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Marek Makosiej
February 15, 2023
15 min read

How Much Do You Need to Spend on Website Translations?

How Much Do You Need to Spend on Website Translations?



If you are here, you are probably trying to figure out the entire website translation cost. If so, you have come to the right place.


With the increasing number of global customers and the growth of international markets, website translation is becoming increasingly important for businesses. After all, clients expect high-quality translations of content on web pages in their original language.


Since money does not grow on trees, you need to know the basics to ensure the translation process won't break the bank. Your bank.



Before You Start, Ask These Questions


Before embarking on a website translation project and researching various localization services, you must ask a few essential questions about your business.



Why Do I Want to Translate Company's Website?


Website translations can help your company reach new markets and customers by connecting with them more personally in their native language.


Translated content helps improve the web page's user experience and functionality. Such improvements make clients more likely to purchase company offers or services.


Adding a new translation language version of the web page may make the sales team's job easier. 


Receiving many questions from potential customers about the availability of new language versions of your website is also a good starting point for internal debate as to whether to consider website translations. 


However, translating the company website into a different language is a significant strategic move for your business


So, if the answer is: Linda from Marketing says we need a German version of the website, or if a customer success representative says we got two questions about Ukrainian materials in the past month, think again. 


This is why there are better options than deciding to greenlight the website translation project based on gut feeling (yours or somebody else's). 





What is My Business Goal?


If the market expansion ROI is positive, don't think about it and start.


A time in your firm's lifecycle may come when the domestic market is not enough for your business ambitions. Or, the local niche is so saturated that expansion would be not only nice but necessary for the business to survive. 


Whichever it is, think about the business goal connected to the website translation project. After all, it is an additional business cost. If the market expansion ROI is positive, don't think about it and start. 


However, if the potential business cost is not justified in numbers run by you or the accounting team, then postponing the project or starting at a small scale may be a better option.



What Are My Target Languages?


Research the traffic to see which countries are at the top of the visitors' column.


The business calculation is ROI-positive, and the project is on. What's the next step? Selecting the languages.


When localizing a website, translation services must ensure that the content is relevant and engaging to the target audience. So, who is the target audience? What markets do you need to cover?


Check Google Analytics or any other statistical tool connected to your website. Research the traffic to see which countries are at the top of the visitors' column. If the countries have one official language, dig deeper and focus on leads and sales to check market potential. 


For example, an Australian company wants to prepare a language version of its website for users in the United States. They may translate content from Australian English to American English or Australian English to English. 


On the other hand, if the same company targets users in Japan, it can translate content from Australian English to Japanese and from Australian English to English. 



Suppose the countries in your traffic sources are multilingual. In that case, let's say Switzerland, where there are more languages spoken than just one, focus on deeper segmentation: 


  • Which part of the country is the traffic coming from? 
  • What are the users' internet browser language settings?  


Take a look at the graphic below, provided by the Swiss Federal Council, and see what they have to say about changes in their country's language structure:


Switzerland has four language regions: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The number of German, Italian, and Romansh speakers is falling, while French speakers are increasing. Non-national languages are also gaining importance. The two most widely spoken non-national languages are English and Portuguese. Multilingualism is an essential part of Switzerland's identity.


Take a look at the graphic below, provided by the Swiss Federal Council, and see what they have to say about changes in their country's language structure


Is language selection for website translation more straightforward now? See what info the Swiss Federal Council provides about German in Switzerland:


Over 60% of the Swiss population speak German as their primary language. They do not speak standard German but rather various Alemmanic dialects collectively called Swiss German.


The above, there is only a simple example. Still, it illustrates the level of understanding of the market segmentation and market research knowledge you need. It is necessary to save money while the website translation project is in progress. 






Related content: Want a Successful Multilingual Website? Ask These Questions






What Kind of Content Needs to be Translated?


What Kind of Content Needs to be Translated?


Depending on the answer, different types of translations may be required. Text content, for example, can be translated automatically on some devices. 


In contrast, videos and images can only be prepared with the help of professional language services. Each will come at a different cost. Not all translators will be able to provide the entire project scope. A few language specialists may be necessary to complete the website translation project.


What are the main types of content that you can encounter while translating a website?


  • Text content and formatting
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Videos
  • Graphic materials
  • Marketing materials and pdf
  • Website URL
  • SEO keywords
  • Landing pages
  • Dropdown menu, navigation, and footer
  • Text box and input fields
  • Legal documents
  • Manuals
  • Case studies
  • Blog
  • FAQs
  • Privacy Policy
  • Certifications
  • Pop-up windows
  • Web forms
  • Backend: software translation/localization
  • Backend: mobile app (iPhone or Android and their CMS)



How Much Time do I Have For the Translation Project?


How Much Time do I Have For the Translation Project?


The project can be more time-consuming if more than just text needs translations. There is a preparation phase, delivery of the translations, web development work, quality assurance, and testing. 


Professional website translation services can complete the entire task in a matter of hours regarding only text translation. At the same time, in a few languages, which is a significant advantage if you are pressed for time. 


The following steps mentioned above still need to be performed by an in-house team. Website localization projects from start to completion can take a few weeks rather than days. 



Do I Need a One-Time or an Ongoing Translation Service?


Do I Need a One-Time or an Ongoing Translation Service?


