Welcome to Fast Trans Translation



Translation costs: rates per word

Whenever you are on the hunt for a translator, the first thing that comes to mind is the cost of the translation service. Calculations of translation cost could be confusing, because sometimes it is quoted per word, per page, or line…etc.


Before making a decision, it is important to understand the factors agencies have in mind to determine translation rates. It is not as simple as it may sound.

Let’s dig into this topic, to know more about how translation rates are calculated and the factors affecting it. In addition, we’ll dwell on some of the most common calculation methods.



How are translation rates calculated?

There are several ways in which the cost or rate of a translation project big or small can be calculated, depending on varying methods and factors that translation agencies or individual translators consider in mind. 


The rate of translation can be determined through any of the below methods:


  • per word rate
  • rate per line
  • per page rate
  • rate per hour
  • flat fee
  • Rate per project 
  • customized price.

Let’s tackle the most used ones: rate per word, rate per hour, and rate per page.



What is the translation cost per word rate?

Rates per word are considered the standard for calculating translation costs. They are easy to calculate and pretty straightforward. 

Although what’s decisive is the word count, the cost might increase or decrease depending on other factors

For example, if the translation has a tight deadline, or if the content in need of translation is highly specialized and can be time-consuming.

In the United States, the cost per word translation ranges from  $0.05 to $0.50



What is the translation cost per Hour Rate?

Translators could be charged as little as $15, and all the way up to $150 per hour for their translation services.

A slightly different way to set translation pricing is to calculate the average time the project needs. It is oriented towards the effort on the part of the translator.

Moreover, if the client needs the translation to be delivered ASAP, this puts the translator on a tight deadline and therefore will increase the pricing.

Unlike the per-word rate, the per-hour rate is not considered the standard. However, it is sometimes optimal for some translation types like ‘transcreation’ or legal translation.



What is the per page translation rate?

The average translation rate per page in the US is $20 – $130, depending on the subject, and language pair difficulty.

While per-page pricing is less common, it can be used in instances when the word count can not be determined, like scanned PDF documents, and legal documents like sworn translations.

It is also used when the document has a layout that includes tables or graphs.

In addition to format, the rate per page varies depending on factors like the language pair, the subject matter, and turnaround time.

The rates mentioned above are based on the average ones reported by the top translation resources in the United States right now. 


Languages That Cost More to Translate

What determines costly language translations is a set of factors.

In the United States for example. Translation to and from Arabic is considered one of the top difficult ones that cost more than other languages.

Logically, this is not the case when translating Arabic in Egypt where it is the native language. In this case, one factor for pricing is the location of where you get the translation service. 

Other factors are concerned with the difficulty of the language, like its complex grammatical structure, syntax, lack of equivalents, use of idioms, different character sets…etc.

Among 7,100 different languages in the world, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Hungarian, Korean, Japanese, and Arabic are considered the most expensive languages for translation.


Mandarin Chinese 

Mandarin has thousands of characters (50,000-80,000) that need to be studied, compared to only 26 characters in English.

Mandarin has complex grammatical rules that are very different from Western languages. It’s rich in homophones and idioms, and many of the most famous mistranslations worldwide come from Mandarin translations.



Thai is a tone language. You can pronounce Thai words in five different ways and, like Chinese, the meaning changes depending on their pronunciation.

It has such a unique syntax that distinguishes it from other languages. There is no space between words or full stops between sentences.



Hungarian is known for its difficult and complex grammar. 

It’s flooded with idioms, which requires translators to be culturally adept enough to localize them.



Korean has a unique grammatical structure. different levels of formality and politeness. The demand for Korean translation has increased over the past few decades, while the number of Korean translators is smaller than the demand.



Japanese has four different writing systems and a hierarchy of levels of politeness within it. It has a unique syntax on top of that.



The Arabic language has a unique set of letters, advanced grammar, and a multitude of dialects and accents across the 25 countries in which it’s spoken. It is considered one of the hardest to learn and the hardest to translate worldwide.


you might be interested in: Choosing а Translation Services Vendor: In-House, Freelance, or Outsource?


Example translation costs for traditional or machine translation

You have contacted translation agencies for translation quotes, and now you are considering minimizing the translation cost as much as possible to fit your budget.

Machine translation steps in to allow for a drastic change in translation pricing compared to human translation. 

Let’s take an example of the difference between traditional or human translation compared to machine translation in pricing. 

In the United States, the average cost per word is 0.22$, which double when translating difficult languages like Japanese. 

On the other hand, the pricing of machine translation is way lower…

 Google Cloud Translation: $0.000020 per character

 Amazon Translate: $0.000015 per character

 Microsoft Translator: $0.000010 per character

DeepL as one of the leading machine translation service providers offers unlimited translation over dozens or hundreds of files with monthly subscriptions that don’t exceed 60$.


Factors that influence translation cost

Several factors play a primary role in determining the cost.

  • language pair or language combination
  • Type of content and degree of specialization
  • When it is supposed to be handed over (deadline)
  • Use of translation tools like CAT tools
  • formatting of document
  • Level of experience of a translator
  • Location
  • Size of the project


Language pair or language combination

Not all languages are the same, some are more complex than others. You can think of the translation of languages like German and Chinese to be one of the challenging ones, unlike English, or Italian.

Translation services can be hard to find for some language combinations, while others can be abundant in some countries more than others. The factors of language pair difficulty are detrimental to translation rates.



Think about it, it is more likely to find a Chinese-English translator in Hong Kong rather than trying to find them in far-fetched locations where they can be rare to find, with a higher rate of course.


Subject matter 

One subject matter of the document could be general and easy to grasp. Like translation of birth or graduation certificates, while other documents are highly technical and therefore require specialization and understanding of technical terms in medicine, engineering, or other similar fields.


Project Size and length

Some translation projects can be so large that they require deploying many resources, quality assurance checks, and utilization of translation tools, planning, and team management, unlike much smaller projects.


Translation Process

This brings us to the factor of ‘translation processes’ that entail using machine translation, computer-assisted tools (CAT), translation management systems TMS, term bases, and translation memories


Request Quote from Fast Trans translation company

Fast Trans has demonstrated experience in the Middle East gaining the trust of massive clients and offering an array of translation services with quality second to nothing in the market.

Now, you can request any translation service you might need, and enjoy a rock-bottom price matched with impeccable quality and accuracy.

Related Content