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How much would a professional translation service cost me?

The cost of a professional translation service is mainly based on the following factors:
  • Number of words to be translated: Some formats like MS Word are easy to count using the integrated word count (Normally selecting the menu Tools->Word count). There is a rate per word that varies from $0.05 to $0.25 USD/word depending on the vendor's price list and the remaining factors on this list.
  • Complexity of the terminology/knowledge area: Usually, freelance translators and language service providers charge a different rate per word depending on the type of material. It may range from a simple greetings letter, to a scientific equipment assembly manual. Some documents require a great deal of specialization - consider a medical document describing a study for an specific desease, and others fall in a general category, such as a household device user's manual. A very tricky area is Marketing: a translator may invest the same time translating a 10-word slogan than 300 words in an employee manual.
  • Format: In the digital world there are hundreds of document formats, and the rate will vary for each format as some are easy to translate, others are clumsy and complex. The most common format is Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) but there are many more, InDesign (.indd), Photoshop (.psd), Corel Draw (.cdr), AutoCAD (.dxf or .dwg), and the list goes on to some obscure or uncommon formats such as FrameMaker. And of course there is a whole different world: the Web. Here you have HTML, ASP, PHP, Javascript, Flash, databases, etc. If you want to translate your website, getting a quote may become difficult as it involves a good communication with your webmaster or IT staff.
  • Urgency: Translation, as any other specialized job performed by a professional, takes its time. Depending on the productivity attained by a translator, the maximum normal workload is around 3000 words per day. If you need your document to be translated faster than that, expect a higher cost per word as well, or a surcharge.
  • Quality: Even when everybody claims to deliver to the highest quality standards, translation is not a fiexed technique, it's half technical - half a work of art. Better quality requires more time, and thus more cost. In our opinion, there are at least 3 levels of human-made translation quality: 
    • 1) Draft, to be used for informal letters, non-critical communication.
    • 2) Average, acceptable for most uses, manuals, internal documents in a company, HR communication, etc.
    • 3) Near-perfect, when the text is going to the press for thousands or millions of copies, to a website for all the world to see, or is related with mission-critical or vital processes such as a brake assembly in an automotive plant.
  • Repetitive nature of the text: Any honest translation service provider should provide you with a discount table for repeated phrases. There are a number of technological tools used to translate professionally that reduce translating time tremendously when a repeated phrase is found. This time saving should be passed to the final client. If your translation provider does not offer this kind of discounts, even when you ask for them, beware that this is a red flag.
Bottom line: there is no easy answer, it's a combination of factors. Things get worse when it comes to the rate per word. Nobody wants to talk about that. Well, not us, our price list (Click here to see our low rates) is transparent and open to the public.
We think that the famous saying "you get what you pay for" is not always true. In our case, we offer one of the lowest rate-per-word on the industry. This is due to the high level of productivity attained through the years (fast typing, command of both languages, excellence in the use of translation technological tools). This low rate is not the result of a compromise between cost and quality, but the result of passing our productivity-based savings directly to our customers.
Alternatively, you may submit a quote request by e-mail and even compare with some of our main competitors.

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Chichen Itza 103, Pirámides, Aguascalientes, Ags. CP.20277 Mexico
Phone: 011-52 (449) 448 6969 Fax: 011-52 (449) 913 7194 (then dial *51)