Word count queries from a young and scared feldgling!
Thread poster: Rebecca Hendry

Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:54
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 20, 2005

Hello all,

I have just completed my first freelance assignment and am about to send it off, which is scary enough as it is as I want everything to be just perfect. I am slightly unsure though as to how the word counts work - I have agreed a price per word but does this included EVERY SINGLE WORD in the source text? Do I just do a word count on the computer? Does it include the footnotes? Should I even mention it at all?

When agreeing to do the text I was told it was 1500 words, but it's actually slightly more than that - should I point this out?

All advice gratefully received - I'm hoping this is the start of something big!

Thanks all,

Rebecca.


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 16:54
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
All words count, Rebecca Jan 20, 2005

Rebecca Hendry wrote:

Hello all,

I have just completed my first freelance assignment and am about to send it off, which is scary enough as it is as I want everything to be just perfect. I am slightly unsure though as to how the word counts work - I have agreed a price per word but does this included EVERY SINGLE WORD in the source text? Do I just do a word count on the computer? Does it include the footnotes? Should I even mention it at all?

When agreeing to do the text I was told it was 1500 words, but it's actually slightly more than that - should I point this out?

All advice gratefully received - I'm hoping this is the start of something big!

Thanks all,

Rebecca.


Congrats, Rebecca! The first ones are indeed a little more important than the subsequent ones.

When you agree to a price per word, every single word counts.
And if your count is slightly more than what you were told, just mention this.
There are quite a few inexpensive specialised word count programs available on the market (e.g. check www.practiline.com), but I think a simple MS word count will be sufficient in your case.

Good luck, and don't hesitate to whistle if you have any other questions!

[Edited at 2005-01-20 13:06]


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:54
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thankyou! Jan 20, 2005

I've actually already sent the translation with an invoice for ALL of the words. I just thought that if they didn't agree they would question it but I had nothing to lose anyway.

The other query that has emerged from this though is whether or not all translators tend to send invoices with their work. Is there a sort of standard system for this?

Thanks a lot.


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 16:54
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
No standard system for invoicing Jan 20, 2005

Rebecca Hendry wrote:


The other query that has emerged from this though is whether or not all translators tend to send invoices with their work. Is there a sort of standard system for this?

Thanks a lot.


No there isn't, as far as I know.
I usually send my invoice together with my work, unless the client prefers e.g. one invoice a month.


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:54
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Welcome to the club Rebecca Jan 20, 2005

In my experience, it is very common for clients and agencies to give only an approximation of the wordcount and usually an underestimate.
You might want to consider, though, whether there has been any degree of repetition in the document. Assuming that the rate you are charging is not already at a big discount to market rates in order to get the job, you could tell them you are not charging for a (small) number of repeated words / phrases. A translator they trust to be straight with them is one they are more likely to come back to.
Best of luck.


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vixen  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 17:54
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Check word count before you start working on the translation Jan 20, 2005

Welcome to the profession and to ProZ.

I would advise you to always check the word count before you start working on a translation and inform the client if you find any discrepancies. This way, you will not get into trouble when you send an invoice that is based on a different word count than was agreed upon.

One reason for checking the word count for Word documents is that Word does not automatically count text that is included in text boxes.

Also, the word count may be based on an estimate or the document may have undergone some changes since the original word count.


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Giles Bickford  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
Also check whether they wish to pay on source count or target count Jan 20, 2005

You should also decide whether to charge on source or target test. In some languages, the difference in count can be quite significant - up to maybe 15%. It is generally easier to count the finished product, but the unscrupulous translator may be tempted to waffle a bit if every press of the space bar means another dime! Source text may be a hassle to count if it is a faxed or mailed copy. It takes time to count a large document, and time is money!
I wish you the best of luck in your new profession. Don't let the buggers grind you down.

