How Much Does It Cost to Translate a Document?

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Document translation remains one of the most important facets of human existence – be it business, cross-cultural communications, scientific endeavors, medical emergencies, or inheritance procedures. In each case, but especially for business, translation costs have to be included in the overall project budget. And while there is no consistent answer to the question of how much does a document translation cost, we hope that the information below will help you to get a clear idea of what influences such costs and how you can ensure that you get the best deal for your money.

document translation cost

How Are Document Translation Services Costs Calculated?

There are two basic approaches to calculating document translation costs, per word and per page. Let’s talk about both in greater detail. 

Translation Rates Per Word

Most freelance translators and translation agencies alike charge their clients on a per word basis. Note, that all words, including prepositions and articles, are included in the final count. This approach is further subdivided into per source word and per target word rates. In the former case, the translator charges per one word in the source document. In the latter, the words in the final translated documents are counted and the final calculations are made. The per source word rates are more frequently used.

The average price of per word translation ranges between $0.04 and $0.12 per word, bringing the cost of translating a 10,000 word document to anywhere between $400 and $1,200. There are many factors that influence the price quote you will receive for your translation request. We will discuss them all below.

Translation Rate Per Page

Per page rates for translations are rare. These are best applied to documents (especially those in PDF form) that may not have a lot of words but require careful attention. This is stuff like diplomas, certificates, and other official and legal documents. 

If a translator suggests using per page rate for translation of normal text documents, you should probably steer clear of them. That’s because such rates usually favor translators, but may come at an additional cost to the clients. This happens because documents usually vary by font type and size, margin size and more, they may have illustrations or tables. As a result, you as a client may end up paying more (or even much more) than with per word rate.

As a rule, document translation costs between $20 and $70 per page. 

Factors Influencing Document Translation Costs

As we previously mentioned, knowing the base per word rate is not enough to calculate your translation costs. Only the translator can give you the final quote. Below, you will find the list of document attributes that influence the translation costs. You can use it to give you a ballpark figure for the final number.

Document Length and Complexity

The most obvious things to consider are the length and complexity of the document. Clearly, a longer document is more expensive to translate. That said, there may be some caveats – and we’ll talk about that later.

Complexity of the text, on the other hand, comes with no caveats. The more complex the text, the more expensive it will be. That’s either highly specialized texts with lots of niche terminology in the fields such as medicine, law, or science. Or it may be highly creative texts like marketing campaigns or advertising slogans. Either way, you need to engage translators with expertise and credentials. That’s the only way to avoid the potentially costly or embarrassing mistakes. And such translators charge more for their services.

Anticipate that complexity of the text will add 20-30% to your final cost.

Language Pair

Believe it or not, the cost of translation services is greatly affected by the language pair. There are popular language pairs, such as English to Spanish, English to Chinese, French to German, and some others. These pairs are prevalent among professional translators. As a result, there is strong market competition for clients and the rates for these translations are lower.

But the number of translators working with less popular language pairs is much smaller, so they can command higher rates for their work. And if you need translation in a language pair that’s really rare, you will probably have to use English as an intermediate language. That means that the source language has to be translated into English and then from English into target language. That also increases the costs.

Overall, the chosen language pair can be a significant cost factor. The difference in translation rates between common and less common language pairs can be 50% or more.


The urgency of your translation job is another important factor. If you have a large text that requires a quick translation, you have to be ready to pay a premium. According to a Common Sense Advisory survey, 88% of language service providers charge extra for urgent projects. The premium may be anywhere from 10% to 200% depending on the turnaround time. 


Quality as price factor depends on the complexity of your text. If you just need a basic translation, a simply proficient professional will do. As such, basic translations are more affordable. But if your text is industry-specific, demands high accuracy, or has to be adapted to another culture, the issue of quality becomes paramount. Such projects will have higher costs. That’s because you need to hire translators who have expertise in the specific industry or field. Such expertise warrants higher rates.

Method of Translation

Today, the two principal methods of translation are machine and human. The important thing to understand about machine translation is that it is algorithm-driven and often prioritizes speed over depth.

Machine translations can be efficient and cost-effective for things like visitor reviews or general interest news stories. However, if the original content is full of linguistic nuances and cultural subtleties, MT algorithms are unlikely to capture them. With human professionals you can count on their comprehension of context and expect a more accurate translation. That expertise comes at a higher cost.

Choosing between machine and human translation depends on the nature of your project. You may have to use human translators for some parts and make do with machine translation for the rest.

Method of Translation

How to Reduce the Cost of document translation services

While the desire to cut your translation costs is understandable, do keep in mind that chasing the lowest rates may not be the best solution. That said, there are some things you can try, especially if you are a corporate client with long-term plans.

Volume-based Discounts

Commissioning translation of large volumes of text can work like buying in bulk. That means that certain deals and discounts may be available. You have to ask. It doesn’t always work, especially if the texts are complex. But if you have large volumes of similar texts or you bring to the table the prospect of a long-term work relationship, translators may offer discounts.

Explore and Contrast Prices

Unless you need your translation done yesterday, spend some time shopping around for the right translator or agency. Ask several for price quotes on your commission. Make sure to inquire what those rates cover. Will the translator do revisions? What about proofreading? Don’t hold those questions back. 

If you have time, check out the translator’s reviews and feedback from clients on specialized websites. That can be very useful. You can also give the prospective translators a small trial text to get a sense of their quality of work and speed of delivery.

Receive the Best Document Translation Services Cost from vidby

For all your document translation needs, you can visit vidby. We offer translation services in three quality tiers, combining state-of-the-art AI-powered algorithms of machine translation and the work of human experts.

With vidby, you can finally achieve the trifecta of any project: cheap, fast, and high-quality. First, you can order translation in 100+ languages. Second, we are not afraid of rare language pairs. Third, we work fast – and can translate 100 pages in just two minutes. Fourth, the prices are competitive. And, finally, our proprietary algorithms and several years of training AI models enable us to provide translation results with near-perfect accuracy.

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