Agency word count against real word count
Thread poster: Ines Burrell

Ines Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:22
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Feb 23, 2005

A while ago, I accepted the job from an agency that had been analyzed with Trados - Framemaker files, converted into rtf format to be translated with Tag Editor. When I checked the files closer I realised the word count was bigger than stated. I copied and pasted all the text from a provided (for reference) PDF file into word file and counted the words there. There were about 1000 words more. When I asked the agency, I was told it was due to the method of counting as they have analyzed the original Framemaker file.
I understand Trados does not count numbers, Word does. Still - is it normal to have such a difference (total word count was 9000 words, minus repetitions = 6000)? How do you people check your word count against the one provided by agency? Are Framemaker files any different from others or was the agency right and I just had not done my homework.

Thanx in advance!


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:22
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Have you checked the files you had to translate? Feb 23, 2005

In Workbench you can load first the TM and then analyse the original files you translated, probably ttx. If the result is the same as the agency told you they are right.


tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 22:22
+ ...
Forget about the Word count. Feb 23, 2005

Trados counts the words you have to translate, Word counts pretty much everything, including numbers, automatically generated TOC entries, etc. On the other hand, it does NOT count words in text frames and some other things that you DO need to translate.
In short, the Word count is totally unsuitable for determining the amount of effort needed for translation, imho.



Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:22
Swedish to English
+ ...
No such thing as a "real word count" Feb 23, 2005

Different software packages produced different word counts - mainly because it is so difficult to define what exactly constitutes a "word". My favourite example (which I have quoted in previous discussions on this topic, and found in the excellent Wordfast Guide) is
How many words in "L'argent de Louis-Philippe" ? It is 3, 4 or 5 depending on your software. Which is right? They all are.

As you say, Trados does not count numbers, because Trados generally handles any format changes and therefore the number does not need to be translated. So Trados appears to understate the word count.

If you cut and paste from a PDF file into Word, it may include as words every repeated heading, footer and every page number - thus overstating the count.

I agree the difference in your word counts seems large, and the only useful advice is to use several packages to do the count, and then negotiate with the agency.


Mark Xiang
Local time: 05:22
English to Chinese
+ ...
Take a look at this Feb 23, 2005

It may help.



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