Obtaining an Estimate
Most clients expect us to have a price list, but since translation jobs can be so variable, we prefer to see the original text (or at least a representative sample) in order to calculate a fair estimate. For an exact quote, we will need the complete document. Some languages are more expensive to translate than others because of the rarity of available professional translators. Some have to be typeset with special software because they use different alphabets. Quite a few subjects are difficult (patents) or rare (astrophysics, magneto-hydrodynamics) and it may be difficult (and expensive) to contract the right professionals for a particular subject and language pair.
Rush jobs also have added costs. And changes to the job (additional text, modifications), especially near the completion date of the project, will carry additional costs too, and possible delays.
The price of translations will be correlated to the time necessary to do them correctly, but to increase transparency and for budgetary purposes it is usually measured as rates ($ per word), times the word count (usually counted in the target language by the software). Naturally a technical or specialty translation will cost more than a regular text. Prices vary according to language pair, difficulty or complexity of the text, need for research, size of the job and client's urgency requirements. The rates will include your job being edited and proofread by a second professional translator. Electronic typesetting (desktop publishing) is available at an additional cost.
Scheduling your Project
We know that most clients would like to have their projects finished for yesterday. But seriously, a professional translation cannot be rushed without affecting its quality, and putting 2 or 3 more translators on the job will impair consistency (each person has a different style and uses different synonyms) and turn it into a coordination nightmare. And then the editor needs some time to review the text too. And just think what last minute changes can do to such a project. Plus there is an added cost for rush jobs, which can easily double the original cost. So, please plan your translation projects with ample time.
And if you already have a glossary of terms and jargon used in your industry or specialty, please share it with us -- it will save time and improve the quality of the translation. Besides, if your text is highly specialized, your personnel may be the ONLY knowledgeable people in the world in that particular subject, and we may need to consult them to understand details of the concepts or of the equipment, in order to make a good translation. In this case it is also advisable that a specialist from the client, knowledgeable in that technology, review the final translation before it goes to typesetting.