How Much Does Translations Cost? Localization Budget Management 101

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Written by

Kateryna Hanko

In today's interconnected world, the boundaries between nations have been blurred by the vast digital landscape. This transformation has made effective communication across languages an absolute necessity for businesses aiming to broaden their horizons.

How much does translation cost?

The article answers this and other question you might have when putting a localization budget together. Read the article to learn:

Pro tip: Streamline your translation process using a professional localization platform – Centus. The platform is designed for seamless cooperation between managers, translators, designers, and developers. With it, you can keep your translation costs down and your project on track. Learn more.

How Much Does Professional Translation Cost

The cost of professional translation services varies depending on the source language, translator experience, language pair, and translation industry among others. Overall, translation prices are calculated per word or hourly rates.

In 2023, the average cost of translation ranges from $0.10 to $0.30 per word on most platforms.

Here is a look into the key factors affecting the cost of translation:

  1. Language pair: Translation services cost varies based on the language combination involved. Less commonly spoken languages have higher rates due to the scarcity of available translators.

  2. Complexity and subject matter: Translators of technical or specialized content that requires domain-specific knowledge, such as legal, medical, or technical translations, command higher rates. The complexity of the source language can also affect the pricing.

  3. Translator experience and expertise: A highly experienced and certified translator with subject matter expertise may charge higher rates due to their specialized knowledge and skills.

  4. The volume of work: Translating larger volumes of text may lead to negotiated discounts or reduced rates. Some translators offer tiered pricing based on word count, whereas a larger translation project costs less per word.

  5. Turnaround time: If you need translation urgently, be ready to pay more. Translation projects with tight deadlines might incur higher rates due to the need for expedited work and potential overtime hours.

  6. Additional services: Some translation providers offer proofreading, editing, or desktop publishing services for the original document. These value-added services can influence the overall cost of translation.

  7. Market competition: Prices can vary based on the competitiveness of the translation market in a particular region. Different regions may have different translation rates due to variations in supply and demand.

Cost of translation services per word

One common method of pricing professional translation services is by charging per word. The rate per word can vary significantly depending on several factors. On average, the cost of translation typically ranges from $0.10 to $0.30 per word.

However, these figures are just rough estimates, and the accurate quote for your document translation services may differ based on individual circumstances. Here are the average translation rates per word for common language pairs.

cost of translation pricing per word

Cost of translation services per hour

In addition to rates per word, many translation agencies and professional translators charge per hour. Hourly rates can be applied when it is challenging to determine the exact word count or the per-word rate.

A professional translator may also charge you hourly if the project involves tasks beyond translation, such as extensive research. Hourly rates for professional and high-quality translations can range from $25 to $100 or more.

It's important to note that hourly rates can be less predictable than rates per word since the final cost depends on the actual time spent on the project. Discussing and agreeing on the pricing structure and estimate is advisable for transparency and clarity.

Besides, translation costs vary across and within platforms. For instance, translators on Upwork charge $15–$25 per hour. Upwork has a framework for determining the required level of translator and estimating your budget.

upwork website Source: Upwork

On Upwork, the scope of your translation project is the first contributing factor to the cost of your translation project. The larger the volume of the translated text, the higher its cost. Other factors, including the target language, specialized experience, and expertise required, also determine the average translation rate.

How Much Does It Cost to Translate Your Website or App?

Business localization is crucial in establishing a strong presence in international markets. By adapting your content to resonate with local audiences, you create a more personalized and engaging experience, building trust and credibility.

This leads to increased customer acquisition, higher conversion rates, and improved sales performance. However, it is important to recognize that building a successful localization strategy requires investment in both time and resources.

Cost ranges for business localization

Translation and localization costs can vary significantly based on the factors mentioned above.

However, to provide a general overview, let's consider the following ranges:

  1. Basic translation: The cost can range from $0.08 to $0.25 per word for straightforward content translation without complex technicalities or design adaptations. This common pricing model for professional translation services may serve as a starting point for estimating your budget.

  2. Full localization: If your project requires comprehensive localization, including content adaptation, cultural adjustments, and interface redesign, the costs can range from $0.15 to $0.40 per word or may be estimated based on the total project scope. This range accounts for the additional effort and expertise required to ensure a seamless user experience in the target language and culture.

  3. Additional services: Apart from translation and localization, additional services such as linguistic testing, quality assurance, and ongoing maintenance might be necessary. These services are typically priced separately, depending on the project's specific requirements.

