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A Basic Guide to Technical Translation Cost

Posted by Chloe G. on August 10, 2023.

Technical translation is a crucial part of effective communication between companies all over the world as well as between companies and their global customers. The translation of technical content such as medical reports, user manuals and guides, technical specifications, patents, and software documentation into different languages requires high accuracy and clarity to avoid errors, comply with local regulations, enhance users’ safety, and foster collaboration on a global scale.

When companies decide to expand their business into new international markets, technical translation cost is one important issue to consider. This blog post will walk you through the key considerations that contribute to the cost of technical translation services, giving you a basic guide on how to achieve high-quality technical translations without breaking the bank.

1. How is Technical Translation Cost Calculated?

technical translation cost 2

It is worth noting that whether you are planning to collaborate with freelance technical translators or working with a professional technical translation company for your upcoming technical translation projects, you might receive quotes that vary significantly. Initially, it might appear confusing, yet there is a quite straightforward explanation. Each technical translation provider may adopt a distinctive price strategy that considerably affects the final technical translation costs and deviates from your initial expectations. Each strategy has its pros and cons. Let’s delve into the three most common technical translation pricing methods and find out which option suits your project best.

Per-word rate

The most common and probably the simplest price strategy that most technical translation companies and translators are offering is to charge based on the total word count of your documents. Simply speaking, the more words your technical documents have, the more expensive your technical translation is.

There are two components of the per-word technical translation price strategy: the number of words in your source documents and the number of words in your translated documents. You will either be charged for the source word count or the translated word count. Interestingly, some languages have lengthy ways of expression while others are short and concise. This means there might be a big difference between the total number of words in your source and translated documents. This is normally called text expansion and contraction in translation. The final technical translation cost, therefore, will be affected. Thus, it is important to check which per-word method your technical translation company will be using for your project.

The per-word rate of a technical translation average varies from $0.04 to $0.12 (per word). However, the precise cost is determined by several factors, which we shall discuss in detail in the following section.

Per-page rate

You might encounter technical translation companies that charge based on the number of pages on your documents. This price strategy is, however, less likely to be used due to its complexity. Factors such as the font size of texts, line spacing, tables, and graphs can easily amplify or reduce the cost of translation. However, the per-page rate is a great method when it comes to PDF documents, particularly in the context of legal documents or medical and scientific publications. In general, technical translation costs range between $15 and $80 per page.

Per-hour rate

For specialized content like technical, some technical translation service providers prefer charging based on the number of hours they spend on doing the work. While this is a reasonable way of compensating for translators’ efforts, it is likely to cause overpayments and miscalculations. To avoid paying for an unreasonable number of hours, you should explicitly define the terms and conditions of work.


2. What Factors Influence Technical Translation Costs?

technical translation cost 1

As mentioned, the technical translation costs of your project are influenced by more than just the price strategy adopted. Factors such as language pairs, file formats, deadlines, and even more must be taken into consideration.

Language Pairs

Languages with widespread usage have enormous popularity and global demand. The extensive usage of such languages has resulted in a large pool of certified technical translation service providers that creates fierce market competition. Consequently, the technical translation costs for popular languages tend to be cheaper than less common ones. For example, technical translation services for English to Spanish or English to French are more likely to feature cheap rates, in contrast to less commonly encountered language pairs like Albanian to Chinese.

Translation Services

Technical translation service providers commonly offer three distinctive service tiers: Translation Only; Translation and Editing; and Translation, Editing, and Proofreading. More steps equal better quality and less possibility of translation errors. It, unfortunately, indicates more costs. Based on your requirements and demands, you can choose the most appropriate technical translation service tier.

In general, if your budget is tight and your translated documents are intended for internal use only, Translation Only should be sufficient. However, in the case of technical content that might directly affect to health and safety issues of your employees and customers, more extensive services like Translation with Editing and Proofreading are more highly recommended, for both internal and external use.


The complexity and specialized nature of technical translation leads to a greater price. Technical translation involves complex terminologies, industry-specific jargon, and complex ideas that call for a thorough knowledge of the subject. Technical translation tasks require not only language skills but also a thorough understanding of the subject matter. Extensive research, experience, and close attention to context are required to ensure accuracy and precision in relaying highly complex content.

For example, when handling a technical translation project, GTE Localize teams adopt a higher standard of quality assurance and meticulous proofreading from subject-matter translators and proofreaders who are experts themselves in fields like engineering, medicine, and technology. The extra efforts to produce accurate and trustworthy technical translations add to the overall cost of a technical translation project.

File Formats

The formats of your source technical documents or your requirements for the translated ones also have an impact on the cost of technical translation services. A plain Word document is much less time-consuming to handle, compared to a Word document with a large number of graphs and graphics or a PowerPoint presentation, PDF, InDesign, XML, and HTML file. The more complex the file format, the more expensive it is to translate. This is because technical translation service providers must put more effort into converting the files into editable formats to work on. As technical content usually contains tables and graphs, you can expect to be charged more than general content.


You should be expecting to pay more for urgent translation enquiries. In the case of urgent technical translation projects, translators frequently work outside of usual business hours, accommodating evenings and weekends to meet tight deadlines. Naturally, such expedited services are more expensive, reflecting the greater effort necessary during non-business hours. Some projects, on the other hand, are assigned to a team of two or three translators to shorten the turnaround time. This approach escalates the technical translation costs considering its requirement for more coordination and overtime work, impacting the overall affordability of the service.

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3. Technical translation service costs for some language combinations

Check out the minimum technical translation service costs for several common language pairs which are charged per word:

Language pairs Translation only (TO) Translation + Editing (TE) Translation + edit + proofreading (TEP)
English – Thai $0,06 $0,08 $0,1
English – Chinese $0,07 $0,09 $0,11
English – French $0,09 $0,12 $0,15
German – English $0,09 $0,12 $0,15
Polish – English $0,12 $0,15 $0,18
Japanese – English $0,09 $0,12 $0,15
English – Vietnamese $0,05 $0,07 $0,09

Here is the minimum technical translation service costs which are charged per page:

Language pairs Translation only (TO) Translation + Editing (TE) Translation + edit + proofreading (TEP)
English – Thai $20 $30 $40
English – Chinese $20 $30 $40
English – French $30 $40 $50
German – English $30 $40 $50
Polish – English $40 $60 $80
Japanese – English $40 $60 $80
English – Vietnamese $15 $25 $35

If you have any technical translation project, let’s contact our localization experts to get an instant translation quote.


4. How to Find the Best Way to Calculate Your Technical Translation Project?

technical translation cost ctaThe bad news is there is no one-size-fits-all method to calculate your technical translation costs. Our best recommendation is to contact various technical translation providers to get quotes that will provide you with a sense of the average market prices. For an accurate quote from GTE Localize, simply contact our localization experts. Then, you should carefully consider the factors that we mentioned above to justify your final choices.

Finding a reputable and reliable technical translation company to work with is also a key component of a cost-effective technical translation project. GTE Localize, a technical translation company highly rated by GoodFirms, is committed to providing a pricing policy that balances between reasonableness and the highest quality. Our vast network includes native linguists from all over the world, each with at least five years of relevant technical experience. Should you look for a technical translation cost for your upcoming project, drop our team a line now and get our offer for a free 300-word test alongside your cost estimation.