Quotes & Pricing

Document to be translated: To get a firm quote you will need to provide the actual document that you want translated. If the document is in electronic format, submit the document in its native, editable format (Word, Excel, InDesign, etc.). If you cannot submit the original document, a contingent quote can be prepared from a PDF.

If you cannot submit the actual document, we can base an estimate of translation costs on some basic information:

  • An approximate word count.
  • The number and size of pages in the document.
  • A description of the subject matter and technical level of the document.

Languages for Translation: You will need to know the language or languages you want as well as the location of the audience. For example, is the French for France or Canada? Is the Spanish for somewhere in the U.S., Spain, Mexico, Latin America?

Timeframe: When will the document be ready for translation and how quickly does the translation need to be completed? Is there a firm deadline involved?

The best course is to provide us with the document or other material to be translated and let us do a word count using our tools. If this is not possible, there are other ways to get an approximate count. Some programs, like MSWord, will provide a word count for you. There are also free tools available online such as Textomate that will count the words in many common types of documents. (You should be aware that the number you get will probably not match our final word count exactly since we use computer aided translation (CAT) tools for our counts and they may not use the same method of counting.)

If the material to be translated is still not ready, you can use a similar document or block of text to extrapolate an estimate of the amount of words that the document will have.

Each project has unique factors that we take into account in determining the price we will charge:

  • The number of words.
  • The technical or specialized nature of the material.
  • The target language.
  • For larger projects, the amount of repetition involved and the number of matches found in existing translation memories. (Repetitions and matches are charged at a substantial discount.)
  • Other services required (for example, special formatting, DTP, certification, or pre-live review).
  • The timeframe involved. Rush charges will apply for deadlines that are tighter than our normal turnaround times.
  • For small jobs, minimum charges apply.

Repetition means content that appears more than once in the document or set of documents being translated. A match is content that is repeated from similar documents that have already been translated and stored in translation memories. Repetition (or match) does not mean merely the repetition of particular words, but instead it means the exact repetition of whole headings, sentences or other discrete segments of text. Therefore, the mere fact that certain words or phrases occur within sentences many times does not constitute repetition in terms of translation. The same words may have different meanings in different contexts and may need to be translated differently.

In addition to the cost of translation based on the word count and subject matter, website and software localization requires localization engineering and pre-live testing. Each of these tasks is billed at an hourly rate. Localization engineering is the task of planning and executing the workflow for exporting and re-integrating content, data, and meta-data for a website or software application. Our estimate will depend on the size of your project and your content management system (CMS) implementation choices. Pre-live testing is the review of the multilingual site(s) or localized app by native in-country users to ensure linguistic accuracy and usability. Optional services include multilingual keyword research and pre-translation cultural assessment. We will review implementation and workflow options with you when preparing our quote.

Just as with any goods and services, it’s a matter of supply and demand.  Some languages just have a lot more qualified translators than others, or there is a higher or lower demand for it. For example, Nordic languages, because of the few people who speak them, tend to be pricier. Canadian French is also rather pricey due to the high demand for translation in Canada. Sometimes it has to do with economics, like the very high cost of living in Japan.  Our rates reflect market rates for each language.

Additionally, for a multilingual project, there may be existing translation memories for some languages and not for others. A translation memory is created with the first translation of a particular document into a particular language (see our fact sheet on translation memories). If you make a few updates to a document, we will use the translation memory to reduce the price for the languages into which it has already been translated, but new target languages won’t benefit from this discount. More information »

In addition to discounts for repetitions and translation memory (TM) matches (See our fact sheet “Translation Memories”), discounts are also available for large-volume projects of at least 20,000 words. Other discounts and rebates can be arranged for on-going clients who consistently require large amounts of translation over a prolonged period.

No matter how small the job, there is certain work that is always involved: preparing the quote, contacting and contracting with linguists, performing quality checks, and invoicing the final amount. It is simply not worth doing small jobs for less than our minimum charge.

