Translation: Cost versus Price

Consider the cost of translation, not just the price. You can pay a low price yet incur high costs if the translation you receive is of substandard quality and either has to be re-translated or used as-is. Poor translation can cause incalculable damage to the your brand and credibility. A translation service provider that consistently delivers high-quality services can keep your costs low.

In the U.S., the rates for translation are typically given on a per-word basis. The word count can be determined easily by using the word-count feature in MS Word. However, several questions arise: What constitutes a word? Should you pay for a list of brand names that does not require translation at all? How about xml tags? And tables with numbers only? MS Word will count each word indiscriminately. It’s up to you and the translation service provider to determine which portions of text should not be translated. If you receive a quote from a translation service provider based on word count, make sure you’re charged for text that actually needs translation.

Rates charged by translation service providers typically range from $0.20 to $0.40 per word. These rates are all-inclusive (not only the translation but also the project management time, editing (reviewing) and quality-assurance procedures) and should not be compared to the lower rates charged by individual translators. The rates at the lower end of this range typically apply to Spanish and Portuguese. The higher end rates apply to Asian languages and right-to-left languages (such as Arabic and Hebrew).

Jiri Stejskal
CETRA Language Solutions