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.

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.

How Much Does A Certified Translation Cost?

If you need a certified translation for an official or legal document, you might wonder how much it will cost.

The short answer is that it depends on a variety of factors, including the length and complexity of the document, the language pair being translated, and the certification requirements.

We’ll share with you why is having a certified legal translation is important, how much it will cost you to get it done and what is the criteria for those prices.

Why Is Certified Translation Important?

A certified translation is a translated document that has been signed by a professional translator who ensures the accuracy of the translation.

It’s usually required for official or legal purposes, such as when applying for a visa, enrolling in a university, or submitting legal documents to a court.

The certification serves as a guarantee that the translation is accurate and complete, and can be trusted by the receiver of the document.

Why Certified Translation Is Important:

Legal Requirements:

In many cases, certified translations are required by law for official and legal purposes, such as immigration, education, and international business.


Certified legal translations are completed by professional translators who have the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience to provide accurate and reliable translations.

This ensures that the translated document accurately reflects the content and meaning of the original document.


A certificate of translation provides official proof that the translation has been completed by a certified translator, which helps to build trust in the translation and show that it is legally valid.

How Much Will A Certified Translation Cost You?

A certified translation will have varying prices regarding many factors which we’ll discuss later in the article.

On average, the cost of a certified translation can range from around $0.09 to $0.30 per word depending on the language pair and other factors.

This means that a single-page document with simple content may cost between $25 and $75.

A multi-page document with more complex content may cost between $100 and $500 or more.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that these are just rough estimates, and the actual cost of your translation will depend on factors that we’ll discuss.

The 5 Criteria For Setting The Pricing Of The certified Translation

The cost of a certified translation can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the type of document, the length of the document, the complexity of the content, and the language pair.

1) The Length Of The Document

The length of the document is one of the biggest factors that affect the cost of a certified translation.

In general, the longer the document, the more expensive the translation will be. This is because longer documents take more time and effort to translate, and the cost of the translation is typically calculated based on the number of words or pages.

2) The Complexity Of The Content

The complexity of the content is another key factor that can impact the cost of a certified translation.

Documents that contain technical or specialized language, legal jargon, or complex concepts will typically cost more to translate than simpler documents.

This is because it requires a higher level of expertise and knowledge to translate complex content accurately and effectively.

3) The Language Pair

The language pair can also have an impact on the cost of a certified translation.

Some language pairs are more in demand than others, and the cost of translation can vary depending on the level of demand.

For example, translations from Spanish to English are typically more affordable than translations from less common languages, such as Russian or Arabic.

4) The Turnaround Time

The turnaround time for a certified translation can also affect the cost.

If you need a translation completed quickly, you can expect to pay a premium for the faster service.

On the other hand, if you have a more flexible timeline, you may be able to negotiate a lower price for a slower turnaround time.

5) The Qualifications Of The Translator

The qualifications and experience of the translator can also play a role in determining the cost of a certified translation.

Translators who have specialized expertise in a particular field, such as law, medicine, or engineering, may charge more for their services.

Similarly, translators who have been in business for a long time and have a proven track record of high-quality work may also charge more for their services.


Legal translation is by far one of the most complex, 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.

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