Dubious word count in Word / potential trickery
Thread poster: xxxTrans-Iberia
xxxTrans-Iberia

Local time: 03:41
Apr 2, 2008

Lately, i have been getting some very large jobs from an agency and I have some doubts about the word count I see in Word after translating these larger documents. I have years of experience at this point, and it just seems like some of the documents which Word counts as having (to make up an example) 25,000 words are taking me much much longer to do than other 25,000-word documents in the past.

So, my question is: is there some way that an agency (or anyone) could "hide" words from Microsoft Word's word-counting feature? On more than one occasion, I have found that items in text boxes, charts and graphs are not correctly counted or are not included at all, but most of these suspicious documents seem to be just plain text more or less. Obviously, I can't ask the agency, but I can't figure out any way to discover is some cheating has taken place. I've tried taking average word counts from single pages and then multiplying the average count times the number of pages, and that has actually ADDED to my suspicion a little.

Any suggestions or has this happened to anyone else? Thanks!


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Carlos Montilla
Local time: 03:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Possible help Apr 2, 2008

If you want to send me the file, I'll have a look at it and let you know the wordcount that comes up.

Carlos

info(at)tradumon(dot)com


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:41
English to Polish
+ ...
Suspicious Apr 2, 2008

nacozari wrote:
taking me much much longer to do than other 25,000-word documents in the past.

Maybe you're just getting old!
Just a little joke, heh heh.

I do not understand the intent of hiding words, because they would not be translated [edit: right - the words are there, but they have not been counted by Word, I get it]
I have seen instances where a snapshot of text from a PDF file was pasted into a Word documet, but that's immediately obvious because you see an image pasted into the text.

Try saving the document as a plain TXT file and do the word count on that. Maybe that will help. The original is a Word document, I presume?

Pawel Skalinski


[Edited at 2008-04-02 11:49]


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Katherine Mérignac  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:41
Member (2004)
French to English
PractiCount Apr 2, 2008

Have you tried another counting tool, such as PractiCount. I know it sometimes picks up additional text in boxes or something. I usually compare Word count, PractiCount and Trados analysis if I have doubts about a document.

Katherine


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 03:41
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Curiouser and curiouser .... - and my 2c Apr 2, 2008

Agency using longer and harder words ?! .... hm ...

In case of longer texts I measure (!) the time between my breaks and the number of words done (and I do not use Word, among other things for reasons you have mentioned). If the text is "normal" (in the statistical sense) the words/hour should not vary more than say 10%. If they do - or if they differ greatly from an order to an order, which is more probable, then maybe you should have a closer look at texts to see the reason.

I did - and one of the reasons, probably the most important anyhow, is pretty obvious: there's easy texts and there's difficult texts. Knowing the difference is a necessary condition for having the grits to ask for a better - no, not better, for a more appropriate - price.

regards

Vito

[Edited at 2008-04-02 12:08]


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Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:41
English to Norwegian
Word does not count text boxes. Apr 2, 2008

Katherine Mérignac wrote: I usually compare Word count, PractiCount and Trados analysis if I have doubts about a document. Katherine


There is a nifty little word-count macro called CompleteWordCount that include text boxes etc. Free to download.
But I always also use AnyCount and Trados. Usually the difference is not significant.

Regards,
Per Magnus


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:41
German to English
+ ...
Why the suspicion? Apr 2, 2008

Different programs count in different ways. Try a couple of different counting programs and try saving as TXT as noted above. See how close the results are - there will always be a slight discrepancy. Are there footnotes, endnotes, text boxes, embedded images in the files? All of these could be left out by one counting program or another.

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Katherine Mérignac  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:41
Member (2004)
French to English
Swings and roundabouts! Apr 2, 2008

Vito Smolej wrote:

there's easy texts and there's difficult texts

[Edited at 2008-04-02 12:08]


Exactly - I've just spent about four hours translating 700 odd words because it's extremely technical. I knew it would take me longer, but it counterbalances the 'easy' work the agency usually sends, so in this case I just grit my teeth and get on with it!

K


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:41
English to Polish
+ ...
@Per Apr 3, 2008

Word 2007 actually does count text in text boxes, if you tell it to (i.e. tick a box)

Pawel Skalinski


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xxxTrans-Iberia

Local time: 03:41
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Apr 3, 2008

thanks for all the suggestions. i am trying to get a hold of one of the suggested programs, but maybe it will turn out that i am just getting old and slow!!! it is great to know that there are so many other options out there, though. i guess i am a bit low-tech... cheers!

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