Word count of translation into English from Japanese
Thread poster: Valters Feists

Valters Feists  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 15:39
English to Latvian
+ ...
Sep 27, 2003

Dear colleagues,

If a Japanese text is 1000 characters long, how long would be its translation into English (in words and/or characters)?

I'm looking for the average value.

Please reply in English. Thank you in advance.


[Edited at 2003-09-28 15:15]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:39
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
My experience Sep 27, 2003

Based on my experience, there is a 2.5 multiplier/divider between Japanese characters and English words.
That is, 250 Japanese characters would result in a 100 words English document.
For your particular question, (easy math), 1000/2.5=400.
This is on average, for general text.


 

Yuliyana Radoulova
Local time: 14:39
Italian to Bulgarian
+ ...
yes! Sep 28, 2003

I agree with Katalin!

Regards


 

kokuritsu  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:39
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Right! Sep 30, 2003

I apply the coversion factor of 2.5, a rule of thumb of course, exactly the same with the one posted by Katalin-san when asked by clients.

 

kokuritsu  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:39
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Right! Sep 30, 2003



[Edited at 2003-10-01 04:16]


 

Valters Feists  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 15:39
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, everyone (Japanese word count) Oct 1, 2003

Would the 2.5 rate vary depending on the topic of the translated text?
Which type of texts tend to be wordier in Japanese, for example: technical; business; general; fiction; software strings; medicine?


 

kokuritsu  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:39
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Yes, it would vary. Oct 3, 2003

The rate would vary, though it’s kind of hard to tell exactly.

(IMHO)
Obviously, however, it largely depends upon how large the ratio between Kanji and Katakana would be in your translation (let me talk about the case of E>J translation).

The more Katakana rendering is required, the lengthier your translation would be. Katakana words, which are mostly words borrowed from foreign languages, would appear naturally more often in documents related to IT, medical, sports, fashion, chemistry, etc. than in those related to politics, economics, general, etc.


 

Linden Tree LS
Japan
Local time: 22:39
English to Japanese
+ ...
I agree..... So is it our job to do word count? Jun 30, 2004

I agree with this factor varies depending on topic and choice of kanji, hiragana, and katakana. 2.5 factor is very helpful in general case.

I ended up finding this topic because I don't know what to do here....

I was asked to do quote based on Japanese word count in J to E translation. If this is just few pages, yes, I'll gladly "hand count" them if I have to. But its volume just doesn't allow that. I tried Trados' file analysis but it doesn't seem to get repetitions right. Word's wc tool is... well, you know how it is.

I'd love to be considered for this particular project but I don't know how I should come up with reasonable quote that is "agreeable" for everyone. I'm wondering how everyone is dealing with this.

While thinking about this, I began to wonder if it it a translator's responsiblity to do word count, especially in case of Japanese. All of agencies I dealt with so far had done that for me but this time is different. Word count is important to me also but I feel that I am being asked to do part of agency's job this time...

I'd like to know how everyone thinks.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:39
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I would doublecheck the count in any case Jun 30, 2004

Even if the agency gives me the word count, and the Trados analysis, I always doublecheck it. If you don't want to do that, that's OK, but then you can't argue AFTERWARDS if you already accepted the job and you find out that the count doesn't match.
Trados match results depend on percentage and penalty settings, and the agency may set different values for those than you are used to. That's why I always doublecheck. Takes a little time, but worth it.

On the other hand,
mieuxy wrote:
I was asked to do quote based on Japanese word count in J to E translation. If this is just few pages, yes, I'll gladly "hand count" them if I have to. But its volume just doesn't allow that. I tried Trados' file analysis but it doesn't seem to get repetitions right. Word's wc tool is... well, you know how it is.


Could you elaborate on this a bit?
Is the file in Word format or something else?
What do you mean Trados doesn't get the repetitions right?
Too many, or too few?
If you look at the text and (to your eyes) a paragraph seems to be the repetition of another but Trados doesn't recognize it that way, it may be a formatting problem. Either the formatting is very different, or they hit the Enter key at the end of each line, which makes Trados think that's the end of the segment, and will not find the match to it. If you go to Options in Word, you can show all those hidden characters. Maybe that's the problem. In this case, it is your call (or discuss with the agency) whether you leave the source document as it is and charge based on the Trados matches this way (in this case you will need to edit those broken sentences during translation, but you will be paid more, as the sentence was not recognized as a repetition), or edit the source document (take out the manual line-ends), and redo the Trados count that way. It is only logical to charge for the source editing in this case, as you will get more matches in Trados (and less payment).

Be careful, textboxes with multiple lines, or textboxes that are part of a grouped illustration will not get count correctly. You will need to count those manually. I usually charge for those by the target word, a slightly higher rate then usual, because it is a pain to edit those, and since Trados doesn't work on them, you can't recycle repetitions in those, and can't use Multiterm directly either. Or, you can charge for those by the hour.

Hope this helps.
Katalin


 


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