Ongoing accurate translations services allow the linguist to work remotely and provide updates as new content is added to the website. This is a significant advantage for any business. It eliminates the need to meet in person and constantly email back and forth.


One-time service is typical for smaller projects that require mainly basic information to be uploaded into another language version of the website. 


Suppose you think strategically about new market expansion. In that case, the ongoing service is a better option as it will provide the same high quality with each update. 






Related content: Website Localization Buyer's Guide






What is My Budget For Website Translation?



What is My Budget For Website Translation?


Several essential factors affect the cost of translating a website. Typically, price quotes will be based on the number of pages to be translated and the project's complexity.


Target languages are also a significant factor. There are language pairs that will cost less, for example, English to Spanish; there will be language pairs that cost more, for example, Norwegian to Japanese. 


Typically, translators specializing in specific niches, like legal, technical, or medical translations, charge more.


The main types of rates are $ per hour and $ per word. Revisions and proofreading are charged separately. 


Professional translation agencies give better project-based prices, as the entire scope is under their supervision. The price may seem higher in the beginning. Localization services provider (LSP) has a process to provide you with fully prepared and checked material with no additional unexpected charges.


If the quotes are higher than your budget, feel free to ask what services are available within your selected budget. 


There may be room for negotiation. The agency or translator can suggest a longer delivery time, or they will help to determine which parts of the project are essential so you can start and update the rest when the budget is updated. 


What is The Best Way to Translate a Website?


You have various automation tools at your disposal, including machine translation (Statistical Machine Translation, Neural Machine Translation), like Google Translate or web browser plugins and additions (in Google Chrome, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, or WordPress).

It is a free option. However, website translations are of low quality and will often have significant errors.


If you need accuracy and control, you should hire a professional translator. Human translation comes with a cost, but the results will be much better.


For the best quality, consider website localization services. Their expertise goes way beyond translation: they deliver human translation and expert knowledge about adapting online content to your target market's social and cultural preferences (language selection, regionalization, translation, and more).



Online Website Translations and Machine Translations



Online Website Translations and Machine Translations



While these options offer convenience and speed, machine translations are not accurate. Language is a complex tool, full of nuance that only human translation can capture. 


Moreover, machine translation data cannot be protected from analysis or misuse by the tool's owner. The security issue is a big concern. As the service is free, the terms and conditions of use may have a clause that enables the owner of the machine translation tool to use the data further. 


No matter if the purpose is to include your original text in large data sets to train AI algorithms or to use as examples in marketing materials. There are certain types of content that businesses must keep confidential.



Website Translations by an In-House Team


Website translations are time-consuming and generate a business expense cost. You may feel the urge to translate the website with the help of your current employees by assigning them overtime or adding additionally paid tasks. This may be enough option at an elementary level. 


However, a strategic approach to market expansion and website translations calls for human translations and professional work.






Related content: 4 Costs of Using Internal Resources for Translation








If the employees are users of everyday (target) language, they are not as efficient as linguists. This may cause errors and ambiguity in website translations. 


It can cost more to do the translations twice when in the end, you outsource this task to a professional translator with experience. They use translation tools and translation memory that lower the $ per-word cost and ensure consistency throughout the project. 


Linguists have experience with the language and code stream and will translate the content quickly and accurately.



Professional Localization Services


Professional translations services are essential for capturing the true essence of your brand in different regional dialects and markets. 


When you work with professional translation services, you can be sure that your website translations will do justice to the brand and resonate with customers. 


In addition, professional website services can work with a specific team to do human translation and to better understand the company and target audience. This allows them to provide seamless translation of content and code, ensuring fast and automatic discovery, website translation, and publishing.






How Much do I have to Spend on Website Translations?


Above, we mention three options: machine website translations, professional work by linguists, and hiring a localization agency. Consider the different options and ensure you get value for money before choosing one solution for your website translation. 


Website translations services typically include procedures such as proofreading and quality assurance, which can drive the overall cost. Precise requirements before you hire it for your project.


Here you can see the pricing example:


The most common ways to calculate costs in translations proposals are per-word and per-hour rates


The most common ways to calculate costs in translations proposals are per-word and per-hour rates, as you will see below on the list of software localization-related costs by language.







Related content: How Much Do Translation Services Really Cost? [Rates & Factors]






Localization Process of Website Content


Based on the research, you may already know that not only the text of your website will need a translation. Additional content, like software, images, videos and cms, may also need translations. What to do in such a case? Consider the help of a professional language services provider. The entire website translation project may be delivered faster, and the process may be more efficient. 


Below, see what the website translations project looks like from a technical standpoint. Think if you have resources and time to complete it within the in-house team:



see how the website translations project looks like from a technical standpoint.


Time to Pick Up the Tab


Is it time to translate your website? The most critical aspect of a successful website translation project is early planning. Make sure everyone involved agrees with the website translation project timeline and be prepared to adjust it as the project progresses. 


Remember that if you translate your website using machine website translation or online translation plug-ins, you risk losing the meaning of your content and reducing the effectiveness of your website.


If you want to learn more about website translation projects and their estimates, here are some other blog posts, including rates and examples of specific website translation and localization projects.



Recommended content:

A Guide to Measuring Website Localization ROI

How Much Does Website Translation Cost?

How to Really Save on Translation and Localization