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Translation count units

It’s not always obvious what units you should use when translating from different languages. Are text count units the same in different countries? Each language has its peculiarities, and count units may differ from country to country.

СountryCount Units
PolandSource word or 1000 source words
United KingdomSource word or 1000 source words
USAWord of the source text
GermanyPer 1000 words of the source text
FranceWord of the target text
BelgiumLine of 60 characters with spaces
BulgariaLine of 60 characters or page of 1800 characters
ChilePage of 250 words
Croatia1800 characters with spaces
LatviaPage of 1800 characters
JapaneseSource character count
ChineseSource character count
HebrewSource word count
Modern KoreanWord count

Chinese

For Chinese, it’s usually a price per character. Many words include multiple characters in Chinese, but automatic word count in Chinese text is impossible because the same character is used in many combinations, creating different words. A Chinese text can combine a significant volume of information using very few words, and therefore the translation of this text becomes bigger.

Usually, a 1000 word English text translated into Chinese might be around 1300-1700 characters long, and vice-versa. Sometimes translator uses a multiplier of 1.5, i.e., 1500 Chinese characters, usually translates into about 1000 English words.

Japanese

Japanese is usually charged per source character. The main reason is that it’s impossible to understand without reading the text where one word ends and another begins outside of particles. The standard method for estimating how many English words will come out of the translation of Japanese text is to divide the total number of Japanese characters by 2.5. You can use this formula to make a rough calculation.

Korean

Modern Korean uses spaces between words. Now Korean is usually written in rows from left to the right, top to bottom, and this makes it possible to count words on a spacing basis and apply a more familiar to us word count scheme.

Hebrew

Hebrew is usually charged per source word. This approach does not suit all translators because the correlation of Hebrew – English is usually around +30%, i.e., the English target word count will be about 30% higher than the Hebrew source word count. Hebrew characters count might be a possible method, but it’s worth considering that Hebrew (and Arabic) don’t write all their vowels, so some translators might see this as a disguised attempt to reduce fees.

Word count tool

No matter what country you work in or what languages you deal with, you need a reliable word count tool to help you count characters with and without spaces, words, lines, and pages in your documents. Try AnyCount, which supports 70 file formats, can count words from the web, and features the powerful OCR engine to count words in images.

book word count

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