2 Simple Ways to Calculate Your Translation Budget

Lucy Xu
June 26, 2018
4 min read

As with any business project, investment in a global presence will require creating a budget. When creating a translation budget, your expenses will be driven largely by two components: the content you select to localize (be it content, website, or product) and the ongoing maintenance required after you launch your localized content.

The good news is that regardless of the scale of your localization project, your translation budget can be calculated through some straightforward equations. For your launch and annual maintenance budgets, simply identify the translation method you will be using, and then follow the two equations below.

Launch Budget

When calculating your launch budget, the biggest factors to take into consideration are the number of source words and the cost per word for the translation method you have selected. Depending on how you will be sourcing your translations, the explicit cost of translations can range from nothing (if you’re crowdsourcing translations from your user base) to 30-40 cents per word for the highest service-level from a professional translation agency for normal business content (something we typically see being used in enterprise localization projects). Highly specialized translations can cost even more.

Here’s the full calculation for determining your launch budget:

Translation Launch Budget Equation

For additional information on various translation options for your particular needs, our website translation guide will walk you through all the fundamentals of selecting the right translation resources.

Annual Maintenance Budget

After you’ve launched your website localization, the next budget to establish is your annual maintenance budget. In short, how much it will cost you for the upkeep of your localized content (e.g., site updates, new content). Before beginning your translation project, it is important to establish a target maintenance budget. To calculate your annual maintenance budget, there is one main difference from the launch budget calculation: you must determine the frequency of content refreshes on your site that you will want to deliver to your target launches and countries (the number of revisions per year).

Here’s how you can calculate your annual maintenance budget. Once you have your translation budgets calculated, you’re ready to start translating!

Translation Maintenance Budget Equation

Start Budgeting & Localizing

If you’re still in the stage of exploring the main ways to translate your content, a great place to start is understanding the three main ways to translate your content. If you have already started evaluating translation management software, make sure you think about the features you want in your future TMS.

The world of tools and resources available to you for your translation project are endless. Always remember that various translation tools will give you different types of flexibility and control when it comes to managing your localization project (from translation budget to launch to maintenance). 

Explore the Full #TranslationMustKnows Series

This post is part of the #translationmustknows series, built to equip everyone in your localization process – from developers to localization managers – with the knowledge and resources necessary for achieving translation and localization success.

Explore the full #translationmustknows series to catch up on other posts and learn everything you need to know for translation success:

Achieve Website Translation Success

Website localization is a complex task. That’s why we’ve put together a guide that breaks down each key step of your software localization process from start to finish. Download the guide for action items and best practices for website and app localization, and an overview of the results that effective localization can drive for your business. Whether you’re a digital marketer responsible for all the facets of your company’s website or a webmaster responsible for the infrastructure and processes behind the scenes, this guide will walk you through all the critical steps of localizing your content.

Lucy Xu
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