Poll: Do you double check the source text word count before starting a project?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:01
SITE STAFF
Jul 19, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you double check the source text word count before starting a project?".

This poll was originally submitted by Carmen Grabs. View the poll results »



 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:01
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rarely Jul 19, 2014

I said "rarely" because most of my clients do a good job with their word counting systems and I don't like to tangle with them because they can be very determined.

I can usually sense that the word count is in the ballpark; if there appears to be an obvious discrepancy, I will do my own count. If there's a big difference, then I will call it to my client's attention.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jul 19, 2014

To me, it seems as though this question makes the assumption that my clients are telling me how many words there are in the source text. This is not my modus operandi. I mainly work in Word-compatible texts. The word count is whatever MS Word says it is. In most cases, any reductions or allowances for repetitions etc are granted by me, not imposed by the client.
I often have to click back on the document again to check while I'm noting down the word count, but that's because of my scatty, all-over-the place, ad hoc way of doing things, often several at once.


 

Gudrun Maydorn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:01
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
No Jul 19, 2014

I do the counting once. Why would I need to do it twice?

My clients have never yet provided a word count, so there has been no need for double checking. I normally quote a flat rate for my translations, but use the word count based on Word for those few clients who wish to know.

[Bearbeitet am 2014-07-19 09:21 GMT]


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 22:01
German to English
+ ...
Other - hence yes Jul 19, 2014

Usually I'm not told the word count. I don't "double checK'. I check.

 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 05:01
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Yes, but rarely Jul 19, 2014

I am not that strict on the word count.

The only time it has been an issue is when I am offered a project, e.g. as the LVC, and the amount offered barely covers my own translation of the text.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:01
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jul 19, 2014

When dealing with new agencies (my direct clients don't provide word counts), I always check (I don't double check!).
When dealing with my "regulars", I do trust their word count but for one error-prone client...


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:01
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Only if Jul 19, 2014

I have reason to doubt the first word count

(suddenly coming across an image with loads of text in it, if I hadn't realised that those words were not included, for example).

Right now I'm working (OK just before coming to Proz for a quick breakicon_biggrin.gif ) on a file that the client had not attached to her previous mail. A job involving less than 200 words suddenly spiralled into over 3,000. The client also happens to be a very dear friend, to whom I owe a great deal in terms of having the confidence to strike out into the big bad world of translation, so I have no problem spending a fair portion of my weekend working for her.


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:01
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
When possible Jul 19, 2014

because a lot of source documents are scans, you can only estimate. Of course I do - some clients do not bother to specify the volume, others do, but may be seriously wrong. I have a tight planning and managing my volumes closely is a must.

 

SteveMcD  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:01
German to English
Always Jul 19, 2014

My regular clients never send a word count but I do base my fees per source word count.
First count (usually in MS Word) is to offer an estimated price if the client asks for one prior to confirmation. The "double check" is to look for non-translatables (company names, phone numbers, etc.) that need to be deducted. Also, depending on the document format, or how a Word document was put together there may be words that do not show up in the MS Word count (text boxes seen as images, etc.).
The double check is as much to ensure that I do not overcharge the client as it is to make sure I don't undercharge for my work.


 

Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 05:01
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
Very interesting Jul 19, 2014

as my clients always provide me with a word count.

What does the "double check" mean some of you mention?

Also, why do you do the word count in word, and not in Trados? And lastly, how do you deduct phone numbers and names etc. in a very large file where it would take too long to go through the entire file?


 

Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:01
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
No Jul 19, 2014

I either get pdf files, which I can't count, and in which case the agency provides a number. Otherwise, I am paid by the target word count, in which case the initial word count would be meaningless.
In the case of pdf files, I have never had the original word count fall outside the standard deviation for German to English, so I'm fine with the agencies' numbers. Since we know how we're calculating payment before I start work, it's never been a problem.

Sounds like someone's working for some sketchy agencies.


 

Gudrun Maydorn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:01
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
My end customers don't have CAT tools Jul 19, 2014

[quote]Carmen Grabs wrote:

Also, why do you do the word count in word, and not in Trados?

Answer:

I don't work for translation agencies, but all of my direct customers are familiar with Word. Therefore I use a word counting method that my customers can relate to.


 

JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 23:01
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I charge by translated words Jul 19, 2014

My clients occasionally mention a rough word count of the source text when they contact me to see if I'm available. If it is drastically different from my final word count of the translated text, I may mention that to the client when I send my bill, but I bill by my own word count. No one has ever disputed that--though a few have requested an ex post facto discount!

Jane


 

Charlotte Farrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:01
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Always Jul 19, 2014

Just in case there's a typo or a mistake somewhere along the line - if a 3000 word job is actually 7000 words or vice versa, I need to know this in advance so I can make sure that the PM didn't accidentally send the wrong files (it happens) and so I know that the PO is right.

 


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