This guidance is applicable to civil, criminal and children’s legal aid.

Payment rate for translators

We will pay £95 per 1000 words for translating documents, which is inclusive of the proof reading. The cost is applied pro rata against the document word count. For example, a document of 700 words would cost £66.50 (or 9.5p per word).

For lengthy documents costing in excess of £2,000, you should:

  • Obtained competitive quotes
  • Seek our prior approval before the work is instructed
Documents less than 300 words

For documents of less than 300 words, a minimum charge of £28.50 will generally be allowed.  For “formal” documents such as marriage and birth certificates where there is minimal information but multiple documents to be translated, we would expect the £28.50 charge to cover all certificates. In determining the fee payable, we will have regard for the type of document translated.

Additional charges

No additional charge is allowed for:

  • Proof reading the translated document
  • The administration associated in typing the translation
  • Counting the words

This is subsumed in to the cost of the translation.

We are not likely to pay for the translation of routine letters to clients. The interpreter or the client can note down important details in their own language during meetings which are paid for.

Additionally, it should not be necessary to have any of the following translated on behalf of the client.

  • Complaints
  • Petitions Indictments
  • Any other court documents

The relevant issues can be discussed at the meetings in the presence of the interpreter.  However, if this is deemed to be essential, a request should be made to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to meet these costs as it is up to them to pay for the translation of documents issued by them.  This would also apply to the disclosure package, tapes and transcripts.


Where it is necessary to transcribe a recording, for example in situations where there is a dispute about what was said at an interview, only the relevant parts of the recording need to be transcribed rather than the whole recording.  The cost of transcribing will be based on the normal hourly rate of £30.

The interpreter should clearly note the:

  • Duration of the recording
  • Time taken to transcribe the recording

In this section

Interpreting and translating

Legal aid accounts: payment for interpreters

Find out how account for payments for interpreters and translators.

Interpreting and translating

Pro-forma invoice for interpreter or translator fees

Find out what the pro-forma invoice should look like and what details the translator/interpreter should typically include.

Interpreting and translating

Interpreter attendance at police stations

Find out who is responsible for providing an interpreter/ translator during a police interview and what we will pay for in special circumstances.