Translation Services Rates
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Are you checking translation prices? Like in any other business, the cost of professional translation services depends on supply and demand. In some language pairs, such as English to Spanish translation services, there is very large number of translators on the market. That makes English to Spanish a relatively inexpensive language pair. But let’s say you need a Russian document translated into Spanish. The number of professional Spanish translators that can translate out of Russian is much more limited, so the price will be higher. The cost of living and the currency exchange rates in the country of translation can affect translation price. The type of translation certification required also impacts the price. If you need sworn translations for court documents, or Apostille certification, that will increase the price.
Another factor that impacts translation services rates is the industry focus of the material. Medical device manual translation and translation of clinical trial materials requires a high degree of specialty and training. So you can expect the price of medical translation to be higher than translation of a simple business document. Other industry-specific services that can carry a premium price are technical translation, legal translation and translation of patents.
Your delivery time expectations can also impact the price. Many of you have probably heard of the Project Management Triangle: you can get 2 out of 3, so if you need the translation urgently, it will cost extra.
Availability of legacy material and translation memories will have an impact on the price. The translation industry uses a pretty standard ruler for translation memory matches: 100% matches and repetitions will cost about 30% of the new word price; fuzzy matches range from 50% to 70% of the new word price. When getting a price quote from a translation company, find out if they are applying a translation memory discount. In certain types of texts, such as in technical manual translation, there tends to be a fair number of repeat texts. The price quote should reflect a discount if the repeat factor is significant.
The required level of service will also be reflected in the price. A service level which includes translation, editing and proofreading (TEP) will be higher than a process in which only the translator reviews her/his own work. A translation according to the ISO 17100:2015 quality standard will cost more than a process that uses a less stringent quality standard. If you require a validation process using back translation, it can double the price of the translation project. A lower end quality process is PEMT (post-edited machine translation). This may not be suitable for all translation projects, but is cheaper than a high end level of service.
The translation industry tends to price services according to a price per word multiplied by the word count. In general, professional translation services range from US$0.08 to $0.28 per source word. At the low end of the spectrum are online translation companies that offer the entire ordering and delivery process online. These companies provide very low prices for translation of general texts like letters, birth certificates and tattoos. At the high end of the spectrum are large LSPs (Language Service Providers) that offer a very high level of service and special services like transcreation and software internationalization.
Here are some per source word price ranges you can expect to pay when ordering a TEP (translation, editing, proofreading) process from a full service professional translation agency:
- English to Latin American Spanish: $0.10
- Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Russian: $0.12 to $0.16
- English to German, Dutch, French, Italian: $0.14 to $0.19
- English to Japanese, Korean: $0.16 to $0.21
- German, French, Spanish to English: $0.14 to $0.18
- English to Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Swiss German: $0.17 to $0.28
If you want to get the word count of a document for estimating the translation price, you can use our free online word count tool to get the word count of PDF, MS Word, Excel, PPT and text files. You can also get a price quote for translation services by using the quote form on this page.
Other factors may add to the translation cost. This includes project management, page layout costs (like when translating Powerpoint presentations or marketing brochures in Adobe InDesign), audio transcription costs and linguistic quality testing.