Translation costs can quickly rise if they are not kept under control. How can you evaluate the cost of a translation project?


Evaluating the cost of a translation

When evaluating a translation project cost, many different things have to be taken into account.

Number of words and pages

The most evident factor in the translation cost is the number of words and pages a document contains. These will directly affect the number of hours necessary to translate a document. The longer a document is, the more work needs to go into translation, proofreading, quality management, project management, etc.


Translation project cost

Type of files and assets to be translated

The translation process differs greatly depending on what type of files must be translated. Word documents are usually cheaper to translate because the text segments can be extracted easily by most translation software. This allows for an easier translation which keeps the formatting of the document roughly the same.

When working with marketing brochure files, chances are those will have been produced using Adobe Indesign or a similar desktop publishing software (DTP). This requires a graphic designer to go over the file when the translation process is complete, in order to adjust formatting of the document.

Color codes and printing standards can also vary between the US and Europe and may need to be adjusted. Also images may have to be localized as well within a document, which means several hours of graphic design may be required for images. Websites can also take longer to translate if HTML files are translated directly while retaining there code information/html tags.

In order to reduce the costs, it is always better to try to avoid mixing code and text to be translated as much as possible. CMS such as WordPress allow to copy the raw text from within pages, which can then be sent for translation. The translated text can then be pasted back into the CMS and the code/html tgs can be added by a web designer.

Translation, Proofreading, Final Eye and Quality Assurance

Translation projects typically include several stages requiring different team members to work on them. Although a simple translation stage with only one translator working on the project is possible and can save you time while being cheaper, skipping the proofreading, final eye and quality assurance time is a substantial risk which could cost you money in the long term, and increasing the translation project cost.

For this reason, we always recommend to carry out translation and proofreading with a minimum of two translators working on the file. This will insure a better quality of the translation and avoid any last minute changes or mistakes which could prove expensive later on, and raise your translation project cost.


Translation of video files and audio files

If your project contains video files and audio files, the translation project cost can rise quickly. Videos may need to be dubbed and/or subtitled, audio files will have to be recorded in a studio, voice actors may need to be hired, etc. Subtitling is a much easier, faster and cheaper solution than dubbing but it may not meet all your needs.

Source language and target language

English is the most common source language for a document but depending on where the project takes place, the source language and target language can affect the translation project cost. Because the cost of living differs from one country to another, a translation cost can vary according to where translators are based. Some languages are usually more expensive than others (Scandinavian/Nordic languages and Japanese are for example more expensive than Spanish or Portuguese).


When translation projects are urgent, this means that several translators may have to collaborate on the project to meet deadlines. Hiring more people means that your translation project cost may rise. Coordination is therefore very important, as is the proofreading and translation quality management phase. A glossary will have to be created and shared between translators in the beginning to make sure that the translation is consistent and translators use the same terminology. During quality management, the whole translation will need to be checked by the project manager to make sure it is consistent and flawless.

Ask for a precise translation quote

Getting a precise quote is important to evaluate your translation project cost avoid suprises later in the project. It is therefore important to identify all assets requiring translation and to define the timescale of the project before it is initiated. Make sure to contact us for any question you may have and we will gladly analyze your files and project and provide you with a free quote for your translation project cost.