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How Much Does App Translation Cost?

Posted by Chloe G. on July 15, 2023.

App translation cost is one major concern for app developers in expanding their global reach.

The app market is becoming increasingly global, and app developers need to translate their apps into multiple languages to reach a wider audience. However, app translation costs can be a significant challenge for many developers. In this article, we will explore the primary factors that affect the cost of app translation services and provide valuable tips on minimizing app translation costs.

In this article, we will explore the primary factors that affect the cost of app translation services and provide valuable tips on minimizing app translation costs. If you’re considering developing a new app from scratch and need to estimate its pricing, utilizing an app cost calculator tool can be highly beneficial.

Factors of cost for app translation services 


The cost of app translation services can vary greatly depending on several factors, including:

#1. Language pairs

The choice of language pairs is a critical factor influencing app translation costs. Translating between commonly spoken languages with a large pool of qualified translators tends to be more cost-effective. For instance, if an app developer seeks to localize their app for the Chinese market, translating from English to Chinese would likely be more budget-friendly due to the availability of numerous experienced English-to-Chinese translators.

On the other hand, translating between rare or less common language pairs may result in higher costs. Consider the scenario where the developer aims to expand the app’s reach to a less common language pair, such as Swedish to Thai. In such cases, the app translation costs might be higher due to the scarcity of qualified translators proficient in that specific language combination.

Additionally, languages with complex grammar structures, non-Latin scripts, or cultural nuances that demand a high level of linguistic expertise may also impact the overall translation cost. These factors require specialized knowledge and skill from translators to ensure accurate and culturally appropriate translations.

#2. Project capacity

The scale and complexity of the app translation project, commonly referred to as the project capacity, directly influence the overall cost. Larger app projects with extensive content, such as apps with numerous screens, multiple app store descriptions, and in-app texts, are likely to require more time and resources, resulting in higher costs.

Moreover, projects with more complex formats, such as apps with multimedia elements like videos, images, or audio, may require additional work for localization. This can involve transcreation, subtitling, or voiceover services, which can impact the overall cost of the app translation.

To make it more clear, let’s imagine an app developer aiming to translate a comprehensive mobile game with intricate gameplay, dialogues, and user interface elements into multiple languages. Such a project would have a substantial project capacity due to the volume of content and the need for specialized translators familiar with gaming terminology and context. Consequently, the app translation cost for this project would be higher compared to a smaller app with limited content.

#3. Translation service plan


The translation service plan chosen by app developers significantly affects the overall app translation cost. Different service plans offer varying levels of quality assurance, revision rounds, and additional services, which can impact the final price. Generally, there are three levels of app translation services:

  • Basic plan: Translation Only

The basic service plan usually offers a more budget-friendly option. It may include a single translation pass without extensive quality checks or revision rounds. While this plan can be cost-effective, it may not provide the same level of accuracy and refinement as higher-tier plans.

  • Standard plan: Translation + Editing

The standard service plan typically includes multiple rounds of proofreading and quality assurance checks to ensure accuracy and consistency in the translation. It strikes a balance between cost-effectiveness and quality, making it a popular choice for many app developers.

  • Premium plan: Translation + Editing + Proofreading

The premium service plan offers the highest level of quality assurance and additional services. It may involve multiple rounds of revisions and more extensive proofreading to guarantee impeccable translations that align with the app’s target audience and cultural context. While this plan may come with a higher price tag, it ensures top-notch quality and linguistic excellence.

#4. Expertise

The expertise of the translators involved in the app translation process is a critical factor that impacts the overall cost. Translators with highly specialized skills and subject matter expertise in specific industries or technical fields may charge premium rates due to their in-depth knowledge and proficiency in the subject matter. 

For instance, if you need to translate a medical app containing complex terminology related to healthcare and medical procedures, it is essential to hire translators with a background in medicine and healthcare. This ensures accurate and contextually appropriate translations, aligning with medical industry standards. While engaging such specialized translators may come with a higher cost, it guarantees the precision and quality of the translation.