We do not have set cancellation fees for translation projects, however, if work has already started on a project before the job is cancelled, the client will be billed for any work already completed.

Invoices can be paid by check, credit card, or ACH or bank wire transfer.

Details of Services

Basic Quality translation involves a two-step process with translation by a professional translator with appropriate expertise, followed by an in-house quality check to ensure consistency and completeness. This level is perfectly acceptable for some specific situations. Publication Quality translation is a three-step process with translation by a professional translator, proofreading by a second, independent linguist and the in-house quality check. This is recommended for any materials that are for publication, marketing, or any other purpose where error-free text is essential.

Machine translation is not suitable for many projects but can be requested in cases where there is a large volume of materials or the material changes frequently and where the goal is getting the gist of the material or where the quality of the final output need not be polished. Machine translation can be combined with post-editing by professional translators to ensure that the result is accurate and comprehensible if not completely fluent and grammatical. More information »

Yes, we can review an existing translation to give you an opinion on the quality of the earlier translation. We will also proofread and edit an existing translation, however, but our prices will vary depending upon the quality of the original translation. If the translation quality is bad, it may be more cost effective and efficient to simply have the material re-translated. For more information on translation review, click here.

Yes, when requested we will supply a certificate of accuracy with the completed translation. Certification is often necessary for medical translation or translation for other industries with strong regulatory requirements, and in some other contexts.

Our work encompasses many subject areas, notably various technical subjects for manufacturing and information technology, medical and pharmaceutical texts, and marketing and educational materials. See our portfolio of translation projects. We can handle any type of subject matter because our extensive network of linguists has a wide range of specialties.

We encourage you to use in-country reviewers who work for your organization. Our translators are chosen for their specialization, but no one knows the usage in your own organization like someone involved in it. We do, however, recommend that you take a look at our guidelines for in-country review to familiarize yourself with the process and best practices.

We take confidentiality very seriously. All of our employees and contractors are bound by a non-disclosure agreement and any particular confidentiality concerns are addressed on a project-by-project basis. All content is stored on our own secure server and, upon request, we will ensure that your content is erased when the project is completed.

Software Internationalization, sometimes called globalization, is the process of designing a software application so that it can be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes. Internationalization ensures that foreign character sets are supported and that local differences in terms of date, time and currency formats will be accommodated. The process also ensures functionality for left-to-right or vertical text. The practices involved can have value even if the software is never actually localized, but doing it at the outset can prevent localization problems later.

Software Localization is the process of adapting internationalized software for a specific region or language by translating the text and adding locale-specific components. Localization may be necessary even where actual translation is not needed. For example, time, date, and currency formats and cultural preferences may vary even among countries that use the same language.

A back translation is the translation of a target document back to the original source language. Back translations are done by subject matter experts without access to the original source document. The back translation will help to identify any potential ambiguities or sensitive details that may have been overlooked or misunderstood in the translation. A back translation is sometimes legally necessary. For example, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and ethics committees may require a back translation and certificate of accuracy for translations of highly sensitive or high risk information such as pharmaceutical inserts or clinical trials materials. For more information, click here.

Before translation, source texts for marketing, outreach, e-learning, and other content with an emotional or persuasive message should be assessed from a cultural perspective.  In-country consultants with relevant cross-cultural experience will review accessibility, style and relevancy of the message, and use of idioms, colors, images, and other culturally specific elements. Cultural consultants will flag culturally inappropriate content and provide recommendations for adapting the message for maximum relevance. Click here for more information.

