word counts
Thread poster: Mark Oliver

Mark Oliver  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:04
Indonesian to English
+ ...
May 14, 2002

A newbie question if there ever were one: I am curious as to how translators and clients establish the number of words in a document. My understanding of the matter has been tainted by an eighth-grade typing teacher, who said that a \"word\" by this defiinition consists of five text spaces within a document.

Or, does it simply mean what it says--how many words there are in the document?

By these opposed standards, the following phrase would have very different word counts:

\"A map of the top of the hill.\"

Is this eight words, or six?




Alev Ellington  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:04
English to Turkish
+ ...
That phrase has 8 words May 14, 2002

Dear Mark:

That phrase has 8 words. Word count is what your \"Word Count\" shows under your \"Tools\" in MS. I hope this helps.


Mark Oliver  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:04
Indonesian to English
+ ...
An end to years of misunderstanding. May 14, 2002

I feel better already!

Thank you for your answer.


David Rockell (X)
Chinese to English
Let's unionize and bribe Microsoft to doctor the MS wordcount! May 16, 2002

You go by it, I go by it, in fact we all go by it but who sits down and actually counts the words? Microsoft has its eyes on doing away with us all together, so are you sure that the MS wordcount is not actually weighted against us and collectively squeezing us to early graves to then upgrade us with its own super-wordcruncher?

Actually, I live in the third world, so I do actually pay somebody to count every word. As a maths dropout, I feel a deep sense of shame to pay someone a pittance to do something (all day) that I am not mentally capable of doing, but then again, surely my crimes are but the whimpering of gnats and gadflies compared to those of the soft and small one.


Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:04
French to English
Different software produces different word counts for the same document May 17, 2002

Yes, once you have got over the hurdle of deciding with your client whether you are gong to invoice on the basis of the source (original) or target (your translation) version, you may run into another problem.

PC\'s seem to count slightly higher than Mac for Word files anyway. If your client checks - and they certainly do for big jobs, and can you blame them? - the fussier ones working under Macintosh might question your PC wordcount. Silly detail, an open file counts more words than when closed.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-05-17 21:59 ]


FPE  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
Utility for Professional word/character/line counting, budgeting for translators May 23, 2002

Hello Folks:

I hope this suggested (free) utility can help solve the dilemna of word counts. It also serves as a budgeting tools and I bet you will... love it !!!

All of the very best, Florence


\"Professional word/character/line counting + budgeting for translators, language professionals, and writers. Optional full compatibility with MSWord counting criteria.

Built-in online exchange rate calculator. Utility to compare word/char/line budgets. It should be useful to anyone who bills based upon written output. Document formats supported include Plain Text, Windows Write, Rich Text Format, WordPerfect and Microsoft Word. Choose one, some, or all files within a folder (and optionally, any subfolders). Specify individual pricing for words, lines, and characters, and directly compare the results. You can include or exclude footnotes, annotations, headers, footers, and even text boxes in your counting. Results can be exported to tab-delimited text files, MSExcel files, or full-color HTML reports. \" Download at www.webbudget.com Requirement: MS Word 97 or later version present on system.


Brian Lottino (X)
Japanese to English
What about Chinese or Japanese? Jun 19, 2002

In Japanese for example you can have a word that is made up of 2 kanji and sometimes 2 words that are of 2 kanji each can be put together to make 1 word of 4 kanji. Does anyone know how words are counted in this case?


David Rockell (X)
Chinese to English
In the case of Chinese Jun 20, 2002

In China (for Chinese), generally wordcounts are done based on individual characters regardless of whether they are individual words (although, this is not always the case and some companies charge per ×Ö·û£©or merely components of words. This would seem to be a reasonably fair modus operandi for this language pair in that one might lose of the low road but win on the high road and end up in Scotland with payment. And if...

Chinese was historically a monosyllabic language and so often one character will equate to one word of the target language but this is not always so and words are a growing in Chinese and the times are a changing. The answer my friend is certainly not blowing in Confucious (who is highly overated and should definitely be criticized) but in an authorative statistical analysis, the likes of which, I have yet to see. In conclusion, I would like to say I just love this forum for giving me the opportunity to pontificate and sound (to the illiterate and similary befuddled) educated, when in fact thusfar in life, I have only learnt how to deliver lambs and drink bourbon (the stillborn ones was revived by the fumes). I would also be very interested to learn about standard charging practices for Japanese in case I finally get the hang of that gnarly language and am able to start undercuttting my overpaid coleages out there.


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