Why Do Translation Rates Vary?


Why do translation rates differ? The answer may surprise you! Here are three factors to consider. Language combination, Per-word pricing, and MTPE are all factors to consider when determining your translation rates. Keep these in mind to avoid making costly mistakes and to get the best possible translation service. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make an informed decision. In the meantime, we’ll go over the main factors that affect translation rates.

Factors that influence translation rates

Average translation rates are affected by a variety of factors, such as language combination and the length of the project. Most professions are run on an hourly basis, so the length of the project plays a major role in determining the average rate. For example, if your project is for a book or a technical document, you can expect to pay a higher rate than if your project is for website content.

Per-word pricing

Translation rates for various languages vary depending on word count and complexity. Some offer lower prices than others, but in general the range of price offers is between $0.07 and $0.16 per word. Larger volumes are eligible for large discounts. Listed below are some of the most common languages and their respective rates. For additional information, please visit GSA’s eLibrary. Here are some tips on per-word pricing.

Language combination

When it comes to translation rates, the average rate per word is affected by the language combination used in the content. These combinations are called language pairs and the average rate per word depends on the demand and supply of translation services for that combination. Language pairs include Chinese, Danish, Russian, Arabic, and many more. The price per word varies from low to high depending on the genre of the content. High rates are associated with technical content while low rates are associated with standard content.


The question of whether MTPE is worth the investment has been an open topic for several years, with numerous solutions thrown up by the MT industry. Among these are various pricing models based on per-word rates. One approach is the Acolad model, which seeks to standardize MTPE pricing. However, it may not be as desirable as some people may believe. Almost half of viewers believe that MTPE is worth the investment, while 25% disagree. Regardless of the opinion, there are many advantages to standardizing MTPE pricing.

Flat fee for CJK texts

A flat fee for translating CJK texts makes sense for many reasons. For one thing, per word, per page, or even per character pricing models do not make sense for such texts. Besides, they create confusion about how to calculate the price. To avoid confusion, language service providers should clearly explain how they calculate the price of CJK translations. For example, if the total amount of words is approximately four times as high as the total number of characters, the price of the entire text will be higher than it would be for English.

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