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How Much Does Translation Cost per Word?

The common practice in the translation world is to charge translation buyers for the amount of words found in the source text. This method helps translators and translation companies create an accurate quote for the translation cost per word from the beginning of the project. This helps the client have more control over the final pricing of the translation, as opposed to giving the translator full power over the final expense. The clients are therefore given the opportunity to decide whether to purchase the service from the concerned translator or to embark on the hunt for a more affordable service. Had the system been based on charging translation buyers for the target word, there would be much more confusion regarding the matter, as the customer would be oblivious to how much the translation would cost them from the outset. That being said, there are certainly some situations where charging the client per target word would be much more practical and makes more sense overall. 

Translation cost per word Translation cost per word is based on many factors

When does translation cost per word depend on the target?

There are some special scenarios where charging for target words is more logical. If you are translating from Chinese into English for an English client, the pricing might be easier to explain to your client when done based on the translated words. This is because your English client has more grasp of what a word is in English than what a character might represent in Chinese. Another situation would be when faced with a scanned document. It would take more effort to figure out the source word count, whereas a target word count is available immediately once the translation has been completed. It might be more practical for your client to go for the pricing based on the target word count. Billing by source word is therefore not always the best way to go.

How much does translation cost per word?

On a large scale, the translation cost per word depends on the language combination involved, as well as the field of expertise and the requested deadline. Freelance translators also have the freedom of establishing their own rates based on their experience, as well as the overall quality of the translations. Languages that are in very high demand tend to carry a more hefty price tag. The standard rate for a translation from English into Arabic would be €0.11/word, while a standard rate from Spanish into Arabic is about €0.10/word. English into German is found to cost around €0.11/word, with the opposite direction being estimated at the same rate. Some of the most common count-related questions asked by translation buyers are: When translating a PDF document, do you charge for retyping the existing text? Do you charge for proper names and numbers? Do you charge for "small words"? The answer is that your translation provider will obviously charge you for extracting the content, as it is a separate process and the service is not solely focused on translation. They will also charge you for proper names, numbers and "small words" if you want them translated. Read more about translation cost per word here: