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What rate to quote - how to convert cartelle into per-word rates?
Thread poster: Carole-Anne
Carole-Anne  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:46
Italian to English
Feb 12, 2009

I work as a translator in Italy, where it is common practice to quote on a € per cartella basis (a cartella being 1500 characters including spaces). How do I go about translating this into the rate calculation used here?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-12 14:24 GMT]

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United States
Local time: 18:46
Italian to English
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Approximation Feb 12, 2009

Well, since you're in Italy, I suppose you can't insist that they change their quotation method which has worked for me being outside: everyone I work with has complied.

Anyway, use the approximation that each word is 6.5 characters, so a cartella is 1500 characters divided by 6.5 = 232.46 words. So €12 per cartella is about €0.05 per word (12/232.46). Again, this is an approximation, not exact.

Hope this helps.

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cartelle contro parole Feb 12, 2009

in media, una cartella = 1500 caratteri
in media, una parola = 5 caratteri
quindi in media, una cartella = 300 parole


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:46
Member (2001)
English to Italian
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About 220-230 words per cartella (1500 keystrokes) Feb 12, 2009


Latin_Hellas's value is more realistic than yours, and 300 words per cartella is far too high.

Time ago I posted some average calculations in the Italian forum, using quite large samples of text.
The average value were ranging between 220 and 235 words per 1500 characters, therefore 230 words is a good average value for estimating a wordcount.

Note that once it is known the average length of 5.5 characters per word,
you have to divide 1500 by 6.5 (to include the spaces).
The correct calculation is: 1500 / 6.5 = about 230 words per cartella

See the old discussion in


[Edited at 2009-02-12 16:16 GMT]

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:46
Italian to English
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Agree with Gianfranco Feb 12, 2009

For me at least, one cartella of target language as I write it is fairly consistently 220 words, and that's what I use to convert my rates (regardless of whether I'm asked to quote in source or target).

Anyway, its easy enough to work it out for yourself, on source or target as you prefer: just do a word count in Word, which will give you figures for both number of characters (use the number including spaces) and number of words. It's best to do this on several files, so you get an average.

To take the file I'm working on right now (which is currently uncleaned so includes both source and target segments)

Number of characters: 33103 / 1500 = 22.1

number of words: 4528

4528/22.1 = 205 words/cartella

[Edited at 2009-02-12 16:30 GMT]

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Carole-Anne  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:46
Italian to English
Thanks so much for the prompt replies Feb 12, 2009

Thank-you everyone this has really helped. I will get my calculator out and start converting.

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