Evaluating the Cost of Website Translation

Image: A graphic with a credit card and a stopwatch, depicting Website Translation Costs

According to statistics, a whopping 74% of internet users are not native English speakers.

A multilingual website is critical if you’re looking to expand into new markets where potential customers speak different languages. The good news is you have several options to make your site available in multiple languages. These methods vary in complexity, speed, and price.

Let’s find a translation approach that suits your needs, your localization project, and your budget.


What’s the Cost of Website Translation?

Before investing in a website translation service, you need to understand the bottom line of website translation costs and what factors determine if you will get your money’s worth. Here, we’ll examine four different ways to achieve a multilingual website, and approximately how much each method costs.

Option 1: Perform a Manual Translation

It’s possible to take your existing website content and translate it into another language yourself. However, this method assumes that you (or someone on your team) are a linguist that speaks the target language fluently. Unless your website is relatively small, this method will be time-consuming. On the flip side, you don’t have to shell out dollars to anyone. The only investment required is time.

If you work for a large global company and you need a regular translator for a specific language, you will probably need to hire a full-time employee with all the costs associated with the position. Conversely, if you don’t need someone full-time, you can employ part-time translators at an hourly or word rate, depending on the number of words.

Option 2: Hire a Professional Website Translator or LSP

The price you can expect to pay for a professional website translator varies greatly – anywhere from $20 to $150 per hour or 10 to 40 cents per word. Professional translation services are available from various freelancer marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr, or specialized language service providers (LSPs) and translation agencies. Locating translators fluent in your targeted language should not be a problem. The benefit of this approach is that if you choose the right person, you can have an extremely accurate and localized translation. However, hiring a professional translator is typically the most expensive option, and you’ll still need a way to manage their workflow, handle new and updated content, and publish their translations.

Translation charges depend on a few factors:

    • Language Pair:
      Translating English to French, Spanish, Italian, or German will cost less than, say, English to Chinese or Japanese. Translating English into another European language is generally less complex than translating English into a different language family. It’s also easier to find translators for the European languages.
    • Expertise in a Specific Subject:
      Some website content will demand a higher translation price because it requires a translator with specific knowledge. For example, translation costs for a medical website might be higher than a hotel site due to the complexity of the subject matter.
    • Time:
      The faster you want or need the translated content, the more expensive it will be.
    • Word Count:
      The more translated content you need, the greater the translation price.
    • Geography:
      How much you’ll pay for a professional translator also depends on the translator’s location. For instance, there’s a massive demand for translators in some cities like Washington and New York, so their prices are higher.

Option 3: Use Machine Translation

In the age of artificial intelligence (AI), machine translation can provide you with fast translations with just a click of your mouse. Machine translation encompasses any tool (such as Google Translate) that can automatically translate content without human intervention. There are plenty of online translation tools, some free and some premium. Compared to using human translators, machine translation is far cheaper.

Although these tools can translate your website at practically the speed of light, they have some limitations. AI translation doesn’t give you control over the quality of your translations. Machine translation also lacks SEO capabilities. As a result, your translated website may not appear in search engines.

More importantly, no machine translation tool is perfect. You are bound to get translation errors. If no human reviews the translations, those errors can easily go unnoticed. Translation slip-ups can harm your visitors’ experience and reduce your credibility. Therefore, you will need to pay additional costs for proofreading or post-editing. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to find translation software that can cope with localization considerations like specific dialects and regional preferences that apply to your target audience.

Option 4. Use a Website Translation Management Service (TMS)

If you have to manage a big translation project, investing in a good TMS is indispensable. A translation management service (TMS) handles every phase of the translation process for you. Translation management tools use a combination of all 3 translation methods—manual, professional, and machine—to automatically translate your content and seamlessly manage workflows and updates. TMSs include tools to make the translation process as easy as possible, including translation memory, style guides, glossaries, an in-context editor, and more.

So, what’s the cost? Most translation management systems have affordable monthly pricing for budgets of all sizes. Localize, for example, starts at $50.00 per month. TMS technology is a bigger investment than tools like Google Translate, but they add efficiency and value to your localization projects.


Why Choose Localize?

A trusted TMS like Localize provides you with the best translations in terms of speed, automation, accuracy, website localization, and multilingual SEO. First, Localize gives you a layer of automatic machine translation, generating a fully translated website in minutes. Your project manager can then choose to make manual edits, add your own translators to the platform, or hire professional translators. The result will be a high-quality translation and a localized website for a successful foray into a new market.

Interested in trying LocalizeContact us today for a free demo!

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