How is the price of a translation service calculated?

You need to consider some aspects like standard page and character to understand how much your translation service will cost.

price of a translation service calculated

In some point in life, you may need a translation for many different reasons. Maybe you need access to a scientific paper for college, but it is written in a language you don’t understand. Or maybe you are looking for a job abroad and need some documents to be translated by a sworn translator. Also, you may enter into an agreement with a foreign company and need it to be translated so that is has legal effect in Brazil.

You may need a translation in different situations, and if you are not able to translate the document yourself, especially in the case of a sworn translation, you will need a professional translator specialized in the languages involved in the process. This service will cost you, of course, as it is a professional service.

Usually, a translation job is not estimated by page because the amount of text on each page can change drastically depending on the font size used, number of illustrations, page margins, spacing, etc. A translation job is estimated by characters, words or standard pages.

Additionally, translating a document from Portuguese to a foreign language is usually more expensive than translating a document in foreign language to Portuguese. If you want to know how much your translation will cost, take a look at our tips and make an estimate of your document translation.

Price by character

Some translators choose to charge based on the number of characters in a document, with or without space. This method is most recommended for digital documents when the number of characters can be easily verified in Microsoft Word, for example (“Review” tab, “Word Count” option) or in online word count programs.

Price by standard page

As the price charged by character would correspond to fractions of cents, this method is not used alone and another option would be charging per standard page.
The expression “standard page” comes from printed newspapers and it means one column of a publication. Nowadays, with online reading and digital newspapers, this term is no longer used in this sense and now corresponds to a sheet of paper typed by a translator with a certain number of lines or characters.

In general, a standard page for a literary translation has 30 lines with 70 characters each; this is equivalent to 2,100 characters (including spaces). A standard page for a sworn translation usually has 25 lines with 50 characters each; this is equivalent to approximately 1,250 characters (also including spaces).

Consequently, a certain price will be charged for every 2,100 or 1,250 characters, depending on the type of translation. This price should be consulted with the translator or translation agency. The number of characters in a standard page may change from translator to translator.

To calculate it, find out the number of characters in your document (in Microsoft Word, go to the “Review” tab and click on “Word Count”) and divide it by the number of characters per standard page to know the number of standard pages in your document. After that, multiply the number of standard pages by the price charged for each standard page.

Using a standard page to calculate translation price is more accurate than using a page because a standard page does not include elements that can give a false impression of the actual amount of text to be translated, such as images, large font sizes or blank spaces. These elements could make the translation more expensive if it were charged by page.

Price by words

Estimating the price of a translation by the number of words is also possible. This method is similar to the others. Find out the number of words in your document (in Microsoft Word, go to the “Review” tab and click on “Word Count”) and multiply this number by the price charged for each word.
Some translators can charge for every 100 or 200 words, for example, but the idea is the same.

Estimating sworn translation prices

Translation agencies charge a fixed rate for sworn translations and this rate is set by the Commercial Registry of each State. Therefore, every translator enrolled in the same Commercial Registry must charge the same rate, with no difference between one translator or the other. If a customer wants to make a price comparison, he/she must find out the price charged by the Commercial Registry of each State.

Commercial Registries can set rates for certain documents, such as passports, civil certificates, identity cards, etc., which will be different from the rates charged for special texts involving technical, scientific, financial and legal terminology, etc.

Important: the final price of a sworn translation is calculated based on the finished translation. Therefore, translators can only offer a price estimate based on the original document to be translated.

Other aspects to be considered

The price estimated for a translation, regardless of the method of calculation, can be increased depending on certain conditions. Translation urgency, for example, can create a 20% to 50% price increase compared to the regular deadline.

Additionally, price can also change based on the target and source languages of the translation. Prices are higher for languages considered “rare”.

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