Common Problems of Chinese Word Count

by ChineseTrans, Tuesday, March 12th, 2013 at 9:23 am

(Chinese Translation)



Common Problems of Chinese Word Count

‘Word count’ function in most western popular sites works perfectly in English and other European languages. But it counts a paragraph of Chinese words as 1 instead of a Chinese word as 1. For example, the following words quoted should be 16 words, but the ‘word count’ counts it only three words.

我是第一行 我是第二行 这是最后一行

You could find many translation wordcount tools fail to count Chinese.

Character Count for Chinese

You’ll learn about the standards and peculiarities of the word count in Chinese languages. Writing unit in Chinese is hieroglyph. The main difficulty for word count is that hieroglyphs are not separated with spaces. This means that Chinese sentence «这是书» (This is a book – 3 words) is counted like a single word, in case the word count tool counts words basing on the spaces between words. But if you think that these 3 hieroglyphs «全球化» are also a separate sentence, then you are wrong, since this is just an “globalization”. So the most logical method of text volume evaluation in Chinese is character count.  

English->Chinese Word Count Ratio

When it comes to translation. We should consider the word count ratio from one language to another. Normally, a 1000 word English text translated into Chinese will be 1300-1800 characters long. There is no exact science that can be used in every case. It really does depend on the subject material. Especially for technical or chemical translations where, for just one English word there could be as many as 8+ characters.

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