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Cost of Translation Services

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The cost of translation services plays a crucial role when planning a translation project. Cost per word, the chosen language, and location all play a significant role in determining the cost of translation projects. The average cost of translation services ranges between $0.08 and $0.30 per word; however, the final cost largely depends on the number of translation services needed for the project.

Cost of Translation Services Per Word

When you hire a Spanish translator, their work will cost between $0.10 to $0.20 per word. However, the final cost will depend on various factors, including subject matter, volume, minimum word count, platform translation (app, website, or document), translator expertise, and required edits. 

Although the final cost of translation services varies based on the project, knowing the differences in cost per word for other languages can help you get started. Wondering how to hire a translator? Check out our latest article.

Cost of Translation Per Character

Languages such as Japanese or Chinese employ pictorial characters to convey the meaning of written texts. For example, the Japanese ‘Katakana’ script has over 50,000 characters, and every character represents a different word, making translation to and from Japanese different from that of other languages. Expect to pay more for translation services where the source or target language employs pictorial characters. Most translators charge a per-character rate when translating from the source language to the target language, but some translators charge per word.

Cost of Translation Per Page

Some translators charge for translation services based on a project’s number of pages. Per-page rates are ideal for projects where it’s difficult to get an electronic word count. An excellent example of this would be a project that uses a scanned to PDF format, including court documents or medical records. The translation company may quote about $150 to translate a page.

Spanish translation companies, for instance, prefer to charge per page. According to European standards, one line has approximately fifty-five characters, including spaces in the target language. However, a document translated from English to Spanish may have more characters in the target language, so the cost of translation will be higher.

What Factors Influence the Cost of Translation Services?

1. Target and Source Languages

Some languages are harder to translate than others. For example, the more widely spoken a language is, the lower the translation cost, because there are more translators to translate it. Conversely, rarer languages have fewer professional translators and therefore cost more to translate.

2. Notarization or Certification

Often, official documents require the signature of a qualified translator for translation accuracy. You may have to get a translated project notarized, such as when submitting documents to government agencies, applying for immigration visas, or submitting court evidence. Most translation agencies offer notarized and certified translation services.

3. Proofreading

Proofreading any translation project is crucial to ensuring quality. Every professional translator will proofread a project before delivering it to you. Unfortunately, proofreading requires a translator to put in extra time, increasing the cost of translation.

4. Knowledge of Subject Matter

Specific translation projects, such as medical reports and legal documents, require the use of professional translators with extensive training in those fields. These translation projects often cost more than others because you’re paying for the expertise of a translator with knowledge of technical terms and specific codes of conduct.

5. Technology Needed

Using technology can greatly lower the cost of translation services. Many qualified translators rely on computer-aided translation tools that use Translation Memories to meet each client’s unique preferences and needs. As you have more projects translated, the Translation Memories library builds up, lowering your translation rate for each project.

Other parameters that can influence the cost of translation services include page layout costs, management fees, linguistic quality testing, and audio transcription costs. 

Final Thoughts

In most businesses, the cost of translation services largely depends on supply and demand, but there are many factors that will affect the price you pay—source and target languages, word count, technology required, and the type of project to be translated.

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