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Trados word count vs. Practicount word count vs. MS Word word count
Thread poster: Minna Wood MITI (Purring CAT Ltd.)

Minna Wood MITI (Purring CAT Ltd.)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:09
English to Finnish
+ ...
Sep 4, 2003

I have a User Manual to translate which is a highly formatted Word document. As I am using Trados, the word count is based on the Trados analysis. However, the Trados analysis gives a much lower word count than MS Word and Practicount:
Trados: 6,119
MS Word: 6,758
Practicount: 6,969

Could someone explain me why such big differences? Should I just accept being paid based on the lower Trados figure?


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Lise Smidth  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:09
German to Danish
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Text Fields Sep 4, 2003


Word and Trados don't count text in Textfields - but PractiCount does.
I am not sure, but I guess that Trados doesn't count numbers as words whereas PractiCount does.
The word counting in Trados also relies on your settings - when I compare the analyse from agencies with my own analyse of the same texts there are very often differencies.


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jmadsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:09
Word count differences Sep 4, 2003

Here's a reply from the yahoo Trados group:
And there are more answers, if you enter somthing like "word count" in the Search Archive field at:

Rgz Jørgen

[Edited at 2003-09-04 11:19]

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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:09
Italian to English
What's a word? Sep 4, 2003

Hi Minna,

It depends on what the program regards as a "word".

Trados, for example, gives a lower count than Word because it distinguishes "words" from "placeables" (numbers and the like).

This, of course, means the count can vary, often quite significantly.

I have never used Practicount but evidently that program has yet another approach.

Obviously, the important thing is to establish the program to be used for word counts with your client at the beginning of the relationship.

In my experience, Word is by far the most useful. Nearly all your customers will have the program and thus be able to check your figures.

Some agencies use Trados or another CAT tool to calculate discounts for repetitions, expressed as percentages, but many of these still use Word, not Trados, for the count on which the final invoice is based.

They are quite right to do so for it means everyone (translator-agency-final customer) knows exactly where they stand.

If an agency wants you to use Trados for word counts, take it into account when you are making your offer or deciding whether to accept the job.



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Eva Blanar  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:09
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I'd offer a choice Sep 4, 2003

In this particular case I would suggest
- either the word count of MS Word for a formatted text
- or accept the Trados word count, but no formatting (Trados is not about formatting, is it?)

By the way, I strongly suspect that the extraordinary popularity of Trados with translation agencies is that it ALWAYS calculates less - I am bad...

Actually, I just checked the yahoo forum - thanks Jørgen for pointing it out - and now I am sure I am not that bad: this is the secret of Trados and you cannot change too much about it with your Word and Practicount settings. But translation agencies mostly charge clients by MS Word word count, of course. Nice job.

[Edited at 2003-09-04 13:45]

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Arturo Mannino  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:09
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
word vs. trados Sep 4, 2003

just a short note: word considers two words which are separated by a hyphen or an apostrophe as a single word, while trados counts two words. just try it out.

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Suzanne Blangsted  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:09
Danish to English
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word count Sep 4, 2003

What is your agreement with the agency? By the way, I love Eva's remark about why the agencies use Trados. All the issues I have read over several months about word count differences between programs always brings a question to my mind - what is the agreement with the agency. If you are asked to use Trados and agree on that price, so be it. If you agree to the word count by f.ex. Microsoft Word, so be it. It is important to agree on what method to use for word counting BEFORE you accept a contract. If you have a choice, take the one that is the best for you, of course (high/easy).

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Annira Silver  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:09
Finnish to English
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Differences between Word- word counts Sep 5, 2003

I discovered recently that the two ways of checking the word count within a Word document - file-properties-statistics and the recount box on the open document itself -also give different results. Does anyone know which of these is the most reliable?

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Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:09
French to English
+ ...
A look at the different options Sep 5, 2003

There's a good article about the subject of different word-counting software here.

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Minna Wood MITI (Purring CAT Ltd.)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:09
English to Finnish
+ ...
Thanks everyone.... Sep 5, 2003

...for your opinions, ideas and links. I did accept this job as a Trados job, and was really surprised that the differences between these three programs are so big. I know that Word and Trados always give different word counts but the difference has so far always been insignificant, so it hasn't been an issue before.

I know from previous experience that Trados does not count text included in graphics or text boxes in Word documents, and in previous assignments I have charged for these separately according to my hourly rate. But even though my current document is a highly formatted Word document there is no text inside graphics, so I find it very difficult to explain my claims for higher word count to my client.

Just wanted to avoid the situation where I end up translating hundreds of words for free, but it seems I can't avoid it!
Now I totally see your point, Eva, why Trados is so popular among translation agencies!!

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Trados word count vs. Practicount word count vs. MS Word word count

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