1. How Much Should a Translation Cost?

Without a doubt, affordable prices for translations are very important. However, keep in mind that “you always get what you pay for” – especially in the translation sector. There are many people out there offering translation services for 0.06 EUR per word or even less.

Let me calculate this for you. A usual translator can handle about 250 word per hour. If we assume that a translator works for 0.06 EUR per word, he or she would work for (250*0.06) 15 EUR per hour. If we subtract costs for taxes, insurance, and business expenses, there isn’t much left to live from.

People offering their services for such rates are by no means professional translators, but people who happen to speak multiple languages and wish to somehow earn a little extra money. I know that those prices appear very tempting. However, I assure you that such translations will be flooded with serious mistakes and incomprehensible sentences. In the end, you will inevitably have to pay a much higher price.

What are Realistic Prices for Professional Translations?

Adequate prices of professional specialized translators (freelancers, not translation agencies) start at about 0.11 EUR per word. Of course, the price depends on some factors. The most important ones are:

  • Complexity of the field (e.g., technology)
  • Complexity of the source text
  • Widely spread languages are usually cheaper than rare languages
  • Further services in addition to translation (e.g., proofreading)
  • Experience of the translator

Example: A translation of a high-tech laser documentation from Swedish to Hebrew is more expensive than a closet assembly instruction from Spanish to English.