As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. But when it comes to translation services, it can be tricky to know what exactly that is! To clarify how much professional translation services cost and why, our experts at Multilingual Connections have put together this guide to pricing. Today, we’ll drop some insight regarding industry translation rates and learn what, exactly, goes into the translation process.
Why choose professional translation?
If you’re new to the world of translation, it can be tempting to go based on cost only – which likely means choosing a freelancer with super low rates. Yet, you may find yourself with a poor quality translation that doesn’t help your business build meaningful connections with multilingual audiences.
Professional translation is more than just rendering text from one language to another. There’s a lot that goes into creating a translation with linguistic accuracy and cultural nuance. Businesses often forget that translated materials are what create first impressions for new audiences, and it therefore pays to do it right.
Take for example Pepsi’s slogan from the 1960s: “Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation.” In China, this key marketing copy was translated as “Pepsi Brings Your Relatives Back from the Dead.” While it makes us chuckle today, this blunder caused the company’s brand reputation to take a hit. As a result, Pepsi missed an opportunity to connect with its public in China.
What’s included in professional translation services?
To be sure, slogans like Pepsi’s are complex to translate, but every professional linguist team has a robust approach to ensure that translated text will resonate, no matter the language.
That’s because professional translation services include multiple steps that ensure a text is audience-ready.
This includes best practices such as:
- Research: Understanding specialized vocabulary, looking for regional equivalents, and finding creative ways of making content resonate.
- Translation: Bringing copy to life in a new language and ensuring accuracy in meaning.
- Editing and proofreading: Rephrasing for natural flow and correcting errors/typos, as well as reading for clarity, accuracy, and meaning.
- Quality assurance: Ensuring that all project instructions are met, including formatting.
- Project management: Addressing client questions, coordinating efforts across linguists, and ensuring adherence to the timeline.
This multi-faceted approach is considered the industry standard for high-quality translation. With professional translation, you can have confidence that the final text will undergo these steps and meet your business goals.
How are translation services priced?
Pricing for translation services includes several components, but it’s typically based on a per-word rate. Important information for calculating your translation budget includes:
- Languages involved: Certain language pairs may be more expensive, especially if they’re less common or in high demand.
- Length of the document: Because pricing is based per-word, the length of your document will be determinative.
- Level of quality assurance: Professional translation often includes a translator, an editor, and a QA reviewer. Pricing may be lower if the rate includes only a translator and a QA reviewer.
At Multilingual Connections, our proven translation process involves three steps: translation, editing, and QA review. Your content will be seen by three different talented and tech-savvy professionals, which ensures the final text is high-quality and matches your business’s goals.
We also offer a one-pass translation service that involves only a translator and a QA reviewer. One-pass translations are a suitable solution when the translation is for internal use or has low visibility. Otherwise, we recommend our standard service to get the best results for your copy.
To get a sense of how one-pass and standard rates differ, here are examples of these two types of rates for regular content:
|Standard translation rate per word (one translator + one editor + QA) – from English
|One-pass translation rate per word (translator + QA) – from English
As you can see, the per-word rate changes depending on the languages and the number of translators involved. These are just a handful of examples and rates may differ across other languages. Translation into English, for instance, often involves a higher rate.
Other key pricing considerations
In addition to these standard pricing factors, there are other considerations to determine your translation budget:
- Type of content: Highly technical or specialized text costs more because they require linguists with subject matter expertise.
- Delivery deadline: Rush and weekend translation will involve an additional charge.
- Minimum fee: Small-scale translation jobs may incur a minimum fee that accounts for the time spent to understand the requirements.
When reaching out to translation agencies for quotes, be sure to provide as much information as possible about your needs and expectations to ensure you get accurate pricing.
Other types of language services
Finally, you can count on our talented linguists for other types of services, which may be more or less expensive than standard translation.
- Transcreation (per-hour rate): This service is common for creative copy, such as for movie titles, slogans, web copy, or marketing campaigns.
- Subtitling (per-hour rate): In this case, spoken dialogue is translated for multimedia such as films, TV shows and YouTube videos.
- DTP (per-word rate): Desktop Publishing involves not just translating but also designing and typesetting distinct types of documents so they’re audience-ready.
- MTPE (often per-word rate): Machine Translation Post Editing starts with text that’s machine translated and then human edited. MTPE rates are typically 20-30% lower.
While transcreation and subtitling may incur higher rates due to the expertise involved, DTP and MTPE rates are typically less expensive than regular translation services.
Request a quote for professional translation services
The first step to understanding your translation budget is to request a quote from your chosen language service provider. Top partners will send you an itemized quote so that you can understand how each aspect of your request is priced.
Overall, professional translation services may have higher costs than those advertised on freelancer sites. However, the value you receive is unparalleled. As your business grows to new markets, you need translation services that actually win over new clients.
At Multilingual Connections, we provide full transparency during the quote process. We can also give recommendations to help budget your project, so that you get the most bang for your buck. Our goal is to build long-term relationships and trust with our clients. Reach out to us to discuss your next project! We can’t wait to connect with you.
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