“How much is it to translate my 64 pages?”  As a full-service language agency, this for us is a common question with a long answer.

Unfortunately, this is like asking what the rents are in your city. Just as you must know what neighborhood you are referring to; the kind of building you want (a duplex? a high-rise with a doorman?); and your budget, quoting translations requires specifications.

A full page for one firm may be a light page for another. That’s why (at least in North America) rates depend instead on the number of words in your file as well as the essential question of what languages you want. Spanish and Chinese, for example, are far less costly than Japanese, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian.

As importantly, no one can quote accurately without seeing your file.

  • Is it a doc or a PowerPoint?  In that case, language agencies can discount for repeated terms after they do an analysis.
  • Is it a scan?  Then each word must be counted individually.
  • Does your file have charts, pictures with captions, or graphics with writing inside them? Then agencies must count the words inside the graphics and add an hourly or per-page fee for laying out your charts in each target language.
  • Do you want full translation, reviewing and proofreading for spelling, punctuation and grammar?
  • Or do you just want a translation that a qualified, native speaker in your company will review?

Other factors affecting a quote include some additional questions:

  • Do you need your translations by tomorrow? The answer depends on how short it is, into what languages they are going, and how backed up the translation teams are for your desired languages and subject.
  • Has your agency translated other .doc files for you into the same language? In that case, the agency should be capturing all your translated terminology in a cumulative Translation Memory. When you send a new file, it is analyzed against the existing Translation Memory and you get discounts for ever-increasing repetitions. But if you are a Government, that quoting method does not apply.

Each professional translator specializes in various technical subjects. Although most learn business, legal, and IT vocabulary, they may not speak Plant Diseases or Automotive Mechanics.  Each file for each project must be matched with a team of translators (the first drafter and the second reviewer) who speak your subject terminology for each of your desired languages.

Translations are definitely not like fast-food hamburgers. Especially if they are technical, translations must be done with extra attention to terminology and details. The speed for that accuracy as well as for the expertise and experience to get your files right the first time around all reflect the cost.  While we do not strive to be the cheapest on the block, we do seek to work with clients who appreciate value and whose products or services are also of the highest quality.