How much does a translation cost? Obviously that’s a key question for any prospective client. The immediate answer is ‘it depends’ – and I’ll explain why below.
However, you can also click here to go straight to some example prices!
If you contact me for a translation, you can expect to receive a detailed quote including a proposed delivery date that will be finalised once you accept the quote.
But before we can talk numbers, I’ll need to see the text you want to have translated (or a sample).
If you like you can jump to a couple of example prices so you can see whether we’re in the same ballpark. I’m all for being pragmatic about it. But let’s also look at some of the variables that I consider when putting your quote together.
How do you determine the price of a translation?
If you’re looking to hire a painter to paint your house, they will want to come and view the property, measure the rooms needing painting, perhaps talk about types of paint, any specific requirements such as extra-high ceilings or awkward stairwells, etc.
It’s similar with translation – there are lots of factors to consider before I can give you a quote. Here are the main ones:
Whether the topic matches my skillset
I’m in my element when translating for the IT sector – white papers, websites, marketing texts, newsletters, documentation, etc. I also take on general business texts, have done lots of work related to DIN standards over the years, and I enjoy work in areas I have a private interest in, such as music and mindfulness. I also translated a philosophical article about liberty recently. The best thing to do is get in touch and I’ll let you know whether I’m a good fit for your project.
If I don’t feel I can take on the work myself, I can usually recommend someone from my network or will point you to the translator database of my professional organisation.
How long the text is – in words
Telling me ‘about ten pages’ isn’t usually helpful. Depending on the font size, spacing, formatting, number of illustrations and graphics, etc., ‘ten pages’ could mean a whole range of things. Knowing the number of words will give me a good idea of how long the translation will take.
How complex the text is
Some pieces of writing are more straightforward than others. Even within my specialism of IT translation there are some types of text that are more complex and will require more thought and creativity than others – in other words they will take me longer to do. A piece full of clever wordplay, for example, requires transcreation rather than translation (more on that in a later blog post) and the price will reflect that.
Which services you require
Translation best practice calls for a second native speaker to revise and proofread the translation. I work with a fantastic colleague in the UK on a regular basis. We’re a great team and have the processes in place to provide a quick turnaround. However, if you have native English speakers in-house who have the time and skills to check the text, you might not need that second person. For websites, I offer a ‘live check’ once you’ve put the translations up online. Again, you may not require that component.
Which parts of the text are to be included
If you want a website translation, there may be parts that don’t need translating, such as information that is only relevant to German-speaking readers. Or you may decide that you only need the static core of the website translated and not all the on-going content such as blog posts.
Whether you can provide the texts in an editable format (Word, Google Docs, etc.)
If you provide me with the texts in an editable format, I can get started straight away. I’ll overwrite the German text with English and I won’t need to worry about the formatting.
Non-editable formats might be a PDF file, or if you need a website translation and just send me the link to your site. I can still deal with both of those, but it will take extra time to extract the text and get the formatting looking nice at the end.
Okay, I get it, but can you give me a ballpark figure?
I understand that you might want to have an idea of what you’re getting into before you contact me. So here are a couple of example prices (before VAT) based on recent projects:
- 1500-word document including proofreading by a second native speaker: from €375.
- 5-page website with approx. 300 words/page, including proofreading by a second native speaker and a live check once the texts are online: from €475.
- 35-page website with an average of 500 words/page, including proofreading by a second native speaker: from €4375.
So what’s the next step?
Now you have at least an idea of how much a translation costs. If that sounds good so far, go ahead and email me your text at email@example.com and I’ll get back to you with a quote as soon as possible.
Or if you’d like to find out more about me, why not come and find me on LinkedIn? You might enjoy my bilingual videos, book giveaways (including gameshow wheel to the pick the winners!) and off-topic Sunday haiku posts.
Alternatively, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a discovery call to discuss your translation needs.
I look forward to hearing from you!