Translation Rates 2024: How Much Does a Translator Cost?

Created: Jan 9, 2024 | Updated: Feb 19, 2024

In 2024, the translation industry continues to be a significant global market where businesses are investing substantial funds to make their content accessible across various languages, highlighting the importance of translation services worldwide. Translation rates are subject to variation, especially for high-quality translations like legal and financial documents that require specialized knowledge. Understanding these rates and the factors affecting them is necessary for companies looking to expand their multilingual presence.

How are Translation Rates Calculated?

When you want to know how much it costs to get something translated, you should understand that translation costs can be figured out in different ways. Here's a simple breakdown of how these costs are usually calculated:

  1. Per Word or Per Page: Most of the time, translators charge based on how many words they need to translate. Sometimes, they might charge per page. This is a straightforward way to figure out the cost; the more words or pages you have, the more it will cost. Per word, translations range between $0.05 - $0.50 & per page translations, from $20 - $130.
  2. Hourly Rates: Some translators charge by the hour. This method is often used for tasks that might not be just about translating words, like if the job has to be done quickly, or needs special attention like with legal translations. Hourly rates from translation range between $15 - $150.

To save money on translation, here are a few tips:

  • Compare Prices: Just like shopping for anything else, compare prices from different translators or translation companies.
  • Bulk Orders: Sometimes, if you have a lot of translation work, you might get a discount like the 20% volume discount off translations & transcriptions on a Translayte Business account.
  • Use What’s Needed: If you don’t need a specialized translator for your task, don’t pay for one. A regular translator might do the job just fine for less money.

The cost for a translation can also change based on a few other things:

  • The Language: Some languages are more expensive to translate than others. If the language you need is rare, it might cost more. i.e. Mandarin to French.
  • The Type of Work: If your document is very technical, like a legal or medical document, it might cost more because the translator needs special skills to understand and translate it properly.
  • Urgency: If you need something translated fast, it might cost more.

So, when you're looking to get something translated, remember these points to understand how the costs are worked out and how you might be able to save some money.


Languages That Cost More to Translate

Certain languages are inherently more expensive to translate. These typically include less commonly spoken languages or those with complex scripts and grammatical structures. The demand and supply of translators in these languages also play a role in determining the cost.

So, which languages usually cost more to translate? These often include less widely spoken languages or those with unique writing systems. For example, translating into or from languages like Icelandic, Finnish, or Japanese might be more expensive. These languages aren't as common as Spanish or French, and they have different grammar rules and alphabets, making them more challenging to translate.

Another reason some languages are pricier to translate is the demand and supply of translators. If a lot of people need translations into a specific language but there aren't many translators who can do it, the cost will go up.

In summary, the cost to translate certain languages is higher because these languages are less common, harder to learn, and have fewer available translators. As a result, these translators often charge more for their services.


Typical Rates For Professional Translation Services

Professional translation services vary in cost based on several factors, including the type of translation (human vs. machine), the translator's native language proficiency, and the nature of the content (e.g., text, video). Translation Memory (TM) technology can reduce costs for repetitive content. The industry also uses the Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM) framework to assure translation quality, which can influence pricing. Just as we mentioned earlier, professional translation can cost between $0.05 - $0.50, depending on the quirks involved.


How are translation rates calculated?


How Does the Cost of Machine Translation (MT) Compare?

Machine Translation, like services offered by Amazon and Microsoft, is a cost-effective solution for certain types of content. However, it's not always the best choice, especially for complex or nuanced texts. While MT is advantageous for its speed and lower cost, it lacks the precision and cultural sensitivity of a professional human translator. Most machine translation platforms offer you a free version you can use, but for better offers, you may need to upgrade to a paid plan. For Amazon and Microsoft, their paid plans cost between $8.74 - $60 per month.

We have now taken you through the numerous factors that should be taken into consideration when faced with the question “How much does a translation cost?”, you may also be wondering how you can tell a good translator who is worth their salt, from an inexperienced one, the simple answer is to look to their reviews and request for their certifications, for proof of their qualifications. 


What is the Difference Between Hiring an In-House Translator vs a Freelance Translator/Translation Company?

 In-House TranslatorFreelance Translator/Translation Company
1An in-house translator becomes familiar with the company's products, style, and audience, leading to consistent quality in translations.They offer more flexibility. They can be hired for specific projects, which is ideal for companies with irregular translation needs.
2They are readily available during business hours, which can be helpful for quick tasks or urgent projects.They often specialize in specific fields or languages, providing expertise that might not be available in-house.
3Companies can invest in their in-house translators' skills, ensuring they stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards.Hiring them typically costs less in terms of overhead. There's no need for a full-time salary or benefits.
4It can be cost-effective for companies with ongoing, large-scale translation needs. There are also companies like Translayte that offer discounts and special features that allow for uniformity of translations.The quality and availability of freelancers can vary. It’s important to choose freelancers with good track records to ensure high-quality work.




How are Translation Services Priced?

Translation services are typically priced on a per-word or hourly basis, with variations based on language, content type, and translator expertise.


What are the Rates for Subject-Matter Expert Translation?

Subject-matter expert translations are generally priced higher due to the specialized knowledge required. They cost between $0.15 - $0.60 per word.


How to Get a Discount for Translation Services?

Discounts may be available for bulk orders, long-term partnerships, or through the use of Translation Memory technology.


Are There Different Kinds of Translation Service Levels?

Yes, ranging from basic machine translation to professional human translation and specialized subject-matter expert translation.

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