How Much Does Legal Translation Cost? What You Need to Know

how much does legal translation cost what you need to know

Legal translation is one of the hardest and therefore costliest forms of translation. And while there are generally many factors that affect the cost of translation services, legal translation costs are a different story.

The factors that affect the cost of legal translation differ from those that affect the cost of other types of translation.

In this article, we’ll be talking about translation costs, specifically the cost of translating legal documents – and why they can be pricey.

What impacts translation costs

Before we explore what impacts the cost of legal translation, let’s first look at what affects translation costs in general.

1) Language scarcity

One of the top factors that affect translation costs is the scarcity of certain languages.

It’s worth mentioning that a language may be widely spoken but still lacks professional or experienced legal translators.

This is often the case in countries where people speak multiple languages locally or speak and write several variations of the same language.

An example of this is the differences between Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese.

2) Language difficulty

The complexity of certain languages contributes to the cost of translation.

Languages like Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese are considered difficult and therefore may require higher fees.

This is even clearer in legal translation where language complexity combined with legal jargon results in higher translation costs.

3) Language pairs

Some languages and accordingly language pairs are more expensive than others. This is usually because of the scarcity or complexity of that language – or both.

Finding skilled legal translators – or certified legal translators – is hard. Finding those skilled translators in certain language pairs makes it harder and therefore costlier.

4) Deadlines

The delivery deadline is a major factor that impacts translation costs.

Need a document or project translated and submitted in record time? You can expect to pay double the standard rate for such a request.

5) Size or volume of the product

Another important factor when it comes to translation costs is the volume of the project. Most translation projects are calculated on a per-word basis.

That said, some projects like interpretation, consecutive, and at-sight translation are calculated per hour.

A 5,000-word project will cost less than a project in the same niche but comprising 10,000 or more words.

6) Project requirements

Some projects combine several elements such as creative translation, and video translation such as scripts, and voiceover, among other elements. Each of these elements has its own pricing, which needs to be factored into the translation project.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t common in legal translation, but it is a cost-impacting factor.

Legal translation costs: How much does it cost to translate legal documents?

In addition to the above factors, legal translation comes with its own set of challenges. These include:

1) Complex sentence structures

Legalese or the legal language is known for its complex structures.

For example, you’ll often hear people saying that you shouldn’t have run-on sentences in English. While that’s 100% true, run-on sentences are a common element in legal writing and translation.

The situation is often similar in other languages worldwide, resulting in complex structures in the target language.

2) Complex legal jargon

Complex structures aren’t the only problem. Legal jargon is also widely known for its complexity and how variations in certain words can change the meaning entirely.

3) Expertise and confidentiality

While translators have to start at the beginning at some point, you’re more likely to be searching for a skilled legal translator. This means they need to:

–       Have experience translating contracts and legal documents

–       Be aware of the legal jargon in the source and target languages

–       Be familiar with legal structures in two languages

–       Be capable of maintaining confidentiality while translating the legal document

How much does a legal translation cost?

Last but not least, while there are many factors that impact translation costs, we can provide a starting range for legal translation prices.

This pricing will differ based on the country where the translation service provider is located and the language pairs.

For example, legal translation from Chinese into Arabic or vice versa will be costlier than German to English legal translation or vice versa. At the same time, translation of legal texts from German to English or vice versa costs more than English-to-Arabic legal translation or Arabic-to-English translation.

If we’re to look at costs, English to Arabic and Arabic to English translation have a starting price of $0.07 to $0.10 per word. The average page of translation – in any field – is 250 words. This puts the starting price for English-to-Arabic legal translation (and vice versa) at about $18 per page. This figure can go up to $25.

Meanwhile, other language pairs – and again we stress that the languages themselves impact pricing – have a starting range of $0.10 to $0.15 per word, making the per-page rate range from $25 to around $38.


Legal translation is by far one of the most complexes, and therefore most expensive forms of translation. It’s a type of translation that is unlikely to see machine translation or artificial intelligence any time soon.

In addition, there are several factors that affect the cost of legal translation. These factors are different from those that affect the cost of other types of translation like translating online courses or website translation and so on.

Another factor that you need to consider when translating legal texts is considering whether you want to do the translation in-house or work with a legal translation company.

If you need help translating legal texts and official documents, then get in touch with TranslationPartner and we’ll help you deliver quality, certified, official, legal documents.

While we specialize in providing Arabic legal translation services, we also help businesses translate legal texts into multiple languages.