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Deconstructing Word Count

Deconstructing Word Count

Does this situation sound familiar: your client's (or your agency's) tool reports one word count, and your tool reports a different word count? As your pay as a translator is most often based on word count, this seemingly mundane number can be a source of stress and confusion.

Fear no more. Today TM-Town is releasing a new tool called the Word Count Analyzer which will help you clearly see what is causing the discrepancies in your word count totals.

A first-of-its-kind tool

TM-Town's Word Count Analyzer is a highly configurable tool that lets you choose how each word count gray area should be treated. For example, should "first of its kind" and "first-of-its-kind" both be counted as 4 words, or should the latter be counted as 1 word. Now with the click of a button you can choose your preference and see how it impacts your word count.

Knowledge is power

There is no one true way when it comes to word count. However, by being armed with the knowledge of how the word count is being calculated, you can make more educated decisions on the effort needed for a particular translation.

Word count gray areas

So what are the areas that most often result in your favorite tools (CAT tools, word processors, text editors, etc.) showing different word counts? The most common gray areas include:

  • Ellipses
  • Hyperlinks
  • Contractions
  • Hyphenated words
  • Dates
  • Numbers
  • Numbered lists
  • XML and HTML tags
  • Forward slashes and backslashes
  • Stray punctuation punctuation surrounded by whitespace

Other gray areas you might come across that are not covered by this tool:

  • Headers
  • Footers
  • Hidden Text specific to Microsoft Word

Feedback / improvement

Is there a word count "gray area" that you are aware of that is not yet supported by this tool? Email me and I'll add support.

Open source

Word Count Analyzer is an open source tool built by TM-Town. Currently this tool supports English; however, other language support is coming very soon.

Interested in learning more about your translations? In addition to this word count analysis tool, TM-Town provides other professional productivity analysis tools to help you take your translation business to the next level. Get started today, registration is free.

More resources

Want to learn more about word count? I recommend you check out this great blog post by Paul Filkin which helped to inspire this tool.

kevin dias at tm-town

About the Author

Kevin Dias
TM-Town Developer
More about me

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