How to Create a Quote for Website Translation Services

August 18, 2011

Website translation, website globalization or website localization are all terms used to describe the process of taking a website that is in one language, say English, into any one of a number of other languages, say Arabic, Russian and Spanish. 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 four blogs in which I will share a quick approach to calculating translation costs for documents, software, websites and multimedia translation services. While the approach described is somewhat generic and will be modified depending on the type of website translation project we are talking about, 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 to build the quote and determine website translation costs:

  • *Common metrics used for actual translations, or as the trade calls it, Translation-editing-proofing (TEP), are typically per word.
  • Desktop publishing (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.
  • SEO: Country Specific Search Engine Optimization can be calculated per hour.

Of course the cost for technical translations would be priced differently than copy writing or transcreation translation for marketing content. The steps below cover the basics for a website translation quote.

A Sample Website Translation Quote

Let's assume that your project encompasses:

  • 15,000 words
  • General subject matter
  • 25 page website utilizing WordPress, a common website content management system
  • No additional collateral documentation available from the website
  • 20 graphics have text that requires translation/localization
  • Translation from English into Arabic for UAE
  • Comprehensive Global Search Engine Optimization 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) $65 / Hour 2 hours $130
Glossary Development $65 / Hour 8 hours $520
Global Search Engine Optimization* (basic metadata localization only) $65 / Hour 8 hours $520
Translation-editing-proofing (TEP) $.25 /word 15000 words $3,750
Multilingual Web Design, including:
  • Right-to-left enablement of templates
  • CMS Arabic configuration (user/admin)
$65 / Hour 4 hours $260
Graphic Localization (20 graphics) $65 / Hour 4 hours $260
Post Engineering (prepare files for import back into CMS) $65 / Hour 2 hours $130
Basic Website QA/Testing $65 / Hour 10 hours $650
Subtotal $6220.00
Project Management Fee 10% $622.00
Total $6842.00

Please note:

  1. Per word rates can vary between languages, translation versus copywriting and results of translation memory usage.
  2. Graphic localization hours can vary depending on complexity of the graphics.
  3. Engineering can vary depending on content management system used. CMS's like Ektron, Episerver and WordPress have built in functionality or plugins to enable content export/import
  4. 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… This will be the subject of a future blog.
  5. Multilingual Design is assumed, with simple navigation elements to select languages.
    This is also affected by which CMS is used.
  6. Cultural correctness assessment is assumed to have been completed with the above example.


Overview of Basic Tasks Included in 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. Price depends on language and word rate classification.

Providing web design services

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

Graphic Localization

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

Engineering Preliminary

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 codes 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, without making any mistakes or offenses to their target markets, GPI performs a review of the selected communication medium for cultural issues. This would include a review of a client's website, user interface and documentation content and treatment. Items such as content, metaphors, color, sound, and icons are all reviewed for appropriateness. To learn more read the article Creating Culturally Customized Content for Website Translation.

Basic Website QA/Testing

GPI typically provides website localization QA/testers 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 after the client defines the exact type of testing they require.

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 (PPC, etc..). Steps to optimize a CMS for SEO and address all metadata optimizations as well.

Project Management Fee

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

WordPress Translation Plug-in *

WordPress is a powerful open source platform, but without a plug-in, multilingual content management would require manually cutting and pasting from various sections of the website within the CMS to export it when you need to extract your content for translation.

GPI's has developed a translation Plug-In for WordPress which enables users to export and import text, posts, pages, custom fields, terms and navigation content individually or all at once, with just a few clicks. To learn more see our blog post Website Translation Services for WordPress

Useful resources on translation industry definitions

Globalization Partners International (GPI) has created a series of blogs and website resource pages to help you understand key concepts and vocabulary used in the translation and localization industy:

Globalization Partners International helps customers enter new markets by providing comprehensive website translation services into a variety of languages. Free translation quotes can also be obtained from GPI by submitting source files through our request a translation Quote.

You may contact GPI at or at 866-272-5874 with your specific questions about your target global markets and your project goals.

Website Translation
Translation cost, Translation services, website services, website translation, glossary, project management

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Daniela has over 16 years' experience in the translation, localization and language instruction professions. She holds a degree in Sworn, Literary, Technical, and Scientific Translation from the Instituto Nacional de Enseñanza Superior Olga Cossettini in Rosario, Argentina. Starting her career as a translator for English-Spanish/Spanish-English in 1990 over the years she has worked for several Localization Agencies as a translator, assistant project manager and senior project manager. She has completed a wide range of professional certifications in document and website localization with emphasis on translation, budgeting, quality control and project management including The Localization Institute’s Triple Certification in Localization Project Management (Localization Institute Chico, CA, USA). She has managed a wide variety of document, website, software and audio-video localization projects utilizing different Translation Management Systems (TMS), Translation Memory (TM) and I18n and L10n tool suites.