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In which language the word count should be? Source or Native
Thread poster: Dushyant Sewak

Dushyant Sewak  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 00:14
English to Hindi
+ ...
Jul 4, 2012

Hi all,
I am an English-Hindi translator. A new entrant on the board. So I just want to know that while sending the invoice to a client, which language should be preferred for word count. Source or Native?


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 21:44
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Source Jul 4, 2012

I say word count should be the source language. I believe that is also the norm.

 

Dushyant Sewak  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 00:14
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Atil Jul 4, 2012

Thanks Atil,
One client has recently told me that he would count the translated words for payment, that is why I thought to clarify my doubts. So this is the norm than its okay.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:44
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Whatever both you and your client think is fair Jul 4, 2012

dushyantsewak wrote:
I am an English-Hindi translator. [When] sending the invoice to a client, which language should be [used] for word count?


1. You should have confirmed this with your client before you started the translation.

Some clients say "I want to know that you did not inflate the text deliberately" but some clients say "I want to pay for the actual text that is delivered", and both arguments are valid.

2. Most clients I meet and most translators that I have chatted with about this issue count the source text, not the target text.


 

George Hopkins
Local time: 20:44
Swedish to English
Source of course.. Jul 4, 2012

Although it might be worth noting that the resulting target count depends to a great deal on the actual language pair.
For example, translating from English into Swedish is much more profitable than vice versa if the price per word is the same...


 

Dushyant Sewak  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 00:14
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Samuel Jul 4, 2012

Oh yes...source text seems legitimate and sensible..

 

Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Turkish to English
+ ...
Depends on language pair Jul 4, 2012

Hi, I would say this depends on the language combination. While it is considered normal practice to calculate the source word count I personally, when translating Turkish into English, calculate and invoice on the target count. This is because the English text is always substantially more than the Turkish. I believe this is common with some other language pairs such as German into English as well. I do however, make sure that this is understood by the client before I undertake the translation.

 

Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
English to Russian
+ ...
I depends on a project Jul 4, 2012

Sometimes one has to translate paper (scanned) documents where wordcount cannot be precise, so target-based wordcount is useful.
As for language pairs, one needs to have different rates for each pair, so it should not be an issue with calculations.

[Редактировалось 2012-07-04 10:38 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Source for me Jul 4, 2012

A text that contains 1000 words in Spanish might only be around 800 words when translated to English, so I tend to count the words based on the source documentwhen translating SP-ENG. This also lets my Spanish clients work out their budgets before ordering translations.

Anyway, if there is any disagreement we can usually work something out to suit both parties.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:44
Russian to English
+ ...
This is the wrong question. Target - is that what you meant? Jul 4, 2012

I am sorry but this is the wrong question. The languages are called source and target. I think this is what you meant. Then, I would say, it does not really matter. Translation is not really about counting each article. I think whatever you and your client agree on is fine.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:44
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Source Jul 4, 2012

The word count is (should be) usually based on the source text. Aside from this being (again normally) common practice, the exact number of words that you actually do translate is the exact number of words in the source text.icon_smile.gif

 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:44
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Well... Jul 4, 2012

Thayenga wrote:

Aside from this being (again normally) common practice, the exact number of words that you actually do translate is the exact number of words in the source text.icon_smile.gif


Well, but the exact number of words you produce is actually the exact number of words in the target texticon_biggrin.gif


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:44
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Target Jul 4, 2012

I have used the target count for 19 years and never been asked to do otherwise.

 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:44
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
No fixed rule Jul 4, 2012

As Natalia wrote, the source-text count may not be known if it's a graphics image. However, you can still charge by the source-text length if you can make a reasonable estimate and the client agrees. To estimate the length of the source text in a graphics file, I count the no. of words in a few lines and determine the average, then count the total no. of lines and multiply. This will work reasonably well if the text is in columns of constant width and constant font size.

In practice you can charge how you like, and the effect should be to give you approximately the rate per hour that you want (which implies that you know how fast you work). I do some work for a translation agency that pays me per character of the target text (allowing 1 space per word; actually per standard line of 55 characters but that's really the same principle). This gives a certain kind of consistency as I translate from German and French; the word count of a translation from German is about 10 to 15% greater than that of the source (but the total text length is about the same number of characters); from French it's about the same number of words. I don't make my translation as long as possible - I make it as good as possible, because that's best for my conscience and reputation.

If a client says to me "Here's a text - what will you charge for translating it?" I prefer to reply "I'll do it for XX GBP." rather than "I'll charge YY GBP per word of the translation, so I can only say that will be approximately ZZ GBP for this job." My charge is usually a certain rate per word from German source, or about 85% of that rate from French source.

Oliver

[Edited at 2012-07-04 15:37 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Source Jul 4, 2012

In any business deal, both parties should have a clear picture of the total cost before the work is executed. Although there are people who are happy about knowing after the job is done, it is more frequent to know in advance, and thus the wordcount of the source text prevails.

 
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