Translation Cost Converter

Translators in different countries charge in very different ways, so converting and comparing prices can become extremely complex. The aim of this tool is to simplify such comparisons. Enter data below (move between cells with the Tab key) and the form will automatically update, as shown in this video clip). A full explanation follows below the form.

How are translation costs calculated?

There is no global standard for how to charge for translations. As an example, one German to English translator (or translation agency) might quote a rate of '60 Eurocents per target line of 55 keystrokes' whereas another might say 'GBP 50 per 1000 words of source text'. It's hard to compare such figures, even with rounded figures, especially as expansion ratios also vary widely.

Expansion ratios

Chinese and German are often concise, where English is verbose: one German word can end up as over ten words in English. Older Japanese texts are close to Chinese, with on average 1.8 characters per English word, but modern (trendy or scientific) texts contain lots of phonetic 'Katakana' signs, so the average rises to around 3.5 characters per word.

That's why we created this tool, to simplify conversions and comparisons between multiple languages and currencies. It currently handles the following units::

('Words' and '字' are treated as identical - as MS Word does - but listed separately so that nobody thinks a line of Asian text actually contains just 10字.) Note: the form can also do simple sums, e.g. entering '1/2' is the same as 0.5.

The Refresh button may help if automatic updating fails in your browser, but if even that fails, you can try this Google Sheet version, or the various calculators on Fabio Salsi's (archived) site.