How Are Word Counts Calculated for Websites?

www-300x216In recent posts, we went over some issues to keep in mind when calculating word counts for quoting a translation project. Here we will discuss yet another instance, which is perhaps the most complex: quotes for websites. The translation of this type of material typically involves various challenges, because it implies, in addition to work carried out by translators, design and web development teams. It also tends to require a certain degree of interaction with the client (or with the client’s team of developers) in order to determine the best strategy for tackling the project.

Of course, prior to these challenges is yet another one: completing the requested quote. As mentioned previously, in order to provide a translation quote, it is essential to know the total number of words to be translated. Additionally, one must distinguish between new words that have not yet been translated and those that do, in fact, appear in the translation memory from past projects. But this alone is not enough—it will also be important to obtain the number repeated segments within the new project itself, since, in the case of a new client (who probably does not have a translation memory of its own), these repetitions can have a significant impact on the final price.

This is especially important in the case of websites, given that the content of each individual page is often framed in a series of recurring elements: header, links, recent entries in the case of blogs, contact information, etc. It is for this reason that a website may be composed of 100,000 words, for example, of which only 25,000 will be new (often referred to as “no match”). Therefore, when quoting the translation of a website, its repetitive nature (and often times its considerable length) requires us to pay great attention to repetitions.

It must be kept in mind that, if the translation will be split up among various translators, then there is a risk that different linguists will offer different versions of the same repeated terms. In addition, when splitting the files, the number of repetitions within the entire project will be affected, and thus will not coincide with the quoted amount. It is for this reason that, when faced with the need to use more than one translator for the project, we have two options: the first (and easiest) one is to use an online translation tool that connects all translators to a single translation memory; this will avoid inconsistencies between their respective translations and ensure that internal repetitions are taken advantage of.

The second option, which is a bit more complex but was very common up to a few years ago, is to  first translate the most frequently occurring segments (those that are repeated more than two or three times, and probably even dozens of times if the site has many individual pages). With those repetitions already translated, we can then split the files among several translators, who will also receive the memory with the contents of those frequently occurring segments, therefore benefiting from the repetitions and ensuring consistency throughout the project.

Our sales team can guide you through this type of quote, which we offer free of charge.

To view the Spanish version of this post, go to:

¿Cómo se calculan palabras de un sitio web?