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How much does document translation cost?

By Josian Phillips, 

In a modern world that is becoming increasingly connected, there are vast opportunities when it comes to international business. More often than not, language can act as a barrier to business expansion. Which is why high-quality document translation is vital. 

If you’re looking to expand into an international market, you’ll likely require many of your documents to be translated. Whether that’s to appeal to the local audience or to address employees who speak that language. 

It’s not unreasonable to want the prices you’re paying for translation to be within your budget. But the question must be asked; ‘what can I get for my money?’. 

Well, document translation services are impacted by a number of factors including language, expertise, deadline, word count, and the level of technicality required. All of these elements will influence the price you need to pay to get good quality translations. Keep reading to find out more about the prices you can expect to pay to have your documents translated. 

Prices 

The price of the service is affected by topic, formatting, language combination, translator experience, location and demand level. You’ll generally be charged on a price per word basis and in the UK you will find rates typically in the range of £0.09 to £0.25 per word. But why is there such a variation? 

Widely spoken languages such as Chinese, Spanish and English can cost less than less commonly spoken languages such as Norwegian or Icelandic. When there are a lot of translators available, and when translators provide services from places with a low cost of living, prices fall, and vice versa. So, the same document translated into Norwegian can cost more than it does in Chinese. 

Document types

Technical documents

It may sound obvious, but the more technical a document translation is, the higher the price will be. This is because of the expertise required to understand the source text and translate it effectively. While it might be tempting to cut costs and use Google translate, or a translator who isn’t an expert in your industry, we’d suggest that you don’t! Investing in an experienced translation partner will undoubtedly provide you with better quality document translation which in turn can lead to more sales, greater engagement or both.

Consider medical document translation, for example. This is a field in which the average price for document translation is higher, but the price relates to the expert medical knowledge required to translate these materials. Medical translators are often qualified in a particular medical field and will have an in-depth working knowledge of the healthcare sector.

Take for example dosage instructions on drug packaging. If it is incorrectly translated it has the potential to create serious issues not only for the patient. But also for the manufacturer when they wind up facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit! It might cost a little more, but it’s worth every penny. 

Contracts 

For those looking for contract translation and other documents that include business and legal terminology, you should expect to pay slightly higher rates. As we’ve already mentioned, this type of translation requires expertise in key areas. It will need to be of extremely high quality. Aside from the terminology, each individual contract translation needs to take into account the local culture and legal guidelines of the market. 

Marketing materials

When it comes to marketing, document translation often refers to the translation of materials such as brochures, banners and flyers. Although marketing materials aren’t typically technical, the process of transcreation will often be required. 

Transcreation is a particular translation process that is mainly used to describe the cross-cultural adaptation of advertising and marketing copy. It’s more than a straight translation. Rather it is a creative writing and localisation process. It is carried out by specialised mother-tongue translators who are also copywriters. For this reason, transcreation will often cost a little more, but the outcome will be worth the investment. 

For more information about marketing translation, have a look at our ultimate guide to marketing translation.

How does cost affect quality? 

We’d always be wary of low-cost services, as the quality of your translation will be reflected in the amount you paid. Translation is an investment, and failing to invest sufficiently will undoubtedly affect the outcome. 

If you want to ensure accuracy, promote your business or effectively engage your overseas employees, you need an expert translation partner. Our professional translators are fluent in their languages and are aware of the tiny intricacies that convey meaning within and across cultures. To see what we have done for our current clients check out our case studies and testimonials.

Using Brightlines for your document translation

Brightlines provides professional translation services to meet your requirements, whether large or small. We’re based in the UK and have a large roster of handpicked and tested, expert translators ready to help you with document translation. If you’d like to find out about translation costs and how to make sure your communications make cents, contact us for more information.

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