Understanding the Myriad of Translation Prices

translation service price

When you are selecting a language services provider (LSP) to partner with you on a translation project, price naturally plays a significant part in that decision. Because a multitude of costs can make pricing challenging to understand, it is important to be fully aware of the factors that affect translation pricing. Here are some of the key factors that can impact the price of your translation project:

Language Combination. One of the key elements that affects pricing is the language combination, particularly when the pair includes a rare language. Because there are fewer translators who have the skills and knowledge to translate to and from such a language, they can command a higher price for their expertise. Therefore, the overall price for a rare-language translation will be greater than a translation that involves more commonly used languages. Additionally, if the translator is native to the country of the source or target language, then the economic climate of that region will influence the price.

Machine Versus Human Translation. When making decisions about your translation venture, one significant consideration is whether to choose machine or human translations. From free online translation tools to computer aided translation (CAT) tools offered by LSPs, there are many machine-translation options. Although machine translations might be less expensive, it is critical to consider which approach would be the best for the project. For both accuracy and economic considerations, a combination approach that uses machine translation with human post-editing might be your best option.

General or Specialized Content. Whether your content is general or more specialized also affects the translation price of your project. LSPs that use subject matter experts with highly specialized skills and expertise might charge more for the work, but they are also better equipped to achieve top-notch content for your translation. As an example, translating documentation for a medical device or a financial application would require a more specialized skill set than what is needed to translate a general email campaign.

Additional Services Required. After you have selected the type of translation you will use for your project, you might consider additional services, which will affect the cost. For example, while a basic level of proofreading might be included in the project’s scope, a higher level or proofreading will likely cost more. Additionally, the number of revisions you make to the project will affect the price.

Interactive Customer Support. Depending on the scope of your translation, you might need a higher level of customer support from your LSP. If the LSP offers an interactive customer support service, then you have access to an avenue that could save time and money from not having to meet with your LSP in person or on the phone. Such a service provides an efficient way to partner and communicate with your LSP.

Delivery Time and Speed. When a client needs a fast return on a project, an LSP will have to use more resources and work longer hours to make certain that all deadlines are met, while ensuring that the quality of the translation is the best it can be. As a result, costs will increase for work that requires a quick turnaround time.

Volume of the Manuscript. The cost of translating a document will depend partly on the volume of the manuscript, including either the number of pages or the number of words, since most LSPs give a price per word translated. However, there is a way for this cost to go down. Since many LSPs will store all translated text into a translation memory, they will charge less for all repeated words used in your future projects. If you plan to partner with the LSP on future work, it is a good idea to let them know that in advance.

File Format. When translating a document, specific files are easier to work with than others; for instance, document translation in a Microsoft Word file is simpler to work with than more complex file types, such as PHP. With more complicated formats, the LSP needs to make certain that their language expert has the skills and technical expertise to work with the formats, as well as the platforms on which they are based. Because of this required level of skill, additional costs could be incurred.

Project Management. Depending on the scope of the project, you will likely want to work with a project manager at the LSP. The project manager will oversee the entire project, from the initial agreement  until the work is complete and ready to roll out to customers. Although this could add some fees to the total cost, the results from the project management team are absolutely worth it. The team is involved working with translators, ensuring quality management is in place, making certain that deadlines are met, and helping to manage the financial aspects.

Deciding to pursue translations of your documentation can seem daunting, especially when you are thinking about how much such an endeavor might cost. By partnering with the right language services provider, you can find a solution with the translation price that meets your needs and budget.


The numerous costs associated with translation services can be challenging to understand, so it is important to learn about the factors that affect pricing. Take a look at some of the key parameters that can impact the price of your translation project.

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