How Much Does Document Translation Cost?

Professional human translation...

Want to know exactly how much document translation costs? And what factors determine the cost? Here’s everything you need to know.

If you’ve got a document that needs translating, many things can affect the cost of translation. The language combination, subject matter, the experience of the translator and format of the document can all influence translation cost. But you won’t get many companies listing translation prices for translation services on their sites. The reason is that each translation project needs a different approach and there are several variables included in determining its price.

Unlike free online translation tools like Google Translate or other translation application, professional human translation is a paid-for service. But in an industry with considerable differences in quality and price, how do you know if you’re getting a decent deal?

Specific standards are used to determine the translation cost, and they can change depending on the subject, text, size of the document, number of words, language pair, etc. The most common method is to charge per word, but prices may also be set per hour of work or per page.

How Is It Performed and Are You Charged Per Page or Per Word?

When charging translation cost per word, the final count is performed with all of the words that appear in the text or document. This can be performed by applying the total number of words of the source text or by using the words created in the translated text; this can vary depending on the language pair of the document or on the translator’s preferred way of charging.

In general, translation agencies employ other techniques, since translation memories (TMs) are often included to examine the text or document that needs to be translated, presenting a division of the text or document that gives the number of new or repeated words, segments or sentences. Each of these sections is charged at a different rate: new words, repeated words, fuzzy match words, and full match words.

Factors on which our translation services cost per word depends are:

•    The volume of the data to be translated

•    The complexity of the data

•    Language Pair

•    Expected Turnaround time

•    Number of words to be translated

•    Formatting & DTP requirements

Translation Cost Per Page

Reasonably, this includes charging by the number of pages that make up the document.

This process is used when the documents are scanned or printed and are not accessible digitally. It can also be used if the document is small and thus much more information is added on one page, which has its advantages regarding cost. It is usually employed on specific events, for projects that need updating, documents that need to be examined, etc.

Languages that employ character-based alphabets, such as Chinese, can also be charged per page.

Why Do Translation Agencies Charge Per Word?

In the UK and USA, nearly all agencies charge translation cost on the number of words to be translated, as this is the appropriate way to calculate prices. The more text there is to translate, the more it gets.

Per-word pricing tends to be the fairest for all parties concerned. The purpose behind this is that the real effort involved in translating a document may vary from translator to translator. For instance, a blog article that includes 2,000 words may take one translator 9 hours to translate, while another can translate it in 7 hours.

Paying per word serves you keep project costs in control as opposed to paying per hour.

So Are Cheap Translation Services Any Good?

Is there a variation in quality between cheap translation and costly translation? Put simply, yes there is. Like with any professional service or product for that matter there’s usually a purpose why something costs less. If an agency is cheap, you should be asking why. It usually indicates they hire inexperienced translators giving lower rates for translation.

So, if an agency’s prices are very high, what additional value are you getting? Are they crediting you for something that you do not require?

Sometimes there’s a reason why the translation agencies cost you more. It might be that you need an expert or highly technical translation, or professional typesetting in a complicated script. All of these elements can enhance translation rates. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on