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About how many Chinese characters to English words in CHI-ENG texts?
Thread poster: Caroline Moreno
Caroline Moreno  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:36
Chinese to English
+ ...
Aug 27, 2007

I'm just hoping someone will give me a resource or an average ratio of about how many target English words are produced per every source Chinese character? I hope this question is phrased so that people can understand what I mean. Also, about how many Chinese characters and also how many English words appear on a standard full-text page? Thanks in advance friends!

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LoyalTrans
Local time: 22:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
1.7:1 Aug 28, 2007

Caroline, for your first question, based on my experiences, the ratio is generally about 1.7:1 for Chinese characters to English words (either way translation). Understandably, this rate can vary depending on the nature of the text to be translated.

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Shaunna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
About the same-- 1.7:1 Chi:Eng Aug 28, 2007

I hear people talking about 1.5:1, and that appears to be a quite widely accepted ratio, in my impression.

However, my ratio has never been that low. I always feel 亏了 when I translate Chinese into English at ~1.7 ratio, and the price quoted is based on target English word counting.

Now I feel better. At least it's not only me.
Would be interesting to see the ratio for other translators here.

Robert Cai wrote:

Caroline, for your first question, based on my experiences, the ratio is generally about 1.7:1 for Chinese characters to English words (either way translation). Understandably, this rate can vary depending on the nature of the text to be translated.


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xxxchance
French to Chinese
+ ...
法汉比率很难定 Aug 28, 2007

所以汉译法都是按汉字报价。其实你们应该也可以建议source word/character 报价,这样双方事先知道价格,避免“后悔”

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Shaunna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
source 报价 Aug 28, 2007

是啊,我一般都是按source count报价,并注明是source count。但是在中译英时,很多公司都會要求我按英文target count再报一回(很多时候source file也是好好的word file,可以计数的),那就只好报了。

chance wrote:

所以汉译法都是按汉字报价。其实你们应该也可以建议source word/character 报价,这样双方事先知道价格,避免“后悔”


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xxxchance
French to Chinese
+ ...
如果你不急着接稿,就坚持一下,一般他们就接受了 Aug 28, 2007

其实你也可以告诉他们是为了给他们减少不必要的麻烦(意外),如果译出的英文字数超过预算字数的话。

Shaunna wrote:

是啊,我一般都是按source count报价,并注明是source count。但是在中译英时,很多公司都會要求我按英文target count再报一回(很多时候source file也是好好的word file,可以计数的),那就只好报了。

chance wrote:

所以汉译法都是按汉字报价。其实你们应该也可以建议source word/character 报价,这样双方事先知道价格,避免“后悔”


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:36
Chinese to English
+ ...
What ratio to go by Aug 28, 2007

Shaunna wrote:

是啊,我一般都是按source count报价,并注明是source count。但是在中译英时,很多公司都會要求我按英文target count再报一回(很多时候source file也是好好的word file,可以计数的),那就只好报了。

chance wrote:

所以汉译法都是按汉字报价。其实你们应该也可以建议source word/character 报价,这样双方事先知道价格,避免“后悔”


Shaunna,

If I were you in that situation, I'd use 1.5 to 1. They could always make an adjustment according to the final word count.

And don't forget, there's always a way of being more verbose


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xxxchance
French to Chinese
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That's what I am thinking about Aug 28, 2007

wherestip wrote:

And don't forget, there's always a way of being more verbose


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Shaunna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
Using 1.5:1 Aug 28, 2007

That's where the problem is. I use 1.5:1 when quoting, that is, when I quote for 0.10/Chinese source word, I would then quote for 0.15/English target word if they request.

As a result, for a job of, say, 10,000 Chinese characters, what would have been $1000 based on Chinese count will become $882.

As for dragging the translation long unnecessarily, I just can't see myself doing it.

Maybe I should just start to quote on a 1.7:1 ratio, and explain to the agencies that my ratio would be very likely just like that.
Well, I guess the agencies would be very happy to hear that if they charge the clients by source count but otherwise if they charge the clients by target count too.


wherestip wrote:

Shaunna,

If I were you in that situation, I'd use 1.5 to 1. They could always make an adjustment according to the final word count.

And don't forget, there's always a way of being more verbose


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Shaunna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
You guys! Aug 28, 2007

"It seems to me that it is time for me to practice ways by which the target word count of my Chinese to English translation work can be increased enough so that a Chinese-English character/word ratio that is close to, or lower than, 1.5:1 can be reached" instead of "Seems like I should try to lower my Chinese:English ratio to 1.5:1"?


chance wrote: That's what I am thinking about

wherestip wrote:

And don't forget, there's always a way of being more verbose


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:36
Chinese to English
+ ...
Being verbose vs. concise Aug 28, 2007

Shaunna wrote:

As for dragging the translation long unnecessarily, I just can't see myself doing it.



I was only half joking about that, as I'm sure chance was.

However, it's not entirely out of the question. You can still use perfectly good English to express something with more words rather than being too economical.

Take for example what I just said ...



there's always a way of being more verbose





one could always find a way to express the same thing using more words rather than using fewer words



The meaning is absolutely the same, but the word count has practically more than doubled.

BTW, I didn't follow your math of how you got to $882. But I'd better get to work now



[Edited at 2007-08-28 18:24]


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Shaunna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:36
English to Chinese
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I knew Aug 28, 2007

Just hadn't seen Chance's post yet when I wrote mine.

wherestip wrote:

I was only half joking about that, as I'm sure chance was.


Shaunna wrote:

As for dragging the translation long unnecessarily, I just can't see myself doing it.




[Edited at 2007-08-28 14:40]


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:36
Chinese to English
+ ...
Conversions Aug 28, 2007

Okay, I got it.

(10,000 / 1.7) 0.15 = 882

(10,000 / 1.5) 0.15 = 1000

So if you quote with the ratio of 1.7 to 1, then charge them $0.17 per target word to make up for the difference.

Seriously, I'm not advising to nickel and dime the agencies. But I think Yueyin is right overall, you have to have the right mindset and tactics to play their games.


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Shaunna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
the math Aug 28, 2007

Ha Steve,

You got it so well explained.

wherestip wrote:

BTW, I didn't follow your math of how you got to $882. But I'd better get to work now



[Edited at 2007-08-28 15:04]


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Shaunna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
Yes I'm learning... Aug 28, 2007

wherestip wrote:

Seriously, I'm not advising to nickel and dime the agencies. But I think Yueyin is right overall, you have to have the right mindset and tactics to play their games.



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