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Rates based on source or target words? Area Comparisons in Percentages to English (Text Expansion)
Thread poster: Evert DELOOF-SYS

Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:28
English to Dutch
+ ...
May 8, 2002


Ever wonder how much you should expect text to expand in a particular language?

Type Area Comparisons in Percentages to English (Text Expansion)

Source: IBM National Language Design Guide, Volume 1, pp. 2-4

One paragraph of text in English compared to official UN translations in target languages.

Arabic, 88%

Chinese, 61%

Czech, 117%

Dutch, 128%

Esperanto, 93%

Farsi, 100%

Finnish, 104%

French, 111%

German, 109%

Greek, 129%

Hebrew, 83%

Hindi, 91%

Hungarian, 113%

Italian, 110%

Japanese, 115%

Korean, 124%

Portuguese, 110%

Russian, 116%

Spanish, 117%

Swahili, 89%

Swedish, 96%


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John Kinory
Local time: 23:28
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Text expansion / contraction May 9, 2002

From long experience with EnglishHebrew, this looks atypical. Either this was a very short and/or special text, or the translator is guilty of padding. Normally, Hebrew word-counts should not exceed ca. 75% of the English.

PS. Henry is right to point out that area comparison is not the same as word-count comparison. Because Evert mentioned source and target counts, that is what I referred to above. In some languages, the 2 effects work in opposite directions. However, Hebrew words tend to be shorter than English (absence of true vowels), AND word-counts are lower (high degree of agglutination). Therefore, fitting English into space previously occupied by Hebrew can be difficult. In the other direction, often you end up with lots of unused space.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-05-09 13:20 ]

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Yazmin Osoyo  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
you can have rates for both, depending on the client's needs May 9, 2002

I have also faced this proble, som clients request and estimate, others a quote, meaning that what you tell the you will charge, that is what the will pay and no more!! in these cases is better to have a rate for source language and another for target

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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 18:28
what kind of expansion? May 9, 2002

Obviously, there are two rates of expansion, useful for different purposes - (1) space used and (2) word count. Evert\'s list is of type (1), while yazmin refers to type (2).

Also, the Japanese figure seems off. There must have been a lot of katakana for the Japanese to take up more space than the English.

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Minna Wood MITI (Purring CAT Ltd.)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:28
English to Finnish
+ ...
Interesting.... May 9, 2002

I am not quite sure if I understood the numbers correctly, but this doesn\'t look very typical for Finnish either.

Finnish is usually at least 30-40% shorter than English when compared by the word count. We use fewer but longer words, e.g. we do not use prepositions, but instead add different grammatical endings to the roots of words.

I don\'t know whether this takes more space but I wouldn\'t think so....

Also, we Finns are quite economical (and lazy!) with words - we only say the necessary and no more!

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Rates based on source or target words? Area Comparisons in Percentages to English (Text Expansion)

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