Cost of Translation Services

8 Factors Affecting the Cost of Translation Services in 2023

Planning ahead on what you can afford and how much you should spend for your localization project is paramount to its success. Oftentimes, businesses hesitate to expand to new markets because they dread that the cost of translation services will break their budget. 

Nonetheless, this investment has proven highly rewarding, with Fortune 500 companies reporting higher revenue after augmenting their translation budget. This blog will provide you with a roadmap to help make confident decisions and learn how to use translation services to expand your business and increase your ROI.

How Do Translation Services Providers Charge in 2023?

Before we go through all the factors determining the costs of translation services, we’ll explore some ways language service providers use to charge for translation projects.

  • Cost-per-Word Rate

A word count rate is the most common charging method for translation services. The translation service provider uses word processing software to count the number of words and provide you with a cost-per-word rate. This method is preferred when the project involves text-only content that requires translation.With English being the cheapest language to translate to and from, the word count for other languages depends on many factors such as the subject matter, turnaround time, volume, and other additional services required.However, cost per word sometimes doesn’t work for languages where words aren’t formed from singular symbols and glyphs like in Latin, e.g. Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

  • Number of Pages

Paying for translation based on the number of pages in your documents is more common than you might think. It typically occurs when the content is not text-only and includes a lot of images and graphics. The translation agency may bill you based on the number of pages in the document since the project is more than a word-for-word translation. Here, translation will engage desktop publishing services as well, which means adapting text, images, and graphics across languages.

  • Hourly Rates

Hourly rates are preferred when the project requires more than word-for-word translation and the translating team might need to perform market research, technical research, or prepare a creative brief. Projects that require meticulous editing and proofreading are also included here.The translation company might give you an estimate of how many hours are required to finalize the project together with their rate.  

  • Flat Rate Pricing

The last charging method is receiving a flat rate price which involves charging a single, fixed rate for the translation service. You’ll know the cost upfront and pay the fixed fee even if it takes longer or more work than estimated.This method is used for long-term cooperation when you’ll sporadically use the service from time to time.

What Factors Influence the Cost of Translation Services?

Translation services are too broad of a term because it might mean translating a letter or a website or a book which all differ in length, style, and complexity. A travel agency’s website translation cost, for example, is lower than that of a SaaS website because the latter is more specialized and technical. But that’s just one of the variables at play!In this section, we’ll go through the many different parts of translation services that determine translation rates. Understanding all these factors will help you estimate the scope of your project and how much you should expect to pay for a high-quality translation service provider.

  • Type of Service Provider

The cost of any service is determined first and foremost by the entity that provides it to you. While a freelance translator may charge a cost-per-word fee, a translation company may charge a relatively higher hourly rate or fixed price. This is primarily because the company will provide a team of experienced translators with industry expertise, as well as editors, proofreaders, and project managers who will act as extra pairs of eyes to ensure top-notch quality.On the other side, language or translation service providers vary in their capacities and the types of projects they work on. The service cost for the translation of general texts is lower than language service which includes transcreation, DTP services, and software localizationThe location also impacts the average price for translation services. Translation companies that base their team in places where the cost of living is less have lower and more affordable fees.

  • Type of Project

Under the umbrella of localization, the process of adapting a business to a new local market, there are many processes, but we can divide the type of projects into 3 groups: Translation-only projects; where the major task is rendering words into a new language. Here services like editing, proofreading, and quality assurance are part of a full translation project solution. You can find affordable pricing in projects that include translation only with a cost-per-word charging fee.Transcreation projects include re-creating and adapting marketing content for the new target market which cannot be translated word-for-word. This necessitates transcreation experts, marketers, and copywriters rather than conventional translators. As such, transcreation is usually billed on per hourly basis because it’s a highly creative process that requires time and normally doesn’t have source material.Multilingual desktop publishing services (DTP), and software localization can also be necessary when you’re translating the content of your new website or app or for printing. The last two types of projects are mostly charged hourly and will have a higher translation price than a translation-only project.

  • Language Pairs

The language pair also helps determine the cost of translation services, for example, English to Spanish is fairly cheaper than Turkish to English. As a rule of thumb, less common languages have higher translation costs. English, for example, is the cheapest language to translate to because it has a high supply as well as demand. Technical Japanese, on the other hand, has a higher cost since it requires expertise and it doesn’t have as high of a supply as English.Just to add some more examples, language pairs that are considered above the average price for translation services areFinnish-English, Japanese-English, Danish-English, and English-Arabic. This is due to the low number of professional specialists available and the relatively high demand for these languages. Click here to check if our languages include your target one!

  • Type of Content

In a similar vein, texts and content types also impact the cost of translation services. The different subject matter, niches, or industries follow different rates. For example, travel will cost you less than medical translation services, since the latter requires a higher level of expertise. Also, the complexity of the content, be it marketing or technical, will increase the cost of your translation project as well. Another element is having text-only files, or also visuals, video, or the need to do multilingual voice-overs. 

Cost of Translation Services

  • Type of Industry

Even if the translation company might give a cost-per-word rate, that wouldn’t be the same among different types of industries and the different content they involve. Consider the translation of an eCommerce shop to a new target language. The average cost of translating generic product descriptions will be lower than translating ads and marketing content. Technical fields for instance always cost more. Switch to technology or medicine, where more accuracy and expertise are required, and you’ll come across higher rates for professional translation.

  • Project Turnaround Time and Deadline

The length of the project in relation to its size is one of the factors that can determine whether or not you stay within your estimated budget. If you give the translation company a short deadline, they will have to allocate more hours and more people to it, increasing the final cost.Time is money, so if you’d want the project to be delivered faster you’ll have to pay more. On the other hand, if your localization project is on a tight budget, you can ask for a lower rate by negotiating the deadline.

  • Location and Living Cost

A localization best practice is to hire native speakers and in-location translation service providers, which decreases the costs of the translation project overall as well. The reason is that in many locations where the demand for translation is high, the average price for translation services is lower due to low local living costs.

  • Back translation, DTP, and Additional Services

Back translation is a translation quality guarantee where the text is translated once more back to the original and compared with it. This is done in highly technical fields such as law and medicine.Alternatively, if you’re looking to create printed documents that combine text, images, and graphics, you’ll need DTP services. These elements go beyond just translating word for word, henceforth the translation rates you’ll come across will be higher.

6 Tips to Help Curb Translation Rates

  1. Hire one translation company for the whole project.
  2. Choose companies that make use of CAT tools, machine translation post-editing, and translation memories.
  3. Hire native teams that work in-location. This will lower translator costs and increase quality, especially in more complex projects that include localization and marketing translation.
  4. Plan ahead and avoid giving a short deadline which might increase rates.
  5. Discuss a long-term contract which can give you more discounts. 
  6. Evaluate what actually needs to be done and how much content is to be translated. Maybe you can cut down on the content you don’t necessarily have to translate, saving money.
Cost of Translation Services


A good LSP comes with a price tag, but it is a major factor that will open doors in new markets and increase your revenue. Laoret is ready to offer a price estimate without any commitment from your side. You’d understand more of the scope of your project and budget properly, so you don’t face any hidden fees. Request a quote now.


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