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Word count "discrepancies"
Thread poster: Elena Harleman

Elena Harleman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:48
English to Russian
+ ...
Jan 27, 2009

Dear colleagues,
recently I have got a discussion with a direct client about the word count of the texts they want me to translate. I counted in Word 246000, in Trados 235000, but they insisted their "official" count was 210000. This is the first time I encounter something like this and I was wondering if anybody has had such a situation before, I mean is it reasonable that the difference between my and their count rexult can be more than 10% or are they just trying to fool me? What would you do in this situation?
thanks, Elena


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:48
German to English
+ ...
ask them how they count words Jan 27, 2009

There are various schemes for counting words, which are essentially based on rules defining word boundaries and classes of objects that are not regarded as words. Perhaps your client has a relatively large set of non-word objects. In any case, IMO you need to know how they arrived at their figure before you can discuss or dispute it (for example, by pointing out that their scheme excludes objects that do in fact require attention during translation).
If they can't explain how they arrive at the word count, you may have grounds for suspecting that they are applying a sort of discount in advance.


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Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:48
Polish to English
+ ...
The first two questions Jan 27, 2009

1. Do they include or exclude nontranslatables: proper names, numbers, alphanumeric strings (e.g. GTI1800RS).
2. Do they include or exclude text fields - because older MS Word versions did not include.

AM

[Zmieniono 2009-01-27 08:37 GMT]


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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:48
English to Russian
Some thoughts Jan 27, 2009

In many cases final log is determined by TM settings, such as penalties, I usually set those to zeros, minimum match value — can be 75 or 85, handling substitutes, etc.
So just ask, which options did they use, and reproduce them.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:48
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Can be a thorny problem Jan 27, 2009

Arguments over word counts can be thorny. Ultimately, though, whichever word-counting method is used by either side, it's up to you to decide whether or not you accept the job. If you're not happy with their word count (and the difference in this case is considerable), you can politely decline the job and give your reason.
When I'm asked to translate a PDF file in which the source words can't be reliably counted, I usually ask the client to agree *in advance* that I'll invoice them according to the target word count. In my language pairs, the English target count is usually slightly lower than the source count, but at least I know that I'm getting paid for the words I actually translated and not according to some vague and probably inaccurate "estimate".
Best of luck,
Jenny


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Renée van Bijsterveld  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:48
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
has no impact on total word count Jan 27, 2009

Vadim Poguliaev wrote:

In many cases final log is determined by TM settings, such as penalties, I usually set those to zeros, minimum match value — can be 75 or 85, handling substitutes, etc.


The TM settings have no effect on the total word count, they only define the categorization of a segment: full match, fuzzy, no match...,


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 20:48
Partial member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
In case of INX files Jan 27, 2009

I got TM and source INX files from an agency. I converted to Trados *.TTX files.
Yesterday I met with discrepancy of INX file word counted with Trados 2006 and Trados 2007 installed on the same PC. I did not believe that those 2 CAT versions gave different fuzzy matches due to such installation method but the agency insisted on it. I told the agency to ask the one who did such the job before. I declined this job.
I remain doubtful about the actual word counts.
Soonthon L.


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Vadim Poguliaev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:48
English to Russian
Hm Jan 27, 2009

ReneevB wrote:
The TM settings have no effect on the total word count, they only define the categorization of a segment: full match, fuzzy, no match...,


Substitutes can affect total WC.


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Elena Harleman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:48
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
not so easy! Jan 27, 2009

Thanks everybody for the reacitons. I have not realised that there were so many nuances to this "simple" operation. In my case it seems that the client used the word count done by another translator whereby they just didn't consider the repetitions!!!

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Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:48
Member (2007)
Polish to English
+ ...
Adjust your rate Jan 28, 2009

As others have said, there are plenty of ways of counting words and it's not possible to say one is right or wrong.

However, if your word rate is based on MSWord word count, then you should adjust your rate up if the client's counting method produces a lower result.


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bluehiro
United States
English
Tough one Feb 12, 2009

I've seen different word counts between different versions of MS Word. Really when it comes down to it you need to come to an agreement with your client about word counts.. translation tools are fairly standard, they ought to own at least one of the same ones you do. I guess it just comes down to whether or not you trust them if they're unwilling to work with you on resolving the discrepancy.

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Paula Truyens  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:48
English
+ ...
Different Trados word counts for one document Jul 3, 2009

I have a document to translate based on a customer's Trados analysis that gives 5800 words as the total word count. Using the (imported) TM and source text provided by the customer, my Trados analysis gives 6560 as the total number of words. Our MS Word counts both give 6700. There are hardly any figures and 'non' word characters in the document (when I remove anything that is not a 'word' word I end up with around 6350 words, so I really would like to know what is going on with the customer's analysis. They insist the same source text was used for their analysis.

Does anyone have any ideas?


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Paula Truyens  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:48
English
+ ...
Update on word count problem Jul 7, 2009

When my client converted the document to RTF format, they got the same word count as I did. There were some damaged tables in the document; I suspect this may have been the reason.

Trados helpdesk tip: make sure the Trados segmentation rules settings are the same in the two TMs used for analysis.


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DocteurPC  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:48
English to French
+ ...
Word count varies with various software, not just versions of the same software. Feb 17, 2010

Just last week, a client sent me a file and asked me to bid on it. I was working on a computer with Star Office - the word count was 40,000+. When I told that to the client, she said that it was in fact, around 6,000 words. Once I got to my office, I redid it with both Word and Trados. Results: 6350 and 6395! Don't ask me how Star got 40,000 words! We split the difference. It will be a long while because I use the word count in Star Office (not the same software as Star Transit - which is a CAT tool).

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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:48
German to Spanish
+ ...
Word count discrepancies Feb 18, 2010

Elena Harleman wrote:

Dear colleagues,
recently I have got a discussion with a direct client about the word count of the texts they want me to translate. I counted in Word 246000, in Trados 235000, but they insisted their "official" count was 210000. This is the first time I encounter something like this and I was wondering if anybody has had such a situation before, I mean is it reasonable that the difference between my and their count rexult can be more than 10% or are they just trying to fool me? What would you do in this situation?
thanks, Elena


They are as many wordcounts as MS-Word versions, counting softwares and so far. MS-Word does not count text in shapes, textboxes nor in headers if the option has not bee checked, etc. The only way I see, is that both sides agree to use the same word-counting tools with the same text editor version, MS-Word or any other.

I would recommend you to use both following tool as it is quite accurate and Shauna's article Why doesn't Microsoft Word give me an accurate word count? is well worth to read.


[Editado a las 2010-02-18 08:59 GMT]


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