According to statistics, a whopping 74% of internet users are not native English speakers. Therefore, 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, so you should be able to find an approach that suits both your needs, your translation project, and your budget.
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. Let’s look at four different avenues you can go down to achieve a multilingual website in your target languages and the website translation prices involved.
1. Perform a Manual Translation
It is 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 way of doing things 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 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.
2. Hire a Professional Website Translator
The rate you can expect to pay for a professional website translator varies greatly – anywhere from $20 to $150 per hour or a word price of 10-40 cents per word. These charges depend upon different factors, including:
- Language Pair: English to French, Spanish, Italian, or German will cost less than, say, English to Chinese or Japanese. More professional translators are available for the more popular languages such as European languages than for the more complex 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, a medical site would have a different website translation cost than a hotel site due to the complexity of the translated content.
- Time: The faster you want or need the translated content, the more expensive it will be.
- Word Count: Obviously, 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 is a massive demand for translators in some cities like Washington and New York, and you will pay more.
Professional translation services are available from various freelancer marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr, or specialized translation companies 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, account for updated or new content, etc.
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 the necessity of human intervention. There are plenty of online translation tools, some free and some premium. Compared to using human translators, machine translation is far cheaper.
These tools may translate your website at practically the speed of light, but that’s where your satisfaction ends. The price point seems reasonable, but you have no control over the quality of your translations, and machine translation does not come with any 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. Plus, it is nearly impossible to find translation software that can cope with localization considerations such as specific dialects and localized ways of thinking that apply to your target audience.
4. Use a Website Translation Service
A translation management service (TMS) such as Localize provides you with the best translations in terms of speed, automation, accuracy, website localization, and multilingual SEO. Localize provides you with the first layer of automatic machine translation, giving you a fully translated website in just 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 quality translation and a localized website for a successful foray into a new market, whether your chosen language is Portuguese or Russian.
Interested in trying Localize for free? Just click on this link.