Price of Professional Translation Services
Having used a number of of these services myself, I can tell you that the price of professional translation services varies depending on which company you pick. Translating a fairly simple 500-page website might cost you $5000. If the material is more advanced (medical, technical, etc), it will cost you more.
Another thing you have to take into account is which language you’re translating to. English to Spanish translators are often paid less than English to Finnish translators.
Also, you’ll find that most companies don’t actually give you cold numbers when it comes to their pricing. Most quality companies will prefer if you contact them first because they understand that each project requires a one of a kind approach.
So, you see, you can’t really know beforehand the price of professional translation services—because if they are professional, they will not give you a specific price. You have to ask.
How Translation Price is Determined
However, even if you can’t know the price beforehand, it helps to understand how these companies set their prices. In general, they look at number of words, language, volume, formatting, difficulty of the task and desired speed.
Number of words: Perhaps the most important metric. Bear in mind that companies offer a discount for bigger manuscripts, websites, etc. The bigger the pile of work you give them, the larger the discount.
Language: As I mentioned above, some combinations of languages are more expensive than others. English to French and English to Italian translations are fairly cheap. English to Basque and English to Norwegian… well, not so much. And if you need to translate to some obscure language, it will be even more expensive.
Volume: Although you get a discount for giving companies a larger body of work to toy with, you are also going to pay more.
Formatting: Professional translation services usually don’t have just translators. They have editors and formatting specialists. Usually a translator wears many hats, but sometimes you have people that specialize in certain tasks. If your translation requires complex formatting, the price will be higher.
Difficulty of the task: The company will roughly estimate how much work your translation will be and set a price. This is a combination of all these factors and is in many ways subjective.
Desired speed: This is an interesting one; the faster you want your translation to get done, the more you will pay. So how do these companies translate your work at a faster rate? They put more translators into a single project and through a coordinated effort attempt to translate your request within the allotted time.
The price of professional translation services—remember, professional—should not be immediately available to you. In fact, it’s a red flag if hard pricing is shown on a company’s website. Tread cautiously because in my experience there are some rather unprofessional companies out there. It might cost you more, but it’ll be well worth the money.