How much do certified translation services cost?

05 Sep 2023 | Research & Business Knowledge

Article by ICG member Harrison Pardoe, TauRho Transcribes


What is Certified Translation?

Certified translation is a service provided by professional translation agencies to ensure accurate and legally valid translations of documents. These translations are typically required for official purposes, such as immigration, legal proceedings, academic applications, or business transactions. Certified translations are carried out by expert translators who have been accredited or certified by official bodies or organizations. Verifying their proficiency and expertise in the translation field. These translators adhere to strict industry standards and guidelines, ensuring the highest level of accuracy and quality. Certified translations also include a signed affidavit or a certification letter attesting to the authenticity and accuracy of the translation.

Professional certification, credentials and any accreditation by official bodies such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI).

This certification guarantees that the translated document is a true representation of the original, making it legally recognised and accepted by official institutions and authorities. The cost of certified translation services can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the document, the language pair, the volume of the content and the urgency of the request.

Why Is Certified Translation Important?

Certified translation is a crucial service that ensures accuracy and cultural appropriateness in translated documents. It is important for various reasons.

Firstly, certified translation guarantees accuracy. Professional translators, with their expertise, are adept at delivering precise translations. They have the knowledge and skills to accurately convey the message, tone, and nuances of the source material in the target language. This accuracy is especially vital for legal and complex documents, where even a minor error can have significant consequences.

Secondly, cultural appropriateness is crucial in translation. Certified translators understand the cultural context and can adapt the content to cater to the target audience. They possess cross-cultural training and awareness, which helps them avoid any language that may offend or be misunderstood.

Furthermore, professional certification, credentials, and accreditation from official bodies provide credibility and assurance. These certifications reflect the translator’s proficiency and expertise in the field. Clients can have peace of mind knowing that their documents are in the hands of qualified professionals.

Average Costs of Certified Translation Services

Certified translation services provide an essential solution for ensuring the accuracy and authenticity of translated documents. However, the costs associated with these services can vary depending on various factors.

Translation costs can be influenced by supply and demand. Spanish has almost half a billion native speakers, so translators will be easier to find than those of Norwegian. Considering Norwegian has just four and a half million speakers.

Simple Documents (Birth Certificates, School Transcripts)

Certified translation services are essential when you need accurate and reliable translations of important documents. For simple documents like birth certificates and school transcripts, the average costs of certified translation services can vary depending on different factors.

Translation costs are typically calculated on a price-per-word basis. For simple documents, the rates can range from £0.05 to £0.10 per word. These costs may include the translation itself, proofreading, certification, and delivery.

The final cost is determined by the number of words in the original document. Therefore, longer documents tend to be more expensive than shorter ones. Additionally, the complexity of the subject matter or any specific requirements can also affect the cost.

It’s important to note that as technology improves, the cost of certified translation services is expected to lower over time. Machine translation and artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming more prevalent in the translation industry, offering cheaper alternatives. Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is an end-to-end learning approach for automated translation that aims to improve translation process.  However, for certified translations, where accuracy is crucial, human translation is still the preferred option.

When it comes to simple documents like birth certificates and school transcripts, certified translation services provide the assurance that the translation is accurate and meets legal requirements. By investing in professional translation services, you can ensure that your important documents are accurately translated and accepted by relevant authorities.

Legal Documents (Contracts, Patents)

When it comes to translating legal documents such as contracts and patents, several factors can influence the cost. These factors include the complexity and length of the document, the professional level needed for the project, and any additional services required.

Legal documents are often intricate and require specialist knowledge in both the legal and linguistic fields. Translators who specialise in legal translations generally charge higher rates compared to general translators. The more complex the legal document is, the higher the cost will be.

Another factor that impacts the cost is the length of the document. Longer documents naturally require more time and effort to translate, and thus, the cost will be higher.

In addition to the translation itself, there may be additional services required for legal documents. These can include proofreading, certification, notarization, and formatting. These services typically come at an extra cost.

Based on industry standards, the average cost for translating legal documents such as contracts and patents can range from £0.10 to £0.20 per word. However, it’s important to note that prices may vary depending on the language pair and the specific requirements of the project.

For accurate quotes and to get a better understanding of the costs associated with translating legal documents, it is recommended to consult a professional translation agency that specialises in legal translations.

Do all professional translators charge the same?

Professional translation services are not all priced the same. There are many factors that go into how much a language service provider will charge for their legal document translations. Some of the elements that play into pricing include the cost of living in that particular region, the translator’s level of experience, and any qualifications they may have within their field. This means depending on which company you choose, you can end up with vastly different rates for translation services.

Most companies make it easy to request an exact quote for your project, so you can compare prices to get a good idea of what your budget should be. Most websites offer a simple form to fill out with information about your project requirements and contact info. This allows them to calculate their rates quickly and accurately. There is also usually an option to ask questions about any inquiries you may have regarding the process or pricing structure before committing to anything.

After doing some research among various language service providers, it should be fairly straightforward to find competitive rates that best suit your needs. However at this point it’s worth noting that price is just one factor to consider when choosing the right translation service provider for you.

Why is legal translation more expensive than regular translation?

Legal translation is more expensive compared to a regular translation because of the complexity involved in the process. Different languages often have various sets of rules and structures that must be respected or taken into account. This means that when translating for legal documents, focus must be placed on both accuracy and precision. Legal translators need a higher level of knowledge to understand the nuances between different laws and terminology used across multiple languages.

Since there is such an emphasis on accuracy, quality assurance measures are more drawn out in the process. The translation must reflect not only the words, but also convey their exact meaning which requires specialised skills beyond what would normally be necessary for regular translations. Furthermore, legal translations often require a deeper understanding within specific fields such as business and finance, all of which require highly experienced professionals who charge more for their specialist services.