How much does it cost to translate a website?

You may have noticed that you’re getting traffic from other regions, and perhaps you suspect there may be some ROI in translating your website, after all. Before you whip out the spreadsheets and calculators, you may be scratching your head, wondering: how much does it really cost to translate a website?

Today, we’ll walk you through how translations are priced and how much you can expect to spend on the translation of your website.

Costs involved in translating websites

There are two costs involved in getting your website translated:

  • Technology costs
  • Translation costs

The technology cost can be quite high if you didn’t originally design your website to support a multilingual experience. Trying to rebuild it to support multiple languages can be expensive. You can choose to create different subcategories with the multiple languages or to published entirely separate website per language. The latter is a logistical nightmare.

In any case, today we won’t be talking about technology. We’ll talk about the cost of the translation services needed to translate the content of your website.

The cost of translating the content of your website

The cost of translating your website will differ greatly depending on what you’re looking for.

Just like you could write your website yourself, have your student niece write it, or invest heavily in a conversion copywriter because website sales are important to you, the cost of a translator sits on an equally wide spectrum.

At the bottom of the spectrum, you have machine translation. It’s free, but it usually doesn’t make much sense and it just looks…weird. There are many reasons that’s a bad idea:

  • If the goal of translating your website is to increase sales…most people are put off by nonsense language and copy, which is what machines give you. It doesn’t exactly give people the trust to input their credit card information.
  • If the goal of translating your website is to increase search traffic…Google Translate and other machine translations don’t do keyword research for you. And if you use the Google Translate app on your website, Google doesn’t consider the translated text at all and it won’t come up on search results.
  • If the goal of translating your website is to increase brand awareness in other markets…machine translation might work, but for the wrong reasons (like being used in memes making fun of bad translations)

So what’s the cost of a human translator?

Most translators charge on a per-word basis, but some will charge per website as a whole or per hour.

The best translators will offer the whole package: translation + editing + proofreading. Remember: translators working at rates under €0.15/word often don’t have the budget to get it proofread. 

There may be some typos, and not because they’re bad translators, but just because at a lower rate like that, the client will have to take care of the proofreading in-house. Rates above €0.15 start to give room to the translator to get reviewers and proofreaders to make sure your translated copy is publication-ready and error-free.

But costs depend on more than just the number of words.

Factors that influence the cost of translating your website

Professional translation has a wide cost range that makes it hard to pinpoint how much your website translation is really going to cost you. That range makes it hard to anticipate what the final cost will be.

Here are some factors that play into pricing:

  • SEO: Do you want your new website to rank in search engines for the target language too? Your translation will need to start with multilingual keyword research first.
  • Difficulty of the content: Do you sell to a very specific niche that uses a highly technical or nuanced language? This costs more.
  • Language pair: There are some language pairs that are abundant, like English to Spanish. Others, like Swahili to Polish, are harder to find, and might need an intermediary language just because it is so rare. This of course impacts the final cost..
  • Format: Can you just give the translator a Word doc with all your text to be translated on there? That will be the most cost-effective. If you hand over a convoluted Excel file or have them translate from your WordPress backend, that incurs an extra cost.
  • Text in pictures: How will you go about translating this text? If you can extract it for them on a Word document, that’ll be less expensive than them creating a table for the text, or worse—recreating the graphic entirely.
  • Content review: As we mentioned, the best translators will work with an external reviewer to check both the accuracy of the translation and the flow, spelling and grammar. However, this is an extra investment.

At Plume Rouge, our rates start at around  €0.18/word. We work with the major European languages and put a focus on branding, SEO, and your digital presence in other languages. 

We can advise you on what content to translate first, and best practices to keep translation costs manageable and quality high. We don’t go for volume—we go for impact.
Interested in translating your website? Get in touch with us today.

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