Currently, 47% of the Internet is non-English speaking, and that number is growing. If you’re hoping to expand into new markets, or, do business in countries where they speak more than one language, website translation is a given.
For many, the task of website translation doesn’t exactly sound like the easiest of projects, and on top of that, the cost can be pretty expensive depending on the method you choose.
However, there are numerous options available depending on your budget, speed to market, and technical ability. To understand the varying costs associated with translating a website it’s important to explain the most common methods.
So, in this article, we’ll take look at several different website translation methods and give you an answer to the burning question “How much does it really cost to translate my website?”
If you’re looking to translate your website, the first step in understanding the cost implications is to look at the translation process.
When you translate a website you need to consider two sides of the story.
There’s no such thing as a multilingual website without the content, right? Choosing the right option for translation is critical to ensuring you stay on budget when working on your global expansion.
There are four options to choose from:
Let’s start with an obvious option, machine translation.
Within the last five years, the use of machine translation has seen a considerable increase in translation quality. Thanks to artificial intelligence, it’s returning incredibly accurate, high-quality translations.
And, this is, of course, the most cost-efficient solution in the marketplace, because essentially the use of a machine translation provider is completely free for your translation project.
Anyone can enter content and receive a translation back. However, this is where the joy ends. The price point is great, yet the work involved is huge.
For example, you can navigate to the Google Translate website: translate.google.com and enter the URL of your website in the text box. Select the language you wish to translate your website into and click the Translate button.
Your website is translated, however, that’s where it ends. You don’t have any control over the quality of your translations and the big work is in how you’ll actually copy and paste the content from here into a new multilingual website (we’ll take about displaying the content of your website later).
You may have seen the option to add a Google Translate toolbar to your website which will clear up how you’ll display the content, however again, you don’t have any control over the translations.
Also, bear in mind there are no SEO capabilities at all. Google won’t detect any of the translated content of your website; it essentially doesn’t exist anywhere. So your translated website will not appear in search engines.
Another straightforward translation option would be to translate your website manually. As the name suggests, it’s a manual option and you’d be responsible for taking the content of your website and translating it yourself.
Naturally, this method only makes sense if you speak the language you want to translate your website into, or if someone on your team does. That does of course mean, there are some restrictions on what languages you can add as it relies on your language abilities and of course the source language you’re translating from.
The downside of this method is that it is incredibly time-consuming. It requires you to translate your website from scratch and if you consider an average website’s word count, you can quickly see how time-intensive this would be.
But, if you have a very small website, that doesn’t need to be regularly updated and you speak the language you want to add, then this could be an option.
Another option is to use a professional translation service provider or translation company or agency(human translation). This solution will be the most costly because they are translating from scratch and providing you with highly accurate content.
The cost of professional translation also varies due to numerous factors.
To begin with, you’re looking at an average of $0.08-$0.25 per word rate. The reason for the variation is the following:
That means for a website of around 10,000 words, it’s approximately $1,200 – and again, as we mentioned above, this won’t cover the costs of integration and website management.
Again, this option could work if you have a small website and only want to add one language. But think again if you’re looking to add multiple languages as the price will need to be doubled, tripled, and so on.
The other downside is that for every new page of content or blog post you add, you’ll need additional translation support. When the average blog post can amount to 1,000 words, you can easily start to see how unaffordable professional translation can be.
On top of that, there’s still some manual work from your side. You’ll need to supply a word or excel file of all the content on your website and liaise with a translator back and forth. You would also need to factor in a form of project management on your side, to keep the project running smoothly.
Cost of translation (dependent on website size): Starting from $1,200
Presenting the best of both worlds. Taking your website, using a website translation solution such as Weglot, and benefiting from speed, automation, and accuracy.
That’s because the way Weglot works is by automatically detecting all the content on your website and then translating it using a first layer of machine translation.
This means you have a fully translated website up and running in just minutes. You can then go into your Weglot Dashboard and make manual edits to all of your translations, add your own translators or order professional translators.
Weglot allows you to control your translation quality by mixing all the options we mentioned above. This is really useful because there will often be parts of your website you can keep machine-translated and other pages such as your homepage or product pages where you might want to benefit from the eyes of a pro translator.
When you’re considering your options, you also need to think about what solution is going to grow with you.
A combination of machine, manual and professional translation means you won’t be relying on translation agencies every time you add a new page on your website. Any new page will automatically appear in your chosen language you can then decide if you want to fine-tune the translations further.
What’s more, Weglot’s user-friendly dashboard gives you all the translation management features you need so there are no manual back-and-forth spreadsheets needed.
Costs: machine translation software Weglot* + 10,000 words of professional translation would be €1280.
*Business Weglot package: 50,000 words automatically translated into 3 target languages (€290/ year)
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article there are two aspects to consider in translating your website. We covered the translation side, but now we need to look at the technical side and how you’ll display your translations.
In simple terms, how are you planning on displaying your newly translated content?
The two main solutions we’re highlighting:
Let’s review these.
By this, we mean creating a new website for each new language you want to display. Sounds like a big task, right?
Well, you’d be correct. This is no small project. Got in-house developers? Great, they’ll be working on this for the next few months (depending on the size and complexity of your website requirements).
No in-house developers? Then expect to pay anything from $50-$150 an hour for use of a developer.
The gravity of the task is daunting, which is why it probably works better if you want to create a small website in a different language, with content that is very different than your main website. Like landing pages in French and Italian, with simple contact forms to match your French and Italian leads.
It’s not a great solution if you need your whole website duplicated into a new language.
There are many limitations to this one, even if you’re just going for the basic option of translating selected pages. You’ll need to consider the upkeep costs of managing a second website. This is both in terms of translation costs and time.
You could of course go for a simple managed website like Squarespace or Wix, but don’t forget to consider the cost of maintaining all those websites over the years. You’ll need to duplicate technical changes like updates, design tweaks, and any upgrades across the websites – plus you’ll need to separately update any changes in each language.
Costs: Translation pricing will cost you anywhere from €500-€30,000
What if I told you there was a solution that meant you didn’t need to create a whole new website to display your newly translated content?
That’s exactly where website translation software comes in. You read about how it can help in terms of translating the content of your site, but the even better part is it will take care of displaying the content too.
Using translation software is a fast and effortless way to translate and display your website content in minutes, to give you a multilingual website.
However, there are different types of website translation software. There are those where you have to do everything yourself and are generally quite complicated to maintain, such as WPML, Polylang, and Transifex, or automated solutions, such as Weglot.
Many competitor solutions actually require the manual creation of each translated page, making the process a lot less seamless.
The best part of Weglot, no developers and no coding are required. WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, Wix…actually any website can be integrated with Weglot’s automated translation solution.
We’ve worked on developing a translation solution that has no impact on your site speed, removes hours of work, and allows you to manage your website translations.
And that word again – SEO. With Weglot, your newly translated content is properly indexed on Google, allowing your new customers to search and find you in their language.
Cost: You can trial Weglot for free. Plans start from €12.50 a month.
You’ve seen the options, and hopefully, we’ve managed to show you there are solutions to making your website translation easier so you can have a multilingual website up and running quickly.
Let’s do a quick summary: