Cost of Translation Services in the U.S.

Cost of Translation Services in the U.S.

The cost of getting documents, materials, etc. translated varies as much as the huge variance in the costs of cars. And just like cars, costs depend upon the types of documents or materials, the desired level of quality, etc. They also depend on a number of other factors:

  1. The source and target language: Obviously, translating material from
    English to Spanish does not carry the level of difficulty as does translating from English to Mandarin. The source and target languages do factor into the cost.

  2. The complexity of the topic: Today, there are needs for translation that range from simple documents, like birth certificates and passports, to employee manuals, to business contracts, to highly technical scientific, legal, and medical pieces. The more complex pieces require content experts and often more than one reviewer, editor, and proofreader, all of whom also must be content experts. All of these drive costs up.

  3. Deadlines are also a prime factor in cost. The more urgent the deadline, the higher the cost.

Some Average Translation Costs Guidelines

While the cost of the best document translation services does vary so much, there are some general guidelines.

  1. In general, flat fees for translation will be provided for shorter documents and, interestingly, for legal documents too. A customer can assume that flat rate costs will run between $30 and $125 per page, depending upon the complexity, the languages and the expertise involved. Translation rate per page is not common for other types of tasks.

  2. Most customers are looking at translation cost per word whether they use independent freelancers or agencies. Again, the price/word will vary depending on type of document or materials, languages, and specificity of translator skills. Usually, the charger per word is based upon the source rather than the target language. Customers can expect to pay anywhere from $0.08 -$0.40 per word.

  3. The more difficult the language, the more you will pay for the translation.

  4. The more technical the project, the more you will pay.

  5. Customer should be certain to check up front whether the cost per word includes at least one reviewer/editor or whether there are additional charges for that.

  6. Customer can also expect to pay anywhere from 25 – 50% more for projects that are considered “rush.”

  7. Most agencies (and many freelancers) offer “packages,” so that customers can choose among basic, preferred, and premium levels of translation.

Read also: Find the best Arabic translation company with experienced translators.


General “Rules” for Customers

  1. Be certain to get the total cost up front, and get it in writing.

  2. Do not scrimp on cost if the task requires a high level of accuracy or technical translation. Poor translation of a legal document, for example, can cause major headaches down the road.

  3. Translation agencies vary in quality and reputation. If a project must have a high level of accuracy and sophistication, it will be important to check out reviews of any agency being considered. Choose one with a long-standing reputation for quality.

  4. Machine translation is fine for some simpler projects. But even if a translator should use these tools, there should be human involvement. Machines are good only up to a point.

Useful information: Leading video game localization companies in the world with the best translators.


Only you can decide the level of quality you need. But these cost guidelines should give you a general idea of what to expect when you go in for a quote.