How to calculate on a per-word basis
Thread poster: LawTrans

LawTrans  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:47
English to German
+ ...
Jun 23, 2009

Hello Colleagues,

I've always calculated my work on a per-translated-line basis but would now like to make offers on a per-word basis as well. I'm just curious as to the standard here. When calculating the number of lines in a translation, one simply defines the number of characters per line and divides the total number of characters by this figure. But how does one calculate the number of words in a document? I use the program TextCount to calculate the number of lines. It can also calculate per word, but one has to define the maximum length of the word. Is there some kind of standard word length?

How are others doing this? Thanks in advance for your replies!


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Irene McClure
Local time: 22:47
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
In MS Word Jun 23, 2009

Hi Lawtrans

I simply use MS Word, go to Tools, Statistics and it gives you the document word count - with or without footnotes. A similar took is also available on Powerpoint for calculating word counts in PP presentations.

I'd be interested to know how others do it.

cheers, savtrad


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:47
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
German into English Jun 23, 2009

However, for G>E, you may want to consider charging by the target word count rather than the source word count because there is a huge expansion factor (sometimes as much as 20%) depending on the document. (Long German words = several English words). This, I believe, was the rationality behind using line counts for German.

LawTrans wrote:

Hello Colleagues,

I've always calculated my work on a per-translated-line basis but would now like to make offers on a per-word basis as well. I'm just curious as to the standard here. When calculating the number of lines in a translation, one simply defines the number of characters per line and divides the total number of characters by this figure. But how does one calculate the number of words in a document? I use the program TextCount to calculate the number of lines. It can also calculate per word, but one has to define the maximum length of the word. Is there some kind of standard word length?

How are others doing this? Thanks in advance for your replies!



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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:47
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Use Freebudget Jun 23, 2009

Hi,

You can use word for word files, but remember that word does not count text in headers, footers or text boxes, so depending on the file you could come short quite a few words.

Trados and Wordfast also have word counting, so if you have either of these programs (I do but when I can I prefer to use the programa I mention further down) you can use them to do a word count on most (not all) file types.

I use a tool called Freebudget (it is free), you can dowload it from http://www.webbudget.com/

It counts words, characters with spaces, characters without spaces, lines with spaces, lines without spaces, grosss lines or pages.

It can read text in footers, headers, footnotes, endnotes, shapes and annotations.

You can define word delimiters and number of character per line and lines per page.

You can put in prices and it will calculate a budget.

And it reads the following formats: rtf, doc, dot, txt, asc, wri, mcw, wpd, and wps.

There are tools that read mpre formats, but you have to pay for them.

All in all I think this a great free tool and well worth using.


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Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:47
English to German
+ ...
Nice trick... Jun 23, 2009

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

However, for G>E, you may want to consider charging by the target word count rather than the source word count because there is a huge expansion factor (sometimes as much as 20%) depending on the document. (Long German words = several English words). This, I believe, was the rationality behind using line counts for German.


Nice trick... but it's usually the translations agencies who tell me if they want a price per source word or per target word. And usually it's source words...

I just count the words in Word. It does a good job for me.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:47
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
How to calculate on a per-word basis Jun 23, 2009

In that case, I would charge a higher per-word rate.



Elke Fehling wrote:

Nice trick... but it's usually the translations agencies who tell me if they want a price per source word or per target word. And usually it's source words...

I just count the words in Word. It does a good job for me.


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Petra Boyd
Sweden
Local time: 22:47
Swedish to English
+ ...
Word counting Jun 23, 2009

Using MS-Word's built-in word counter works great, but keep in mind that it has been known to also count numbers, whitespaces, etc. as "words".

This can be good or bad, depending on if you are considering numbers to be translated text or not. If for example you need to change commas to periods, or convert dollars to euros, or times with AM/PM.

If you're counting words in Power Point, you need to do it from OUTSIDE the document. Right-click on the file's icon and go down to properties. Then click on the information tab. Scroll down and you'll see "number of words" listed.

Practicount is also a good tool, which can accurately count all sorts of different file formats, including or excluding html tags.


[Edited at 2009-06-23 19:20 GMT]


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Jocelynne  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 23:47
Hungarian to Romanian
+ ...
charge more Jun 23, 2009

[quote]Jeff Whittaker wrote:

However, for G>E, you may want to consider charging by the target word count rather than the source word count because there is a huge expansion factor (sometimes as much as 20%) depending on the document. (Long German words = several English words). This, I believe, was the rationality behind using line counts for German.

Pretty simple to deal with this: charge by source words, but with 20% more!
It's my case to, since in Hungarian words are longer than in Romanian, and a text which in Hungarian has 1000 words, in Romanian will have around 1150. That's why I charge more with 15% if Hungarian is the source.
Eva

Sorry, haven't seen Jeff's reply, telling the same thing.



[Edited at 2009-06-23 20:25 GMT]


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LawTrans  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:47
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Calculating number of words Jun 29, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks so much for all your comments! It looks like it is a pretty open issue. I use the program TextCount, which can calculate words as well as lines. In TextCount you can define a "maximum word-length". What do you think would be fair here for the target text into English? 8 characters per word? Too long, too short?

I look forward to hearing your ideas on this! Thanks in advance ...

LawTrans


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:47
English to Russian
+ ...
make some research Jun 29, 2009

Take some of your texts translated in the past.
Check them again and get both wordcount, and a linecount.
You can also get a total number of characters.
You will see how many characters words in your earlier translations contained.
These average figures may be taken as a guidance for your future projects.

[Edited at 2009-06-29 11:07 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-06-29 11:09 GMT]


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Expansion rate/charging Jul 1, 2009

Jocelynne wrote:
Jeff Whittaker wrote:
However, for G>E, you may want to consider charging by the target word count rather than the source word count because there is a huge expansion factor (sometimes as much as 20%)

Pretty simple to deal with this: charge by source words, but with 20% more!


FYI, for legal translations DE>EN my expansion rate is often around 30%. As Sergei pointed out, take a look at several previously translated texts and compare source/target counts (as well as equivalent pricing at your line/potential word rate) to get an average.

Good luck!


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