quote for online translation
BLEND Express

The Factors That Affect a Quote for Online Translation

BLEND Express

Having your online content carefully translated is an important step to growing your business globally. It’s vital that some of your marketing budget is allocated for this. As several factors have to be taken into account for a translation price to be set, it’s not always easy to know if you’re getting a fair quote. Our advice is to get at least two or three quotes from reputable agencies and compare them carefully rather than just accepting the cheapest one. Without a careful comparison, the cheapest quote might work out more expensive in the long run! Getting a quote can be a daunting prospect but our guide to navigating the procedure should help.

The required elements of a quote

Quotes should always be free and as detailed as possible. Always get one in writing with prices and deadlines clearly defined. The more information you give when requesting a quote, the more accurate it will be. While most agencies have online quoting systems, don’t hesitate to speak to their customer service teams if you have any concerns or queries. Generally, an agency needs to know the following factors before they can give you a detailed and accurate translation quote.

Project scope and specifications

Every translation project is different so a request must be carefully analyzed for its scope and any particular specifications. The agency needs to know:

  • The source and target languages
  • The file format (Excel, HTML, Word, etc.)
  • The word count
  • The level of industry knowledge and expertise needed
  • Whether the translation needs to be certified
  • The required deadline
  • Any additional services you may require

Source and target languages

The source and target languages are one of the biggest elements in creating a quote. English to Spanish or French, for example, is more straightforward and affordable than translating from English to Korean or Telugu (a language of southern India). Checking and certifying the former is also simpler. Although German can be a tricky language with many compound words, it is cheaper to translate than the simpler Slovenian as there are more translation services available for the former than for the latter. If your content needs to be translated into more than one language, this will also add to the cost.

Delivery timeframe and deadlines

Translation services are always busy and new jobs are usually prioritized in the order they’re received. If you need a speedy turnaround time or have a last-minute order with a tight deadline, most agencies will accommodate this but an extra fee would probably be charged. A tight deadline on a large project might involve the work being split between two or more translators which would also add to the final cost.

How a translation quote is calculated

Language pair and complexity assessment

As we’ve already seen, the languages to be translated to and from impact the final price. If both languages are rare, fewer skilled and experienced translators will be available. The cost of living can also play a part! For example, there are fewer Japanese translators available than Spanish translators and the cost of living is considerably higher in Japan than in Europe. 

The complexity of the subject matter is also a factor in translation costs. General projects such as blog pages, emails, letters, birth and marriage certificates, and so on will cost less to translate and localize than documents that relate to areas such as legal, financial, pharmaceutical, medical, engineering, and technical. Skilled, and more expensive, translators with industry-specific knowledge and access to terminology databases will be needed. 

Marketing materials are among the hardest and most expensive to translate. Word-for-word literal translations often don’t work here as the original meaning with its tone, style, and nuance has to be adapted for not only a different language but a different culture.

 Volume and word count evaluation

The biggest aspect that determines the final price of a quote is the word count or volume of text to be translated. Usually, the longer the text, the lower the price per word is. On top of word count, some agencies may add a supplement for desktop publishing or more complex formatting. Most agencies will also have a minimum fee which is usually between $20 and $100 (or its currency equivalent). This ensures they’re not out of pocket if only a few words need translating such as on a birth certificate. Occasionally, a price-per-page format is used for such things as lengthy medical records and court documents, or unusual items such as old books. Tables, graphs, and diagrams in documents also affect the final cost. 

Additional post-translation services 

A standard quote usually covers the cost of a high-quality translation by a professional translator. Additional services such as proofreading, editing, and preparing for publication are quoted as additional services. It’s often a good idea to get a basic translation quote and a post-translation quote and see which works best with your needs and budget.

How is the word count calculated?

Once a document is submitted for a quote, the number of words or characters is usually calculated automatically. It’s a good idea to do your own word count before submitting a document and use the price guidelines on an agency’s website so that you have a rough idea of the predicted cost. Translation technologies can then sometimes be used to reduce the number of words that need translating. These can identify and eliminate word repetitions and remove them from the overall count. This lowers the projected cost. If a document doesn’t exceed one standard A4 page, there may be a minimum price.

Why choose BLEND Express?

BLEND Express is a high-quality translation service that offers professional translation into over 120 languages. Choose from General Business Content such as product descriptions, social media feeds, and emails, or the more complex and expensive Industry Specific service that requires the use of more expert translators. With over 25,000 language experts around the globe, BLEND always has the perfect translator for your task. You can track the process of your order online and it will be fully checked before it is submitted back to you. To get started, all you have to do is choose your language pairs and upload your files for a quote. 

How does BLEND calculate a translation quote?

A translation quote from Blend Express is quick and straightforward to obtain. We’ll take into account the length and complexity of your content as well as your required deadline. If the content is specialized or complex, more expensive translators with specific skills and experience will be needed. This will lead to a higher cost than when non-specialist translators work on simpler content. 

To sum up, always get at least two quotes for translation services and then compare them carefully. Agencies have different pricing structures and ways of quoting so you can’t always compare like for like. The cheapest quote might not necessarily be the best one for you. Check whether the quote covers all the services you want from initial translation through to publication preparation. If you think we match your needs, click here to get started with BLEND Express today.

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author post

Corinne Sharabi

Corinne is the Social Media and Content Lead at BLEND. She is dedicated to keeping global business professionals up to date on all things localization, translation, language and culture.


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