Poll: Do you check if the word count provided by the client is correct before starting a project?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:47
SITE STAFF
Jun 26, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you check if the word count provided by the client is correct before starting a project?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:47
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Depends... Jun 26, 2015

Yes, for a new client, though I must say that most of the times the word count is provided by me.

Never, for my "regulars" with whom I have been working for ages without the slightest problem regarding word count (some even have a higher word count than me).


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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:47
Member
German to English
+ ...
Trust Jun 26, 2015

I trusted the word count provided by an established client for a long time. At some point, they changed the CAT tool that they used for word counts without saying anything. It was in their favour, of course. I now need to check their word count whenever I remember - hard to break a habit. Most other clients provide a package, so it's easy to see the word count.

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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:47
Danish to English
+ ...
Always Jun 26, 2015

I have no real use for clients' word counts, as I base my invoices on my own word counts.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jun 26, 2015

If need be, I'll check to make sure that our criteria coincide, but with my regular clients it's usually me who says what the wordcount is.

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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:47
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
No Jun 26, 2015

A few words more or less don't matter that much and not worth arguing about.

Should it occur that a provided word count seemed completely off, I would double-check it, but that never happened so far, even not with potential clients who I don't trust yet.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
+1 Jun 26, 2015

Gitte Hovedskov, MCIL wrote:

I have no real use for clients' word counts, as I base my invoices on my own word counts.


The only clients who give me wordcounts are the ones who want to underpay for CAT matches

The rest just pay what I bill them, which is the way it should be


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:47
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Other Jun 26, 2015

only if it seems improbable

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Billh
Local time: 05:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Spanish to English Jun 26, 2015

Spanish has about 10% more words than the English translation. I always charge on the Spanish words.

I always do my own word count. In the case of .pdf files I bought a good conversion/OCR program and use the resulting word count for presupuestos.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Almost always Jun 26, 2015

Certainly more often than sometimes. In fact there's just one client whose word I sometimes accept. They put it in the subject line and I don't always check it. OTOH, I sometimes DO check it, and if I found frequent problems they would quickly become ex-clients.

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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 23:47
German to English
+ ...
Not all clients provide a word count Jun 26, 2015

So I voted "other". Also, not all projects are based (primarily) on word count, though usually they are a factor.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:47
English to Spanish
+ ...
Different WC strategies for different clients, I say Jun 26, 2015

Ian Jones wrote:

I trusted the word count provided by an established client for a long time. At some point, they changed the CAT tool that they used for word counts without saying anything. It was in their favour, of course. I now need to check their word count whenever I remember - hard to break a habit. Most other clients provide a package, so it's easy to see the word count.


Agreed, Ian. Changing a more favorable WC without telling the other party may chafe at their shared trust. If both parties are transparent about the strategy being used (either MS Word wc or CAT tool wc, or other), then that trust will be maintained and strengthened, I think.


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Life gives no discounts, and neither do I! Jun 26, 2015

I don't offer discounts for using CATs, so I always double-check all the terms and data, including words count. Usually I can allow some 0.5% fluctuation, but when it comes to some 3%--especially when there're not many words--I feel a bit puzzled and politely ask the client what's heck?! Indeed, most incongruities come from the very definition what is considered to be 'a word,' say, MS Word and CATs initially can't go along together; however a few times my clients stated they counted words in MS Word statistics and I encountered a different words count in the same version of MS Word, which turned out to be a hidden text and removed footnotes/comments.

Why, I like counting)


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:47
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jun 27, 2015

I've found that clients get testy when I try to discuss the word count that they've gotten using their own system, whatever that may be. I've learned the hard way not to get into discussions about it.

But actually today I discovered a big error, which they acknowledged. They were intending to pay me only 10% of the actual word count. I think they moved the decimal point because the final amount we agreed on was exactly 10 times more, to the penny.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:47
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Every single time Jun 27, 2015

... and in most cases, even if there is a difference of less than 5% (plus or minus), I won't say anything. In case of larger differences, however, I will contest their count, above all when there are text boxes, tables and images with text.

These "complaints" represent a very low percentage of the jobs assigned to me, and I have come to an agreement with the client/agency every time I contested the count.

The wrong counts are not due to bad faith, yet of laziness to make the correct count when the above-mentioned features are present. Also, many clients deduct numbers ans symbols from the count, and that may not be accetpable if it requires retyping, keeping formats, changing dots to commas, converting measures, etc. They usually make a guess and see if you "swallow" it. And I request correction even if the count is above 5% in my favor, because that is a sign of professionalism, and I'll tell you, the clients most of the time pay for the surplus count, despite your inquiry.

Everyone is subject to making mistakes, including the agency PM's and the like. What would be a feasible reason not to check the word count of the job I'm about to do? Laziness, perhaps? Not checking the word count makes no sense at all to me.


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