Technical translations & authoring, pricing

I am a specialist for German to English translations in a wide range of technical, scientific and industrial fields, such as computing, process automation (incl. PLC programming, Suconet, Fieldbus and Profibus), electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering, geology and mining, turbine design and forging. Please see the list of some of my customers. I use most popular word processor and layout programs such as Microsoft Word, FrameMaker, PowerPoint, PageMaker, Quark Xpress etc. and thus you can normally get a translation with your original layout, including the graphics.

I am also a technical author - I write manuals for software and/or industrial machinery for example.

I am a member of the German professional association for technical authors (TEKOM) and for translators (BDUe). Click here for the Bremen & Lower Saxony branch of the German Translators Association.

Prices and Quotations

In Germany, translations are calculated per standard line of 55 keystrokes including space characters. This is fairer than counting in words because word length varies a lot. In German, there are approximately 7 to 8 words per standard line. The invoice is normally calculated from the target language (English) not the source language (German).

To measure standard lines in Word, choose File -> Document Properties -> Statistics, add characters+words and divide by 55. To save time, I normally use the MS Word macro, below, to count lines.

My price per standard line varies according to technical complexity - send me a few typical pages of your text by fax or email to get a quotation. Pricing for authoring work is per hour or subject to negotiation for the whole job.


I can comfortably translate around 6 to 7 standard pages per working day (or about 150 to 170 standard lines). For the purposes of calculation, a standard page has 25 lines. As an author, each completely new page takes about 3 hours on average.

MS Word macros

Click here to get a MS Word macro (18 kb) for counting standard lines. The macro originated from a Microsoft support mailbox.

The ZIP file includes a second macro which makes it easy to change the color of a selected block of text. The ZIP file also includes a file for Word 95 or 97 (German version) which contains the macros.

No guarantee : I am providing the macros and the file for use at your own risk and accept no liability for correctness or any other damage arising out of their use.

The macros were originally designed for German versions of Word 95 or 97. However, they are not strictly necessary for Word 97, since the change color feature is now in the toolbar and "Eigenschaften->Statistik" now shows "Buchstaben mit Leerzeichen". Note that "Buchstaben mit Leerzeichen" in Word 97 may give results which differ slightly from the results of the line counting macro.

Tip : Macros for Word 97 are coded in WordBasic, and the German version of Word 97 uses English language commands for macros. If you load a Word 95 .dot file which contains German-language macros into Word 97, the commands are converted automatically to WordBasic with English language commands (German variable names are not changed).

David Long, Hannover * Technical Translator, Author, IT Consultant * Home