What to do if you don’t have client’s standard counting tool?
Thread poster: wonita (X)

wonita (X)
Local time: 07:01
May 23, 2009

Hello all,

I finished a translation job for a relatively new client last week. The document was an Excel file with quite complicated format, and we have agreed on a price based on the target language.

The client’s standard counting tool for Excel is Trados or TextCount, which I don’t have unfortunately (neither am I ready to buy them for this job).

I’ve converted the Excel file to .txt, whose word count can be read in a Word document. The client will inform me their word count next week.

If the difference with the word count between these 2 methods is within 200 words, I will just adopt the client’s version. But what if a big difference comes out, to whoever’s favor, What should I do then?


[Edited at 2009-05-23 18:11 GMT]


Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Word is the standard counting tool May 23, 2009

Hello Bin, unless otherwise specified, the standard counting tool is Word, IMO. So, if you don't have (or don't want to use/buy) your customer's tools, and it seems you didn't agree in advance, I would go for Word, anyway.

Every tool counts differently, but you have to find an agreement (better before you carry out the job, though...).


Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:01
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
There are no standard counting tools May 24, 2009

...but there's software that can count the words.

MS Word Statistics can give various results even if words in the same file are counted on different PC's - I don't know why.

Trados analysis is not exactly a translator-friendly word-counting tool: it won't count figures which, though not exactly translated, still need to be processed sometimes - line changing a doc for a comma or vice versa, or changing places of numbers due to different sentence structure in the source and target languages.

There are programs on the market that do the wordcount - the TextCount mentioned by Bin Tiede, or AnyCount. While they are helpful in determining the amount of work to be done, the main thing is that all terms and parameters - including wordcount - should be agreed on in advance to avoid any hustle afterwords.

It's interesting that the wordcount variation in the source and target texts can reach 10%-15%; something to muse over for those who translate into German, for exampleicon_smile.gif I opened my DE > RU dictionary, found a longish word (it happened to be Gebietsanderungsvertrag) and clicked to get a translation: соглашение об изменении территориального деления is five words long!


Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Dutch to German
+ ...
Parameters in TextCount May 24, 2009

As far as I remember, there are certain parameters in TextCount that could lead to a different count result if the settings are varied (e.g. maximum number of characters per word). However, my experience with TextCount was that it mostly counted in my favour (contrary to AnyCount by the way).


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