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People often ask me "What is the price of translation?", and I regularly answer: "What is the price of a car?" Hum. What car? New or second hand? What is the mileage? What type of car? Are we talking about a Ferrari? A collection model? ...There is no "price for cars". Each specific car has its own price, and the same goes for translation.

Prices depend on volume, type of document, document format, purpose of the translation,... You can use the online quote calculator to get a rough idea of the costs or send me your documents and receive an exact quote, on which the billing will be based. You will receive a reply pretty fast, often within a few hours.

Here is a little write up that may help you understand how pricing is determined in the field of translation.

Translation prices are expressed by word or by character. The German will express it "per line", but define a line as "55 characters", so it comes back to counting characters. The US, UK, France,... use mostly "Word" as unit. "Page" is considered inadequate because a page could mean anything between 10 words and 600. The main exception is certified translation, which is often sold by the page.

The price of a translation is determined by:


Target Country:

A translator makes a living by translating. So translations are sold at a rate that allows the translator to live decently in his country. A translator living in India may do just fine with half of what a French translator would need to barely subsist.

However a translator must translate toward his mother tongue to be efficient, so no need to start calling Somalia to get French translations. Your translation expenses will depend on the language of the target country.



Roughly, most translators consider that small volume goes from 0 to 3,000 words. Between 3,000 words and 20,000, medium. Above 20,000, large. A small translation may be more expensive based on the "per word" rate. A large one may be cheaper. If the volume and delay is such as to require several translators, it will be necessary to coordinate the translators and manage the project.


Nature of the document:

A run by the mill document is faster to translate. A technical document will require a translator knowledgeable in the subject matter, and a lot of attention. However, unless one is a translator, it is often difficult to determine the complexity of the document. A "simple" cookbook can be hell for a translator, probably much harder than your average technical manual. Just ask for an estimate. That's the easiest way to go.


The document’s format:

For most translators, usual text formats are easy to handle. (*.doc; *.rtf; *txt). Other formats are often subjected to an additional charge. This include PowerPoint presentations, FrameMaker, … When DTP is required, it is sometimes charged separately, by the hour, or taken in consideration in the per word rate. HTML, DHTML, XML, … can be subjected to an extra charge as well, depending on the case. Simple web pages, such as this one, require little extra effort, but a complex source code may be an entirely different story


The service requested

Do you require the translation to be proofread by a different translator? Highly recommended, unless you are an agency and handle the proofreading yourself. External proofreading obviously cost a little more than translation alone, but is worth it if your document is to be published without further verifications. This is one of the reasons why I do charge less for agencies. They do the proofreading.