Equivalent of characters (including spaces) in words
Thread poster: Kobe Vander Beken

Kobe Vander Beken  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:29
English to Dutch
+ ...
Feb 4, 2009

Hi all,

I've been asked to provide a quote for a translation of more or less 60,000 characters (including spaces). I really don't have any idea of how many words/pages this would be, which makes it difficult to quote.
I've been searching forum threads and I have read several things, which makes it even more difficult.

Could it be that 1,600 characters (including spaces) equals 1 page? Or is it 1,800 characters (including spaces)?

I asked for a word count, but for some reason the client can't give an exact (or estimated) word count.

Thanks for your help,


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Member (2008)
German to English
The law of averages Feb 4, 2009

Hi Kobe,

I'm pretty sure this is going to change depending on the source language you work with.

The best bet is to take a few texts that you think may be representative (if you don't already have a software program to do this) and compare the character count with the word count, for example using the statistics provided by Word.

[example: Document with 502 words, the same document has 3759 characters not incl. spaces. 3759/502 = average word length of 7.5 characters per word. Including spaces is 4230/502 = 8.4]

You can work out the "average" number of characters per word, and then divide your 60,000 character count by this number. It will at least get you in the ball park.

[Example: 60,000/8.4 = 7143 words]

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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:29
German to English
+ ...
characters/word is highly language dependent... Feb 4, 2009

... and to a lesser degree dependent on the subject and writing style.

It's dead easy to determine the average number of characters per word for a given text by using the word count statistics reported by Word. and there are other tools available (such as PractiCount) that can generate count statistics for sets of documents.

The number of words per page is highly variable from one document to the next and is generally not a reliable way of estimating the size of a job.

FWIW, I usually figure around 6.3 characters per word in English and around 8 characters per word in German.

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Henrique Mariotto  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
180 words equals 1 lauda (page) in Brazil Feb 4, 2009

In Brazil, most translators who still count the text in words use a block of 180 words as 1 unit (lauda, or page).
However, people who translate from Portuguese to German end up losing money because of the long words, often comprised of what would be four different words in other languages.
The other counting method we use here is 1,000 characters without spaces as 1 'page'.
So, 1,000 characters or 180 words would be very approximate in Portuguese as 1 'page'.

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RobinB  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:29
German to English
Approximate valuie Feb 4, 2009

Kobe Vander Beken wrote:

Hi all,

I've been asked to provide a quote for a translation of more or less 60,000 characters (including spaces). I really don't have any idea of how many words/pages this would be, which makes it difficult to quote.

Lines of 50 or 55 characters are very much standard here in Germany. Our experience is that, on average, narrative English text in the financial/legal field has 7.5 words per 50 characters (incl. spaces).


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:29
Member (2004)
German to English
FeeWizard Feb 4, 2009

If, like me, you like to think and quote in terms of a wordcount, you'll probably find the free online tool called FeeWizard helpful - it converts character counts (with or without spaces) into word counts, and vice versa, for different languages. You can find it here:

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Miomira Brankovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:29
English to Serbian
+ ...
60,000 characters = app. 32 pages = app. 8,800 words Feb 5, 2009

Hi Kobe!
Here in Serbia we are used to measuring the length of texts in pages/characters, with one standard page (called journalist’s or author’s page) having 1800 characters with spaces. That is a legacy from the time of manual typewriters, when anyone who was writing anything for further publication was supposed to deliver the text neatly typewritten on A4 paper with double spacing and about one inch margin on all sides. Such format was practical as it provided sufficient room for editing. That came up to approximately 60 characters per line and 30 lines per page = 1800 characters per page with spaces.
Based on my experience with English texts in the economic/legal field, there are some 6.8-6.9 characters per word. You should work out your own average based on the source language and similar kind of text as Janet has proposed. My estimate in the title is only very rough guideline.

[Edited at 2009-02-05 14:27 GMT]

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tinageta  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:29
English to Latvian
+ ...
I agree Feb 5, 2009

Miomira Brankovic wrote:

60,000 characters = app. 32 pages = app. 8,800 words

[Edited at 2009-02-05 14:27 GMT]

I agree. In an English text, 1800 characters with spaces or 1500 characters without spaces = 250 to 300 words.

EC Translation DG measures 1500 characters (without spaces) as 1 page.

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