What’s right?
Charging translations per source word or by page?

If you’re involved in translations, we’re sure that you’ve thought about whether to charge by source words or standard page. And we’re even more certain that you’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve had to justify your choice to your clients. If you’re a client, you might be wondering what the difference is?

That’s why we’ve decided to go over the positives and negatives of both. And hopefully shed a light on why we charge by source words.


Charging per page

Charging per page seems the most logical, right? Charging per page is great for things like court certified translations, or other documents that you can’t work out the word count from. But we find that more times than not clients end up paying more by paying per page.


Charging by the number of source words

Now onto the bit we like ?. Charging translations by the number of source words has to be the most common way of charging for translations among reputable translation agencies.  And we personally find it the most transparent way and fair way of charging – MS Word even shows the wordcount so clients can check it.

Not only do clients only pay for what they need, we can also give them discounts on certain words that are repeated during the text thanks to using CAT tools. Translations are also longer than the original so by paying per source word, clients end up paying less.



So as you can see, although we know charging per page is perfect for things like court certified documents, we much prefer charging by source words. To sum it up, this is why:

  • It’s more transparent, you can even check the number of words yourself
  • No rounding – you don’t end up paying for empty space
  • Discounts for repeated words – this isn’t possible when charging per page
  • The translation is normally longer than the original, so you pay less when you pay per source word
  • All reputable agencies charge this way.



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