Free Spanish English Translation Guide / English Spanish Translation: Calculating Word Count
In this free Spanish English translation article, we'll discuss methods for calculating the word count (and therefore the price) of English Spanish translations. Were you looking for a free online Spanish translator?
How to calculate word count for your Spanish translations
Word count is normally the basis for translation pricing, so it is an important point to understand. On the surface, it may seem like a straightforward issue. "Hello, my name is John." -- Five words, right? Easy.
Word count becomes more complicated if the document has code or other text that doesn't actually get translated. It is also tricky if the text is in scanned format or another format where it's hard to get an automatic count. And what about numbers? What about punctuation? What about strings of words separated by slashes -- Microsoft Word will count those all as one word, but your Spanish translator has to deal with each one!
The most important point about word count is to agree on a method, and ideally, a number, ahead of time to avoid surprises and disagreements when it comes time to pay the bill for your English Spanish translations.
Here are some tools for word counting:
What are typical per word rates for English Spanish translations? Visit our free Spanish English Translation Price Guide.
1) MS Office. In Word 2007, you can see a word count on the bottom left of the screen. In older versions of Word, you have to go to Tools in the top menu, and then Word Count.
For Excel, you can click on Select All, then copy into Word. Remember to check for hidden columns.
For PowerPoint 2007, Microsoft has really hidden this function. You have to click on the Office button, then go to Prepare Document, then go to Document Details, then go to Advanced Information, then go to Statistics, and there you have it.
2) CAT tools. Your translator may be using a CAT [Computer Assisted Translation Tool] such as Wordfast or Trados which generates its own word count. Unlike MS Word, Trados and Wordfast will ignore symbols and numbers in their count, but will include headers, footers, and endnotes. Since each software calculates word count a bit differently, again, it is useful to agree ahead of time on a billable word count for your English Spanish translations.
3) AnyCount and Practicount. These two word-counting softwares are compatible with a very wide range of file formats.
4) InSpyder. This is a software for getting word counts from websites.
InSpyder crawls a website to give a word count of all the pages. But don't forget it does not count Flash or images. And let's say you have a bilingual website in English and French, and you want to translate it from English to Spanish. Make sure that you are only counting the English words, not the English plus the French words. Also keep in mind that InSpyder may be counting pages that are no longer public or which you don't actually need to translate. On the other hand, if you have password protected pages, it may not be able to count those.
Points to keep in mind when looking at word count:
- A text that is scanned or otherwise part of an image is not included in most automatic word counts. Embedded objects, headers and footers, endnotes, and text box content are also ignored by MS Word.
- If there is a repeated text and you don't want the translator to count it, then you can just mark it ahead of time as text that is not to be translated. For example, highlight those texts in yellow. Otherwise, the translator still has to deal with it and, in our opinion, has the right to charge you. If you don't want to pay the translator for copying and pasting repeated texts, then you can copy and paste them yourself.
Properly preparing your document before sending it to the translator can save you money and prevent translation mistakes. Read a related article
in our free Spanish English Translation Guide.
You may be tempted to argue with translators about elements such as numbers and punctuation; however, remember that translators still have to consider these elements in their translations. In many cases, they are part of the sentence that is being translated, and the translation wouldn't be the same without them.
- If the translator is using a CAT tool, he or she may be willing to offer a discount for repeated texts in the English Spanish translations. It is always worth asking. However, not all translators will agree to this. Some translators feel that, since they have invested in the software themselves, they have the right to benefit from the increase in efficiency that it brings them, rather than passing the savings to their clients.
- If the document is in a format such as a scanned photograph that is very difficult to count, consider agreeing on a rate per translated word instead of per source word. For translations from English to Spanish, keep in mind that the number of translated words will often be 20% higher than the number of source words, so you may want to try to negotiate a discount or a lower rate.
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