What factors affect translation cost?

What factors affect translation costs

What factors affect translation cost?

Besides the quality of the translated text, all customers consider costs as the top priority. How to achieve a great translation with the minimum cost, or in other words, how to guarantee a cost-effective project? To help you calculate the costs and make preparation for any translation projects in the future, we will discuss 5 key factors that directly affect the cost of translation.


1. Translators’ cost of living:

The country or city where translators live has a huge impact on how much they charge for a translation project. It comes as no surprise that translators living in Japan or Northern Europe whose living standards and salary demands are comparatively high charge twice or even more than those who live in Southeast Asia. Because in the end, their time and efforts for a project must earn them enough money to cover their living costs and other activities. So don’t forget to consider translators’ living locations when calculating your project expense. Loosening your budget a little bit might be needed if you are working with first world country translators.

Translator Living Costs


2. The rarity of language pairs:

Some languages are more expensive to translate than others due to their difficulty and popularity. For instance, English to Japanese translation is likely to cost more than English to German translation since English and Japanese don’t share the same roots i.e. they use different Alphabet, Phonology, Grammar, etc.

In some cases, English plays as an intermediate between two less common language pairs, adding more costs for a project. Albanian-Korean, for example, is one uncommon language pair that is challenging to find a suitable translator. In such a case, translation agencies tend to have the source text in Albanian translated into English, then have translators translate it into Korean. This results in higher costs and sometimes less accurate target translation.


3. Types of services:

Your request for a specific type of service is no doubt affect the costs of your translation project. If you order Translation Only (TO) service which involves only one translator, the price is much cheaper than Translation + Editing (TE), or Translation + Editing + Proofreading (TEP) which have more than 2 linguists’ involvement. Likewise, additional requests such as Desktop Publishing, Software Engineering, or Linguistic Quality Assurance add extra costs to your projects.


4. The volume of documents:

Like many other industries where companies tend to offer discounts for those who order a large number of products to encourage them to buy more, translation and localization agencies use the same principle. The higher your volume is, the less money you pay for a translated word. In the end, the overall price for your high-volume project is lessened.

In contrast, when the volume is too small, say 40-50 words, to guarantee the profit and compensate for the translating time of linguists, translation, and localization agencies are likely to charge a high minimum fee.


5. Turn-around time:

For urgent translation projects, translators must work extra time on evenings or weekends to meet deadlines. They usually charge higher for out-of-business-hour projects. Or the projects are assigned for different translators to reduce the turn-around time. In these cases, costs for staff working overtime to coordinate the projects increase, thus the overall price is not so cheap.

With years of experience in the translation industry and a pool of native linguists, GTE Localize knows exactly where to find the best linguists with long experience in translation and subject-matter expertise yet having the most competitive rates. Contact us for a free quote now!