Is Swedish shorter than English?
Thread poster: Elvira Stoianov

Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 22:41
German to Romanian
+ ...
Feb 22, 2006

First of all, I would like to apologize for posting in English, but I thought this was the right forum to address my question.

A client is suggesting a weird method of calculation: some of the files they send me supposedly originated in Swedish, so they take Swedish as source language, not English, the language I am translating from.

Apart from my not feeling confortable with this method, I was wondering if Swedish is indeed shorter than English, as I thought English was one of the shortest languages.
The difference I got was of about 1000 words at a total of 10,000. Does this reflect your experience?


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:41
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Yes, Swedish is shorter than English Feb 22, 2006

Dear Elvira,

This is a field that hitherto has been poorly covered on our site. It can be very important.

I have a basis of my own - not scientific and not very well researched - for calculation:

From English, French and Spanish into Swedish I discount a word price of 15 cents into 13 cents which corresponds to roughly 15% discount.

German to Swedish: No discount, i.e. approximately 1 to 1.

Several expressions are used for these language pair word disparities:

Shrinking and swelling factor or similar.

I have forgotten the French and Spanish terms but maybe a colleague can help us.

Mats J C Wiman
Übersetzer/Translator/Traducteur/Traductor > swe
http://www.Deutsch-Schwedisch.com
http://www.proz.com/pro/1749
(Proz.com moderator, deu>swe, Swedish)
Träsk 201
S-872 97 Skog
Schweden/Sweden/Suède/Suecia
Tel : +46-612-54112
Fax : +46-612-54181 on demand
Mobile: +46-70-5769797
eMail : MatsWiman@tele2.se
SKYPE : MatsWiman


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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 22:41
German to Romanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Mats Feb 22, 2006

I find it odd, that the client wants to pay me based on Swedish word count, just because they translate it into English and then give me the English text to translate. On the current project, I lost about 10%.

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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 04:41
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
also true for US English? Feb 22, 2006

Hej Mats,

In case of British English you are absolutely right. But what if you have an American text with the usual abundance of noun phrases?

[quote]Mats Wiman wrote:

Dear Elvira,

This is a field that hitherto has been poorly covered on our site. It can be very important.

--8


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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 04:41
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
hmmm :-( Feb 22, 2006

If they ordered a translation from English source, and you agreed on a rate per source word, they are twisting up the original agreement.

Elvira Stoianov wrote:

I find it odd, that the client wants to pay me based on Swedish word count, just because they translate it into English and then give me the English text to translate. On the current project, I lost about 10%.


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Catherine Brix
Local time: 22:41
Swedish to English
+ ...
Agree with titi@home Feb 22, 2006

Totally irrelevant that the customer has translated from
Swedish to English at some point. You're source language
is English. Period.

And yes, usually 15-20% more words in an English text compared with a Swedish text. Swedish tends to run words
together, for instance 'restaurangbranschen' which translates into 'the restaurant business' or the ever popular "informationsteknologi" = "information technology".

Good luck!


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Jeff Skinner  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:41
Swedish to English
+ ...
Couldn't agree more. Mar 26, 2006

Basing the source word count on a document you're not even getting to see, let alone work with, is unethical. If they want to use the Swedish document for the source word count, they should find a Swedish to Romanian translator.

I don't have much in the way of hard evidence that Swedish is shorter than English, just the last few Swe>Eng projects I've done. Invariably, the English word count comes out higher than the Swedish word count. I don't know by how much; I didn't take the time to calculate. But I think, in general, it's true.


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