Charging based on source characters for non-Latin languages
Thread poster: cmaroulakos
cmaroulakos
Local time: 05:11
English to Spanish
Nov 16, 2011

At Language Translation, Inc., when translating from non-Latin (i.e. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Arabic) source languages into English, we usually charge our clients (and pay our vendors) based on the target English word count.

However, we are considering charging based on the source character count for such languages instead.

In your experience, is charging based on the source character count a valid method?

Which is easier/more common: charging based on the non-Latin source count or the English target count?

Depending on the language, how does the source character count correlate to the target English word count?

Any insights would be much appreciated.

Thank you,
Chris Maroulakos
Senior Project Manager
Language Translation, Inc.
www.languagetranslation.com


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japanlegal

Local time: 08:11
Japanese to English
+ ...
For Japanese, market practice is to use source character count. Nov 16, 2011

In the JP>EN market, most fees are based on the source character count.

Generally, the only people who don't operate this way are agencies who don't usually deal with Japanese and have no idea how to count source characters or engage with the client about character counts. In my opinion, such agencies should not accept JP>EN work.

Occasionally, clients will request target word accounting because they do not know how to count Japanese characters, but I always explain that source character counts provide greater upfront certainty and prevent translators from padding the text with unnecessary fluff (good for both text quality and the client's pocketbook).

My two cents,
Shannon


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:11
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Further information on source vs. target count Nov 17, 2011

This topic had been discussed many times in great detail.
Please check out this thread.
You can find the answer to your questions.
At the end, it has further links to more details.
http://www.proz.com/forum/japanese_日本語/56772-converting_jpn_chars_to_eng_words.html


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:11
Chinese to English
Chinese similar to Japanese Nov 17, 2011

I always charge by source count when I can. When I can't, I apply a multiplier of 1.5, i.e. 1500 Chinese characters usually translates into about 1000 English words, so if the client asks for a quote in English words, my price is 1.5 times my price per source character.

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cmaroulakos
Local time: 05:11
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, and Asian word-counting software Nov 29, 2011

Thanks for everybody's replies so far.

What about languages like Korean, Arabic, and Hebrew? Is counting the source character a good method for those as well?

For Asian languages, what type of counting software works well? We did some preliminary testing using PractiCount, but the "character count" column counted punctuation and bullets, which threw off the tally.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:11
Hebrew to English
Hebrew Nov 29, 2011

cmaroulakos wrote:

Thanks for everybody's replies so far.

What about languages like Korean, Arabic, and Hebrew? Is counting the source character a good method for those as well?

For Asian languages, what type of counting software works well? We did some preliminary testing using PractiCount, but the "character count" column counted punctuation and bullets, which threw off the tally.


I work in Hebrew-English. To answer your questions:

Which is easier/more common: charging based on the non-Latin source count or the English target count?

Depending on the language, how does the source character count correlate to the target English word count?


Every Hebrew-English job I've ever worked on has been based on source word count.

Although in an ideal world it would be better for me if it was based on target work count as the correlation of Hebrew - English is usually around +30% i.e. the English target word count will be about 30% higher than the Hebrew source word count.

Counting the Hebrew characters might be a feasible method, but bear in mind Hebrew (and Arabic) don't write all their vowels, so some translators might see this as a backdoor attempt to lower fees perhaps.

Software-wise, I'm not sure, most my documents come to me via Word, which is quite accurate with Hebrew. On occasion I get dead PDFs, in which case I use OCR software such as ABBYY Finereader or ReadIris Pro Middle East to convert it for me to Word.


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Britta Niggenaber
Germany
Local time: 14:11
English to German
What about a word rate? Dec 1, 2011

I offer JAP-GER translations and I have repeatedly been asked about a rate per source word. Some potential clients, mostly agencies, are rather insistent in this respect, even though I explained to them that I thought this would almost certainly cause confusion and disagreement.

So if pressed for a rate per source word I quote one, but point out that the rate is based on the word count from MS Word and if they calculate words any other way they should let me know.

Has anybody else encountered this problem, and how do you deal with it?


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