How to Manage Your Translation Budget

To optimize your translation budget and ensure a successful localization process, consider the following tips:

  • Plan ahead: Start early and allocate sufficient time for translation and localization in your project timeline. Rush translation projects often incur higher costs due to expedited turnaround times. Some may also need more translators depending on the specific requirements.

  • Prioritize content: Identify the most critical content for translation and focus on high-impact pages or features crucial for user engagement and conversion.

  • Establish clear guidelines: Provide clear instructions to translators regarding your brand voice, tone, and target audience to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Other Factors to Consider for Your Translation Budget

When thinking about your translation budget, there are key factors you should prioritize.

Translation urgency

Urgent translations often incur higher costs due to the need for expedited turnaround times. Translators may need to prioritize your project if you have time constraints, resulting in additional charges. Planning and providing translators with sufficient time is advisable to ensure a cost-effective per-page rate.

Document translation services cost

Document translation rates vary depending on the nature of the original document and the language services you need. For instance, it costs more to translate complex, technical documents.

Besides, translating documents, whether they are court documents, marriage certificates, product descriptions, or marketing materials, involves specific considerations. The length and complexity of the translated original documents, as well as the required accuracy and cultural adaptation, impact the overall cost per page.

cost of document translation on Proz

Source: Proz

Average translation rates

The average document translation rates vary depending on multiple factors, including the pair of languages and the expertise of the translators. Generally, a certified translator will charge rates ranging from $0.06 to $0.12 per word. Common languages like English, Spanish, or French are priced toward the lower end of the spectrum.

translation cost per language

Source: Translation Partner

Less common or specialized languages will attract higher rates from a qualified translator. They may charge you a slightly higher per-page rate depending on the pair of languages you want translated. It's important to note that these rates are a guideline, and the specific project requirements may influence the final translation services pricing.

Freelance translators

Freelancers can offer their translation services at competitive rates, making them an appealing choice for small-scale projects. However, ensure that any freelancer you work with is a professional translator who possesses the necessary subject matter expertise for accurate translation.

A qualified freelance translator should be capable of providing certified translations, legal documents translations, and all sorts of translation services. Their rates may also be slightly lower. Freelance translators in the US obtain certification through respected organizations such as the American Translators Association.

ATA website Source: ATA

Translation agencies

Translation agencies provide a comprehensive solution for localization projects. They offer a team of professional translators, project managers, and quality assurance experts. Most of them charge according to the word count in the source document. Other agencies prefer to charge a per-word rate based on the translated words.

While they'll charge a higher translation rate, translation companies often deliver superior quality and efficiency, making them suitable for large-scale projects. A reputable translation agency is also capable of handling a complex translation project for a larger corporation.

Online translation platforms

Leveraging computer-assisted translations, online translation platforms offer cost-effective translation services. These platforms utilize translation memory and other tools to expedite the translation process and reduce costs. They are particularly useful for ongoing projects or content with frequent updates.

Centus localization suite is being developed for particularly this reason — help businesses grow globally whilst cost-effectively.

What Factors Influence the Localization Budget

Several factors influence the localization budget. And understanding these factors will help you plan and manage your translation services budget effectively:

Content volume and complexity

The volume and complexity of the content to be translated are significant cost factors. Websites or app localization projects with extensive content, such as e-commerce platforms or multilingual blogs, will naturally require more resources for document translations.

Additionally, content that includes technical terminology or specialized subject matter may require the involvement of experts, which can impact the overall translation services cost.

Pair of languages

The languages involved in the localization process can also affect the translation services cost.

Languages with larger translation markets, such as English, Spanish, and Chinese, often have more affordable pricing due to the high availability of translators. Similarly, if the source and target languages share the same sentence structure, alphabet, or origin their translation is easier and hence cheaper.

On the other hand, languages with limited resources or less demand may incur higher translation rates due to the need for qualified translators.

Project complexity and tools

The complexity of the localization project also influences the translation services cost. For instance, if your website or app requires complex coding or integration with existing systems, it may involve additional development and testing efforts, which can increase the overall budget.

Moreover, using translation management tools and technologies can impact costs, as sophisticated platforms may come with licensing fees or require specialized expertise.

Project management

The level of project management required can affect the overall cost. Complex projects involving multiple languages, file formats, or ongoing updates may require additional project management resources.

