Estimating words in a badly scanned PDF file
Thread poster: sebdea

Local time: 10:35
Feb 15, 2010

Hi to you all,

I post my topic in here because after all is about costs. So let me present my problem. I am working as a DTP operator in a company. Recently we received some scanned PDF files at about 30 pages per document. My project manager had been asked by the client to make an offer so the PM put me to convert those files into an editable file that could be imported in TRADOS for word counting. Because the PDF is at a poor quality, actually the client scanned some printed pages and saved them as PDF, I have no choice but to convert the PDF with AbbyFineReader and do a pre-layout. But that operation consumes both time and resources. And all are quantified in money. The client is not sure whether will accept our offer or not. So, what has to be one? If the client accepts our offer the pre-layout will be considered as layout and everything will be just fine, but if not who will pay me for that job?

My question as follows: Is there any method to estimate the number of the words per page helping the PM to make an estimation price for the job without converting the document and pre-layout it?

Thank you

Truly yours,
Codrut Sebastian FAGARAS


LegalTranslatr2  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Estimated word count Feb 15, 2010

Manually count the number of words on one full page. Then count the number of lines on that same page. Divide the number of words by the line count to obtain the average number of words per line. Then all you have to do is manually count the number of lines on each page x the average line count to obtain an estimated word count.


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:35
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
The Old Way Feb 15, 2010

Jeff Whittaker's method is the one everyone used to use before the days of computers.
I have been freelancing since 1965 but did not get my first computer till 1991, so I had many years of experience of this method. Of course, clients in those days accepted it because there was no other way of doing it except laboriously counting each individual word. But present-day clients might have different views.

[Edited at 2010-02-15 17:36 GMT]


Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Present-day clients Feb 15, 2010

in this case shall pay as per target volume, whatever it is: words, lines, characters, pages....

This is the simplest and fairest way for everyone involved. The count of the translated document is done within half a second, nowadays, so why would you bother and spend one hour or more before without even knowing whether you will get the work? Or is it written in stone somewhere that a translation is to be paid by source words or whatever? In some countries - Germany, Austria, Switzerland - as far as I am concerned, translations are still paid mainly by the line of the target text, as they used to do 20 or 30 years ago. I don't see anything wrong with this, it's just a matter of habit, and indeed, I am still working mostly like this.


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Estimating words in a badly scanned PDF file

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