How to interpret a translation quote | AT Language Solutions

Translation quotes

Have you requested several translation quotes and are now having difficulties understanding the breakdown provided by each translation agency? Do you get the impression you could end up paying more if you choose the translation service that's quoted the lowest amount per word? What a mess! Don't worry, we'll take you through it, step by step. This article will clear things up for you and you'll soon know exactly how to unpick a translation quote.

How is a translation quote worked out?

Translation quotes include all the various services a company will provide, broken down into different items, along with an estimated project lead time. The most common way is to present the cost based on the number of words translated, but other details may be itemised that are more tailored to the nature of the project.

Services offered

On top of the translation, your quote might include other services such as proofreading, transcreation, layout or transcription. Unlike translation - which is calculated per word - these services are often quoted in other ways, for example as an hourly rate, or cost per minute of video content.


A quote could also include various surcharges depending on the nature of the project - achieving the highest level of quality might entail additional costs. The most common type of surcharge is for urgent work: this could mean several translators working on a project at the same time in order to shorten the lead time. Another common surcharge is for specialisms. This guarantees that particularly technical texts are translated as accurately as possible by translators who specialise in the field.


Discounts may also be applied to a quote to make a more attractive offer to the client. These are not arbitrary: they're based on objective criteria such as an introductory offer for the first collaboration between a client and AT or higher value orders. These might be added as a straightforward percentage or a reduction in the rate of one of the items included on the quote.

Our translation quote

At ATLS, we prepare quotes for you that are as transparent as possible, with clearly itemised amounts that reflect our clients' individual needs and meet their expectations for a quality service. Thanks to individually tailored agreements, our clients benefit from the best possible conditions, especially if we work together regularly or if they use our technological solutions (for website translation for example).

What's the catch?

As we said at the beginning of this article, some quotes might look like very good value if you only look at the rate, but they could well be hiding other extra costs that make them less than ideal. The most important thing you can do is look at your quote in detail, see exactly what services are being offered and at what price, and assess whether it meets your needs. To sum up, when it comes to accepting a quote, don't just look at the cost per word - also weigh up:

  • Services offered
  • Items included (broken down into words or other units)
  • Translator specialisation (if necessary)

Here at AT Language Solutions, we want our clients to know how to interpret a translation quote, so they can choose the translation agency that best suits their needs and offers them the best service for the work they've requested.

Do you want a transparent and tailor-made translation quote? Request a no commitment quote here!

Joan Corrons
Chief Operating Officer at ATLS

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Written by ATLS

Translation and Digital Marketing Agency - ATLS.
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