Why Do Translations Seem Expensive?

The translation of a document of four standard pages can easily cost 120-220 Euros. That seems like a lot of money, especially if you need different languages or need a translation of several documents.

Some companies try to get around these costs. They use machine translation, look for cheap (non professional) translators or they ask the receptionist to ‘quickly translate the text’. The result is virtually always, and in the best case scenario, a text that everybody understands but can hardly be defined as “good” text.

Why the seemingly high prices?

  1. Most translators have a university degree and studied for at least four years to be able to translate professionally.
  2. Translating is a challenging and time-consuming activity. Every sentence needs to be interpreted correctly and subsequently translated. This can involve hours of research and writing. Even when the translation is complete, the work is not over. The quality of the text is checked in various ways. All in all this is a pretty time-consuming activity.
  3. A translator does more than just translate. He or she also informs you of possible errors in the source text and can also collaborate with you in other ways.


Are these prices really high? Companies have no problem paying out thousands of Euros for lawyers or marketing agencies to draft a text, so why should a professional translation of that text have to be cheap? A translator is an expert who puts his knowledge to the service of your business for it to have more success. A translator is not only a supplier, he is a business partner.

In the translation world a good bargain is often a bad deal. You get what you pay for. Do not forget that your name or the name of your business will be above or below the translated text. Do you want to entrust your translation to an experienced professional translator or to a bilingual secretary who answers the telephone and takes messages?

If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait and see what an amateur will cost you.