How much does a translation cost?

Published on 09/06/2023

When you need to translate a document, one of the first questions that come up is: how much will it cost? 

Getting the cost of translating documents for a quality translation isn't always as easy as it may seem. Cost can vary depending on several factors: the language pair, the complexity of the text, the delivery deadline, and additional services...

In this article, you'll find the essential information you need to provide to get an accurate and transparent calculation of the cost of translation services.

1. The language pair

Indicate the language pair you would like your document translated into, for example English into French or French into Spanish. Also specify the language variant: such as British or American English.

This is important because translation rates can vary considerably depending on the scarcity of language combinations.

If your document already exists in several languages, we recommend requesting a translation from its English version


This is simply due to the greater availability of linguistic and human resources in English. Furthermore, because English is more concise, it usually has fewer words compared to other languages. This makes translation costs lower.

The most commonly translated languages, such as English, Spanish and French, are generally offered at more competitive rates per word or per 1,000 words. Less common or more specialised languages such as Oriental or African languages are usually charged at higher rates.

2. The area of specialisation

Translations can cover specialized fields such as legal documents, medical, marketing, technical, etc. Each subject matter requires specific expertise, which can influence the price if you search high quality translations..

For example, medical translations can be more expensive due to the specific terminology and precision required to guarantee top quality. Translation errors are not tolerated in this field, as they can have serious consequences for patients' health. 

Sworn translations of legal or technical texts are generally more complex and require specialize knowledge. As a result, they can be more expensive than translations of general documents.

3. The volume of the text 

Also provide the word count, pages or characters in the source document so the agency can estimate the time and resources needed for the translation. Translation rates are based on the number of words to be translated, so please indicate the total number of words in the document or, if not possible, give a rough estimate. Generally, it is not necessary to provide this information if you are sending the documents for the quote. The translation agency will obtain the information itself.

4. Document format 

Tell the translation company the format in which you would like to receive the translation. Common, editable formats such as Microsoft Office or Open Office are the easiest to handle. We refer here to Word documents, a PowerPoint presentations or an InDesign files. 

Some formats may require additional work to maintain the layout, which may affect the cost. This applies to audio files to be transcribed, subtitles, non-editable formats, handwritten documents and other specific formats.

5. Delivery deadline 

An urgent translation may involve additional costs associated with the rapid mobilisation of resources, in particular by increasing the number of professional translators to meet deadlines.

On the other hand, more flexible delivery times can have an impact on the translation price, making it possible to obtain a more advantageous rate

Clearly specify your requirements in terms of deadlines so that the translation agency can adjust its offer and provide you with an accurate quote.

6. Additional services 

When hiring a translation agency, consider any additional services that may be required to meet your specific needs. These services include proofreading, style correction, certified translations, localization and layout/multilingual DTP.

Professional translation services go beyond simple translation and require additional skills and time. For example, proofreading aims to check the consistency and accuracy of the translated text, while stylistic correction improves the fluidity and clarity of the content. 

Localization is an important service to consider, especially when translating software. It requires technical expertise and can be more expensive, particularly for the UI translation. 


To get an accurate calculation of the cost of translation services in the UK or elsewhere where the cost of living may lower, provide clear and detailed information, such as the language pair, field of specialisation, text volume, document format, delivery deadline and any additional services you may need. Precise and transparent communication will ensure that you receive quotes tailored to your translation projects.

Provide this information at the outset to avoid delays and issues with inaccurate budgets or subsequent adjustments.

Don't hesitate to ask additional questions to clarify all the important details during your discussions with the translation agency. A good translation agency will be able to advise you on the best options and provide you with a transparent quote, detailing costs and deadlines.

It is also important to compare quotes, taking into account any discounts on the final price, such as discounts for repetitions, volume, or any special offers. Keep these points in mind when making your choice. 

If you need a translation quote, don't hesitate to contact us. At our translation company, we offer several discount offers.

Emeline PADIEU's picture
Emeline PADIEU

Emeline holds a Master's degree in Applied Foreign Languages, specialising in International Management and International Trade Techniques. She completed her end-of-studies internship at AbroadLink Translations and now works there as a sales and marketing assistant

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