How do you count the words in a text?
Thread poster: Adriana Johnston

Adriana Johnston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 20, 2010

Hi everyone, I am translating a book into Spanish that has about a 106 pages of almost full text that includes lots of biblical references and quotes.
I am not sure how the word count works, for the source language, for example, how do you count repetetive words, prepositions and conjunctions.
.... And what is the best way to charge in this case, by the word source or by the Page?

Thank you so much for your cooperation.


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:07
German to Swedish
+ ...
MS Word word count Aug 20, 2010

Open or copy-paste the document in MS Word and use the "Word count" function.
Unless the customer has proposed some other definition.


 

Peggy Maeyer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:07
English to German
CAT Tool Aug 20, 2010

Hi,
I think it might be best if you use a CAT tool (Trados, Wordfast, etc., etc.). They all offer the option of in-depth text analysis and give you a detailed word/character count of the source text. They also identify repetitions (as percentages), which enables you to consider these repetitions when billing the client (IF the client requires you to do so).
Plus, in a text that contains many repetitions (i.e., identical or nearly identical segments), a CAT tool would offer you the advantage that you do not have to translate the same sentence/segment all over again when it is repeated because the tool then suggests previously entered translations of the same text.

BTW, when simply counting the words, you count individual repeated words as full words - IMHO taking into account repetitions does only make sense when whole sentences/segments are repeated.

How to charge - whether by word or by page - is something you should discuss with your client prior to beginning the translation. I assume with books, it's probably more common to charge by page, but that may depend on the country or language combination, not sure about that.

Regards,
Peggy

[Bearbeitet am 2010-08-20 08:42 GMT]


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:07
Flemish to English
+ ...
AnyCount Aug 20, 2010

Peggy Maeyer wrote:

IMHO taking into account repetitions does only make sense when whole sentences/segments are repeated.

Regards,
Peggy

[Bearbeitet am 2010-08-20 08:42 GMT]


IMHO taking into account repetitions does not make sense,ever.
A sentence is a sentence. Otherwise, you leave out the repetitions and send the file back without repetitions.

Try a 30-trial version of AnyCount (Advanced International Translators) and if you like the program, buy it.

Link: http://www.stranslation.com/AnyCount/index.html


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:07
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Hardcopy only? Aug 21, 2010

Guys, I have a feeling that the original question may be referring to a PRINTED book, that she has it as a hardcopy only...

 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:07
Flemish to English
+ ...
Acrobat Reader or Abbyy Finereader Aug 21, 2010

In Acrobat Reader or Adobe Acrobat, there is a possibility to scan a book.
Anycount also counts .pdf.
Otherwise, buy Abbyy Finereader and scan the book.


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 22:07
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
hard printed document Aug 21, 2010

Williamson wrote:
In Acrobat Reader or Adobe Acrobat, there is a possibility to scan a book.
Anycount also counts .pdf.
Otherwise, buy Abbyy Finereader and scan the book.

Steps for counting with Adobe Acrobat Pro: 1) Scan the printed document, 2) Apply OCR function of Acrobat, 3) Save as RTF file, 4) Count with Word etc.

Best regards,
Soonthon Lupkitaro


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:07
English to German
+ ...
All this software... why? Aug 22, 2010

Why don't you simply ask the author or the publisher for the original file or at least the PDF so you can convert it? I have no idea why Adriana is supposed to spend hours on scanning 106 pages (!) when there is a perfectly good printing file sitting around somewhere.

Also, Adriana - don't calculate any repetitions and such. Why? You are writing the foreign version of a book. You are the author of this version.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Scanning... Aug 22, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:
Why don't you simply ask the author or the publisher for the original file or at least the PDF so you can convert it? I have no idea why Adriana is supposed to spend hours on scanning 106 pages (!) when there is a perfectly good printing file sitting around somewhere.


Not always. Quite often a book is chosen for translation from its hardcopy version. The current publisher may be other than the original one. The whole thing may have been set in a linotype. And publishers/authors before the e-book era were not as organized.

