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How to Create a Quote for Website Translation Services

Website translation, website globalization and website localization are all terms used to describe the process of taking a website in one language and translating it into other languages. One of the first questions companies ask when inquiring about website translation services is “how much will it cost?”

This is the second in a series of three blogs in which I will share a quick approach to calculating translation costs for documents, software and websites. While the approach described is somewhat generic and will be modified depending on the type of website translation project you need, the basic line items and metrics needed to understand the costs for website translation are valid.

Getting Started with a Website Translation Quote

In order to create a quote for a website translation project, a series of tasks and metrics are required by your translation agency to build the quote and determine costs:

  • Common metrics used for actual translations, translation-editing-proofing (TEP), are typically per word.
  • Desktop publishing (DTP) (i.e., formatting) costs can be calculated per hour or per page.
  • Graphic localization (text inside graphics) costs can be calculated per hour.
  • Translation companies should also include a glossary development step and project management fee.
  • Multilingual website design can be calculated per hour.
  • Cultural correctness assessments/customizations can be calculated per hour.
  • Engineering can be calculated per hour.
  • Basic website QA/testing can be calculated per hour.
  • Internationalization, localization and/or functionality testing can be calculated per hour.
  • Locale-specific SEO can be calculated per hour.
A Sample Website Translation Quote

Let’s assume that your project includes the following details:

  • 15,000 words.
  • General subject matter.
  • 25-page website using WordPress.
  • No additional collateral documentation available from the website.
  • 20 graphics have text that requires translation/localization.
  • Translation from English into Arabic for the UAE.
  • Comprehensive SEO is not addressed as part of this quote, only basic metadata localization.
Tasks Cost per hour / word / page # of hours / words /pages Total
Pre-Engineering (export content from CMS in XLIFF format, prepare for using translation memory workflow) $55 / Hour 2 hours $110
Glossary Development $55 / Hour 8 hours $440
Global Search Engine Optimization* (basic metadata localization only) $55 / Hour 8 hours $440
Translation-Editing-Proofing (TEP) $0.20 /word 15000 words $3,000
Multilingual Web Design, including:

  • Right-to-left enablement of templates
  • CMS Arabic configuration (user/admin)
$55 / Hour 4 hours $220
Graphic Localization (20 graphics) $55 / Hour 4 hours $220
Post Engineering (prepare files for import back into CMS) $55 / Hour 2 hours $110
Basic Website QA/Testing $55 / Hour 10 hours $550
Subtotal $5090.00
Project Management Fee 10% $509.00
Total $5599.00


Quick Quote Calculator - GPI Translation

Please note:

  • Per word rates can vary between languages, translation versus copywriting and from the results of translation memory usage.
  • Graphic localization hours can vary depending on the complexity of the graphics.
  • Engineering can vary depending on which content management system is being used.
  • Comprehensive search engine optimization should be performed as part of every website localization project and may involve tasks such as initial keyword research, keyword localization, internal link building, copywriting, metadata localization, etc.
  • Multilingual design is assumed, with simple navigation elements to select languages.
  • Cultural correctness assessment is assumed to have been completed with the above example.
Overview of the Basic Tasks Included in a Website Translation Quote

The basic tasks in a website translation services project may include:

Glossary Development

Key terminology is identified and extracted from the source files provided by the client. The terminology is translated and provided back to the client for review and approval. Following review and approval, the terminology is imported into a translation memory tool and updated as needed.

Translation-Editing-Proofing (TEP)

This includes translation of text, editing of the text by a separate translation team and final proofreading. Pricing depends on language and word rate classification.

Providing Web Design Services

This may include several items like designing templates, navigation elements such as full global gateway pages or simple drop downs and right-to-left enablement for BIDI languages (bidirectional languages like Arabic and Hebrew).

Graphic Localization

This process involves creating new graphics by extracting translatable text from the source graphics, translating the text and placing it back into the new translated graphic. Graphic localization might also include layout elements, buttons, navigation items, maps, etc.

Preliminary Engineering

Source files (localization kits) are analyzed by your localization engineer. Components which are translatable are identified and prepared in a format that translators can easily work on without altering any source code or mark-up. Any necessary conversions are performed in order to import source content into a translation memory database.

Post Engineering

Localized files are returned to their original source formats and checked to ensure that no original code or mark-up have been changed and imported back into their original format and web content management system.

Cultural Correctness Assessments

In order to ensure clients communicate in the most locale-sensitive, culturally appropriate fashion, GPI performs a review of the selected communication medium for cultural issues. This would include a review of a client’s website, user interface, documentation content and treatment. Items such as content, metaphors, colors, sounds and icons are all reviewed for appropriateness.

Basic Website QA/Testing

GPI typically provides website localization QA for websites by having language professionals examine a localized website to ensure that all linguistic and cosmetic items are correct. GPI can also provide professionals to work side-by-side with a client’s expert user(s). More formalized website testing (onsite or offsite) including detailed internationalization, localization and functionality can be provided and is quoted after the client provides an exact type of required testing.

Global Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Global SEO may include a variety of SEO-related tasks such as research of potential keywords, metatags, phrases, ad copy and web content along with translation/localization of this content to be used for the new language version sites and marketing programs. It may also include steps to optimize a CMS for SEO and address all metadata optimizations.

Project Management Fee

This fee includes all aspects of project management by your GPI team including scoping, scheduling, project coordination including the client review and approval process, status reports/calls and budget tracking.