With the increased costs of living mentioned practically everyday in the News at the moment, we thought it would be beneficial to our clients to explain how we set our translation fees. We thought this would be a useful exercise, to also help our clients, who are getting translations carried out on behalf of their clients, have a useful resource for explaining fees.

So what are the factors that can affect the translation fee?

The translation fee will depend on how long the document is, what format it’s in, which languages are involved, how specialised the copy is and a whole bunch of other factors.
Let us break this down.


Length is a major factor in the cost of translation services. The longer a document is, the longer it will take to translate, so the more it will cost. That said, there’s also potential to negotiate a discount when it comes to large and bulk translation projects, so it’s always worth asking about this when you’re getting quotes for translation rates.

Rarity of the language pair

The next biggest factor to influence translation prices is the languages that you need. The language services industry is subject to the pricing pressures of supply and demand, just as other sectors are. In simple terms, the more qualified linguists there are for a language, the more translators there are, so the lower the cost will be.


Technical texts require a certain level of expertise on the translator’s part in the subject matter of the text. A legal contract for example, will need a translator with legal experience, whilst a medical report will call for a translator with medical expertise. As such, translator qualifications are a major factor in the cost of the translation.

Urgent translations

If you need a translation at short notice, that can also drive up the price. Urgent translations mean that translators will have to rearrange other work they’re doing to prioritise yours. They may have to work outside of their usual working hours to complete the job on time. As such, translation rates for urgent translations tend to be higher.

Purpose of use

The use of the translated copy also plays a role in translation costs. There are various reasons behind this. Marketing copy, for example, may require special formatting and desktop publishing skills – or perhaps even transcreation (this is used for copywriting when the content isn’t translated word for word, but adapted creatively for the target market). Specialist skill requirements will raise the professional translation service price.
For translation documents that are going to be used in legal settings (courts or immigration applications, for example), sworn translation might be a requirement.
This would add to the translation fee, as it requires specialist input from additional individuals.
The use of a translation may require us to undertake additional steps as well – additional quality checks, for example. Any such steps that clients request will increase the translation rates that projects incur.

Cost of living

Even the location of the translator can impact their translation rate per word, and thus the overall cost of the job. This local element to pricing means that translators in countries where the cost of living is higher have to charge more than those where it’s lower.
While this might lead to a temptation to use translators based in other locations, it’s worth remembering the value of local knowledge. If you’re trying to enter into a new market, it’s the translators in that local market who stand the most chance of enabling you to connect with local people. Using translators elsewhere can mean your copy is out of touch with local expressions, terminology and popular culture references.

The added-value of using a translation agency

A translation company like Dixon Associates provides added value on top of the translation work being undertaken, which may affect the translation pricing. Of course, these additional elements also deliver extra value, which is why so many clients opt to use translation agencies to meet their language-related needs.
Below are a few examples of the added extras that agencies like Dixon Associates deliver as part of their work, impacting the average price for translation services that they charge. We’ve also included some ways in which using a translation agency may be able to save you money on your translation rates as well.

Project management and maintenance

Having the agency act as the bridge between you and a dozen language professionals is one of the many perks that businesses get when they use a translation company. Project managers and other team members provide a comprehensive (one-stop) service that delivers oversight of the project from start to finish. This is invaluable for large-scale projects and those that involve multiple linguists and other professionals (developers, desktop publisher, etc.).
Furthermore, maintaining translation glossaries for prolonged collaborations is a part of translation agencies’ remit. This means that, for your future translations, the agency will have a bank of terminology specific to your business. This can deliver outstanding consistency across your documents, as well as speeding up future work.

Translation tools

Translation memory tools can also speed up the process and enhance the quality of your translations ensuring consistency across the board.

Quality assurance

Staff such as project managers and customer service personnel are all part of the outstanding customer experience when you use a translation agency like Dixon Associates. They work together with translators to ensure the quality of your experience from a language perspective and a management perspective. Membership of translation quality organisations such as the Association of Translation Companies and the Institute of Linguists ensure stringent regulations are observed in the translation of your documents, offering peace of mind to each and every client.

Build up of long-term relationships

In business, long-term relationships can sometimes result in preferential pricing. As such, it’s time to think strategically about building up a long-term relationship with a translation company. Getting a quote for a job that incorporates 20 documents might generate a discount, for example, but feeding documents piecemeal to the agency is unlikely to do so. Thinking strategically about your translation needs and forging ahead with a partnership mindset could therefore pay dividends when it comes to the translation rates per word that you’re quoted.
If there’s still more that you would like to know, feel free to get in touch with us by email info@dixon-associates.co.uk or visit our website at www.dixon-associates.co.uk or call us on 01952 288230. We would love to hear from you.


The long-awaited 2022 World Cup in Qatar has just begun with 32 national teams taking part, in the hope of taking the much-coveted Cup home.

Of the 23 total official languages represented at the World Cup, 7 of them are spoken in multiple countries. English is the most common language, being listed as an official language of 9 countries competing. The next most common language is French, followed by Spanish, Arabic, German, Dutch and Portuguese.

With so many different languages represented, the event is expected to have coverage for everyone to be able to follow the games, speeches and commentaries. However, the BBC has recently come under fire for not providing an interpreter for the opening speech, which marks the beginning of the 4 week-long tournament.

