Word count phenomenon in current translation contest?
Thread poster: patyjs

patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 22, 2009

Has any one else noticed the range of word counts in the Spanish to English entries?

I have always experienced that this language pair, in this direction, drops in word count quite significantly. In the contest entries, however, the reverse is true. Check out the statistics:

Out of 55 entries, only 12 have a lower word count than the source, which has 308.
The 43 other entries have significantly higher counts. The range is staggering (to me anyway): the lowest is 271 and the highest, an incredible 390 words! That's around a 30% increase in a language pair that regularly shows a decrease of 5 to10%.

Is this a phenomenon of literary texts or does it have something to do with the contest scenario?

I'm really intrigued!





[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-09-22 17:34 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:05
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Contest texts too short Sep 22, 2009

patyjs wrote:
Is this a phenomenon of literary texts or does it have something to do with the contest scenario?


The test texts are too short to say for certain. In the two languages that I watch, one often finds that one paragraph is long in the first text and short in the second, and then the next paragraph is short in the first text and long in the second text, etc. You really can't tell.

The English source text is 324 words long. The numbers for AF and NL respectively are: AF 329 344 361 361 366 and NL 312 330 330 331 338 343 346 347 348 353 354 383 397. All of the NL translations are direct translations. All but one of the AF translations are direct translations, but you can't tell which one isn't just by looking at the numbers.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sounds a bit too long to me! Sep 22, 2009

patyjs wrote:
Out of 55 entries, only 12 have a lower word count than the source, which has 308.
The 43 other entries have significantly higher counts. The range is staggering (to me anyway): the lowest is 271 and the highest, an incredible 390 words! That's around a 30% increase in a language pair that regularly shows a decrease of 5 to10%.

I don't want to influence those who evaluate the texts, but to me a growth of 30% from Spanish into English sounds like the translation did not produce a natural English text. To me it would sound logical that the English translation has less words than the Spanish text.


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Maria Diaconu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 13:05
English to Romanian
Interesting observation Sep 22, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I don't want to influence those who evaluate the texts, but to me a growth of 30% from Spanish into English sounds like the translation did not produce a natural English text. To me it would sound logical that the English translation has less words than the Spanish text.


From my own experience, the English to Romanian conversion rate would be around 120-125% (i. e. 125 Romanian words for 100 English words).
I dind't think of checking this with the contest texts, but it could be a very interesting research
I'll check and let you know...


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