Cost Components in Translation Agency Services

What are the costs incurred in translation services that ultimately factor into the price paid? Among the ones I can identify, listed in no particular order are:

1. The translator. A skilled linguist sits down and translates.

2. Proofreading. A second skilled linguist proofreads the translator’s work. For full TEP (translation, editing, proofreading) a third phase of activity would be included.

3. Project management. Someone coordinates the activities among the linguists, and in some cases might be the primarily liaison with the end client.

4. Marketing. Translation clients don’t just materialize out of thin air. Promotional activities of various forms are employed to attract clients and convey unique advantages associated with their services.

5. Accounting. Someone manages billing, receiving payments from clients, and administers payments made to translators. Accounting records also form the basis for paying taxes to federal and state authorities.

6. Operational overhead. This is includes expenses such as an office, staff members, computers, software, telephone, and internet.

7. Profit. In the end an agency must take in more than is paid out in direct costs. Otherwise its operations aren’t sustainable and its business isn’t viable.

These are among the costs that establish the price that clients ultimately pay for services.


4 replies
  1. Lisa Mathew
    Lisa Mathew says:

    Another key component to pricing is related to delivery time requirements. Perfect planning and, more importantly, enough time to line up resources let us deliver high volume outputs at the most competitive rates in the market.


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