How Should Freelance Translators Price Their Services?

If you used to work in the office all your life, it might be pretty scary to start freelancing. But don’t worry! If you decided to become a freelance translator, you are heading in the right direction.

The first thing you should do to become successful is to price your services reasonably. If you have no idea how to calculate the translation rate, check out the following helpful tips.


The most important factor, which influences the price of translation services, is the experience of the freelancer. Just like at any other job, a client will not pay you big money, if you are not able to perform your task successfully.

If you lack experience, don’t overprice your services. You should start working at a minimal rate. As soon as you improve your performance, you will be able to raise the translation cost.

Language pair

By PickWriters translation price always depends on the source language and target language. For instance, if you translate English to Spanish, you will find it challenging to get high-paying orders. The problem is that supply for this language pair is higher than demand.

But if you translate Russian to Japanese or Ukrainian to Croatian, you can price your services very high. There are not so many freelance translators online, who can complete this job. So, your clients will have no other options but hire you and pay you as much as you request.

Niche translation

As a rule, there is always a high demand for translators with a background in mechanical, electrical, engineering, aviary, IT, energy or automotive industries. For this reason, if you are an expert in one of these niches, you can set a higher translation price. Don’t miss a chance to apply your knowledge to increase your income!

For instance, there is no sense to translate articles related to the marketing, if clients are not going to pay you more than $0.15 per word. It’s much better to translate technical documentation and operation manuals and charge $0.25 per word. You should build your online reputation, and then you will not face any difficulties in getting new high-paying orders.


If you are ready to work on urgent orders, you are eligible to price your services higher. Obviously, if you are forced to work more intensively to complete translation faster, your efforts should be rewarded. As a freelancer, you should negotiate a rush rate with your client and mention it in your contract.

You can design a flexible pricing scheme. For instance, you can offer your clients to pay $0.10 per word if they want to get the translated document in a week, $0.12 – in two days, $0.14 – in a day, and $0.16 – within 12 hours. So, you will be able to earn more translating the same documents, if you boost your speed.

Freelance platform fee

When you calculate the translation rate, don’t forget that freelance platform will charge you with the transactional fee. For instance, if you use Upwork, you will pay a service fee, which is equal to 20% of total income.

So, before setting a price for your services, you should define how much money you want to earn and then add a commission. For instance, if you aim to receive $350 on your bank account, you should request your client to pay you $437.5.

In conclusion

Income of a freelance translator depends on numerous factors. For this reason, you can always find a way to improve your performance and, consequently, increase the price of your services. Never stop mastering your foreign language skills, and you will always keep ahead of the competition.

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