Type of translation

The desired type of translation, such as basic translation, post-editing, sworn translation, or transcreation, influences the cost. Complex types of translation may require additional resources, resulting in increased document translation costs.

How to Minimize Your Translation Costs

Document translation costs can quickly increase, especially for businesses operating in multiple languages. However, there are several approaches you can take to reduce these costs significantly while maintaining translation quality.

Reducing Translation Services Costs by up to 10%

This approach requires you to take the following measures:

  1. Cutting content volume: One effective way to lower a translation services cost is by reducing the content volume you need to translate from the source document. Evaluate your content and identify areas where you can streamline or condense the text without compromising its meaning. Removing unnecessary repetition or redundant information can help minimize translation service costs.

  2. Reusing existing content: Another cost-saving approach is to leverage previously translated content. Maintain a centralized translation memory or database that stores all previously translated texts. When similar content needs translation in the future, you can use the existing translations as a reference, saving both time and translation services cost.

  3. Keeping terminology consistent: Consistency in terminology can enhance efficiency and reduce translation services cost. Develop a comprehensive glossary of terms specific to your industry or company. Ensure that translators and localization teams have access to this glossary, ensuring consistency throughout the translation process.

Reducing Translation Costs by up to 20%

Here, you may want to take extra steps that include implementing translation tools. Utilizing translation tools can significantly reduce document translation cost and speed up translation. Several machine translation services and tools offer varying accuracy and functionality.

Consider integrating one of the following machine translation tools into your workflow.

  • Google Cloud Translation: Provides a robust cloud-based translation API supporting multiple languages and customization options.

  • Amazon Translate: Offers high-quality neural machine translation for various language pairs, along with a straightforward API for easy integration.

  • DeepL: Known for its exceptional translation quality, DeepL employs neural networks to deliver accurate translations across multiple languages.

  • Microsoft Translator: This machine language translation tool provides a comprehensive translation solution with extensive language support, including speech and text translation.

  • ChatGPT: This is an AI language model that's capable of generating translations and can also assist with localization tasks by providing context-aware suggestions.

  • Google Translate: Google Translate is a widely used translation service that offers machine translation for a vast range of languages, supported by a user-friendly interface.

Google Translation accuracy

While machine translation tools have significantly advanced, they may still produce errors or inaccuracies. To ensure the quality of your translations, especially for legal documents, consider hiring a human proofreader who can review and edit machine-generated translations.

This approach combines the efficiency of machine translation with the accuracy and nuance provided by a human linguist.

Reducing Translation Costs by up to 30%

One of the best approaches to achieve this is to implement localization management tools. This can optimize your translation processes, resulting in cost savings. One such tool is Centus, a comprehensive localization platform.

Centus offers features like translation memories, terminology management, collaboration tools, and content analysis. It can help in streamlining the localization workflow and reducing the time and effort required for translations.

Reducing Translation Costs by Over 70%

This may require you to go with technology entirely. You can rely solely on machine translation tools and leverage AI to make necessary adjustments while maintaining absolute quality.

Use a reliable MT tool and employ AI to review and refine the translations according to your requirements. This will significantly reduce costs, although additional post-editing or quality control measures may be required to ensure accuracy.

Implementing these strategies will enable you to reduce your translation cost while maintaining quality and efficiency effectively. Assess your specific translation needs, consider the available tools and technologies, and tailor your approach to suit your business requirements.

To Sum Up

Translation service costs can vary depending on several factors, including language pairs, content volume, and the required expertise level.

To minimize your localization budget and attain your project targets, you can implement multipel cost-saving strategies. Specifically, cut content volume, reuse existing content, keep the terminology consistent, and utilize translation management systems.


How much is a translation fee per 1000 words?

The translation fee per 1000 words can vary depending on language pairs, complexity, and the service provider. The average cost for common language pairs can range from $60 to $250.

How much does a Chinese translation cost?

The cost of Chinese translation can vary based on factors such as the subject matter, specialization required, and quality expectations. On average, Chinese translation can cost between $80 and $300 per 1000 words.

How much can a translator charge per hour?

The hourly rate for translators can vary depending on their experience, specialization, and language pair. Translators typically charge between $20 and $100 per hour, with highly specialized or certified translators charging at the higher end of the range.

Remember that these rates can differ among translators and translation agencies, so it's important to obtain specific quotes tailored to your project to get an accurate cost estimate.

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