Word count in a project
Auteur du fil: Mihai Seucan

Mihai Seucan  Identity Verified
Roumanie
Local time: 23:35
Membre
anglais vers roumain
Nov 14, 2020

Hi,

I am a freelance translator for the last 5 years, and even though I do not have a degree in this field, I have translated so far thousands of pages.
I have an issue now with a new client, a translation agency. I was assigned a project, which according to them has 80.000 words. Format of the file delivered is in Excel. I have 3 Excel files to translate: one small size file, one medium size file, and one very big file. After I finished the small and medium file, and started
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Hi,

I am a freelance translator for the last 5 years, and even though I do not have a degree in this field, I have translated so far thousands of pages.
I have an issue now with a new client, a translation agency. I was assigned a project, which according to them has 80.000 words. Format of the file delivered is in Excel. I have 3 Excel files to translate: one small size file, one medium size file, and one very big file. After I finished the small and medium file, and started working on the big size file I have noticed that maybe the word count is not as they said. I did a word count and actually all 3 files have 200.000 words. I have written an e-mail to translation agency related to this, and they said that there are a lot of words repeating, and so all 3 files have only 80.000 words. But they count words repeating, and not sentences.
So, my question to all experienced translators does this sound ok? Same words in a file is the same with same sentences in a file?
Just wondering....

[Edited at 2020-11-14 20:16 GMT]
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Stepan Konev  Identity Verified
Russie
Local time: 00:35
anglais vers russe
CAT-tool count Nov 14, 2020

You can easily get the true count by using a CAT tool. This will give you a statistics file that you can reference to and produce to your client.
Also, you can remove duplicates in Excel to see the result. It is uncertain whether you convey their standpoint correctly. (I don't know what they exactly told you, I only know how you understood it.) Maybe they mean something else. CAT tools count segments (sentences) but use words as a unit of measurment. I don't think they realy count same wor
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You can easily get the true count by using a CAT tool. This will give you a statistics file that you can reference to and produce to your client.
Also, you can remove duplicates in Excel to see the result. It is uncertain whether you convey their standpoint correctly. (I don't know what they exactly told you, I only know how you understood it.) Maybe they mean something else. CAT tools count segments (sentences) but use words as a unit of measurment. I don't think they realy count same words only. Most probably they count segments/sentences quantitatively expressed in words. The esiest way to know that is using a CAT tool as I mentioned above.

[Edited at 2020-11-14 22:08 GMT]
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Sheila Wilson
 

Kang Seok Lee
Corée du Sud
Local time: 06:35
Membre (2018)
anglais vers coréen
+ ...
Put the Excel file into Word (docx) Nov 15, 2020

It will automatically tell you how many words are in the document.
So tell your agent this way to have a mutually agreed (not objectionable) number of words count.
And if their real intention is as they have told you,
Quote
And I have written an e-mail to translation agency related to this, and "they said that there are a lot of words repeating, and so all 3 files have only 80.000 words"
Unquote.
I feel a bit angry and like to tell them "There are a lot of
... See more
It will automatically tell you how many words are in the document.
So tell your agent this way to have a mutually agreed (not objectionable) number of words count.
And if their real intention is as they have told you,
Quote
And I have written an e-mail to translation agency related to this, and "they said that there are a lot of words repeating, and so all 3 files have only 80.000 words"
Unquote.
I feel a bit angry and like to tell them "There are a lot of 'SPELLING' repeating"
As this assertion is funny and preposterous, I think 200,000 words are made up by repeating 80,000 words only is so unreasonable reply.
Like everybody knows well and accepts, only repeated 'SENTENCE' can be exempted.
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Enrique Bjarne Strand Ferrer
Norvège
Local time: 22:35
Membre (2017)
anglais vers norvégien
+ ...
Repetitions Nov 15, 2020

Mihai Seucan wrote:

But they count words repeating, and not sentences.


I doubt very much that the documents contain 80 000 different words.
To give a discount or even no payment for repetitions is common practice. Using a CAT-tool, the effort is minimal for repetitions.
However, it is important that the repetitions are in form of segments.

"Repeated words" should mean "words in repeated segments".

[Edited at 2020-11-15 06:48 GMT]


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Allemagne
Local time: 22:35
Membre (2007)
néerlandais vers allemand
+ ...
Or use an external application Nov 15, 2020

Stepan Konev wrote:

The easiest way to know that is using a CAT tool as I mentioned above.


i. e. https://www.catcount.com/


Mihai Seucan
Stepan Konev
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Pays-Bas
Local time: 22:35
Membre (2006)
anglais vers afrikaans
+ ...
@Mihai Nov 15, 2020

Mihai Seucan wrote:
I did a word count and actually all 3 files have 200.000 words. I have written an e-mail to translation agency related to this, and they said that there are a lot of words repeating, and so all 3 files have only 80.000 words. But they count words repeating, and not sentences.


