Two hours or twenty years

Two hours or twenty years?

Many people are unfamiliar with the translation process and, from the moment they find out the prices, they ask for discounts. But in order to determine a price, it must be understood that working with articles of a specialized nature requires very different skills than that of a journalistic piece, just as the abilities required to translate in the marketing field are not the same as for the legal environment.

For this reason, there is an underlying central motive for why not all translations are charged the same. There is no better way to demonstrate this than this story.

There was once a journalist who was an expert in classical music and very well-known in the field. One day, the Entertainment editor of a newspaper called him and asked if he could “please” write 1000 words “urgently” for the bicentenary of Beethoven’s First Symphony in an analysis of the work.

The expert said that he would and two hours later he sent the finished article to the editor. When the pay check for the article arrived, he noticed with disgust how much he had been paid.

“That amount does not seem good to you?” the editor asked.

“No, the truth is that it is very low,” the expert responded.

“Okay, but, all’s said and done, it was two hours of work.”

“No, you are mistaken,” the expert answered. “To write the analysis did not take me two hours, it took 20 years.”

This story can be used to explain the cost of translations. This type of intellectual work requires many years of formation, of learning through tests and corrections, of investment in tools and of updates, and specialization in a particular area.

So the next time you are faced with a translation cost summary, think about how much work has gone before.

Spanish version: Dos horas o veinte años