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Per character or line or word
Thread poster: hindi_linguist

hindi_linguist
India
Local time: 01:42
English to Hindi
+ ...
Apr 20, 2013

I have seen linguists using per character and/or per line as a basis of charging their clients. Often, per word is the most frequently used criteria. I am keen to know on what occassions i could quote on per character or per line basis. We can assume translation as the job type.

Thank you in advance for your response.


 

Charlotte Farrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:12
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Up to you Apr 20, 2013

Based on my experience, it's essentially up to you. For some languages it's more the norm to quote per line and for others it's per word. At a company I worked for, almost all combinations with German were by line whereas French to English was almost always by word. I believe that people tend to charge by line if their source language is one that often has longer, compound words that contain a lot of information (Finnish or German for example) as opposed to languages that use more shorter words to convey the same message (French or Spanish for example). Charging by character or line therefore usually means that your fee corresponds more to the amount of meaning conveyed than the sheer number of words.

I know nothing about Hindi and so cannot advise which would work out best for you. If a potential client asks you to quote by word then do so and if they ask for by line then do that. Otherwise, I'd say work out what you would prefer.


 

hindi_linguist
India
Local time: 01:42
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Line or segment Apr 20, 2013

In my localization career, i never came across a situation that i had to offer my linguists on some other basis but per word. Irrespective of the language, the most appropriate method to charge is per word. In some languages like indic the English words are always considered whether FT or BT. Having heard of per line, i am wondering does it literally mean a line in the word document or a segment. I presume its segment, lol 😆.

Per page is also a prevailing standard on which rates are decided. But i am still confused with per character. Does it comes into the play when talking of asian languages like korean, japanese, chinese etc.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:12
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Japanese, Chinese, Korean - per source character Apr 21, 2013

Hindi Linguist wrote:

I But i am still confused with per character. Does it comes into the play when talking of asian languages like korean, japanese, chinese etc.


Yes, the volume of text in these languages is measured by the number of characters.
There were many discussions on this topic already, see a few here:

http://www.proz.com/forum/localization/229393-word_count_when_source_language_is_korean_chinese_japanese_arabic.html

http://www.proz.com/forum/japanese_日本語/56772-converting_jpn_chars_to_eng_words.html

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/212248-charging_based_on_source_characters_for_non_latin_languages.html


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:12
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Lines Apr 21, 2013

Hindi Linguist wrote:

Having heard of per line, i am wondering does it literally mean a line in the word document or a segment. I presume its segment, lol 😆.


A line is a set number of characters, usually 55 or 60, specified with or without spaces. Page counts are often found in South-Central and Eastern Europe, and are also a set number of characters, anywhere from 1250-1800, depending on who's asking.


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 01:42
English to Hindi
+ ...
The nitty gritties Apr 21, 2013

In Hindi which is a वियोगात्मक भाषा which means that words tend to remain separate rather than coalescing together to become one long mega word, it makes a lot of sense to quote per word.

It would be even more advantageous to quote per character because the Hindi script is also a complex script, which means a single glyph can actually be made of many characters. For example में is actually three characters. But unfortunately, per character quoting has not yet become the norm in Hindi icon_frown.gif

Now consider a language like Sanskrit or German which are संयोगात्मक भाषाएँ, meaning, in these, words join together to form long combinations. There are cases in Sanskrit, where a whole treatise running into several pages is technically a single word!

In such cases quoting by the word can quickly bankrupt you! That is why in these languages it is the norm to quote by character.

Regarding quoting by page, never ever do it, or you will terribly regret it. It is possible to cram in as many words as you can into a "page" by reducing font size, reducing margin size, reducing line size, or increasing the page size itself. To given an example, consider the number of words in a newspaper page to the the number of words in a page of a normal sized novel. If you charge by page you will get the same amount to translate both. It could take you several days to translate a newspaper sized page, but a novel page can be translated in a couple of hours. Also a page can have many visual elements like photos, cartoons, graphs, etc, which can increase or decrease the number of words on it. If you ever have to quote by page, the first thing you should do is define a page in terms of size, font size, line spacing, etc. and get an agreement with your client on that.

Page-wise quoting is usually done for DTP work which is often paid by the hour.

As far as Hindi is concerned the best bet is to go with the per word rate (per source word rate).

[2013-04-21 03:56 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 23:12
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
The Smallest Meaningful Unit Apr 21, 2013

The smallest meaningful unit of measure is the word. That is why it is (and should be) used widely in measuring the length of text in translations. If you go any smaller than word, you have the character but a character does not have any meaning as far as the translation is concerned. Similarly, if you go larger than word, you have the sentence but that does not make any sense, either. Therefore, a word is the unit of measure that should be used in evaluating translations simply because it is the smallest meaningful unit. This is what I believe in, and this is what I use.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:12
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In my case, all three! Apr 21, 2013

As a rule, I charge my clients per word, but (there is always a "but") one of my clients (a Portuguese media group) asks to be charged per character and this week I was contacted by a Belgian government agency for a quote on a per line basis of 60 characters...

 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:12
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
In YOUR language, but not everywhere Apr 21, 2013

ATIL KAYHAN wrote:

The smallest meaningful unit of measure is the word. That is why it is (and should be) used widely in measuring the length of text in translations. If you go any smaller than word, you have the character but a character does not have any meaning as far as the translation is concerned.


Atil, you made the exact same post in a previous thread.
I pointed out to you there, too, that it is a mistake to make such sweeping generalizations based on your language, or the languages you personally know.

Asian languages, such a Japanese, Chinese and Korean are based on characters. They are not the same as the concept of "words". Sometimes a character has a meaning that would be considered as one word in a Western language, some would be 2 or more words, and sometimes two or more characters make up a meaning that would be a single word in a Western language. There is no way to count "words" in a meaningful sense in those languages, so it is not true that the smallest unit is "word", and a character does not have any meaning.