Our Process

We follow a five-step process for each project from assessment of the client’s needs through delivery and evaluation. The assigned project manager is responsible for ensuring that we clearly understand your specifications, for contracting with appropriate linguists, for quality control, and for keeping you advised on the progress of the project. More information »

It is impossible to give rules to figure out how long the normal turnaround time on any specific job will be. However, there are some rules of thumb. Generally a translator can translate about 2,000-2,500 words of text in a normal work day. If proofreading is involved, the proofreader will be able to handle about double that amount in a normal day. You should also factor in time for project management (choosing, contacting and contracting with linguists, final quality checks, etc.) and for additional services such as desktop publishing. If you anticipate the need for translation, please feel free to contact us to get an estimate of the time involved. Expect rush fees if you don’t leave sufficient time for normal processing of the job. More information >>

To become a member of MTM LinguaSoft’s network of translators, a linguist must have at least five years of relevant experience and good references from other clients. Beyond this, we look for translators who are professionals with good communication and research skills, excellent time management skills, attention to detail, and competency with computer aided translation tools. For a specific job, we go further and match the translator’s skills and knowledge with the subject matter of the materials. For specialized fields, like medicine, engineering, and IT, translators must be trained in the terminology through graduate training, programs in translation that offer certifications in particular subject areas, or through experience working in the field itself. We also look for translators native to the region where the translation will be used (e.g., Chinese for Taiwan, French for Canada, or Spanish for Mexico). More information »

In the U.S. there is no government certification or licensing for translators. The major certifying body is the American Translators Association. However, the ATA does not offer certification in every language pair and many well-qualified translators have not obtained an ATA certification, especially our linguists living overseas. We will use ATA certified translators upon request if an ATA certification exists in the relevant language pair. We can also supply a notarized certificate of accuracy upon request. Governmental bodies in some countries do require a special certification for official submissions;  we will use a translator who is certified by that country if needed.

To ensure accuracy we rely on the rigorous screening procedures and assignment procedures outlined above. Our translators’ work is also regularly checked by proofreaders and during our own in-house quality checks. We have developed standardized, objective means for assessing linguistic quality through our QA Model for Linguistic Quality Assurance, and we will not continue to use linguists who cannot maintain our standards.

A translation memory (or TM) is a useful tool for performing cost-effective translation with consistency and accuracy. A TM is a digital archive of “source” text segments (sentences and phrases) which are paired with their equivalent “target” translations. We build and maintain a TM for each client.  When a client needs to update a translated document, the new version can be compared with the client’s TM. Only those new segments that have no matches in the TM are charged at full price. Segments which have already been translated, or which require minor changes, will be charged at a reduced word rate. Click here for more information.

A term base is a list of translated terms used in conjunction with the TM to ensure accuracy and consistency and reduce the workload for linguists. We build term bases based on glossaries or lists of keywords to be translated and validated prior to launching the project. These terms are then translated consistently each time they appear.  If a list of common and/or specialized terms is not available, we can create one by analyzing a client’s source text to identify common and/or specialized terms.

When translating print or digital media such as brochures, catalogs, ads, or posters, you’ll typically need desktop publishing (DTP) services as well, because the new language will change the look and layout of your text. After the text is translated, a second round of formatting and review is done by a native speaker of the language who also has the design skills to correct the layout. More information >>

Whether or not a document has already been edited and proofread by an independent linguist, the project manager will still conduct a thorough final review to check for any problems that may have been overlooked. These checks include:

  • Conducting a side-by-side comparison of the source and target documents to check for possible omissions and to ensure that the formatting matches.
  • Running spellcheck.
  • Using the Quality Assurance function in the CAT (computer aided technology) tool to check that there is consistent use of terminology, capitalization, punctuation, etc.
  • Visually reviewing the target document for style consistency
  • Doing a further visual check to ensure that all characters, diacritics, and font styles are showing correctly and that nothing looks as if it has become corrupted. (This is especially important with non-Latin character sets.

More information >>

Latest Blog Post

What is Localization Engineering?

The cost of a document translation project depends on three things:  the language pair (some are more expensive than others), the size of the document (usually based on the word count), and the level of specialization required by the translator (subject matter experts are more expensive).  A website or software translation project, on the other …Read More