With demand for bilingual employees doubling in five years among major industries in the United States, professionals increasingly recognize the value of reaching a non-English-speaking audience. It should come as no surprise that Spanish is one of the most popular translation choices since it’s quickly surpassing any other non-English language spoken in the U.S., with 37.6 million Americans speaking it as their first language. A rapidly growing number of businesses have opted to reach Spanish-speaking customers through the use of Spanish translation services.
But it’s not always easy to find the best translator for your work. We made a list of the top 50 companies to determine the best options for your business. When looking at the services, we aimed to find the best balance of accuracy of translation, price, speed of turnaround, ease of use, and suitability for businesses. Keep reading to find out which Spanish translation service is best for your needs.
The 6 Best Spanish Translation Services of 2021
Best Overall: TheWordPoint
TheWordPoint consistently received the highest ratings for their Spanish translations of all the companies we reviewed. Offering a diversity of services, including translation, transcription, localizations, and foreign language proofreading, they employ only certified translators and native speakers and provide specialized experts in legal or medical fields. They also offer a certified translation for government or official documents such as visas, diplomas, and accreditations when moving abroad.
What makes them stand out, however, is their combination of accuracy and reasonable prices. Customers stated their service reliably delivered precise translations, a recommendation not echoed as consistently for other companies. Their prices are calculated per word on a basic/premium tiered system and by language pair including Spanish and English.
Customer service is also a strength, with customers suggesting they found company representatives and translators courteous, efficient, and professional. This emphasis on customer satisfaction is highlighted on their website, where they encourage customers to be upfront about their instructions and preferences so they can deliver their best work. While their speed is not exceptional, they consistently deliver on time and offer the option for urgent work.
Taking all of this into account, TheWordPoint is our recommendation for best overall Spanish translation service.
Best Online Service or App: SDL Machine Translation
For enterprises looking to translate large amounts of data or other high-volume, low-priority content, a machine-only approach like SDL Machine Translation (formerly SDL BeGlobal) is a cost-effective and salient option. It’s a well-respected, state-of-the-art translation software throughout the industry, with many machine-human hybrid translation companies even using SDL products to power the machine translation side of their work. The European Commission chose SDL to re-work an aspect of its translation infrastructure in 2013, a solid endorsement for this company.
Branded for companies rather than individuals, SDL Machine Translation allows employees and teams to instantly translate any content, from Word documents to audio, video, websites, and emails. Users can specify their industry, whether legal, marketing, academic, or financial.
With an intuitive interface and ability to integrate with the user’s computer, along with the fact that the software is easy to learn, particularly in comparison to other machine-based translation services, SDL Machine Translation is our recommendation for best online service or app.
Best In-Person Interpretation: Trusted Translations
Although many translation services focus on writing, sometimes you need an interpreter, or someone who can translate your spoken word in-person and in real time, like during an interview or business negotiation. Interpretation can be quite difficult and requires more than bilingual fluency, so you want to be sure your interpreter is well-trained and experienced.
Trusted Translations, a translation and interpretation services used by clients including the U.S. Army and Citibank, offers both consecutive interpretation, where the interpreter waits for the speaker to finish before translating, and simultaneous interpretation, with the interpreter talking almost at the same time as the speaker. The interpreters also have expertise translating in industries as varied as advertising, immigration, and medicine and place an emphasis on Spanish, publishing their own Spanish-English online dictionary for industry-specific terminology for use among both its and other translators.
While their website is a little antiquated, they seem to hire the best translators available, such as the UN interpreters they have on staff. Customers are prompted to request a quote; the company doesn’t display its pricing online, which we normally consider a drawback. However, this policy is common among interpreters and not unique to Trusted Translations.
Although its pricing isn’t transparent, the fact that they provide trained and experienced spoken word interpretation in a number of industries and create resources for interpreters made them our selection for the best in-person service for translation as well as interpretation.
Best Free Option: Google Translate
Google Translate is the most popular translation program on the web, primarily because of its convenience for informal translations, intuitive design, immediate results, and an array of interfaces that include web, mobile app, and browser plugins. It even can translate videos and images with some accuracy, as well as voice inputs for its own automated take on consecutive interpretation. These features, along with the fact that users can take advantage of them at no cost, make Google Translate our choice for best free translation service. When we tested it out, we were surprised at the quality of the translation. Although it wasn’t perfect, it made semantic sense.
Unfortunately, translation is one area that has stubbornly resisted automation, and despite Google’s pioneering technology, this service remains far from precise and delivers inconsistent results. If you need high-quality translations, you’re better off choosing another service. However, for a free service, Google Translate gets the job done by quickly generating a general interpretation to give the gist of an article or document, making it efficient and simple for short documents or personal use.
Best for Quick Turnaround: One Hour Translation
As the name suggests, One Hour Translation prides itself on its speed, asserting that every project is started within one hour of receipt. Founded in 2008, they have quickly become one of the highest-rated online services, with 60% of Fortune 500 companies choosing OHT for translation/localization efforts.
One Hour Translation employs 25,000 linguists in a host of specializations like legal, financial, marketing, and video game translations, making this service useful for a variety of projects. Documents are translated using a patented technology called WeST (Website Translation) which is then edited by a human translator, who is certified by the company’s exam.
Their website is of decent quality and easy to navigate, and especially useful is the availability and clarity of their pricing. With Spanish-English general business content at $0.09 per word and expert jobs clocking in at $0.14 per word, prices are reasonable. However, their customer support is limited to a contact form and a promise to get in touch “soon”—no chatbot is available.
