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Website translation services cost: A breakdown

If you're looking for translation services that won't break the bank, our comprehensive guide to understanding the costs is a great resource.


Are you looking for quality translation services that won't break the bank? Look no further than our comprehensive guide to understanding the costs of translations. We'll give you a rundown of some common pricing models, including hourly rates, per-word rates, and flat fees.

So whether you're translating a website, app, or document, this guide will help you budget appropriately and get the best results possible.

What determines the cost of a translation?

When a potential client asks for a price quote for translation services, the first question that comes to mind is “How much will it cost?”

It would be great if there were one silver bullet answer to this question. However, just like with most things in life, the devil is in the details. To give an accurate quote on a translation project, linguists need answers to several key questions:

1. What language combination do you need to be translated?

A translator who works from English to Spanish will likely charge more than a translator who works from French to Dutch because the demand for English to Spanish translations is higher than the demand for French to Dutch translations.

Of course, this only applies if both translators have equal qualifications and experience levels—all other factors being held constant.

2. How complex or specialized is the text?

A translation that requires specialized knowledge—for example, a legal document or a medical report—will likely cost more than a general letter because it will take the linguist longer to complete.

3. What format do you need your translated documents in?

If you require additional formatting beyond simply translating the text from one language to another, this will add to the overall cost of your project.

For instance, if you need someone to translate and then typeset an English brochure into French, this would be considered additional formatting and would incur an extra fee.

Of course, a website isn't a brochure but the issue remains there as well! It's important to make sure navigation elements or headers don't overflow and break your whole website.

4. When do you need your translation completed?

The sooner you need your translation, the more it will likely cost. This is because translations completed on a tight deadline require more manpower and therefore incur additional charges.

Keep in mind that translation agencies are often also very busy and it can sometimes take weeks or months to get texts translated.

How are translation services priced?

Now that we’ve answered the first question, let’s move on to the second.

There are three common pricing models for translation services: hourly rates, per-word rates, and flat fees. Here’s a breakdown of each one:

  • Hourly Rates: With this pricing model, you—the client—are charged an agreed-upon rate for every hour that the linguist works on your project. This rate is typically calculated based on the translator's years of experience as well as their location. Hourly rates can range anywhere from $35/hour to $100/hour or more depending on these factors.
  • Per-word rates: In this model, you're charged a certain rate—usually between $0.10 and $0.30 per word—for every word that needs to be translated. The total price is then calculated by multiplying the number of words in your document by the per-word rate.
  • Flat fees: Rather than being charged an hourly or per-word rate, you pay one set fee for the entire project. This fee is typically determined based on factors such as the length of your document, its level of difficulty, turnaround time, etc.

Which of these pricing models you want to use is entirely up to you and there is no one “right” way to do it. Ultimately, you'll want to choose the model that makes the most financial sense for your specific project.

If you're working with a limited budget, for example, it might make more sense to use a per-word rate so that you only pay for the words that are being translated. On the other hand, if time is of the essence and you need your project completed quickly, opting for an hourly rate or flat fee might be the better option.

It's also worth noting that many translation agencies will offer discounts if you commit to using their services on an ongoing basis. So if you anticipate needing several documents translated over time, this could be something to keep in mind when negotiating rates.

Pricing example for a translated website

To begin, let's say that you need your website translated from English into Spanish and you've been quoted the following rates:

  • $50/hour (hourly rate)
  • $0.15 per word (per-word rate)
  • $800 flat fee (flat fee)

For a website that contains 1,000 words, the total cost would be as follows:

  • Hourly rate: $50 x 10 hours = $500
  • Per-word rate: $0.15 x 1,000 words = $150
  • Flat fee: One-time charge of $800

As you can see from this example, the pricing model you choose can have a big impact on your final bill.

So when getting quotes for translation services, make sure to ask about all potential fees upfront and get everything in writing before starting work on a project.

Beware of creative price calculations

One final thing to keep in mind when getting quotes for translation services is that some agencies will try to take advantage of you with creative price calculations. Be on the lookout for firms that charge based on unusual metrics such as “character counts” or by calculating rates using a source document rather than the translated target document.

These types of prices are often significantly higher than standard per-word rates and can result in an unexpectedly high bill. So be sure to ask your potential translator how they calculate their fees and get all pricing estimates in writing before starting work on a project.

What is the cheapest way to translate a website?

If all of this talk about pricing models has your head spinning, don’t worry—we’re here to help.

At Dilingual, we specialize in providing high-quality translation services at competitive rates. It is even possible to use our service entirely for free!

Sign-up today and translate your website in seconds, without worrying about the cost.

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