[Edited at 2005-01-20 13:47]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:54
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Word-macro counts everything Jan 20, 2005

Search from last years threads the wordcount macro and install it.
Usually when charging word-rates the source-text is meant. So when bidding for a job the final price is already agreed upon, but if the numbers don't match the outsourcer has to be informed. On a regular basis it should be agreed upon with what tool the word is counted.
I never have had any complaints when counting with Word using the charcount or wordcount macro.


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Torhild Øien
Local time: 16:54
Swedish to Norwegian
+ ...
Word count feature in Word? Jan 20, 2005

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

I never have had any complaints when counting with Word using the charcount or wordcount macro.


Are you talking about a separate word count macro? Isn't it OK to just use the word count feature in Word (on the Tools menu)?


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:54
Member (2004)
German to English
Word's wordcount Jan 20, 2005

I did have a (very friendly) complaint about the wordcount I'd did in Word on a recent document - the client pointed out that the document contained index pages with lots of dotted lines linking index item to page number, and Word had counted each dot in each line as a word. We eventually agreed that about 4,000 of the "words" in the document were in fact dots, and I reduced the price accordingly.

This is only a problem, though, if the lines have been typed with a space between each dot (as they had been in this case) - if the lines are without spaces, one row of dots will count as one word.


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:54
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Dear Rebecca, Jan 20, 2005

Welcome to our world and congratulations on your first job. Feels good, doesn't it?

Yes, every word counts and clients are not surprised if there is a bit of a difference. If there is a large discrepancy, however, I inform the client before starting.

I usually send the invoice with the job, but at times things get hectic and then I send it later. Some clients prefer a combined invoice at the end of the month. See what they prefer and be sure to add the payment time - like Net 30 days or 45 days. Most clients tell you their payment practices and if it is not acceptable to you (too long) let them know beforehand. What I mean, get everything straightened out *before* you start working.

Please do ask for an advance for larger jobs, so that you have income if you have to work for a while and there is no other money coming in.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Wishing you all the best for 2005 and lots of work and well-paying clients.

Lucinda


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:54
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What a friendly bunch! Jan 20, 2005

Thank you all so much for all your advice and understanding, it makes everything that little bit easier when there are people around to help and encourage you.

I'm sure I'll think of LOTS more questions as I go along!

Thanks


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Don't be pedantic for small jobs Jan 21, 2005

Rebecca Hendry wrote:
I have agreed a price per word but does this included EVERY SINGLE WORD in the source text? ... When agreeing to do the text I was told it was 1500 words, but it's actually slightly more than that - should I point this out?


Charging per word is simply an easy way to determine a price for the job. Ideally you'd charge per hour, but ideally all texts would take equally long to translate. So... if a word count is off by a couple of words, don't be pedantic about it.

When agreeing on a price, make sure the price is either "per word" or "for the job". If you tell the client that you charge X per word, and the client says that the job has X number of words, and calculates it then and there, and you accept the calculation, then the job was priced "for the job" because the two of you agreed on a single amount for the job. When a client starts calculating during negotiations, it may be wise to tell him that you'd like to see the text first, to verify the number of words, before settling on a final amount.

Assuming you agreed on a fixed price, for under 5 pages, I wouldn't make an issue of it if the word count is even 20% higher than the client said it would be. For longer jobs, however, an increase in word count means that it takes longer to translate. Therefore, if the client is in a hurry, you can agree on fixed prices for small jobs, but for longer jobs I would suggest you do your own word count before agreeing to a final amount.

[Edited at 2005-01-21 07:21]


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Ioanna Karamitsa  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:54
Member (2005)
English to Greek
+ ...
Hello Jan 21, 2005

Dear Rebecca,

I am quite new as well in the freelance sector, however here's what I do.
When receiving a project (lets say the client said it is 1500 words) i check that through the simple wordcount in the pc. If it is 1520 I dont even mention it, but if its is 1700, I will let them know and accordingly charge them. Footnotes are charges as well, afterall you did take some time to write them right?
I wish you every success in your projects!!!

My best,
Ioanna


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