You can only imagine how many times people have asked us about the most effective way to calculate the localization budget, without them actually giving us any access to what they want to translate.
From the client’s perspective, this is an absolutely valid question, as they would like to obtain at least some kind of estimate, based on either the type of their content or the amount of content they wish to translate.
Regardless of what you want to translate, you need to be aware of the various options you have at your disposal. That’s why, in this blog post, we will explain how to calculate a localization budget.
Calculating the localization budget: costs and content
Our first recommendation is that you define what exactly it is that you want to translate, using the guidelines that we’ve presented here. Once you have decided on the content, who will translate it, and how, you can actually start to calculate your localization budget.
Let’s take an actual example to define how you should go about this. For the sake of this argument, let’s say that you have a website similar to our own. You want to localize the homepage, you want to outsource it to us, and you want to translate it using machine translation and human review approach.
The calculation of the localization budget should include the following parameters:
#1. Number of words
You either know the number of words you want to localize on your homepage, or you can use our website crawler to automatically calculate the number of words for translation.
To make this point as clear as possible, let’s use our homepage as an example:
To simplify the calculation, let’s say that our homepage contains 700 words. Most pages on most websites will contain between 500 and 700 words on average, so you can use this as a guideline as well.
#2. Rate per word
What you need to do next is to find out about a rate per word for the target language into which you are translating. This strictly depends on the language combination, but since this is a hypothetical project, we want to simplify the calculation.
Let’s say that the cost-per-word rate is 0,1 EUR per word. This gives us the two main variables we need to calculate the localization budget.
The logical calculation in this case is:
Basic localization budget = number of words x rate per word
In our example, this would be 700 words x 0,1 EUR per word, making it 70 EUR.
Of course, this is a very simplified calculation, as we can add more factors which will influence the price of the website translation project.
The first factor is the number of repetitions across a website. Depending on the type of website, the number of repetitions can range from 20%-30%, like on our website, to over 90%, on e-commerce websites. Repetitions are not charged in projects outsourced to Text United, so approximately 25% of the number of words should not be included in the calculation.
This gives us a refined calculation:
Localization budget (with repetitions) = number of words x 0,75 x rate per word
It brings the costs of the website translation project down to 52,5 EUR, in our hypothetical case.
Another factor is the fact that human review of machine-translated content is usually around 40% cheaper than a full human translation. This is especially true for the most popular languages, such as English, German, Spanish, Italian and French.
Translators of less popular languages like Hungarian and Finnish might not be too happy about lowering their rates in order to review machine-translated content, so always check if this is true for your target language.
Now we have the final calculation for the website translation project:
Localization budget = (number of words x 0,75) x (rate per word x 0,6)
Taking all factors into the consideration, a more universal formula that you can apply to calculate your localization budget will look like this:
With all of the above factors in mind, we would hypothetically need to spend 31,5 EUR to localize our homepage. This is a huge drop from the initial 70 EUR we calculated using the basic calculation method.
Calculating the localization budget: Does a universal approach exist?
One of the main reasons why discussing the final rates for translation services can be futile is the fact that a universal approach simply doesn’t exist. First of all, you have to examine the content to be translated with a translation approach in mind. Once we have the basic details, we can start entering the numbers into the localization budget calculator and begin discussing numbers.
If this all sounds a bit complicated, we have to say that it’s actually not, if you have the files at hand. You can upload the files to our system and get an automated price calculation, based on some very rough estimates. If, due to your localization being limited, you would like to see the numbers drop, reach out to us, and we will help you find the best way to localize your content.
As you can see from the example above, minor changes can influence the final costs significantly; by as much as 50 – or even – 60 percent! We will be glad to help you any way we can, and we will make sure that your content is translated properly, without breaking the bank!
Need more content about translation costs and budgeting? Have a look at these blogs:
as well as