Word count in files using textomate.com

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The first thing any translator or translation agency does prior to accepting the order is to evaluate the scope of work and the project deadline. The translation services provider should know the text volume and its complexity to be able to compare it with how fast the translation services provider can make the translation and what the price will be.

The translated text volume can be measured in various units depending on the customer’s preferences and the translation agency standards: words, lines, author’s sheets, characters or pages. But that’s not all: different translation agencies have a different understanding of volume of text for a “page” — some of them define a page as “1,860 characters with spaces” while others do not count spaces; some define a page as a text containing 2,000 characters with spaces, etc. And some inexperienced customers think that a page is all the text printed on A4 sheet. All this diversity can confuse people who are not experts. That’s why if you are a customer of translation services, be sure to find out in what units the translation agency measures the text volume.

Another important thing is how words are counted in the translated text. It is quite evident that nobody moves his finger along the screen or a sheet of paper pronouncing the number of words aloud or silently. Word count software tools are used for this purpose. Many applications have a word count function. For instance, word count statistics can be viewed in Word or Notepad.

However, not all the applications have the word count function in their supported files. For instance, you won’t be able to find out how many words or characters a PDF file or HTML page contain if you open them in their respective applications. Even if the application has the word count function, it is not always easily seen. That’s why special software applications have been developed allowing counting words in files easily and quickly without even opening them.

There are several applications of such type. Most of them require installation on the user's PC or even purchasing a paid license. However, quite recently a free online service has been launched that allows counting words directly in the browser. This service makes life much easier for translators and translation agencies as well as for their customers:


This service functions in a very simply way: all you have to do is to drag-and-drop your file or upload it using a dedicated button. The service will immediately show word count in your file:

As you see, the service produces word count in the file in various units: in words, characters with or without spaces, lines and pages. The user can specify how many characters a line contains or how many lines a page includes. In addition, you can “Ignore numbers” and exclude the numbers from word count in the file.

The service speed of operation is quite noteworthy. The author of this article has uploaded a file containing almost 1,000 pages of text and received the result within a couple of seconds.

The word count result can be exported into a PDF file and, for example, you can send this file to the translation services customer.

In addition to the files, the service can count words on the webpage specified by a user.

At the moment Textomate service supports the following file formats: pdf, rtf, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx, txt, epub, ods, odt ,chm, html, xml.

Needless to say, as the service is new it still has room for improvement. For example:

1)      It would be convenient for many users to upload several files at a time. Just recently our customer sent us the order in 19 PDF files. We had to bind them together to count words. 

2)      It would be useful to add other file formats.

3)      Additional functions could be added. For instance, invoicing based on counted words.

From the first day the service was launched its developers showed their readiness to improve it and accommodate requests of its users. For instance, after the first comments the section devoted to the developers’ observing confidentiality of uploaded files was introduced on the service website. That’s why we believe that in case of this service increasing popularity, its developers will be able to add the most needed or potentially required missing functions to make it more convenient.

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