.

We definitely believe that translation projects are not a time to cut corners. We have tried and tested translation processes in place to ensure that you’ll receive top-quality work for each and every project.

That said, providing an error-free translation can take time. So, we make sure that your project is matched with the best translator for you and your project. Sometimes, the translator may not be available to start working on the document straight away. They may also have questions for us about context or formatting. Our project managers always conduct a final in-house review to make sure everything is in order.

Addressing Urgent Needs

Effective planning and communication are crucial for translation projects. Urgent translation projects can be accommodated by contacting us as soon as you are able to. By addressing what is and isn’t urgent within your translation project, we can help provide the best and most timely solution.

That’s a Wrap!

So there we have it! Hopefully, we’ve made things clearer about what goes into creating a top-notch translation. Although there can be many factors influencing your translation turnaround time, working with an experienced and reputable translation agency like Atlas Translations will help lessen any negative impact.

Moving Forward with Atlas Translations

Atlas Translations has been delivering top-notch translation services for over thirty years.

From certified translation to interpreting services, we have the experience and know-how to produce material that always stands out, whatever the context.

Looking to take the next step on your translation journey? Our tip-top team is always on hand to help.

Give us a call at +44 (0)1727 812 725 or send us an email at to find out more today.

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