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Transcription & Translation Services Pricing Guide December 2023

Updated January 12, 2023

Transcription & Translation Services Pricing Guide 2023

Transcription and translation services have become essential for businesses and organizations communicating with customers and partners in different languages or transcribing audio and video recordings.

Multilingual language services are rising in popularity due to increasing interest in “going global.” Companies looking to reach new audiences in less saturated markets may look to expand their presence across various countries.

However, there are often language and cultural barriers when establishing a global brand. Transcription and translation service providers can help their clients target local audiences on a global scale.

Translation projects reviewed on Clutch typically cost

< $10,000
< $10,000 $10,000 - $49,999 $50,000 - $199,999 $200,000 >

As you can see above, transcription and translation pricing can vary from project to project. On Clutch, projects span a couple of thousand dollars to tens of thousands.

What’s the difference between transcription and translation services?

Transcription services create a written record of a statement that was originally communicated verbally. Creating an accurate transcript does not require a transcriber to convert the message from one language to another.

Translation services aid in communication, either in writing or verbally, between clients and stakeholders that speak a different language. For instance, a translator may be called upon to facilitate a business conversation in English and Spanish. With a translator, not all parties need to speak the same language to collaborate.

Both of these services do come at a cost. This guide will help companies determine how much they should expect to invest in transcription and/or translation services.

Translation and Transcription Services Costs by Service Type

The type of services needed almost always determines whether clients can acquire low-cost transcription and translation rates or not.

Service Type
Average Cost

Translation: Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, and Russian

Translation services from a given source language to one of the popular languages listed to the left.

Less than $10,000

Commercial Translation

Translation of text used by companies to communicate with customers (i.e. promotional materials, letters, etc.)


Technical Translation

Transferring the meaning of technical text from one language to another


Translating an existing website in its entirety to a preferred language


Transcribing audio, from either an audio or video file, into a text document

Less than $10,000

Translating written text, either documents or volumes of documents, into a preferred language and formatting


Note: Price ranges above are in U.S. dollars.

This table breaks down the average cost of professional translation and transcription projects by type of service provided. Some services have similar average prices, but transcription and translation costs do waver based on the client’s specific requirements.

What is the Real Cost of Hiring Transcription or Translation Companies?

The typical cost for transcription and translation services on Clutch is less than $25 per hour.

Explore Recommended Translation Companies

How much a company charges though, may depend on your needs. For instance, both how a project is transcribed (human transcription vs. transcription software), and volume of content (i.e. hours of audio to be transcribed), can significantly impact project cost. 

While the true costs will depend on your requirements for professional transcribers and translators, it’s safe to say that these services can be affordable for companies looking to globalize their content.

Transcription Rates & Translation Pricing Models Vary

Transcription and translation can be priced in a multitude of ways. Similar to content writing and editing, pricing models can become very granular by charging per word or per audio minute. Consider these common pricing models in the transcription and translation industry:

  • Per-minute or per-word pricing: Clients are charged a fixed rate for each minute of audio or video transcription or for every translated word. The per-minute or per-word rate can vary depending on factors such as the language, the complexity of the content, and the turnaround time required.
  • Hourly pricing: Clients are charged hourly for the time spent on transcription or translation tasks. This pricing model may be more appropriate for larger projects requiring significant completion time.
  • Project-based pricing: Clients are charged a fixed price for an entire project rather than charging per minute, per word, or hourly. Project-based pricing may be more appropriate for complex or multi-language projects where the scope is challenging to quantify early on.

Watch Out for Rush Fees and Charges for Specialized Services

When examining pricing models for transcription and translation services, keep in mind that extra fees may be applied. Typically, additional fees will come from tight turnaround times and niche or technical subject areas.

Some transcription and translation services companies may charge rush fees for clients who require expedited timelines for certain deliverables. Rush fees may apply when clients need work completed within a shorter timeframe than usual, such as within 24 hours or over a weekend.

Specialized services, on the other hand, are types of transcription or translation that may yield an extra fee. In industries such as law and medicine, transcription or technical translations are more challenging and require specific knowledge. If offered by a service provider, these services may be priced higher than general transcription or translation work.