As you may know, in our industry we tend to say "so many words repeating" but we really mean "so many sentences repeating, but expressed as a word count". It's possible that the client misunderstood what "repeating words" means and thus somehow calculated the actual repeating individual words. On the other hand, it could be that they do really mean "repeating [and partially repeating] sentences", and that they're simply calculating it differently. For example, they may be counting internal repetitions (i.e. they may have included partially repeating sentences in their count). If that is so, you should ask yourself if these partially repeating sentences really make you work faster. If not, they should not be considered in the word count.

Have you opened the Excel files in a CAT tool and ran an analysis on it? Or, what tool did you use to do the word count?


Mihai Seucan
 

Mihai Seucan  Identity Verified
Roumanie
Local time: 23:35
Membre
anglais vers roumain
AUTEUR DU FIL
Word count in a project Nov 15, 2020

I found a formula online for calculating numbers of words in an excel file. I did not use any CAT tool. And yes they do mean that parts of sentences are repeating.

[Edited at 2020-11-15 11:06 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Pays-Bas
Local time: 22:35
Membre (2006)
anglais vers afrikaans
+ ...
@Mihai Nov 15, 2020

Mihai Seucan wrote:
I found a formula online for calculating numbers of words in an Excel file.


A 10-20% variance in word counts may be explained by the fact that different word count tools count words differently. For example, some tools would count "L'argent de Louis-Philippe" as three words while others would count it as 4 words or even 5 words. And some tools do not count numbers as words. (This would not account for the "80 000 vs 200 000 words" difference, but I just thought I'd mention it.)

Also, rows and columns can be hidden in Excel and still get counted, but I'm sure you already know that.

I did not use any CAT tool. And yes, they do mean that parts of sentences are repeating.


Well, it makes no sense to take into account internal fuzzy matching unless you're using a tool (such as a CAT tool) that can help you save time due to internal fuzzy matching. Did you tell the client that you'd be using a CAT tool? Did they ask you to use a CAT tool? Did they give any indication that their word count is a weighted count?

I'm not sure if it's fair of the client to assume that the translator would be using a CAT tool, although these days it is far more likely that a translator faced with 200 000 words in Excel will be using one, than, say 10-15 years ago.

Another point is that a translator should double-check the files sent to him by the client, to count the words, if only to make sure that the files that he received are the correct files, or to confirm that what he does not miss e.g. hidden text that should be translated, or translate hidden text that was meant to be hidden from translation. Why did you not perform a word count when you started with the translation?

Finally, yes, there are agencies out there that mention only the weighted word count without any explanation or indication that it is a *weighted* count. I have a few such clients. They will say "I have an urgent job of 500 words" and then when the files finally arrive, it's 2000 words or 3000 words, which, if you massage the analysis long enough, eventually comes to down 500, but it sure as heck doesn't take as long as just 500. With such agencies, doing business is a constant dance of negotiating the agreed word count.

So, what should you do? I think you should not accept payment (or a deadline) for 80 000 words if you're going to be translating 200 000 words. If the client did not specify that you should be using a CAT tool, he can't just assume that you would be using one.

If the client is unwilling to pay for 200 000 words (which I doubt), then I suggest that you suggest to him that you invoice for the words that you have already translated, so that he can get other translators who would be able to use your translations in their own CAT tools to do the work quicker.

Alternatively, you could try to use this as an opportunity to start using a CAT tool, preferably a free one, such as OmegaT. I'm sure one of us here would be willing to help you to turn your existing translations into a TM for use in such a tool. Is the text mostly free from formatting? Are you required to put the translation into a different column than the source text is? Are there hidden rows or columns?


 

Mihai Seucan  Identity Verified
Roumanie
Local time: 23:35
Membre
anglais vers roumain
AUTEUR DU FIL
Word count in a project Nov 15, 2020

Well I work for 5 years doing freelance translation, ad each time the word count was as it was specified in the beginning, of course with some minor differences (for a 10000 word maybe +/- 1000 words). So I took for granted word count specified by translation agency. Lesson learned now.
No, I do not use a CAT tool. I would purchase one after this project. I heard good things about Trados.
I managed now to figured it out. There are general terms in sentences that repeat themselves. So
... See more
Well I work for 5 years doing freelance translation, ad each time the word count was as it was specified in the beginning, of course with some minor differences (for a 10000 word maybe +/- 1000 words). So I took for granted word count specified by translation agency. Lesson learned now.
No, I do not use a CAT tool. I would purchase one after this project. I heard good things about Trados.
I managed now to figured it out. There are general terms in sentences that repeat themselves. So I just use "Find" and "Replace". I works ok. Probably would have been better to use a CAT tool from beginning.
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