How Much Should I Charge for Translation Services?

When determining translation service prices, there are so many factors to consider that it’s normal to get overwhelmed at first. With the different ways to translate content, level of expertise, and time it takes to complete a project all playing a role in your pricing structure, people are often left wondering what a reasonable rate for their services would be, especially if they want to be paid fairly in a competitive industry. Here are some expert tips on how to charge for translation services.


How do You Calculate Translation Rate?

There are a few ways of calculating translation rates that vary based on the type of translation needed. These pricing structures include per word, per page, and per hour. 

ways to charge for language services infographic

Translation Rates Per Word 

Charging for translations per word is the most common method of charging translation rates since translators can standardize charges for any project regardless of length. Per word translation rates will vary depending on a few factors, including: 

  • Language Pair: Some languages are more in demand than others and are thus more readily available. These high-resource languages cost less than uncommon languages, so your per-word rate will often vary depending on the language pair you need. 
  • Specialized Content: Expertise in specific fields of study makes some translations more difficult than others. Medical translations, for example, require extensive knowledge of medical terminology in both languages and awareness of privacy regulations. Since this experience is harder to come by, medical translators will often have higher rates. 

Translation Rates Per Page

You’ll often encounter per page translation rates when working with legal translations, especially notarized, certified, or official ones. Unlike per word charges, per page charges often include prices for certification or notarization and formatting for documents with specific image requirements. Some things that may affect a per page rate include: 

  • Language Pair, like before. 
  • Notarization Fees: Notarized translations require a certificate of authenticity signed by the translator and stamped by a notary. Since notaries often charge for services, there’s a chance a notarization fee will affect your final price. 
  • Shipping Fees: Some agencies that offer notarized, certified, or official translation services will ship translations to wherever you need them, but you’ll need to pay for shipping. 

Translation Rates Per Hour (or Minute) 

While you don’t often see translation services charged by the hour, it’s still possible to charge hourly for translations. Hourly rates are an excellent way for transcriptionists to measure how long they’ve been working. They are also incredibly useful for translators who need to edit images or videos during the process. Some things that may affect an hourly translation rate include: 

  • Audio Clarity: The clarity of your audio plays a significant role in how easy it is to transcribe content. Multiple speakers, microphone feedback, and other audio issues might make it harder for transcriptionists to properly translate content, especially if they don’t have a script handy. 
  • Use of Specialized Programs: Some translators include per hour charges when they need to work with specialized programs to complete a translation project. For example, a translator working on a brochure might have to put the text directly into the brochure using Photoshop, or a programmer might have to translate text in a coding program. These specialized skills aren’t necessary to translate something, but they help make the process easier for clients. 
  • Transcreation: Since transcreation involves a large amount of creative writing, transcreators may charge hourly fees instead of per word fees. 

How do You Price Translation Services? 

You’ll need to do some research when determining translation service prices. Take stock of your skills and the languages you specialize in, and see what others charge for similar services. To help speed along the research process, a translation cost calculator might help you find average prices for freelancers and agencies. Just remember: freelance prices will often be higher than agency prices. Don’t sell yourself short! 


How Much Should I Charge as a Freelance Translator? 

Now for the big question: “How much should I charge for translation services?” 

To start, only you can set translation rates for your services, and the average freelance translator hourly rate will vary from language to language and skill to skill. Setting prices should always reflect your skill level, unique skillset, and the languages you specialize in while fairly compensating you for your work. Some translators even have different rates for different types of projects, which may make setting competitive rates for general translations a bit easier.  


Getting Started with Traduality 

If you’re ready to get started as a translator, we can help! Traduality has plenty of resources to help translators find work, create price quotes, and streamline projects. Contact us today! 

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