Joanna Tarasiewicz
January 11, 2023

What is the Cost of Training Materials Translation?

training materials translation costAre you planning to train your international staff? Or maybe you assist other organizations with training and you need your course localized? Are you planning to include training videos for your international buyers to show your product's optimal use?

No matter where our clients place their training material (a website, online course or printed materials), they always ask one simple and obvious question:

How much will it cost to translate my training material?

At ATL we work with numerous clients who ask similar questions every week. The range of training material translation cost may vary from $10 to $100 for one page of a publishable document. Having said that, without a close examination of your training material, it is difficult to provide binding estimates.

Estimating the cost of  training materials translation may seem complicated, so this article will explain how certain factors influence the translation price for various training materials.


1. How Is Translation Cost Per Word Estimated?


It doesn't matter if your training material comes from your website, an e-learning course, or whether it has been created in a text editor. For all these scenarios, in order to estimate the cost, localization companies will need to know the number of words for translation.

A file can include different number of words. For instance, a text editor page can contain more or less text depending on the font size, formatting, and the number of graphics.

For translation purposes, a word is defined as a string of letters or special characters. Numbers ending with spaces are also recognized as a word. The same goes for proper names, links, dates, and measurements.






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Did you know that translation cost can be reduced by up to 36% thanks to the use of translation technology? Working with a translation company with a transparent pricing policy and with the right use of translation technology can save you substantial amounts of money on your localization projects.


Translation software called CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools enable localization companies to lower your translation cost. No worries, the translation is fully performed by a human, but certain aspect of the process are facilitated by the CAT tools.

If your document contains repetitive segments, CAT tools help to accelerate the localization process by prompting how the repeated segment has been previously translated.

This reduces the time and cost of your document translation. How? In professional translation proposals, these words are referred to as Repetitions and are charged up to 75% less.

One of the reasons that you can use these repetitions for savings is Translation Memory. Translation Memory is a database that stores all the segments together with their translations.






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You directly influence the savings by assigning more and more translations.
The more you translate for example into Spanish, the more translated segments your EN-SP TM contains, and the more you save.


How Do Languages Influence Translation Cost?

The localization price highly depends on the language that you choose for translation.

The rates vary per language. Some of the most expensive languages are Japanese, Norwegian, and Dutch. You may pay less for Spanish, Chinese or French.


There are places where the pool of professional translators is smaller, and therefore the rates for translation services are higher. This is the case with Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, and Finnish.






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Icelandic has the highest reported freelance average rate on 
The source language also influences the translation rate. The rate for English - Japanese translation will be lower (an average freelance translation-only rate is $0.16) than the rate for Italian - Japanese (an average freelance translation-only rate is $0.18). 

Also, the services provided by translators from countries with a high cost of living are likely to be more expensive.  A good example would be Japanese, which can be charged, on an average, $0.16 per word by a freelancer for the translation-only step.


2. How is Translation Cost Estimated for Video Content?


cost of translating video content



For localization purposes, the length of a video is measured in minutes. Each minute started is included in the total number of minutes.

The number of words spoken within a minute of speech varies between 100 and 150. At the average speaking rate of 130 words per one minute (wpm), a speech that lasts for 3 minutes will have about 390 words.






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There are a few different ways to localize your training material video content. You can choose to leave the original language and record a voice reading the translated version, or include translated captions.

You can also go for the most complex version and completely replace the soundtrack in one language with the recording in another language.
Whichever solution you choose, it all starts with transcription.







Transcription means typing the audio text into a written format with timecodes. It always needs to include timecodes.

You can do it yourself, use automated speech recognition tools, ask somebody else to do it or, leave it for the localization provider.

Unless you go for the automated option like Rev or Simon Says, what you will pay for human transcription services is more or less $35 for a 15 - minutes video.

It depends on the speed of the speaker and how clear the recording is. Naturally, this is also based on the transcriber's speed of typing. If a random person performs this step, it may take over an hour. If it's done by a professional, the time may be reduced to a half hour.

Important note: You may be tempted to skip the transcription part and ask for translation to be done directly while listening to the recording.

It may seem like you are saving money that way. Not paying for transcription and going directly to translation sounds like paying less for the whole process.


But this is one of the examples of how clients lose a lot of money while trying to cut the initial costs of preparation. In the long run, it turns out that the $35 you saved keeps you from saving more or less 50% of your future localization costs.






