word count: from target to source
Thread poster: Elizabeth Ardans

Elizabeth Ardans  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 21:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 3, 2006

I usually count the words of the source text. Now, since I have lots of pdf files, I've been thinking it would be easier to count the words of the target text. However, since the source is Spanish and the target is English, the word count is probably going to be much lower. Does anyone know if there is any average difference from source to target in these languages, for example, that Spanish texts usualy have * per cent more words than the English text?

Does anyone have any other suggestion as to how to count this kind of job? (OCR recognition doesn't work very well, and it would also take a lot of time to convert everything!)

Thanks!


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
from target to source and back Mar 3, 2006

Hi Elizabeth,

There's an identical thread underway in the Spanish forum, hope this will answer some of your questions http://www.proz.com/topic/43031

All best,

Susana

[Edited at 2006-03-03 23:56]


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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 21:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
10 per cent more Mar 4, 2006

Elizabeth Ardans wrote:

I usually count the words of the source text. Now, since I have lots of pdf files, I've been thinking it would be easier to count the words of the target text. However, since the source is Spanish and the target is English, the word count is probably going to be much lower. Does anyone know if there is any average difference from source to target in these languages, for example, that Spanish texts usualy have * per cent more words than the English text?

Does anyone have any other suggestion as to how to count this kind of job? (OCR recognition doesn't work very well, and it would also take a lot of time to convert everything!)

Thanks!


Hello Elizabeth, hola compatriota:

I usually add 10 per cent to the English wordcount and it is readily accepted as reasonable.

Good luck!

Mónica


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
No Average Difference Mar 4, 2006

In my experience there is no average difference between English and Spanish in number of words. It is only true that Spanish will generally have more words and English less, but this difference can vary quite a bit, all the way from virtually no difference or some words less for Spanish to 25% more in extreme cases.

This appears to depend primarily on two factors, subject and writing style, that are infinitely variable in themselves. Included in writing style is your own style as a translator.

One area I concentrate in, Mexican legal documents into English, given the usual Mexican style and my own translation style, appears to give more or less an even word count. Going the other way, English to Spanish, it can sometimes come out close to even as well. However, US legal style is much more variable than Mexican so it is not a hard and fast rule.

Other fields, for instance technical, can give a much higher word count in Spanish. Very wordy Spanish translated into English will give a much lower count in the translation.

Sorry to say, I don't think there is any particular average you can apply to the output and relate it to the source.

I might add that I change the same in either direction and it has never worried me nor has it worried my clients, even in cases where I may use the target count instead of the source count.


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:25
Some organizations do use percentages Mar 4, 2006

A long time ago I used to work for an North American environmental organization headquartered in Montreal. Their working languages were English, Spanish and French. They had a translation/editing department. For both budget and space purposes, their estimation was that Spanish is 10% more extense than English, and French is 15% more extense than English. Their figures usually turned out quite precise for both purposes. Just like in the case of Monica's estimate, which I would belive is acceptable.

[Edited at 2006-03-04 03:00]


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Elizabeth Ardans  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 21:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Mar 4, 2006

Thanks everyone! At least now I have some ideas to think about!

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Karen Tkaczyk  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:25
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Add 1 cent per word Mar 4, 2006

I have one client who increases the rate by one cent per word when they send me pdfs and we are going to base the word count on the target file. In my case I am working French > English.

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