Moreover, expert translators with experience in app localization understand the nuances of mobile apps and the importance of maintaining the app’s user interface and overall functionality during the translation process. They can adapt the content to fit the space limitations of the app and ensure that the translated text flows naturally within the app’s layout.

#5. Deadline

The project deadline is a crucial factor that can affect app translation costs. Urgent or rush app translation projects may result in higher rates due to the need for quick work and dedicated resources. According to a survey by Common Sense Advisory (CSA), 88% of language service providers charge extra for urgent projects, with rates ranging from 10% to 200% depending on the turnaround time.

For example, let’s consider an app developer who wants to launch their app in a new market within a short timeframe. To meet the tight deadline, they need fast and efficient translation services. In this situation, the translation agency may need to allocate additional resources, such as working with multiple translators simultaneously or giving priority to the project over other assignments, to ensure timely delivery. As a result, the cost of such rush translation services might be higher to cover the extra effort and resources required.

On the other hand, developers who plan app localization well in advance and provide translators with a reasonable timeframe for translation can often take advantage of standard turnaround times, which tend to be more cost-effective.

Tips for minimizing app translation cost


App translation services can be expensive, but there are several strategies to optimize your app translation budget without compromising on the quality of localization. Here are some effective tips for minimizing app translation costs:

  • Optimize your content: One way to reduce the cost of app translation services is to remove unnecessary content from your app. This includes simplifying wordy sentences, avoiding lengthy words, and removing unnecessary idioms or jargon. Using clear and straightforward language and avoiding text in graphics can also save on translation expenses.
  • Plan for localization from the start: It is better to incorporate localization planning during the app development process. You should design the app with localization in mind, ensuring that there is sufficient space for translated text and considering language-specific layout adjustments. Early planning reduces the need for time-consuming adjustments and rework during the translation process, ultimately saving costs.
  • Make the most out of technology: You can consider investing in Translation Memory (TM) and CAT Tools, or partner with translation agencies equipped with these technologies. These tools streamline the workflow, increase translation efficiency, and reduce costs, especially for apps with frequent content updates.
  • Work with a reputable localization partner: Collaborating with an experienced app translation service provider gives you the chance to access a skilled team of linguists with expertise in app localization. Expert translators can optimize the translation process, avoid common pitfalls, and deliver high-quality translations more efficiently.
  • Choose a suitable service plan: You should carefully evaluate the available service plans offered by the translation agency and select the one that aligns with your budget and localization needs. Balancing quality with cost-effectiveness is crucial, and a suitable service plan can help achieve this balance.


Get the best app translation service quote


The app translation costs depend on various factors, including language pairs, project capacity, translation service plan, expertise, and deadline. To receive an accurate estimate for translating your app, it is essential to consider these factors and collaborate with a reputable service provider like GTE Localize.

At GTE Localize, we leverage advanced technology such as Translation Memory and CAT tools to reduce costs for our clients. Our pricing for three levels of app translation services is as follows:

  • Translation Only (TO) – Starting from just $0.04 per word
  • Translation + Editing (TE) – Starting from $0.06 per word
  • Translation + Editing + Proofreading (TEP) – Starting from $0.07 per word

Beyond our competitive rates, we offer several outstanding values that set us apart in the industry:

  • 100% native translators: Our team consists of over 1200 native translators, experienced and certified in various industries, ensuring high-quality app translation services tailored to your needs.
  • Lifetime warranty policy: Backed by qualified translators and the latest technology in translation and localization, we confidently offer a lifetime warranty for our app translation services. This guarantee applies to all content translated and localized by us.
  • No hidden fees: We maintain transparency in our pricing, providing clear and upfront fees before contract signing, with no hidden costs added afterward.

Contact us today to receive a free consultation, a 300-word test, and a quote for your app translation project. 

For those interested in SME localization strategies, you can download our white paper here for further insights.