Translation rate conversion tool
Thread poster: xxxLia Fail
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 25, 2006

Given that different clients use different work/price calculation methods (by word, by line of characters with and without spaces, by page) would it be possible to have a tool to make instant conversions?

We could define standard lines and pages for different regions/countries (e.g. the German line and the Belgian line are apparenetly different).

The idea would be to have the possibility of making conversions, by selecting from a list containing most pricing standards: thus one could make a conversion from the German line price to the Belgian line price, the English word to the German line price, etc.

Maybe this tool exists already?


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:11
German to English
+ ...
DIY and a desktop calculator Oct 25, 2006

There are a number of soft factors involved in this:

- Words and words are not the same. "Daft" is a word and "idiosyncratic" is a word. In a word-based counting system each of them is worth the same, but in a character-based counting system (e.g. using defined lines) the second is worth over three times as much as the first.
This "word count roulette" factor affects the count for texts of different types in the same language (you earn far less per character for a more difficult text with longer words).
It also affects the count in different languages (German and English vary by 20-30%).

- Lines and lines may vary, too. The old standard line for courts in Germany was 50 characters without spaces (i.e. the spaces were delivered, but not paid for; this system is not contained in the latest legislation for court translations, although some court clerks may still tend to refer to it). The most common standard line used in Germany is 55 characters including spaces. If you convert line counts between these two sysetms, you need to make assumptions about the word length and the resulting number of spaces strung out between your 50 spaceless characters.

- I don't know the Belgian system, but I have worked for agencies in Germany that have their own "one-off" definition of a line (one with 60 characters including spaces, one with 50 including spaces).

- Another variable is the defined page. Is it 1800 characters including spaces, or is it 1200? Or do you create a template that gives a maximum of 1800 characters, but then count the actual pages printed rather than counting the total number of characters and dividing by 1800?
And there is one client I bill per 1000 characters including spaces.

Actually, tools like Practicount allow you to define the number of characters (with or without spaces) per "custom line" or "custom page", and they also count words. So that might be the easiest solution. Otherwise, take a couple of typical texts (in both languages) and count the words and lines, and work out a ratio per language.

For the record, I reckon on about 9 English words and 7.5 German words per defined line of 55 characters including spaces. But even these values are liable to change, depending on the actual average word length in each new text.

[Edited at 2006-10-25 16:34]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:11
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Yes, there is a tool Oct 25, 2006

Hi Lia!

Yes, there is a tool, and it is here.

http://www.amtrad.it/feewizardol.php

You can select, for example, "characters with spaces" and write "55" in the units box, or also write any other figure you please in the units box, according to the number of characters in the line.

I personally find this an extremely useful tool, and I have it bookmarked.

Astrid


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DrEditor
United States
Local time: 04:11
English
page, word, and character counts Oct 26, 2006

The most consistent standard for measuring the size of a manuscript or body of data would be characters (including spaces). My company provides a full range of editorial, production, and other publishing services, and all our bids are based on character counts, regardless of which tasks we are being asked to perform (including translation). The difficulty of figuring out equivalents between languages can indeed be daunting. However, counting characters (including spaces) per line can produce a reliable basis for comparison between languages. For instance, I find an average of 9.75 words per line of English and 8 words of German, as opposed to 9 English and 7.5 of German.

First, you have to standardize the entire document or manuscript so that you only have a single space between any to contiguous character units (words, abbreviations, etc.). Once there is only one space between units, you can (1) count the number of characters only, (2) then count the number of characters with spaces, and (3) subtract 1 from 2 to get the number of spaces alone. In Microsoft Word, this space count is 4-5% shy of the official word count. However, putting the measurement on a universal footing removes the variables of whether to charge by word, line, page, or characters.

Charging per character (including spaces) at a rate of $30.00 per 1,000 characters (basing it on 1,000 characters makes it easier to compare, than using $0.03 per character) is roughly equivalent to getting $6000 for translating a 150 page manuscript, or $40.00 per page, or $0.16 per word.

While this doesn't solve the problem of figuring out how many words, lines, or characters of German there are compared to Belgian or Spanish or English, it standardizes the method of counting, so that you as the translator can multiply your charge per character by a factor that you feel is reasonable for the source or target language.

I don't know if this will help anyone get a handle on their calculations, but it should get us out of the muddle of pages vs. lines vs. words vs. characters.


Victor Dewsbery wrote:

There are a number of soft factors involved in this:

- Words and words are not the same. "Daft" is a word and "idiosyncratic" is a word. In a word-based counting system each of them is worth the same, but in a character-based counting system (e.g. using defined lines) the second is worth over three times as much as the first.
This "word count roulette" factor affects the count for texts of different types in the same language (you earn far less per character for a more difficult text with longer words).
It also affects the count in different languages (German and English vary by 20-30%).

