Why Do We Charge A Minimum Fee For Translations?

Our Policy

Why We Charge A Minimum Fee For Translations


We’re often asked about our minimum fee policy when talking to new clients, as some of our competitor translation providers don’t always include one in quotes. It may seem frustrating to have to agree to a minimum fee, even if you’re only after a few short translations, but we’ve found that it benefits everyone involved. From ensuring quality to upholding our core values, there are a number of positive reasons that we stick strong to our minimum fee — even if it could put some potential clients off.

But first, let’s have a quick look at what impacts the overall costs of your translation projects.

The cost of translation

Costs will always differ depending on the type of translation you need. There are different levels of quality and complexity depending on the purpose and audience of your text. For example, a legal document or a medical report might require a higher level of accuracy and expertise than a casual email or a social media post. 

Another factor that impacts cost is the language pair or combination. Some languages are more common, so there’ll be more translators available than others. For example, translating from English to Spanish might be cheaper than translating from English to Icelandic, because there are more Spanish speakers and translators in the world. The supply and demand of translators for each language pair will determine the price per word or per hour.

Learn about some of the rarest world languages.

A third factor that influences the cost of translation is the deadline. If you need your translation done quickly, you might have to pay extra for a rush service. This is because translators might have to work overtime or prioritize your project over others. On the other hand, if you have a flexible deadline, you might be able to negotiate a lower price, or get a discount for bulk orders.

The final factor that impacts the cost of translation is the quality of the source text. If your text is clear, well-written and free of errors, it will be easier and faster for translators to work on it. However, if your text is poorly written, ambiguous or full of mistakes, it will take more time and effort for translators to understand and correct it. 

So while rates and costs will differ for each project, we always include a base rate, or minimum fee. This might mean we’re priced out when competing with other LSPs, but it’s something we will always stick to. 

What is a minimum fee in translation?

Usually, a minimum fee is put into a contract to cover all and any small or adhoc project, but this will differ between translators and LSPs. Most translation agencies will use this minimum fee to cover any administrative work that comes alongside the linguistic project. Think emails, invoicing, discussing timeframes or edits, etc. 

A pot of coins with a plant shoot 'growing' out of it to represent the importance of a minimum fee

For us here at Managed Language, we will build in a minimum fee to every project. It’s never a set fee — we base our costings on each individual piece of work, rather than offer a package model to ensure we’re making the process as easy as possible for our clients. But this gives us, our linguists and you, our client, flexibility when it comes to the scope of work while ensuring the translations are still tip-top quality. 

Why do we charge a minimum fee?

Quality Assurance

When it comes to translation, quality is paramount. By having a minimum fee, we can ensure that our team of native linguists can dedicate more than enough time and effort to deliver high-quality translations. Rather than stacking their days with multiple projects due to low-paying jobs, they can take their time to research your brand/the subject and check (and re-check!) that the work they’re producing is the very best.

This means that you, our client, will receive accurate, engaging and culturally appropriate translations that convey your message.

If you need to be reminded about how quality is vital in multilingual content, check out this blog post. 

A person writing in an open notebook to depict quality in content services like translation

Expertise and Specialisation

If you’re here, you probably already know that translation is not just about converting words from one language to another! It requires expertise and specialisation to ensure the messaging is on brand, culturally sensitive and adds value for your own customers. By setting a minimum fee, we can (and do!) attract and retain top-tier translators who are native to your new target market, and experienced in specific industries or subject matters. 

This means you can be confident your translations are handled by professionals who understand the nuances and terminology of your field and the new audience.

Investment in Technology

In today’s digital age, the significance of translation technology can’t be overstated. It serves as a valuable asset in improving both efficiency and accuracy (luckily something we have years of experience in!). By implementing a minimum fee, we are able to allocate resources towards acquiring cutting-edge translation tools and software. These state-of-the-art resources work seamlessly to streamline the entire translation process — from internal organisation to file engineering — enabling us to deliver translations with remarkable speed without compromising on the quality that our clients deserve.

Final thoughts

We have a minimum fee for translations because we value quality over quantity. We don’t want you to settle for subpar translations that can damage your image and credibility, or cause you legal or cultural troubles. Our prices reflect our high standards and results, as we collaborate with professional linguists who are native speakers and experts in their fields. We also treat them with respect and dignity, and pay them fair fees that go beyond the industry average. We believe in creating a sustainable and ethical language industry that rewards excellence and passion. 

Our minimum fee is not just a number; it’s a guarantee of outstanding quality, expertise, and personalised service. At Managed Language, we love what we do and we do it with care.

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