6 Factors That Determine Language Translation Service Charges

17 May 2022
 Categories: , Blog


You need to get your money's worth when you seek language translation services. But, each language translation service is unique, and so are the charges. As a result, translators use various factors to determine the cost of each job.

Here's a quick guide that gives you a rough estimate of your fees for language translation services.

1. Number of Words

Per word rate is the most common method for documents that use the Latin alphabet. The charges are based on the word count in either the source or target document. Translation cost based on word count is an efficient way to measure your project's time and amount of work. In addition, cost based on the number of words is fair and easy to track for most language interpretation services.

2. Number of Characters

Some alphabets use pictorial characters to represent written texts, like the Japanese type. Translations of pictorial alphabets are harder for the translator. So, translation charges are always higher than the translation cost of the Latin alphabet. Some translation companies charge per character from your source document, while others charge per word in the translated document.

3. Number of Hours

Hourly rates are common in big projects that consume a lot of time, e.g., localizing a smartphone application. Most translators charge per hour for services like reviews and proofreading because calculation in other ways would be difficult. The hourly charges method isn't commonly used for basic translation because skilled translators complete jobs faster than novices.

4. Number of Pages

Per-page charges work best when you can't obtain an electronic word count for your document. For instance, documents converted to pdf, such as court records. The price per page gets determined by an estimated number of words on each page.

5. Language Combination

Many language translation services companies offer competitive prices for frequently requested combinations. Because translation companies use native translators from the target country, the price depends on:

  • Number of speakers of the target language
  • Tax rate
  • Education level (the number of bilingual resources in the market)

Additionally, language combinations for rare languages like Marshallese have a low demand. So, be ready to pay more if you have a less common language combination.

6. The complexity of the Subject Matter

You attract additional charges when your subject is technical, or you want your translators to use special formats. Translators will require more time and effort to research the subject or get an industry-specialized linguist. That way, your subject matter gets comprehensively relayed.


You should get accurate and quality-oriented language interpretation services no matter the pricing method. However, ask about overhead fees and project management. Understand the contract and only sign a contract with the said charges if that's okay with you.

For more information, contact a local company, like Atlanta International Language Institute (AILI).