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Do word counts include numbers (numeric form)?
Thread poster: Patricia McDonald

Patricia McDonald  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:55
Spanish to English
Dec 7, 2005

I am relatively new to the world of translations - I´d like to know if numbers (numeric form) are included in word counts when calculating invoices? Do CAT tools include numerals in their word counts?I have a scanned document that has to be counted manually in order to calculate the source word count and would like to be able to send a correct invoice to the client. Many thanks for any feed back you can give me.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:55
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Convert the document to a Word document first Dec 7, 2005

I wouldn't count any words manually, if I were you. You need to convert the .pdf to a Word document in order to translate it, and then you click on the word count option. You take the number of words that Word tells you the document is - which, in any event, includes everything in the document shaped like a word (i.e. numerals, e-mail addresses, hyperlinks, etc.). The word count is only to provide a basis for reaching a figure to charge for the translation.

Ideally, you should use PractiCount for invoicing. Once you have programmed it, it counts all the words for you and calculates the invoice as well, including any VAT due on it. You can change the settings in PractiCount, to inform the programme whether or not to include footnotes, etc. in the word count.

If you start counting words manually, on any occasion, you will not have time to make a living as a translator.


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Behnam Koleili  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:25
Member (2004)
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
A suggestion! Dec 8, 2005


Of course you can't convert a scanned pdf file into a word document. However counting words manually is not a good solution. Here is what I do in such cases: either I agree with my client on a flat rate or as agreed I invoice per target word count. This will save you a lot of time and energy, as the most precious thing to all of us is our TIME! Numbers are almost always included in the word count, unless otherwise agreed. And remember Word recognizes words based on spaces between them, so simply and/or, where there is no space between the two words is counted as one word. This can be very tricky in some jobs, in one assignment I came to find out the exact number of word count was 20% higher than what suggested by word count. And last but not the least Word does not count in text boxes! So the best way as proposed by Astrid is to use a counting software for that.

Good luck!

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Patricia McDonald  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:55
Spanish to English
Many thanks for the word count suggestions. Dec 8, 2005

You are absolutely right - time is of the essence and manual counts are not feasible! Thanks, both of you, for the suggestions regarding target word count, software ideas, etc. I had used a trial version of AnyCount for a target word count but, because of a discrepancy between the client´s count and my own, wasn´t sure if numerals are usually included and decided to consult with the on-line translation community. It´s becoming obvious to me that a software investment, as well as sound negotiating skills, are necessary in order to move ahead in this business!


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