How much does a certified translation cost?

    Danilo Coviello

    The cost of certified translation services depends on the type of translation you need and what exactly that involves. There are many factors that need to be taken into account, such as the source and target languages, deadline and how technical your content is, amongst other considerations. 

    In this guide, we will explain the factors that determine the cost of different types of official translation (sworn, notarized and certified) and how to get the most accurate price for your project.

    Translation TypeDescriptionCost FactorPotential Cost Increase (Over Basic Translation)Notes
    Certified TranslationA translation accompanied by a signed certification from the translator or translation agency attesting that the translated text is a true representation of the original document.Medium+10% to +30%Common for legal translation and immigration services documents.
    Sworn TranslationA translation completed by a government-approved translator who has sworn an oath at a court of law to provide true and accurate translations.High+20% to +50%Common in certain countries, like Spain and the Netherlands. The translator is legally liable for the accuracy.
    Notarized TranslationA translation where the translator’s declaration of accuracy is confirmed by a notary public.Higher+30% to +60%Notaries charge for their service. The translation itself isn’t notarized, but the translator’s declaration is.
    Legalised TranslationA translation where a document, after being translated, is certified true by a relevant official authority or embassy.Highest+50% to +100%Often required when foreign governments are involved. The process can be lengthy and expensive.

    What do certified translation services prices depend on?

    certified translation fees

    The cost of document translation services depends on multiple aspects. The factors that influence the price of a certified translation are listed below:

    1. Language pair

    One of the dominant factors affecting the price of certified translation is the language pair. Translating from English to Spanish, for example, is much cheaper than translating from or to a less common language like Maori. The price is also affected by the number of translators available for each language: if the pool of translators is smaller, then translators charge more.

    2. Translator expertise

    Translation quality is another factor that affects the cost. High quality translations require qualified translators with significant expertise, experience and often specialisms, which all increase the cost. For certain types of translations, such as legal or medical translation, you will need to employ a subject matter expert. It is important to have a reliable translation completed by a qualified professional in order to prevent your document from being rejected by the authorities, courts or international trade organisations.

    3. Document format

    The format of the official document is another factor affecting the cost of translation services. Documents need to be editable, therefore in file formats such as DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF, Indesign, XML, SGML, HTML, to name a few. If the document is in an editable format then it becomes possible to process more complex files that include photos, graphs and other graphic elements. If the document is an uneditable scan or is handwritten, there will be additional charges for the reproduction of formatting or Desktop Publishing (DTP).

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    4. Urgency

    If your translation project has a short turnaround, it will cost more than one that has a longer deadline. Translation agencies may have to assign more than one certified translator to the project, or each translator will have to work longer hours in order to complete the project on time. More translators and/or a heavier workload means the cost will be higher. 

    5. Technicality

    Highly technical translation content, such as court documents, medical reports and scientific papers, are more expensive than general content such as emails and lifestyle articles. This is because technical content requires specialist translators with knowledge in particular subject areas. 

    5 steps to get accurate certified translation pricing for your project

    There are many factors that affect the price of a certified translation, so in order to obtain the best price for your project, here are five steps you should follow:

    1. Preparing your original document for submission

    The hard copy of the original document is not usually required. You will most often be asked for a clear, legible scan of your document, so make sure you send a good quality copy. Any illegible text will be labelled as such and may end up lengthening the time it takes to complete the project, which could result in higher fees or issues upon submission.

    You should also try to get a rough idea of the amount of text you need to translate (known as the word count) for companies charging on a per-word basis. Certified translations of your personal documents (such as marriage certificates or a diploma) are shorter, so will usually cost less. Longer documents such as a contract or lawsuit proceedings will cost more.

    1. Identifying your specific translation requirements

    Make sure you identify the specific translation requirements of the requesting entity. The type of official translation you require varies based on the country, entity and purpose.

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    You should research the type of official translation required for the specific procedure in the country where you need to submit your documents. You can usually find this information on government websites or, if you struggle, you can contact your local embassy.

    Some documents may even require an apostille before translation, so you need to make sure you check this beforehand. 

    In the United States, requirements even vary from state to state, so translation requirements in New York may differ from those in Los Angeles.

    3. Finding a translation service provider

    When you select a translation service provider, make sure the translator or agency is ISO-certified 17100 or is accredited by one of the many translation bodies, such as the ATC.

