Let’s imagine that you are a freelance translator and your customer asked you to translate a contract. You eagerly agree and get… a scanned copy of the document. That’s cool if you have previously agreed that you are paid for scan jobs on a per hour basis. But what if not? What if your customer demands a job to be done on a per-word basis? And even worse…requests you to send a quote immediately? So how to do a word count in images?
Well, if there is a wish, there is a will. Let’s get a free OCR tool and fight the problem. We will do a word count in images.
1. After googling for free OCR tools, I chose a SimpleOCR. It is free for typed text and can be downloaded here (straight link to EXE file) or google “SimpleOCR.”
2. Double click the file and proceed with the installation until you see this.
3. Click “Machine print” to access the free feature (see screenshot above).
4. Click “Select” to proceed to the OCR features.
5. Click the Process button to load the image.
Select “File” or “Batch” to run OCR on a file or a batch of them.
You can recognize text in formats such as TIF, JPG, or BMP. If you have an image in another format, you can use an online converter to turn, for example, PNG to JPG. After that, you can upload the file to the SimpleOCR tool.
6. Click the “Convert to the text” button to start the OCR.
7. Edit the garbled and unrecognized words to get a more accurate word count (the more spaces you have, the more “words” you are likely to get in the statistics later).
8. Export the result into a DOC file.
If it seems a bit complicated or time-consuming process to you, you can submit your file to a free online OCR at http://www.free-ocr.com/ (OCR available only for English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, or Spanish). Again, before using anything free and web-based, think twice about privacy.
Of course, this just a temporary and quick one-time solution. If you need a swift and extensive word count (or any other statistics, like character and line count), it is better to use a professional word count software (accuracy means budget here). Moreover, the commercial word count tool will provide you with accurate word count statistics even for Cyrillic and Scandinavian languages, far more than 6 or 7 offered by free OCR tools.