Katalin


 

hindi_linguist
India
Local time: 01:42
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Default unit Apr 21, 2013

What is the default unit (word or char) CAT tools or MS Word uses for Asian languages, by default?

 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 01:42
English to Hindi
+ ...
The most reasonable unit would be time Apr 22, 2013

ATIL KAYHAN wrote:

The smallest meaningful unit of measure is the word. That is why it is (and should be) used widely in measuring the length of text in translations. If you go any smaller than word, you have the character but a character does not have any meaning as far as the translation is concerned. Similarly, if you go larger than word, you have the sentence but that does not make any sense, either. Therefore, a word is the unit of measure that should be used in evaluating translations simply because it is the smallest meaningful unit. This is what I believe in, and this is what I use.


If "should use" is the criterion, then time makes the most sense as the most suitable unit. What we are actually billing is the time we spent on our work. Words, characters, pages, etc., are all proxies for this ultimate unit. Unfortunately, measuring time non-controversially is still an issue, although nowadays, it is possible to time-stamp the start and end of a translation session. But here again, it is quite easy (in the eyes of the client) for a translator to take it easy translating just to inflate the time taken and hence increase the invoice amount.

That is why time as a unit of work done is not that much used in translation, even though, like all workers, we too trade in our most limited commodity, time, and should aspire to be compensated for it.

Regarding your above quote, I fail to see the logic in using the "smallest meaningful unit" as a measure of work done. We deliver complete translated texts, and that is what should be paid for - the time taken to deliver the complete translated text.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:12
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
CAT tools count characters Apr 22, 2013

Hindi Linguist wrote:

What is the default unit (word or char) CAT tools or MS Word uses for Asian languages, by default?


CAT tools (such as Trados) give you the source text analysis for Japanese in characters.
MS Word gives you a list that contains various units. Why don't you try it?


 

Joanna Rączka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:12
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
not really Apr 22, 2013

Balasubramaniam L. wrote:



Regarding quoting by page, never ever do it, or you will terribly regret it. It is possible to cram in as many words as you can into a "page" by reducing font size, reducing margin size, reducing line size, or increasing the page size itself. To given an example, consider the number of words in a newspaper page to the the number of words in a page of a normal sized novel. If you charge by page you will get the same amount to translate both. It could take you several days to translate a newspaper sized page, but a novel page can be translated in a couple of hours. Also a page can have many visual elements like photos, cartoons, graphs, etc, which can increase or decrease the number of words on it. If you ever have to quote by page, the first thing you should do is define a page in terms of size, font size, line spacing, etc. and get an agreement with your client on that.



[2013-04-21 03:56 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


A page is a set number of keystrokes. Traditionally a standard page is 1800 keystrokes - 30 lines containing 60 keystrokes - as this was the quantity of text that could be accommodated by an A-4 page when you used a typing machine. Computers have not yet been invented at that time. It is still used in some countries but other page sizes are in use as well. Some people use 1500 keystrokes (30x50), for certified translations a 1125. But it is always a set number of keystrokes. It does not depend on the DTP, font size, margins, pictures. If you have a newspaper page, you simply count the characters and spaces, divide by 1800 and then you get the number of standard pages to quote. It is simple and in fact, it quoting per character including spaces. You can't cram more words into a 1800 keystroke page than it can accommodate.
Same is with line - it is also a set number of keystrokes - 55 (in Germany) or 60.
In my opinion quoting by page/line is the best measure of time spent on translation. Also it is easy to quote minimum charge - it is simply one page.
A word may be shorter or longer, and in some languages it is really not practical. And I do not agree that the word is the smallest meaningful measure. Word has no meaning out of context. The smallest meaningful measure could be a segment or a sentence. But quoting by sentences, whould be really meaningless. You cannot measure your intelectual effort, time spent on thinking, researching, revising, looking up for new words. Only your physical effort - keystrokes is measurable. At least something can be measured and used indirectly for pricing intellectual effort.


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 01:42
English to Hindi
+ ...
@Joanna Apr 22, 2013

If a page is clearly defined as 1800 characters, it effectively boils down to quoting by character. I have no issue with that. Matters can become messy if the page is not clearly defined at the outset. A client might ask you to quote for a 400 page novel without mentioning the page size. In such cases it can become very difficult to estimate the characters per page, because you might be referred to a printed copy of the novel. Sitting down to count the characters per page will take ages. May be you might want to go by the characters in a page of the translated version in such cases?

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:12
English to Polish
+ ...
On units May 1, 2013

Charlotte Farrell wrote:

Based on my experience, it's essentially up to you. For some languages it's more the norm to quote per line and for others it's per word. At a company I worked for, almost all combinations with German were by line whereas French to English was almost always by word. I believe that people tend to charge by line if their source language is one that often has longer, compound words that contain a lot of information (Finnish or German for example) as opposed to languages that use more shorter words to convey the same message (French or Spanish for example). Charging by character or line therefore usually means that your fee corresponds more to the amount of meaning conveyed than the sheer number of words.


German translations tend to involve by-line quoting. If you work with Polish agencies, a lot of by-page quoting may happen, where pages are usually 1800 (standard), 1500 or 1600 (alternative standard) or 1125 (sworn translation unit) characters long, almost always including spaces and all other characters. Per word tends to the be standard where CAT is used, although not always.

For the record, translators who charge by character or some number of characters should be careful when relying on Trados for character count. Trados excludes not only spaces but also punctuation and numbers and possibly even some other characters (I ran out of ideas of what else to exclude when running my empirical experiment), which can be responsible for about 20% difference, which is enough to hurt your wallet but not enough for you to notice easily.


 
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