    Additionally, be sure to check online reviews and client testimonials to ensure that the translator is reputable and qualified to provide a high quality, error-free service.

    A good localization provider will explain the translation process to you beforehand, ensuring you fully understand all of the costs. 

    1. Requesting multiple quotes for comparison

    Different translation companies charge different fees, so make enquiries to several to make sure your pricing is accurate. Remember that a higher quality translation requires the expertise of experienced translators, which usually costs more.

    The cheapest option is not always the best. A translation misinterpretation can negatively affect legal proceedings, and incorrect translations of your personal documents may mean your citizenship application is rejected, thus costing you more in the long run.

    1. Clarifying any additional fees or charges

    There are many factors that can increase the cost of your translation, so clear communication with your language service provider is important. Some companies charge additional fees such as project management fees or shipping fees, for instance. 

    For sworn translations in certain countries, administrative or duty fees need to be paid to the government. You should always check this with the translation agency in advance to avoid any surprise costs later. At Espresso Translations, we let you know the total cost beforehand with no hidden or project management fees.

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    How much does an official professional translation cost in the UK?

    In the UK, prices range from £0.10 to £0.16 per word, therefore if your document has a word count of 1,000 words, the fee will be somewhere between £100 and £160. The cost of official translations is usually calculated per word and most translators and translation service providers work to industry standard rates. Prices may also be calculated per page.

    The translation rate will be higher if a more experienced translator is required, especially one with a particular specialism. 

    N.B: all of the prices in this guide are representative of the market as at the date of publication. Prices may increase in line with inflation and the cost of living.

    What’s the standard pricing and average cost of a certified translation?

    Standard translation rates are between £0.10 and £0.16 per word, therefore the average price for a certified translation is roughly £0.12/£0.13 per word. The cost varies according to what exactly it is that you need translating, the source and target languages, the formatting of the document and the ‘official’ translation requirements, such as whether you need a translation certificate or an apostille.

    How are certified translation fees calculated?

    Certified translation fees are usually calculated by source word. Some companies may charge per target word, however, this can make it difficult to determine a final price, as different languages sometimes use more words to say the same thing while others are more concise.

    Sometimes fees are calculated on a per-page basis. In this case, you may need to pay attention to the font size, line spacing, and anything else that may affect the length of the pages and the accompanying cost.

    Some companies or freelancers charge per hour, in which case you won’t be able to work out as accurately a cost compared to a per word or a per page rate.

    Is the price for a certified translation per page or per word?

    The cost of a certified translation is commonly based on the number of words rather than on a per-page basis. This means that you will know how much your project will cost before any work is started. If a document is uneditable and the words can’t be counted, a per-page rate will be applied.

    How much does document translation cost per page in the United Kingdom?

    certified translation pricing UK

    Certified translation services UK cost around 0.10 and £0.16 per word on average. The industry typically defines one ‘page’ as 250 words, so a standard ‘page’ could cost £25 to £40. However, it is important to note that prices vary depending on multiple factors, including the language combination, the turnaround time, the complexity of the text, and the type of document (such as a marriage or birth certificate), amongst other factors.  

    What are the document translation rates per word?

    Certified translation rates per word range from £0.10 to £0.16, with each professional or company charging slightly different rates. There are also various different factors to take into account when it comes to pricing, such as which languages you need, the purpose of the document, the deadline and more.


    How to reduce the cost of document translation with translation software?

    It is possible to reduce the cost of document translation by using translation software. This can be done by using CAT tools, which involve the creation of a translation memory. By using these tools, translation costs are significantly cheaper and translators can complete more translations in less time at affordable rates.

    What is machine translation and can I use it for official translations?

    Machine translation is when a computer translates from one language to another without any human involvement. Key examples of machine translations are Google Translate and Deepl.
    Machine translation can be highly effective as it can reduce the cost of document translation, save time and memorise terms in order to reuse them where relevant. 
    With the advancement of technology, artificial intelligence (AI) in particular, machine translation is becoming more evolved with dynamic machine learning becoming more prominent.
    Official translations cannot be done using AI, as a human translator needs to attest to the accuracy of the translation, which they can only do if they’ve translated it themself.

    What is the cost of certified translation from Espresso Translations?

    If you want to find out how much is a certified translation from Espresso Translations, get in touch with our team today. We will give you a certified translation UK price within the hour, with no hidden costs.
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