“How much do translation services cost?” It’s the age-old question, and in times of tightening the purse strings, it has never been more important to guarantee value-for-money when paying for translation services. In this week’s blog, we’re going to break down the factors that affect translation rates and offer our money saving tips.

When it comes to the things we buy on a regular basis, it’s fair to say that we’re pretty good at knowing what we can expect to pay.

A supermarket meal deal? No expensive surprises there. A full tank of petrol? A rough guess’ll be pretty close.

It’s also fairly easy for us to understand why something costs the amount it does. We know how much a sandwich, snack and a drink costs individually, and can mentally apply that magic meal deal discount. What’s more, most of us drivers, for example, will have a good idea about the current price of a litre of fuel – especially when the cost creeps up.

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But what about when you’re paying for a service? That’s when things can get a little bit trickier. Particularly if that service is translation.

How is translation cost calculated?

Translation agencies are known for keeping their cards close to their chest when it comes to translation rates. Professional translation services are always in high demand, and in most cases it is absolutely fundamental that your project is carried out by a specialist, qualified translator. That’s why translation agencies may feel like they can afford to be secretive about their pricing – They know that businesses operating around the world rely on their services.

But here at Wolfestone, we’re different. We’re big fans of transparency. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide on translation rates – so that you can ensure that you’re getting the highest-quality service, no matter your budget.

So, let’s break down the main elements that impact translation rates – and work towards understanding the nitty-gritty of your translation quote.

Language pairs

One of the most important elements of your translation rate per word is your chosen language pair(s).

A quality translation agency will always assign a professional, qualified linguist to translate from a language they’re highly competent in into their native (also known as target) language. They will also ideally be based in a country that speaks the target language in order to keep up with the latest linguistic developments.

The reason that language pair affects price is supply and demand: There are considerably more professional translators available for some of the world’s most popular languages (such as English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, etc.) than there are for some of the less widely-spoken languages.

What’s more, there are certain language pairings that are more common than others – which may have to do with the popularity of certain foreign languages being taught in a particular county, and therefore affects which languages a certain translator is likely to be proficient in.

In short, the less supply there is for a particular language pairing, the higher the cost will become.

Cost of living

The second thing to note is the cost of living. It’s probably unsurprising to hear that professional translators can charge higher rates depending on where they live – but it’s important to flag this all the same.

For example, you might expect to pay more for a translator based in a Nordic country than in a South Asian country, so keep this in mind when you’re receiving your translation quote.

Turnaround time

Another factor that’ll affect translation rates is your preferred turnaround time. In no rush with your project? You won’t be looking to pay a premium to offset urgent work. However, highly time-sensitive translations are likely to cost more, particularly if you’re looking at same or next-day delivery.

But is there a way to save money?

Luckily, translation technology has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, and there are plenty of cost-effective solutions for when you have tight deadlines to meet.

For example, Wolfestone offers an AI-powered machine translation service for when large amounts of text need to be translated swiftly. AI translation could translate around 6000-8000 words per day, which can be scaled up if you have a particularly tight deadline. This is compared to a human translator’s capacity of roughly 2500 words per day.

You could also opt for AI translation with post-editing, which means a human translator will proofread and edit your text to boost accuracy – balancing turnaround time with high-quality output.

The good news? There are plenty of options when it comes to meeting both your budget and deadlines. Any translation agency worth its salt will do everything it can to accommodate your very requirements.

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Sector and specialism

A final, crucial factor in determining translation rates is the sector and specialism of your project.

The more technical the material, the more qualified the linguist will need to be to handle it. For certain specialisms, such as high-stakes medical, legal and scientific translation, the translator will usually hold specific qualifications in these fields, alongside linguistic qualifications and knowledge as a given. It’s therefore important to note that sector-specific experience will cost more.

In the same vein, whenever your content needs to persuade, influence or impact, you’re going to need a highly-creative transcreator or translator with significant experience in marketing and advertising.

Ultimately, though, this is an investment. High-quality marketing translation, particularly of brand slogans, copy for global campaigns or content for landing pages, should be part of your long-term global growth strategy. This is because – when done right – translation will drive conversions and sales.

Why Wolfestone?

Wolfestone offers a bespoke, tailored service.

If you’re still wondering “how much do translation services cost!?” remember that Wolfestone was founded with a simple ethos: Complete customer satisfaction. When you work with Wolfestone, you can expect to receive a totally bespoke service. We will take the time to listen to your budget and craft professional, tailored language solutions for your very requirements.

  • We can customise our service to fit your budget and timescale requirements.
  • We cover over 220 languages with our vast database of highly-vetted translation professionals, including many difficult-to-source language combinations.
  • We know your industry. As well as being highly-qualified in translation, we have sector-specific linguists on hand who are experts in the terminology and jargon of your very industry.

Get in touch with our friendly team and find out how we can help you get your message across.