Principal - John Benson

Accuracy - Quality - Reliability

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Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators


How much is my translation going to cost?

Having documents translated to or from a foreign language is expensive.  It is a difficult and skilled task which can take a lot of time. If the documents are legal, for example, the translator will have to understand the differences between the two legal systems involved and be able to translate them in a meaningful and accurate manner.

Unlike most skilled service providers who charge by the hour, translators charge by the word.  This is the only fair method of calculating a fee, given that the time necessary to translate a document varies enormously depending on its difficulty.

In Australia, rates range between 25 cents/word ($25/100 words) and 40 cents/word ($40/100).  More if it is urgent work.  To give you a rough idea, a printed page of about 350-400 words can take anywhere between 30-60 minutes, before proofing and checking.  Sometimes it can take considerably longer.  This works out at the lower end of hourly rates charged by other professional service providers (accountants, lawyers etc.). 

Most translators will have a minimum fee for small administrative documents which contain few words.  This is to cover overheads such as billing, stamping, checking, sending etc.

How long is my translation going to take?

Translators are not miracle-workers.  Many people contact us with a 12-20 page document and expect it to be ready the next day.  Assuming an average of 40 minutes/page, it is clear the translator would have to work through the night to have any chance of delivering such a  document on time.

Of course, that's possible, but you are going to have to offer some serious financial incentives.

Otherwise, call a translation agency well in advance.  If you do need a document done quickly, don't be surprised if you are asked to pay an urgent rate.


More FAQs in the pipeline.  Check back soon.

You can also read the brochures published by AUSIT on how to go about commissioning a translation or interpreter at the AUSIT site.