As with everything else, translation quality increases with price: translators who charge higher rates can dedicate more time to researching terminology, fine-tuning style, and learning about the client’s specific needs. Qualified translators with experience and training are able to command higher prices, while amateurs and scammers earn a living by churning out large volumes of a mediocre product. When all of the options look the same, it can be tempting to go with lowest bidder. This is a mistake. To help you figure out how much you should pay for translation services, I’ve put together this guide on average prices within the translation market.
Standard pricing within the translation market
Price per 1,000 words (USD)
Google Translate: FREE
Pros: Free and instant.
Cons: Many mistakes, poor style, data sharing with third-party vendors, sometimes incomprehensible results. Not suitable for publication.
Uses: Sending and reading non-technical emails in other languages, skimming foreign websites, etc. The results are often wrong or unpretty, but you can usually get the gist.
junk translation: $90-$110
Cons: Lots of mistakes, poor style, sloppiness with confidential information, slow, non-native translators, no revision.
Uses: None. Don’t waste your money. If these translators could charge more, they would.
Pros: Affordable, usually delivered on time.
Cons: There will be a few mistakes, and the reader can will usually be able to tell it's a translation. No revision.
Uses: Blogs, internal communications.
Pros: No mistakes, on-time delivery, revision by a second professional. The translation will read as if it were written in the target language.
Uses: Books, legal texts, marketing documents, widely distributed publications.
My standard prices fall within this bracket.