I had 400-page book to translate. I also have a vintage SCSI scanner that is a speed demon, but... the last drivers for it were developed for Windows 95, compatible with 98, but no further.

So I put together some e-junk I had around, leftovers from past hardware upgrades, and assembled a Pentium MMX, 233 MHz. Windows 98 installation went like a breeze, and in less than one hour I had that scanner working. Scanning two pages at a time, in less than two more hours I had a CD-ROM with a 300-dpi PDF of the whole book. Of course I did the OCR in the Pentium 4, to benefit from the efficiency current technology offers us.

However it amazes me that I visited one store after another, and couldn't find a USB scanner that were as fast as that old one, which renders great color quality too if needed. In all current scanners the "carriage" slides on rails and a gear rack. That old one has a 1½" dia. wheel with a rubber "tire" for the carriage to ride on. Maybe scanning is something lost in the past.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:07
English to German
+ ...
True. But: Aug 22, 2010

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
Not always. Quite often a book is chosen for translation from its hardcopy version. The current publisher may be other than the original one. The whole thing may have been set in a linotype. And publishers/authors before the e-book era were not as organized.
Maybe scanning is something lost in the past. [/quote]

For whatever reason the asker appears to be asked for a quote that includes repetitions and such. This doesn't sound too ancient to me.

???


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
One valuable tip... Aug 22, 2010

As you said your book involves countless Bible passages, this:
http://www.biblegateway.com/
... should help a lot with them. It has 21 Bible versions in English, and 7 in Spanish (plus several other languages), all searchable.

Once I had to edit a PT-EN translation of a book like this, and I found that the translator switched among different versions (including her own) all the time. You could ask your client to select one source and one target version, and keep them consistent all the way. The publisher might even want to have the two versions mentioned.

Btw, in the process I found several slips or typos in the numbers of the passsages... by the original author!


 

jacana54 (X)  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
Be careful Aug 23, 2010

Adriana Johnston wrote:

I am not sure how the word count works, for the source language, for example, how do you count repetetive words, prepositions and conjunctions.



Adriana, I agree with Peggy!!!! Don't let anyone talk you into giving a discount for individual words that appear repeatedly. Whether or not you give a discount for segment repetitions if you work with a CAT tool is one thing, but on no account should you accept to give a discount if, for example, "Jesus" appears hundreds of times in your book. The reason is obvious: it will very likely be in a different place in the sentence in Spanish, because the word order changes.

Also, although for Bible quotes you will go to the chosen version and copy them, please bear in mind that it does take time and some (even if minimal) mental exercise to find the appropriate book and verse... so the fact that you may be copying an "official translation" does not mean that you shouldn't charge (at least something) for that part. My suggestion (the same as Jose Henrique's) is that you ask the client to indicate which version he or she prefers before starting to work.

Finally, and this a really awful comment, I know and I apologize, but in my experience the subject matter of the text is not necessarily an indication of the payment practices of the client, so please be just as careful about the conditions of payment in the case of a religious text as you would with any other.

icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2010-08-23 15:04 GMT]


 

Christina Paiva  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:07
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Calculate the total word count based on a scanned sample Aug 24, 2010

Last year, I quoted a job to translate a book based on the word count of 4 - 5 scanned chapters that I deemed to be representative of the entire book, and based in the word count/pages calculated an approximate total words of the source text.

Given that Adriana's book is mostly text, she can scan a smaller sample.


 

Paula Morrison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Count the pages Aug 24, 2010

Hi Adriana,

I guess one of our colleagues is right. You are referring to the hard copy, right?

In that case, I would just read a bit the book, check if the terminology is easy to handle or too complicated and quote for the amount of pages plus complexity of the text.

You can't spend days counting words. If your client wants a quick delivery, I would just analyse the terminology and quote per page.

Hope it helps,

Good luck,

Paula

------------------------------------------------------------

Paula Morrison

PM Translation & Interpreting Services

paula@pmtranslationservices.co.uk

www.pmtranslationservices.co.uk



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