6 Factors Determining The Price Of Professional Translation Services

6 Factors Determining The Price Of Professional Translation Services

Translating your content and documents isn’t as straightforward as many people might initially think. It requires an in-depth knowledge and understanding not only of the target language itself, but also the intentions and reasons behind translating the documents. 

An accurately translated document will read exactly as it was in the original language. 

The quality, reliability and accuracy of the translation services acquired will depend on a number of different factors, including the translator’s previous experience, whether or not they are a native speaker of the target language and if they fully understand the intentions behind the translation. 

As a result, the price for translating your content and documents might also vary amongst different providers in the United Kingdom. 

Today, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most important factors and aspects you should consider and which can directly influence the price for your translation projects.

Rate per word

The standard base rate per word is the key and most significant factor which can directly influence the final price for your translation projects. 

The rate, or price, per word can be different depending on the type of your document, translation provider or even the languages required.

For example, marketing materials and campaigns tend to cost more due to their complexity and the need for additional proofreading. This ensures that any linguistic nuances and cultural blunders, which might affect your business/brand are fully adjusted.  

Internal and legal documents, on the other hand, are usually much cheaper to translate as the language used in them is generally speaking much simpler and easier to understand. 

Translation Agency or freelance translator

Generally speaking, as a client you can choose one of two main options when it comes to translating your documents, and these are:

  • Working with a professional translations agency
  • Working with a registered freelance linguist

Normally, converting your documents with an agency will be slightly more expensive. This however, comes with a variety of benefits you may not get when working with freelance translators. 

One of the key advantages of choosing a translation agency is the speed of their service. Usually, a registered language company will be able to translate up to 3,000 source words within just 24 hours.  

Additionally, if you require your content converted into more than one language, by working with an agency you can do everything easily in one place, whereas you may need to find a separate freelance translator for each of the languages you require if you choose to go down the second route. 

In the UK, we recognise a rapidly growing number of expert translator agencies and freelance linguists, who are fully accredited and registered with official translation bodies (such as the ATC or Chartered Institute of Linguists) and so are able to translate a wide range of documents and materials. In order to learn more about professional translation services in the United Kingdom, you can visit the official TS24 website, where you can quickly and easily order translation services and find an in-depth explanation of how language agencies actually work. 

Total number of words

The length of your documents, or the total number of words, is yet another key factor in determining the final price for your translations project.

Usually, the total number of words will be determined in the source document. For example, if your documents are in English and you need to translate into French, the ‘source words’ will be extracted from the English version of the document.

The number of source words is significant when it comes to establishing the price for a translation service as often translation agencies offer lower rates and further discounts for larger documents. In fact, many providers have a minimum fee set in place, so that anything below a certain amount of source words is charged at the set price. 


The required turnaround time (delivery date) for your translation will also have an impact on the price for the service. 

As a rule of thumb, it’s best not to leave the translation of your documents/papers for the last minute, as this will definitely increase the price. The longer you give the supplier to convert your documents into another language, the more the costs will decrease.

Careful planning should be at the forefront of a successful business, and something directors should pay a close attention to. We have written more about it here

Type of document 

As we have mentioned previously, the type of your materials or the content you need to translate will also have a direct impact on the final price for your translation.

Marketing, digital or complex medical documents tend to be priced at higher rates as they often require further proofreading and an in-depth knowledge of both – the target market and specific business sector.

On the other hand, converting legal documents, financial papers or content intended for internal use (memos etc.) are very likely to cost less. 

Languages required

Lastly, and this may perhaps come as a surprise for many people – language pair required is also a price factor. The source language, so the language of the original document as well as the target language can directly influence how much the translation services will cost.

Some of the more popular languages, such as for example French, Polish, Spanish, German or English are priced at relatively lower rates. 

On the other hand, rare dialects and complex languages, such as Japanese or Arabic often increase the price for a professional translation. 

So, how much should a translation service really cost?

As you can see, there are many factors which can directly or indirectly influence the total price for a professional translation service. From languages required to the type of your documents and the type of provider you choose to work with.

Nonetheless, despite these differences, we can establish a standard price range for translating your documents.

Generally speaking, the price for translation services in the UK should be anywhere in the range of £0.06 to £0.14 per source word. Again, the higher price end would reflect a complicated project in a less popular language, while the lower end cost would be applied to simpler projects, e.g. certificates.


Understanding the pricing behind professional translation services isn’t a straightforward process, especially if you need to them for a business, marketing or corporate use. There are several aspects and factors which must be taken into the account when calculating the total cost for converting your content, and before determining all of them, you will not be able to achieve the final price. 

As a result, in order to successfully estimate prices for your translation projects, you should send the documents in question to the language provider and they will be able to provide you with an accurate price and turnaround quote.

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About the Author: Norma G. Price

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