In a world where communication is key, one would expect the BBC, the UK national broadcaster of one of the most-viewed competitions in the world, to be able to source an interpreter for those who do not speak or understand Arabic, the main language of Qatar. As the fifth most spoken language, it would not be too difficult to source a qualified interpreter to assist in understanding His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in kicking off the World Cup.

Thanks to his words being translated on a video screen inside the stadium, below is an extract of what was said:

“How beautiful it is for people to put aside what divides them in order to celebrate their diversity and what brings them together at the same time. Finally, we have reached the opening day, the day you have been eagerly waiting for. We will follow, and with us the whole world, God willing, the great football festival, in this spacious ambience for human and civilized communication. People of different races, nationalities, faiths and orientations will gather here in Qatar, and around screens on all continents to share the same exciting moments.

The opening ceremony was meant to introduce Qatar to the world through its culture with a theme of “bridging distances.” It is a shame that the BBC did not plan ahead, especially for one of the most controversial World Cups in history, to include those fans viewing at home, by providing an interpreter to bridge just one of these distances.

The Rising Costs of Cheap Translation and Interpreting Using Unqualified Linguists

A trial at a London court recently collapsed after an unqualified interpreter mistakenly gave the wrong evidence.

A Romanian defendant giving evidence at Snaresbrook Crown Court said the claimant had “beaten them” but the interpreter translated this as “bitten”.

The mistake came to light once the prosecution questioned the defendant. The judge then ordered a retrial.

The Defence solicitor said the interpreter told the court she realised she had made a mistake but had kept quiet about it. When the prosecution cross-examined the defendant, towards the end of the four-day trial for burglary, they asked for evidence of the defendant being bitten. The defendant then said they had been “beaten”.

Mr Sharma said it was inexcusable that a re-trial had to take place as not only had the victim had to recover from the experience, but they then had to go through the alleged incident for a third time, having already given evidence at the trial.

The retrial cost around £25,000.

What is the true cost of a correct and accurate translation or interpretation?

The answer is that this is “incalculable”.

In many instances a court would favour the appointment of an interpreter if the defendant or legal counsel asks for one or appears to not understand what is being said and if English is not their first language.

Sometimes, we know that courts try to avert the use of interpreters to avoid delays, speed up proceedings and save costs, taking the “let us see how we get on” approach without one. But can this approach be justified in the long-term? Naturally, what the court does not wish to happen is that at the end of the trial or hearing, the defendant states that they did not understand what was happening and there is an adjournment or retrial or appeal.

In a hearing at a Crown Court in London recently, upon the request of the defense counsel to appoint an interpreter on behalf of his client, the judge asked whether the defendant really needed one, adding that “using interpreters when it is not necessary gives the impression that people are hiding behind them and is a bad use of public money”. Surely costs of a retrial due to initially cutting corners and using unqualified and experienced interpreters is a “bad use of public money”. The perception of an interpreter and someone who does not have English as their first language needs to be changed. This distrust and prejudice of non-English speakers is extended to the interpreter is some cases whereby the court believes that interpreters exercise a certain level of control over the person assisted and they can therefore substantially influence the outcome of a case. This may be the case when inexperienced interpreters are used. However, using the services of an accredited agency such as Dixon Associates, means this would not happen and has never happened with one of our qualified and experienced linguists. The rules governing the profession mandate that interpreters remain passive actors and unobtrusive figures, limiting themselves to interpreting word by word, from one language to another. The Codes of Conduct of the ITI, ATC and IOL of which we are members, reveal that an interpreter “shall interpret truly and faithfully what is uttered, without adding, omitting or changing anything”.

Unqualified and inexperienced interpreters are most definitely an obstacle in the court room. Using qualified and experienced interpreters however, provide valuable linguistic, cultural and legal expertise. Avoid delays, additional costs and complications, by choosing one of our linguists here at Dixon Associates.

Please call us on +44 (0)1902 312988 for further details in this respect or email us.

Being Understood – A Foreign Language Should be no Barrier to Justice

A Polish client, of one of our solicitor client firms, had been the victim of an RTA. The defendant had attempted to imply that it was the claimant”s fault, assuming her lack of knowledge of the English language would result in her not being able to defend herself. However,  the claimant, through the assistance of an interpreter, was able to explain the full facts of the incident, such that, the defendant had been texting on the phone and subsequently crashed into her car and was in fact driving without due care and attention.

A statement was prepared in Polish and English which the claimant signed and which was disputed by the defendant as being the truth.

The matter went to court. The interpreter did not have to attend the trial, but was able connect via the Court CVP system and interpreted remotely, live into the court room.

The case was successful and the claimant won her claim for personal injuries, compensation and costs.

This would not have been possible had she not been able to give a full account of what happened on the day, in her native language, duly and accurately translated firstly in writing and then verbally in the court room, on the day.

This is a regular occurrence for Dixon Associates, whereby we are asked to translate or interpret for non-English speaking clients in court in cases such as RTAs, accidents at work, breaches of contracts of employment, etc.

Please call us on +44 (0)1902 312988 for further details in this respect or email us.