Most global Translators usually prefer to be paid by word count in the document as opposed to per hour strategy in the “Per-word vs Per-hour” translation pricing debate. However, some other translators and translation agencies argue that per hour pricing strategy is efficient and fair to both parties though a bit expensive and tiresome compared to word count. How to calculate good hourly fares and rates, and when to agree on an hourly payment strategy instead of the word count-rate system is often difficult for many clients and translations agencies.

Per-Word vs Per-Hour

The freelance translator will however, at times receive an offer of a translation job that requires to be paid by the per-hour strategy. Organizations and companies like law firms commonly prefer this model since attorneys commonly think in terms of billable hours, and not the number of words in given documents. Therefore, translators and translation agencies here are required to calculate how many words per hour they can averagely translate and then create an hourly rate that properly suits this level of income and productivity.

Some translators and translation agencies support the strategy of quoting many projects by the hour simply because they think that most clients will easily understand and be convinced by an hourly rate, since they are used to that pricing strategy in other professional services, such as legal services of lawyers and accounting services and a lot more hence, most of them request for quotes on per-hour basis basing on that.

Per-word pricing strategy is at most times based on the argument that the more words that need to be translated, the more time it takes to complete a job. Words in a document are proxies for the translator’s effort and time. This model is quite easy to understand for most clients. Because anyone can understand that translating 200 words in a document will take you much less time and effort than translating 1,000 words to the same language.

With Per-word model however, it also said that in most cases, it is very easy to count the words in the document to determine the rates though it may get trickier with web based content and PDF documents. The challenge with per word pricing strategy is that most clients will definitely have no idea how many words are in the website, software or the documents they need to translate and so word count will be a problem to determine the rates. That is sometimes because they never considered their documents being translated on a per-word basis unlike most translation agencies and translators.

Therefore, both pricing models are so crucial and before choosing one over the other, both the client and the translator or the translation agency should examine a few assumptions under each strategy and come up with one that will favor the both parties. More on that, languages being translated also matter a lot and should be well considered before coming up with a pricing strategy.