What are the main nuances when calculating the cost of translation?

The calculation of the cost of translation may vary in different organizations. For this reason, when carrying out calculations on your own, you should take into account a number of factors which can help to save a lot of time and money.

As a rule, the cost of a translation is specified for a standard document or for a standard page. Usually this equals 1800 characters including spaces. Let's have a look the main nuances of calculation of the cost of translation in order to check translator’s work and not to pay extra.

What documents for translation can be considered standard?

Standard documents are regarded as the documents of established form, where only certain information is changed, e.g. full name, series and number of passport, date and place of birth, and other information is considered to be standard and remains the same in all documents of this type.

The list of the most popular standard documents:

  • passport, as well as foreign passport;
  • various official certificates (about marriage, birth, death or change of last name);
  • police clearance certificate;
  • education certificate or diploma;
  • various medical documents (certificates, policy).

What is a standard page of a translation?

A standard page of translation (translation page) is a special unit for measuring the amount of translated material in the field of written translations. There are several ways to calculate a standard page of written translation:

  • The first variant is to calculate one standard page as 1800 characters with the spaces. The majority of translation bureaus in Ukraine prefer this approach.
  • The second way is to calculate 250 words. This approach is more common among foreign bureaus.

At the same time written translation of documents involves using both ways. Occasionally the third is used: pay for every word, not for the number of standard pages. It is less common in our country.

How can we check the number of characters in a translated document?

Of course, this parameter is calculated after the completion of translation. For this reason, if the customer decides to conduct various mathematical operations on their own to calculate the price of translation, having just the original document, it's recommended to use special types of coefficients, that are established between language pairs.

The use of Microsoft Word is regarded as the easiest way to calculate the number of characters in a document. Thus, after the completion of translation and receiving the text in digital format, it is possible to calculate the necessary parameters. There are several methods to fulfil this task.

Method 1

In the interface of the program in the lower left corner you may click on the text:" The number of words". After that you will see the window with so-called statistics, where the results of the calculations are represented. The attention should be paid to the paragraph "Characters (with spaces)".

How to count the number of characters in a Word document

Method 2

If you cannot find the line in the lower left corner of your MS Word version using Method 1, you can call the pop-up window "Statistics" in another way. Click several tabs one by one: "Review", then "Spelling" and find there "Statistics". Having carried out this operation, you will reach the access to the same information.

The second way to count the number of characters in the document


Examples are shown in the interface of Word 2016, in other versions there may be a different arrangement of elements

How to calculate the cost of a translation before placing an order?

If the original document is in digital format, it will take 2 minutes and 3 mathematical operations to calculate the cost of a translation. So, step by step:

  1. You need to know the amount of characters in the original document (see above 2 methods how to do this);
  2. Multiply coefficient of the language pair by the number of characters, so that you find out the approximate number of characters in future translation;
  3. Divide the value by characters of a standard page, set in the price list of the bureau (1800 etc.);
  4. It remains just to multiple the result of the previous calculations by the price for one standard page and to get the cost of translation.

Since the same document has a different number of characters in different languages, the coefficients of language pairs are used. Here are some coefficients of the three main language pairs:

  • while translating from Russian to Ukrainian- 0,95;
  • from Russian to English- 1,07-1,12;
  • from Ukrainian to English- 1,11- 1,16.

E.g.: The volume of Ukrainian text in a document is 6027 characters with spaces, and the cost of  translation into English is 80 UAH/1800 characters:

6027*1,16=6991 characters with spaces
6991/1800=3,884 standard pages
3,884*80=310,72 UAH.


What to do with documents which have no digital format?

In this case, to find out the number of characters you should use a special program for "text digitizing", e.g. ABBY FineReader, Adobe Acrobat or online services. Just add the photos or scanned copies of the original text to the application and get an editable digital version of the required text, and then use our guidance how to calculate the cost of translation, as described above.

One of the drawbacks of such a "digitalizing" is that the program doesn't perfectly recognize the text in the photo, and sometimes it's necessary to edit the text by deleting extra characters or correcting missing letters.

How to avoid translator’s fraud?

The translation of documents is such an industry that requires a competent approach when choosing a service provider. Big amount of new companies creates more competition and desire to make money out of a trustful client.

A lot of frauds try to increase the number of characters on purpose by adding special characters (extra spaces, paragraphs, tabs) which are not displayed while printing, but are included in the statistics of a document as characters. You can use the button "Show all characters" in the "Paragraph" section of the standard MS Word interface:

Displaying hidden characters in a translated document


Or you can press the key combination Ctrl + Shift + *

Having enabled this button, you will be shown all the characters and you can check, whether the translated text was correctly edited or any frauds and manipulations were done:

correctly right aligned text


In this picture the text is right aligned correctly with the use of corresponding function in the interface or the key combination Ctrl + R

The text is aligned using spaces


And here the text is right aligned with the use of spaces, which are counted in the statistics as a translated material.

As you can see in our example, it's possible to do the simplest text alignment in two ways, but using the second way the translator has increased the volume of the characters in 3 times! This is alignment of a just one line, so how many "extra" characters can count an unfair translator in a document of 50 pages?

An additional way that helps translation bureaus to confuse their clients is not to mention the volume of a standard page in the price list of written translation services. They may use another figure to calculate the pages of a written text, e.g. 2000 or 1500 characters with spaces.

This article was written to clarify different nuances while calculating the cost of a translation. If you have any question, please write us or contact us!

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