- Lines and lines may vary, too. The old standard line for courts in Germany was 50 characters without spaces (i.e. the spaces were delivered, but not paid for; this system is not contained in the latest legislation for court translations, although some court clerks may still tend to refer to it). The most common standard line used in Germany is 55 characters including spaces. If you convert line counts between these two sysetms, you need to make assumptions about the word length and the resulting number of spaces strung out between your 50 spaceless characters.

- I don't know the Belgian system, but I have worked for agencies in Germany that have their own "one-off" definition of a line (one with 60 characters including spaces, one with 50 including spaces).

- Another variable is the defined page. Is it 1800 characters including spaces, or is it 1200? Or do you create a template that gives a maximum of 1800 characters, but then count the actual pages printed rather than counting the total number of characters and dividing by 1800?
And there is one client I bill per 1000 characters including spaces.

Actually, tools like Practicount allow you to define the number of characters (with or without spaces) per "custom line" or "custom page", and they also count words. So that might be the easiest solution. Otherwise, take a couple of typical texts (in both languages) and count the words and lines, and work out a ratio per language.

For the record, I reckon on about 9 English words and 7.5 German words per defined line of 55 characters including spaces. But even these values are liable to change, depending on the actual average word length in each new text.

[Edited at 2006-10-25 16:34]


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3ADE shadab
Local time: 14:41
Hindi to English
+ ...
Thanks ! Jun 25, 2009

Thanks you all for providing such an valuable information here.

Regards
Shadab


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grzzpo
Poland
Local time: 10:11
Polish to German
+ ...
Polish Jan 9, 2011

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Hi Lia!

Yes, there is a tool, and it is here.

http://www.amtrad.it/feewizardol.php

You can select, for example, "characters with spaces" and write "55" in the units box, or also write any other figure you please in the units box, according to the number of characters in the line.

I personally find this an extremely useful tool, and I have it bookmarked.

Astrid

Great, but I cannot check the conversions for Polish. I have to make a questionable assumption ;D


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
How widespread is counting by lines/characters? Jan 9, 2011

It seems a hopelessly confusing system, and all my customers in Europe charge by the word - or at least they accept invoices from me that charge by the word. Are there many companies left that use lines or characters?

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Eva Yordanova  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:11
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Bulgarian Jan 10, 2011

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Yes, there is a tool, and it is here.

http://www.amtrad.it/feewizardol.php

Astrid


I also cannot estimate properly the conversion because Bulgarian is not listed as a language although we have been a member state of the EU for several years now. It seems this Italian agency needs an update of their site

@philgoddard: In Bulgaria they still pay you per page which means 1800 characters.


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Mette Melchior  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:11
English to Danish
+ ...
Mainly in Germany Jan 10, 2011

It seems to be mainly German companies who prefer to work with line/character based rates.

For some EU projects, they also base the price on a rate per source page (defined as 1500 characters without spaces).

Thanks to Astrid for the link to the online converter! It looks like a helpful tool to provide an estimate for these confusing rate conversions.

Kevin Lossner has also written a good article about this and made a spreadsheet available which you can use to calculate your own estimates.

---

It is great how these threads sometimes come to the surface again since they might prove helpful to people who didn't see them the first time - like me in this case


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Clarisse Schroeder
Switzerland
Local time: 10:11
English to German
+ ...
Rate Converter Jun 24, 2013

Thank you for your contribution! =)

I just tinkered a tool wich converts the price of a character into the price of a line. You can check it on my site!

http://www.text-services.ch/translation-rate-converter.php

I hope you'll enjoy it!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:11
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Bringing this up again in the hope it will be useful :-) Jan 22, 2014

Mette Melchior wrote:
...

It is great how these threads sometimes come to the surface again since they might prove helpful to people who didn't see them the first time - like me in this case


I have just googled my way to this, and thought others might agree too!

Thanks for all the good advice.

Still counting on my fingers trying to work out how to convert Danish words fairly to lines of 55 strokes...

The converter seems to give a very odd rate for DA-EN, and Kevin Lossner's article is no longer accessible.

[Edited at 2014-01-22 16:55 GMT]


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Marina Soldati  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 06:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Very useful tool May 12, 2015

Thank you!

Astrid Elke Witte wrote:

Hi Lia!

Yes, there is a tool, and it is here.

http://www.amtrad.it/feewizardol.php

You can select, for example, "characters with spaces" and write "55" in the units box, or also write any other figure you please in the units box, according to the number of characters in the line.

I personally find this an extremely useful tool, and I have it bookmarked.

Astrid


Marina


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