Discover How Much Translation Services Cost and Why

Translation Services Costs

So, you’ve achieved success in the U.S. and you’re ready to take that next step and expand abroad, but you’re running into a very common problem: you need to translate for your target market. How much do translation services cost, though?

Depending on your business, you may be concerned about the average cost of translation services. Well, we have some good news: the price of translation services depends entirely on your needs, which means you can usually find a price that works for your business’s budget.

Factors That Affect the Price of Translation

There are many factors that can affect the price of translation services, including:

  • Purpose of your translation and therefore the quality you need
  • Language combinations, or how many languages you need your content to be translated into
  • Number of words that need to be translated
  • Project turnaround time
  • Technical level of the content
  • Format of the source file
  • Regularity of your translation needs

Let’s go through each aspect in more detail, so you can identify what kind of language services you need and where you should allocate your budget for translation services.

Translation Purpose and Quality

The first step is to ask yourself what the purpose of the content you need translating is. Some aspects you should consider are:

  • Where will it be published? Websites, press releases, reports, or other similar media
  • Will this be distributed internally? Technical specs, budgets, status reports, and similar documentation sent to other departments
  • Is the content for comprehension only? For example, do you only need to understand emails or reports from foreign branches? Note: This is quite typical in M&A (merger and acquisition) and eDiscovery situations involving large repositories of foreign-language documents.

Understanding how your translated content is going to be used will help you determine what level of translation quality you need, which affects the price of the translation services. Published content needs the very highest quality, which involves several editing steps and therefore costs more. Internal documents might be translated in one pass, saving money.

For an even lower-budget option, PEMT (Post-edited Machine Translation) might be what you’re looking for. PEMT is when a human translator revises and fixes machine translations, so you can still expect good results with minimal errors at a low price.

Machine translation technology for some language combinations is more advanced than others so PEMT might not be the best solution for all language combinations. But for translation services involving English and Western European languages, it works extremely well.

Language Combination

Like many business owners and managers who need to translate content, you may be asking yourself, “How do I get my content translated into several languages at once and how much do these translation services cost?”

Some combinations are cheaper than others. Since we use native language professional translators that live in the target language country, the price fundamentally depends on how many speakers of the language there are, the cost of living in the target country, the tax rate, and the education level (which affects the number of bilingual resources available on the market). For instance, translation into Finnish is more expensive than translation into Spanish.

For example, BeTranslated uses a network of professional native-language freelance translators from all around the world with many specialties. By using a network, we can streamline costs to offer professional translation services that are guaranteed to provide high-quality translations and provide quotes that are tailored to your business’s specific needs.

Number of Words

Pricing for translation services is almost always calculated based on the number of words in the source content. There may be discounts for partial and full repetitions within the same document or for matches with previous translation jobs, so be sure to ask BeTranslated about that when receiving a quote. You can also expect volume discounts for large projects. If you are on a tighter budget, it may be a better investment to batch-translate to minimize costs over time.

Project Turnaround Time

If you need translations done quickly, you might expect to pay more for the project. But be wary about quick translations — it may be convenient in some circumstances, but it could also affect quality and consistency. Superfast turnaround requires more translators working separately with less team cooperation. This issue can be mitigated in various ways, but we still caution against last-minute projects, so plan ahead to leave enough time for translation services.

For normal deadlines, we recommend planning for one day for preparation per language combination, plus one day per 1000 words. For urgent projects, we advise a schedule of one day for preparation per language combination, plus 0.75 days per 1000 words. Custom delivery times can always be arranged, but be aware that you may have to pay additional costs. And, of course, multiple language combinations require more time.

At BeTranslated, we like to use the follow the sun model, which means our business is designed to serve our clients 24-hours a day, regardless of geographical location. This is possible because of our commitment to customer satisfaction and our representatives from around the globe.

Technical Language

If you’re looking for a specialist or a technical translator such as a lawyer, doctor, or engineer, expect a higher price point. In some cases, a glossary of terms may also be needed to maintain consistency. Using a glossary is especially useful if you plan on working with different translators.

Here at BeTranslated, we understand that technical translations can be quite specific to the situation, so we will work hard to find the right terminology with our team of linguists, and involve experts from your company in the final word choice where possible.

Format of Source File

If you’re sending over images or photographic scans, the content will need to be turned into an electronic file like Word or Excel through a process called OCR (Optical Character Recognition). This requires some degree of extra labor and makes the translation more expensive.

Desktop publishing tools such as InDesign and Illustrator also require extra labor, specifically layout editing after language changes. You can also do this yourself internally if you have the resources or if you want to reduce costs. BeTranslated offers layout editing at an additional price.

If you’re translating website content, it should be reviewed online once it has been translated. ICR (in-context review) is where the translation editor double-checks all translations in the final website to make sure they make sense in context and to see if there is any content that has not been translated. This process is typically billed by the hour.

Regularity of Your Translation Needs

If you have regular or recurring needs, BeTranslated can offer you special pricing or volume discounts. Pro-tip: If you’re planning on translating content frequently, save your translations in a TM (Translation Memory), which will reduce your price over the long term. A TM is a database of all your past translations, which can be searched for matches that can be reused to reduce the translation price and ensure consistency, especially if you’re using more than one translator.

The more you translate, the larger your TM database becomes and the higher the repetition discount (remember that from earlier?). This is especially convenient for highly repetitive content, such as product catalogs. BeTranslated will create and host your translation memory for you and use it in every new translation.

Translations, Your Way

Hopefully, you now have a clear idea of how translation services are priced. Depending on your needs and budget, there is quite a bit of flexibility. One thing is for certain, though: Taking the time to understand your business’s needs and your target audience can help you narrow down the types of translations you need.

Working with an expert translation service provider, like BeTranslated, can help you streamline costs as well as paying only for what you need while ensuring that you provide the right level of quality to your audience.

When you’re ready to make the leap into the international marketplace, BeTranslated will be there to guide you through your website translation and localization. Among our vast network of skilled translators, we have linguists specialized in website localization working in a wide range of language pairs. For more information or a free, no-obligation quote, contact us today.