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What Factors Affect The Translation Costs?

Posted by Anne Q. on November 22, 2019.

Besides the quality of translations, the translation costs are the factor that all customers take into consideration. How to get 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 a translation.

#1. Translators’ Cost of Living

The country or city where the 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 will 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 the translation costs for your projects. Loosening your budget a little bit might be needed if you are working with first world country translators.


#2. The Rarity of Language Pairs

The translation costs can also be affected by the popularity of a language pair. Some languages are more expensive to translate than others due to their difficulties and popularity. For instance, an English to Japanese translation is likely to cost more than an English to German translation since English and Japanese don’t share the same roots i.e. they use different Alphabet, Phonology, Grammar, etc.

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


#3. Types of Services

Your request for a specific type of service also affects your translation costs. 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

Another factor that has a huge impact on translation costs is project volumes. 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 the deadlines. They usually charge higher for out-of-business-hour projects. Another option is that the projects are assigned to two or three 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 has the most competitive rates to help you minimize the translation costs. Contact us for a free quote now!