What does it mean when people say 'something more like'? I saw this expression form the article, but I really just don't get it. The full sentence is "Traditionally, something more like $50 has been the low end, with literary translation at around $120, and high-end work at $250."
It’s fairly common usage and it is a correction of an approximation in this context.
In your case, previous sentences may have given or implied a cost for (I guess) article translation. The quoted sentence splits the task into three different levels and gives a more accurate cost for each level. It could be replaced with the phrase some cost closer to.
A related phrase is "That's more like it" where some reality is compared to an ideal.
In this context consider: in actuality TFD
used for emphasizing what is really true!
"Traditionally, this item has cost more like $50, but in actuality, $120 and even $250 at the high end are seen now."
'More like' is a guesstimate, versus actuality is what is found or prevalent.