How Much Does Legal Translation Cost (And How Long Does It Take)?

How Much Does Legal Translation Cost (And How Long Does It Take)?

In the intricate world of legal proceedings, accurate and reliable translation is not just a convenience—it's a necessity.

Whether it is translating contracts, witness statements, court documents, or other legal materials, ensuring the precise translation of legal terminology and concepts is essential for upholding the integrity of legal proceedings and safeguarding the rights of all parties involved. Failure to do so can come at a significant cost.

When it comes to legal translation, cost and turnaround time are often top concerns for the clients of law firms and solicitors. Understanding the factors that influence these aspects is essential for making informed decisions and ensuring accurate translations and timely project completion.

What is legal translation?

Translation is more  than just converting words from one language to another. It demands a high level of expertise and proficiency in both the source and target languages, and a deep understanding of the cultures of both.

Legal translation requires even more; it requires an in-depth understanding of legal systems, legislation, specific terminology, as well as cultural nuances. A misinterpreted phrase or a misunderstood clause can have severe legal consequences. Thus, the cost of legal translation consequently reflects the specialised expertise and precision required.

Cost Factors in Legal Translation

Legal translation pricing is influenced by several factors, including:

Document complexity: The complexity of legal documents can vary widely, from a straight forward birth certificate to detailed multijurisdictional contract terms. Complex documents with specialised legal jargon and terminology will generally require more time and expertise, and therefore a higher cost.

Word count: The volume of text to be translated is a straightforward factor in determining translation costs. More words to translate, the more it is going to cost and the longer it is going to take.

Language pair: The combination of languages involved also influences pricing. Languages that are less common or require highly specialised legal knowledge might command higher rates.

Urgency: If it is needed urgently, someone is going to have to work fast on it, likely pushing it to the front of a queue of other translations. If something  requires expedited completion, an additional charge may be levied to accommodate the tighter deadline and for ‘jumping the queue’.

Pricing Models for Legal Translation

There are several different approaches to pricing depending on scope and requirement – check out our article here for some more detail.

In short, if you need something translating, it is likely to be priced as follows:

Per-word pricing: Most popular, transparent and straight forward, with a fixed rate charged per word. Perfect for most documents.

Project-based pricing: For more complex or extensive projects, a fixed price for the entire project may be quoted.

This approach can be beneficial for larger-scale projects with predictable scope and requirements outside of the simple per word approach, for instance if formatting and desktop publishing are required (often the case where source documents are non-editable, such as pdf scans or image files).

Hourly Rates: For tasks that go beyond straightforward translation, such as legal research, reviews, or document formatting, an hourly rate may be more appropriate.

Turnaround Time

Legal translation projects encompass a wide range of document types, each with its own unique characteristics and turnaround time considerations.

On average, a single linguist can translate on average between two to two and a half thousand words per day. Of course, this is a very generalised average and is impacted by several factors such as specialism and content, source and target file types, end usage and audience.

A translation of a contracts, which tend to be lengthy and involve intricate legal language, require meticulous translation and careful review. As such, turnaround times can vary, depending on the complexity of the document, from a few days for some shorter and simple T&Cs, to several weeks for longer and more complex multinational contract documents.

Turn around times for ‘simpler’ documents such as correspondence like emails or letters tend to be shorter (although, ‘the longer the wordcount, the longer the turnaround time’ still rings true).

If you have a document or several and want to know how long it may take to translate, get in touch with our expert team for a non-obligatory chat or quotation.


The cost and time associated with legal translation are investments in accuracy, compliance, and successful communication. For law firms and solicitors navigating the global legal landscape, partnering with a reputable translation agency ensures that linguistic intricacies don't become legal complications.

By working with experienced and reputable language service providers, law firms and solicitors can ensure access to the specialised expertise required to navigate the complexities of legal translation and achieve successful outcomes in their cases.

Because in legal matters, language matters.

Get in Touch Today

If you have a translation need and want to know how long it may take to translate and how much it might cost, get in touch with our expert team for a non-obligatory chat or quotation at: or on 03309121530