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Especially if you are going to update the training material next month or quarter, or next year. Which is what a lot of organizations do.

Skipping the transcription phase is faster but it also has two serious disadvantages:


  • You can't use previous translations saved in your Translation Memory for savings and consistency. Translating without the use of translation software deprives you of the discount for repetitions. Not using the TM keeps the translator from reusing the already-translated content and reducing your translation cost;

  • You don't save the translated segments in your TM. Consequently, you won't use these translations to reduce the cost of future projects.



Here, it's worth mentioning the difference between subtitles and closed captions (CCs). Closed captions provide text description of dialogue, as well as all relevant parts of the video soundtrack.


Subtitles focus only on the dialogues or narration.

For training material, make sure that subtitles are only used for the more advanced training material. Basic material should include less distractions, (like for example reading the captioned dialogues) for the sake of better general comprehension.

It also may not be the best solution for training materials prepared for young learners, like children.





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Let's assume that in a 15 - minutes video there are 1,950 words. The rates vary from $0.18 to $0.25 per word. The translation cost in this case may vary between $351 and $487.50.

In most cases, the translated content is passed to the revision and implementation stages. Adding the additional costs, the estimated cost of a 15-minutes of video translation with subtitling may be from $596.50 to $801.25.

An accurate estimate can only be made on the basis of your video.


Voice Over



voice over



In this case the voice of the lector is recorded over the original audio track, which can be heard in the background.

It is one person who neutrally reads the whole text. It doesn't matter if several people are speaking in the original soundtrack, the localized version includes only one actor, who is reading the text.

The transcribed text is called the script. Inserting timecodes in the script is important because it marks the amount of time allowed for recording the translated speech. Paying attention to timecodes saves money that would be spent on costly fixes, like shortening the translated text or re-recording.

Timecodes are also crucial for the actors. It allows them to adjust the speed of speech for the needs of your video.

The translation rate depends on the language. As already explained, some languages will generate higher translation cost, other languages will cost you less.

The next step requires choosing what is referred to as the "voice talent", a lector who will record his or her voice to be used for your training material.






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Is it a male or female actor that you want in the localized version of your video? Do you need a particular voice, like for example, a deep, gravelly, male voice, or high pitched and livelier?


This is all for you to choose, but this is what dictates the price.
In most cases what you need is a neutral voice but there will be products for kids or teenagers and for similar training videos where you will definitely want to go for a different type of voice talent.

Voices may be cheaper or more expensive. This is mainly due to their availability and, just like with Hollywood actors, it depends on their level of recognition. Regular prices should hover around $150-250 for 5 minutes of recording. But some top stars estimate the cost based on the whole project rather than the number of minutes.



Dubbing, unlike voice-over, is when the original speech is cut out and the translated version is mixed with the original sound. Actors impersonate characters and express their emotions. It is closest to acting and the most expensive service.
This is mostly determined by your choice of voice talent.

But in this scenario the prices may really go up. It depends on how many stars you want to hire.

The recording you receive is mixed, no unnecessary sounds are present in the audio, and the recording is smooth, synchronized with the lip movement of the actors.


3. Testing the Translated Video



testing a video



After the text and video translation are completed, it’s time to test it.

You should not only test your e-learning training material for its functionality, but also ensure its linguistic accuracy. The same goes for presentations. Check formatting and layout. Are the same concepts highlighted as in the original content? Does the translated text fit into the text boxes and tables?

At this stage, the testers check to make sure the text is not truncated, that special characters are displayed correctly, and that the layout is correct for right to left or left to right languages.






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They also check that time and date formats are correctly localized. You may be surprised how much of a mess a wrong date format can create on a presentation. Think about 03-05-2020, what date is that?

Moreover, the testers verify whether users will find the course easy to use, and if the translated training material is user-friendly for local buyers.
Testing is charged per hour, and starts from $25 per hour.

How Much Will It Cost You to Translate Your Training Material?


In order to estimate the cost of your training material translation, you should consider all of the following aspects:

• Number of words,
• Language pair,
• The type of training material,
• Testing phase.

Make sure you work with a professional translation company that use translation tools and automations, and that are able to integrate their translation management software directly with your system.

Ask about tools and ways to save on the localization costs.

Make sure you don't overspend on your training material translation, and that you know exactly what to expect from your translation agency from the start.

If you have training material to translate now and you want to know how much its translation will cost, feel free to contact us for your customized translation quote.


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