What’s the right price for translation services?

Ever find yourself asking, “what’s the right price for translation services?” If so, you’re not alone. Pricing translation services isn’t easy, if it was, you’d see universal pricing across the industry. That’s simply not the case.

The range from price per word can go as low as free—think machine translation services like Google Translate or Bing Translate—to as high as $0.50 per word—think large call center or traditional translation agency.

Depending on your company’s appetite for translation, you’ll likely want to test out a translation agency’s capabilities through a translation pilot project or by looking at their client case studies (here are some of our translation customer success stories).

After thousands of data points from the market, here’s how we decided to structure our pricing and why.

1. No monthly translation commitments

Your company’s need for translation services might vary. We serve clients that have monthly, weekly, and daily translation needs, to companies translating content a few times a year. Offering no monthly translation commitments gives our clients the flexibility to access our vetted translators when they need to.

2. Simple, pay-as-you-go translation pricing

Similar to our client’s desire to avoid monthly commitments, we shifted to simple, pay-as-you-go pricing to help clients submit content with no minimum threshold. This has helped us embrace clients in various stages of the translation process without overcharging for work they don’t need. By breaking down translation projects on a per word and per minute scales and offering volume based translation discounts, we’re responding to our client’s call for a simpler translation-pricing model.

3. Built-in translation economies of scale

Your company should be growing. Scaling shouldn’t be difficult and it shouldn’t cost you more. We heard this time and time again from our clients. Because translation pricing is so varied and can be difficult to understand, companies often get punished for growing or entering new markets. We think that’s unfair and counterproductive. If you’re scaling, we want to scale with you and the translation price should be decreasing not increasing as your company grows.

Before you even start to think about translation pilots, look for instant translation quotes. Nobody deserves to get surprised by additional fees. You should know upfront what you are going to pay for having your content translated.

Our answer to:
“what’s the right price for translation services?”

what's the right price for translation services?

And for translators, Corinne McKay of Thoughts on Translation wrote a good blog title, “What is ‘the right rate’ for your translation services?” last year about understanding the industry and how rates work.

Good luck translation shopping!

-Ryan Frankel
Co-founder and CEO
@rvfrankel

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