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Your Basic Guide for Document Translation Services Costs and Rates

Posted by Gummy T. on October 14, 2022.

If you own or manage a business and are yearning for success overseas, translating your company’s documents into the languages of your targeted markets is a crucial step. 

To have an effective document translation project, you need to calculate how much you will spend on it. In fact, the document translation services cost is driven by many aspects. By going through the main factors affecting the document translation cost, which will be revealed in this post, you will have a better estimation of the cost for any upcoming document translation project.

#1. How Are Document Translation Services Costs Calculated?

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There are two common price strategies for document translation services cost: per-word rate and per-page rate. 

Per-word rate

The majority of translators charge their services on a per-word basis. The rate-per-word pricing includes the rate per source word and the rate per target word. As their names suggest,  for one, the translator will charge you according to the word count in your source document, and for the other, the cost will be determined by the word count of the translated text. Translation providers often charge per-word rate or per-character rate in the source text. 

The average price of a document translation is $0.04–$0.12 per word. It will cost from $400 to $1,200 to translate a 10,000-word document. The price may vary based on various factors that we shall discuss in-depth in the below section.

Per-page rate

When searching for translation services, you may come across translators that charge by the page. This pricing strategy appears to be unpopular since projects may have multiple page sizes, images, large fonts, tables, and other elements. While rewarding the translators, the fee-per-page approach may raise your costs as the clients.

However, the pay-per-page method works well with PDF documents like translations of legal, medical, and scientific publications.

Generally, a document translation cost ranges from $0.04 to $0.12 per page. And 100 pages will cost between $2000 and $5.000 to translate.

#2. Factors Contributing to the Document Translation Services Cost

Language pairs

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The document translation services cost is affected by language pairs. Depending on the source and target languages, the translation cost for each language differs. If the source and target languages share the same sentence structure, alphabet, or origin, the process of translating will go more quickly and cost less.

For example, if you need to translate popular language pairs such as English to Spanish, English to French, English to Chinese, Polish to English, Italian to German, etc., it will cost less to translate than the rare language pairs.

In some cases, English will play as an intermediate between two less common language pairs, resulting in more costs for a project. For example, Albanian-Japanese is an uncommon language pair that is hard to find a suitable translator for. In this case, translation agencies tend to translate the source text in Albanian into English before having it translated into Japanese. This ends in greater costs and sometimes less accurate target translations.

Project volume

The project volume is another aspect that has a significant impact on document translation services cost. Generally, the more words your documents contain, the more money you have to pay. That is why you should get the content in the source language polished first before sending it to the translator. By doing so, you can save a lot of time and money.

Yet, in some particular cases, like when working on technical content requires subject-matter translators, the translation cost will be charged higher despite the same/smaller project volume.

When your project reaches a large volume, many Language Service Providers will give you discounts to make a deal and encourage further purchases. As your volume increases, the cost of a translated word will be reduced. 

Translation service plan

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The document translation services cost is also determined by the service plan. Currently, many translation agencies provide three main types of services: Translation Only (TO), Translation + Editing (TE), and Translation + Editing + Proofreading (TEP).

While TO is a good option for internal content or low-budget projects, TE and TEP are highly recommended if your content is used for external purposes. The higher the level of translation is, the more linguists will get involved, and the more you need to pay. 

If your document contains texts with compelling images, you might need to use an additional service, which is Desktop Publish (DTP) to make sure the final products are well laid out and easy to read. This step requires an extra fee as well.

Document translation rates: Content complexity

The quotation you receive from your translation partners heavily depends on how difficult it is to translate your content. If your documents contain a great amount of technical or scientific terminology, you ought to work with highly qualified translators, who will also charge extra for their services. The same thing happens when you need translators with a high degree of creativity, to translate creative materials such as marketing campaigns, slogans, or poetry. 

Therefore, you should anticipate the rate to be 20–30% higher for complex material than for common content.

Document translation services cost: Deadline

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The more quickly you want to get the translated copy, the higher the cost is. If you are in a hurry, the content will be assigned to more translators, or each translator will need to work much more to ensure the deadline is met. More linguists/more workloads mean more costs, as a Common Sense Advisory (CSA) survey shows, 88% of language service providers charge an extra fee for urgent projects, ranging from 10 to 200% depending on how short the turnaround time is.

Document translation services prices: File formatting

The document translation services cost is also affected by the file formatting. When it comes to document translation services prices, it is initially vital to have a current version of the document in an editable format. DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF, Indesign, XML, SGML, HTML, etc. are among the most common file formats.

It becomes possible to process more graphically complicated documents that contain a lot of photos, graphs, charts, and other graphic elements if the original editable format is available. This also translates into a lower cost for you.

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#3. Document Translation Costs for Some Popular Language Pairs

Here are the minimum document translation costs for some popular language pairs which are charged per word:

Language pairs TO  TE TEP
English – Vietnamese $0.04 $0.06 $0.07
English – Korean $0.07 $0.1 $0.12
English – Spanish $0.1 $0.15 $0.2
German – English $0.12 $0.17 $0.22
Polish – English $0.12 $0.17 $0.22
Chinese – English $0.06 $0.1 $0.12

And the following details are the minimum document translation costs for some common language pairs which are charged per page:

Language pairs TO TE TEP
English – Chinese $25 $30 $35
English – Vietnamese $20 $25 $30
English – Korean $30 $35 $40
English – Spanish $45 $65 $80
English – German $50 $70 $90
Polish – English $50 $70 $90

To get an accurate quote for your document translation projects, you can contact our localization expert instantly.

#4. Receive the Best Document Translation Services Cost from GTE Localize

The document translation services cost is affected by many factors, so there is no fixed cost at all.  

Recognizing the primary factors driving the cost is the very first step in cutting it down. To reduce costs overall, you might first optimize your resources before collaborating with a reputable translation agency. For more details, please check out our guidelines on how to minimize translation costs.  

If you are looking for a reliable document translation service provider, look no further than GTE Localize. With our document translation services cost starting at $0.04 per word, let us help you with an optimal translation option. 

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As a professional translation agency recommended by GoodFirms, GTE Localize pledges to give you a reasonable pricing policy with the highest quality possible. We have a wide network of native linguists from all over the world, who have at least five years of relevant business experience, to ensure our competence in managing large projects.

To lower the cost for our clients, we also equip ourselves with the latest translation technologies, such as CAT Tools, Localization Management Platforms, QA Tools, Self-built ERP, etc. When giving value to the clients becomes our mission, we have got the chance to work with a variety of clients, including well-known businesses like Facebook, Tiktok, Google, Abbott, and many more businesses in the Fortune 500.

If you want to get an estimated document translation services cost for your upcoming project, drop us a line and we will get back right away with a free 300-word test and a quotation.

If you are interested in localization strategy for SMEs, you can download our white paper Step-by-step guide to build a localization program for SMEs (38 Pages)