Finding the right document translation partner requires asking the right document translation questions. International Language Services is a world-renowned language translation provider, and we often hear the same document translation questions from companies. Here, we provide answers to the top three. 

How Much Does Document Translation Cost?

One of the most important, and most asked, document translation questions concerns cost. This is a wise question, because advance budgeting for document translation prevents last-minute costs, delays, and lost revenue.  

Providing a definitive cost for document translation can be difficult, due to the project-specific factors that contribute to calculating translation costs. Projects are typically priced on a per-word basis that varies from language to language. For example, the most commonly requested languages cost less to translate than some others, due to the larger number of qualified translators available. 

Spanish is a very popular language for translation, so there are many translators available.  Nepali, on the other hand, is not as widely requested, thus translation resources are relatively rare and will cost more. Consider also that if your company requires a highly technical document translation into Nepali, this will impact the cost of your translation services. The technical nature of your content further limits the number of qualified translation resources available. 

Another factor impacting the cost of document translation is if your company needs is the number of languages required. For example, a French translation of a short document may cost $400. But if you need that same document translated into French, Spanish, Swahili, German, and Greek, different costs apply to each subsequent language and your total project cost can quickly grow to $2000 or more. 

When asking a prospective document translation partner for a cost estimate, it helps to provide a sample of the material to be translated or an estimate of the word count and information about the target language or languages for translation. This will help the translation firm to provide an accurate cost estimate. Firm quotes should be available for projects where your final source files and list of target languages can be submitted for review. 

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Can My Documents Be Translated Into Any Language? 

Another of the top document translation questions ILS encounters concerns the different languages that are available for document translation. Closely related to the question about language availability is one about translation accuracy. What languages are available and how can we ensure that language translations are done correctly? 

As a highly qualified, professionally certified, and experienced document translation partner, ILS employs only native speakers of over 180 languages who also possess subject matter expertise in a technical field or industry. These translators have experience translating from English into their own native tongue, as well as training and experience in a variety of scientific, technical, and medical industries.  We also have resources who specialize in translating to English, from all major languages used worldwide.

In addition to highly-qualified native translators, ILS employs experienced project managers who oversee your document translation from start to finish. Their job is to ensure all ILS quality processes are followed, so that your completed project is accurate, complete, and delivered on time. ILS is an ISO 9001:2015 certified document translation partner, which means your document translation is guaranteed to accurately communicate your intended message. 

When you request a quote from any translation services provider, sending a sample file can help the translation service make sure that they have the right translators for your job and industry. 

What About Machine Translation? Is it Useful?

Machine translation cannot compare to the skills provided by a trained and experienced human translator. Machine translation services can’t support the number of languages, the technical level or the nuanced messaged that most document translation projects require. The difference between machine and human translation is one of the most often asked document translation questions

Machine translation cannot consistently account for context, nuances, and gender voice between languages. Only a human with a full understanding of the specialized language and industry-specific terminology needing translation can effectively and accurately convey your message as originally intended. 

While companies may attempt to save costs by using machine translation for their important translations, they often end up with documents full of grammatical errors, mistranslated terminology, and language that is likely to confuse, insult, or cause potential injury to the recipient. 

ILS specializes in human translation and that’s important for high-level documents like product manuals or medical files that must be accurate. We do use some technological aids to help in the translation process, like translation memory. This is an electronic database that stores words, phrases, statements, and even paragraphs that have already been translated by a professional human translator, specifically for your company.  But, everything is reviewed by qualified human translators to ensure that the translations are correct in every context in which they appear. 

Text that is repeated throughout the source document—or through multiple documents—don’t need to be retranslated for every occurrence. This saves substantial time and helps speed up the translation process, which in turn, saves you money. 


International Language Services has more than 35 years of experience providing professional technical translations for companies of all types and sizes. Our quality control processes are ISO certified to guarantee your satisfaction. We employ only native-speaking translators who are also subject matter experts, so your industry-specific translations are accurate. Contact International Language Services to learn more about how we can help with your next technical translation project.