Why Do Global Companies Invest in Transcriptionists and Translation Services?

Transcription and translation services offer significant value to client companies. These services enable effective and accessible communication from companies to audiences.

Increased Accessibility

Transcription and translation services can make audio and video content accessible to a wider audience by providing written transcripts or translated versions in different languages. This can help client companies to reach a global audience and make their content more inclusive.

Better Communication

These services are centered around taking a human-first, localized approach toward communication. Whether it’s communication between business partners, internal arms of a business, or customers, people are connected through transcription and translation.

Companies avoid all sorts of awkward misunderstandings by investing in strong communication, which allows them to build better relationships with the people they interact with.

Increased Accuracy

It is possible to use software and technology to attempt transcription and translation yourself. However, the accuracy and assurance of quality that service providers can deliver are unmatched.

With professional guidance, you won’t need to fear the risk of costly errors or misunderstandings that can impact your reputation and relationships. Professional transcription and translation services are devoted to high-quality work, and that’s why they hire experienced linguists fluent in both the source and target languages.

Competitive Advantage

Going global as a company is no joke — it takes a lot of work, but the payoff is sizable from a competitive perspective. With the help of transcribers and translators, businesses can connect with a wider audience, communicate more effectively, and enhance their reputation as a global and inclusive organization.

These qualities can be rare in certain industries, allowing companies to differentiate themselves from competitors.

What Services Can Transcription and Translation Companies Deliver?

Transcription and translation service providers can do a lot more than transcribe audio files and video files. Companies can also contribute in the following ways:

  • Audio Transcription
  • Video Transcription
  • Multilingual Translation
  • Localization
  • Interpretation
  • Captioning and Subtitling
  • Proofreading and Editing

When developing a scope of work (SOW) document for a partner company, consider all the ways they could help you develop content and communications assets.

Factors That Influence Translation and Transcription Costs

While these are seemingly endless reasons one company may charge more than another, the major factors that dictate pricing are as follows:

  • Language pair: Language is one of the greatest factors in determining cost. Translation or transcription between languages with similar scripts and structures can be less expensive than between languages with vastly different writing systems and grammatical structures.
  • Turnaround time: As mentioned above, rush projects may require additional resources or staff, resulting in higher costs.
  • Length of the content: Clients will be charged more for longer content because it will demand more time and attention.
  • Level of quality required: High-quality projects may require additional proofreading and editing, boosting prices.
  • Frequency and volume of work: The cost may be lower if the client requires frequent or ongoing transcription or translation services. Many transcription and translation companies offer volume discounts or contract pricing for clients with ongoing projects.
  • Industry: Transcribers and translators may need to have a basic understanding of the industry they’re working in. For this reason, service providers may charge more these services in highly technical fields such as medicine and law. 

2023 Transcription & Translation Pricing by Location

Particularly in the world of transcription and translation, examining the location of potential service providers is of utmost importance. When working with multilingual services, native speakers will likely be able to translate and transcribe more quickly and accurately than others.

Think about it: a native Portuguese translator is going to recognize language patterns better than a freelancer with Portuguese as a second language.

While language skills in different countries are important to note, costs will also vary in different locations. For projects requiring less location-specific skills, such as English transcription, it may be helpful to seek a service provider in a more cost-effective location.

Check out hourly rates by country in popular locations to determine whether you should nearshore, offshore, or onshore.

CountryAverage Cost per Hour
United States of America<$25
United Kingdom$25 - $49
Canada$25 - $49
Australia$100 - $149
Phillippines$100 - $149
Ukraine$25 - $49
Poland$50 - $99
Mexico$50 - $99

* Countries ranked by Clutch traffic

Budget for Transcription & Translation Projects

The transcription and/or translation processes can take businesses to the next level, but it’s important to determine whether the cost bodes well for a sustainable project. Consider factors like audio minutes, turnaround time, and language pair when anticipating costs.

Once you’ve determined to move forward with a service provider, budget the project at every turn to avoid scope creep and miscommunication. With a proper budget and synced workflows, the collaboration is bound to flow smoothly. Staying on the same page as your service provider is the true key to success.

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