Our choice for best for quick turnaround, One Hour Translation offers quick, efficient, and expertly translates documents, highly rated customer service, and clear pricing.
Best for Businesses: Tomedes
Founded in 2007 and with an impressive client roster of large companies including Google, Johnson & Johnson, and British Airways, Tomedes offers a variety of services useful to businesses including localizations, translation, interpretation, transcription, and content writing. They also offer a variety of industry specializations, including legal, financial, and marketing, depending on your area of preference.
Tomedes does not provide pricing on their website, stating that clients must request a quote. However, they do explain that the per-project cost will change based on the language requested, the type of content needing translation, and the time frame needed. They do state that Spanish is a lower-cost service than other languages, but customers should still take the other variables into consideration.
Customers report excellent customer service, with representatives available 24/7. In fact, when we emailed them to request a quote, they responded within minutes. Reviews also stated that when a project was not satisfactorily completed, Tomedes was apologetic and eager to revise the document to a higher standard, demonstrating the company’s commitment to quality and integrity.
Due to its commitment to providing a variety of translation services to a number of businesses and industries at competitive prices, along with an impressive list of clients, Tomedes is our selection for best for businesses.
How Do Spanish Translation Services Work?
When selecting a Spanish translation service, make sure to look at several criteria, including pricing, timeliness of turnaround, and accreditation. Most translation firms are part of a national translation bureau. In the U.S. it’s the American Translators Association, which offers potential translators a three-hour proctored accreditation exam with an overall pass rate of only 20%. For international companies, look for ISO 17100:2015 certification, from the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization, last updated in 2015.
Often, firms require that their translators are accredited, but others have only a company exam as a qualification for hiring, resulting in a mix of quality work. After you’ve vetted the company and made sure its translators are accredited, you’ll send in the document or documents you need translated along with any specific instructions. The service or translator will translate the document and send it to you.
If you know someone who speaks the language, consider asking them to proofread the translation to see if it makes sense. If it does, you’ll send in your payment. If it does not, ask the translation service to revise the document. The best companies are willing to send a prompt revision.
What Types of Spanish Translation Services Are There?
There are a number of reasons to use a translation service, ranging from personal to professional to legal, financial, or entertainment. Most translation companies also offer a variety of services beyond simple written translation, most notably localization and certified translations.
Localizations, for instance, are ordered when a company needs cultural appeal and not just linguistic understanding. For example, a simple translation of a joke in marketing materials might be translated literally but a localization service will inject it with inflection and humor appealing to your intended demographic.
Many companies also emphasize their certified translation services, which are useful to individuals or companies needing to present an official document like a diploma or license to a foreign government in their native language. Note that certified translations must be done by a translator officially certified by a national or international organization, and are often sealed with this organization’s stamp.
Companies might also offer editing or other translation-adjacent services useful to specific types of companies, such as content writing for websites looking to expand their outreach through a foreign language blog or a translated transcription of video interviews for academic research. Additionally, many also offer the services of interpreters in the event you need an in-person, immediate translation.
How Much Do Spanish Translation Services Cost?
Most translation companies offer tiered pricing, distinguishing basic work, like social media posts, emails, or internal business information, from premium work, such as more publicly visible content requiring a high level of accuracy, technical information with lots of industry jargon, or official documents requiring certification. Many companies’ prices also reflect supply and demand pricing for the particular language pair you’re requesting; luckily, Spanish and English are a very common pairing, so it tends to be less expensive.
Usually, translation companies charge per word, though some set fixed-page rates for documents like birth certificates or academic transcripts, for which they can estimate the resources needed. Because of all the variables, translation services pricing has a broad range, but the average cost for professional basic work is $0.09 to $0.15 per word and anything from $0.13 to $0.30 per word for premium work.
If that’s outside of your budget, you can always use a free online translator. Remember, though, that while machine translation has advanced exponentially in recent years, it still cannot catch the nuances, tone, and style like a human translator.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Spanish Translation Service?
It can be incredibly useful to use a translation service, especially when it comes to Spanish. Not only can a translation service be vital to working with international clients or partners, but companies based in the U.S. know the Spanish-speaking demographic within the country is vast—and growing.
A translation service allows them to reach a greater number of potential customers, broaden their applicant pool for hiring, and improve engagement both globally and nationally. Clients are more likely to find, read, and frequent a website or company if it speaks their language, and it helps to build trust and loyalty knowing they can communicate with the company.
How We Chose the Best Spanish Translation Services
We chose the above resources based on a variety of factors. After combing through online reviews and other data, we compiled a list of 50 companies. We then examined their websites, researched pricing, and tried some of their services. We also vetted these companies based on the quality of translation, pricing, speed of turnaround, diversity of industry specializations, customer service, and website quality.
Using all of these factors, we narrowed the list down to our top choices. All of the services we selected were reasonably priced, prompt, offered a variety of translation services for a number of industries, and had easy-to-navigate websites and quality customer service.
New American Economy. "Demand for Bilingual Speakers More than Doubled in Five Years, New Report Shows." Accessed Oct. 27, 2020.
Business Insider. "6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Learn Spanish." Accessed Oct. 27, 2020.
Pangeanic. "What is The Size of the Translation Industry?" Accessed Oct. 27, 2020.
Tech Crunch. "One Hour Translation's Patented Tech Enables Speedy and Accurate Real-Time Translation of Online Content." Accessed Oct. 27, 2020.
American Translators Association. "Certification." Accessed Oct. 29, 2020.
Thumbtack. "How much to translators cost and what are their rates?" Accessed Oct. 30, 2020.