Do numbers count as words?
Thread poster: fred1
fred1
Local time: 15:23
English to Albanian
May 14, 2008

Hi Everybody!

Recently I've translated in Microsoft Word (table format) a questionnaire that did have 900 numbers and there are also a few repetitions.

When I do the word count in Microsoft Word I have total of 3800 words (supposedly the numbers are counted) and when I received the PO from the agency there were only 2600 words. The only reason I could think that they did this word reduction, it would be the numbers and repetitions.

I translated only the text and didn't do anything to the numbers. So in this case do numbers count as words?

Thank You,

Naim


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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:23
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
numbers do not count towards final word count May 14, 2008

That they are not paying you for the numbers is understandable - you did not translate them.
Regarding the repetitions, however, I would have expected your client to have discussed possible discounts with you in advance.
Some translators give discounts for repetitions, others don't.


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:23
Member (2002)
English to German
Numbers can count as words May 14, 2008

Hi Naim,

If you haven't changed the numbers at all, it is fair not to count them as words.

Nevertheless, often their format has to be localized, e.g. 9,999.00 has to be changed to 9.999,00. Then numbers are part of the word count indeed.

Best regards

Andy

www.interlations.com

[Bearbeitet am 2008-05-14 18:42]


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 22:23
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Numbers are counted but May 14, 2008

Not always.

Case 1. Agency sends a hard copy (fax, or even a pdf file). You type all the numbers in your translation. So the numbers are counted as well.

Case 2. Agency sends a document in an editable electronic format (e.g. word file) and formats the numbers in the tables to prevent editing. In that case numbers are not counted.


I am not an accountant and typing numbers is not an easy task for me.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 21:23
English to German
+ ...
they are counted.. May 14, 2008

Hi! As strokes and not as words, hence a quotation from germany would be 55 strokes including symbols and spaces comprising a standard line. Best regards, Brandis

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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:23
Swedish to English
+ ...
Word count should be agreed in advance May 14, 2008

Prior to starting a job you and the client should agree the following (in writing):

1. Which software will be used for determining word count? Different software uses different algorithms to calculate this. I normally use MS Words as most clients, both agencies and direct clients, have access to this program.

2. How to deal with numbers? Different languages have different formats for these. I.e., UK English - comma for thousands, full stop for decimals; rest (most) of Europe - decimals for thousands, comma for decimals.

3.Should reformatting of numbers be charged? If so at what rate? My answer to these questions are: if the numbers are dispersed in the text they are charged in full (just like words such as "a" and "the"), if they are contained in something like a separate table, I'll offer a certain amount of discount. Please note, only a discount, not a full 100% discount. I still need to reformat them, check that they are correct and make sure any reformatting hasn't affected other text.

4. Is the original a hard copy or a document which can't be easily edited? If so, I charge numbers at full rate.

Madeleine


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 02:23
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Number counts in CAT May 15, 2008

In Trados or other CAT, numbers are not counted as word.
In SDLX you can set to count or not to count numbers (e.g. for your localization purpose). In SDL Edit, you set/read the untranslated words, translated words etc.

Regards,
Soonthon L.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Charge for what you type May 15, 2008

Naim1 wrote:
When I do the word count in Microsoft Word I have total of 3800 words (supposedly the numbers are counted) and when I received the PO from the agency there were only 2600 words. The only reason I could think that they did this word reduction, it would be the numbers and repetitions.


If the numbers are in mid-sentence, then you still have to type them. Charge for what you type. If the numbers are in columns or suchlike, and you can create a translated document without having to touch the numbers, then it would be okay not to charge for them.

It should be easy to confirm the client's count. Simply do a find/replace and replace all numbers with a space. Then do a word count again. The count should be less than the client's (because this method will also remove numbers in mid-sentence).


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Alex Eames
Local time: 20:23
English to Polish
+ ...
Make sure you do that on a COPY of the file :) May 15, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

Simply do a find/replace and replace all numbers with a space. Then do a word count again. The count should be less than the client's (because this method will also remove numbers in mid-sentence).


Hehe

Make sure you use a spare copy of the file to do that on, or you could find you inadvertently messed up the document. Obvious I know, but the obvious things are sometimes those which come to bite us on the backside at an awkward moment.

Alex Eames
http://www.translatortips.com/
helping translators do better business


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:23
Italian to English
+ ...
Find and replace May 15, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:


It should be easy to confirm the client's count. Simply do a find/replace and replace all numbers with a space. Then do a word count again. The count should be less than the client's (because this method will also remove numbers in mid-sentence).


Actually, you can leave the "replace" field blank so the numbers are simply deleted - that way you can get the true wordcount without numbers. (As Alex says, use a copy of the file to do this, just in case.)

Apart from that, I agree with the others here - if you haven't touched the numbers, it's reasonable not to count them. If you've had to re-type them or re-format them in any way, they should be counted.

[Edited at 2008-05-15 08:38]


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fred1
Local time: 15:23
English to Albanian
TOPIC STARTER
Do numbers count as words? May 15, 2008

Hi Everybody,

I thank you all for your replies. Your feedbacks were very helpful to me.


Best,

Naim


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