Translate Spanish to English / Translate English to Spanish - Understanding Price Proposals

How much does it cost to translate Spanish to English or translate English to Spanish? This is Part 2 of our Price Guide. Click here to go to Part 1. (Looking for a free online translator?)

Spanish Translation Price Guide 2 - What it all means

Interpreting prices

Before choosing a Spanish translation partner, it's a good idea to request multiple price quotations in order to have a basis for comparison (and for negotiating). But once you have received several proposals, how to choose among them?

We know of companies whose system for choosing suppliers is to go automatically for the lowest price. We have also heard of companies whose standard procedure is to choose the second lowest bidder, with the idea that this will somehow approach a balance between price and quality. We think the process merits a bit more thought than that.

First, you have to try to figure out exactly what you will be getting for your money. Especially if you are comparing agencies, the type of service you are being offered might be quite different. Probe a little deeper. For tips on what to look for, read our articles about choosing a freelance translator and choosing a translation agency.

Second, decide what level of translation you actually need. Is it important that everything come out just right? Maybe you don't need a perfect translation, in which case it could be worth compromising on quality a bit in order to save some money.

When it comes to translation, a high price does not automatically mean high quality. However, we believe that a very low price is a red flag that something is not right.

Be particularly suspicious of any agency that offers to translate Spanish to English for a price that is below market rates. You are almost guaranteed that this agency is not hiring translators that charge market rates or paying editors to revise the work. It is not economically possible for them to do so and make a profit.

When a freelance translator charges very low rates, that is likely to mean one of two things. The first possibility is that this is an inexperienced translator or one who is desperate to find work. While that is not a very positive sign, it is possible that this translator will do a good job.

A second possibility is that the translator is making up for the low rate with a high volume. If the translator is churning out a large number of translations in a short time, he or she can still earn a good living in spite of the low rate; however, the quality of each translation is likely to suffer.

Other factors influencing price

You will notice that many of the freelance translators in our sample rates list advertise a range rather than a single per word rate to translate English to Spanish, or to translate Spanish to English. In addition to the number of words in the document, translation pricing can depend on many other factors, including:

  • Difficulty level. If the text is technical and translator will have to do a lot of terminology research, the price may be higher.
  • Volume. Agencies and some freelancers may offer discounts for very large translations or if you can promise repeat work. On the other hand, high minimum charges are often applied to very small translations (for this reason, it's a good idea, when possible, to tack small translation jobs onto larger projects in the same language).
  • Size and type of client. Freelancers sometimes will charge agencies lower rates than what they offer to end clients. After all, agencies can potentially give them steady work and streamline their administrative tasks. Some agencies also have different rate scales for different types of clients and require detailed information about the client's company before they will quote a price to translate English to Spanish, or to translate Spanish to English.
  • Additional services. Services such as formatting/layout work or revision by a separate editor may raise the translation price. Such services are often charged separately from straight translation. When comparing agency pricing, be especially careful to compare total costs, rather than per word rate to translate English to Spanish, as agency proposals often separate out the costs of even basic services such as project management.
  • Negotiation. Translation prices are often negotiable.

Click here for advice on reducing your translation costs.

More advice on how to translate Spanish to English and translate English to Spanish

How to choose the best freelance translator

How to choose the best translation agency

How long does it take to translate English to Spanish?

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