Assessing Your Translation Pricing

Translating documents can be a daunting process. It is mandatory for anyone doing business in the Province of Quebec and often the company having it translated may not even speak the language. Add in the issue of dialect changes between regions and it can cause a company to really think about dealing with the Province at all. For many it is a huge market and something that can’t be overlooked so if you have to translate your documents here is a formula to work from for assessing costs?

As with any service business pricing may be as different as the people conducting the service. A good translator is similar to a good accountant or doctor, rarely do you change once you find one you can trust. This is just a general guide in pricing as mentioned each service provider may have their own packages.

Most translation is priced by the word count. What gets most people confused is that there are more words in French and normally that is what the word count is priced on. Typically there are 20% more words in French than in English to say the same thing. The reason for this is that the French language has additional words which describe word gender and are required for sentence structure. In English we say “house” and in French we say “la Maison”. These little words add up over the course of a document and are required to understand the language. No you can’t just leave them out. You still can have a general idea of how much a document may cost by taking the the English word count which you can get in most document programs, add 20% to the total multiplied by the price per word. Make sure you ask your vendor about other translated related issues like difficulty of the content, rush charges, or other specialty issues.

Large multi page projects may be based on page count but often you will be given a price for the whole project. The same formula generally applies for pricing of the documents and you may have formatting or delivery issues to work through.

There are a few ways you can save money on your translation. Translation is often thought of at the last minute so having the translation done early will save you rush charges. Have the document ready in a native format such as text editor like Word and remember text on images also have to be translated. Good translators will try to give you the document in the same format as it was received but if it is prepared in specialty programs or has to be reformatted due to the additional words in French there may be extra charges.

A good translator will walk through these issues with you so asking questions up front can ease the translation jungle.

About the Author

Carmen Outridge is the owner of Outridge Translation Services and has been translating documents between English and French for over 30 years. Carmen is from the Eastern Townships part of Quebec and understands the language and dialect of Quebec. To learn more about Outridge Translation Services or to get help with your next project visit

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