Methods to Count the Number of Words in a Website

Word counts for websites is an essential tool for all translation professionals; here are a few great tools for accomplishing them.

For every profession there are different components, some of which appeal to you – the fun stuff – and some of which don’t – the hassles – and some stuff in-between those two extremes which are mainly nuts-and-bolts housekeeping things you probably have no real opinion on. Don’t overlook the housekeeping stuff, because it can bog you down, slow you down, and make you view your work more negatively without even realising it. A good example of this in the translation business is word counts, especially words counts for websites.

Nuts and Bolts

That’s because you get paid in different ways by different clients, and one of the most common ways is by the word. Sometimes getting an accurate word count of a web site can be a real pain, though. You have two basic options: One, you can open Word or another word processor and cut-and-paste the website into it. This has several disadvantages: One, websites often have several – or several dozen – pages, making this process a bit tedious. Two, this will also paste in a lot of ad text or extraneous text that shouldn’t be counted.

The other option is to use some online tools to get your word counts. This can be a cleaner and faster way to handle the problem, and also allows you and your employer to start from the same page, as you can both use the same online tools to get your word counts for invoicing purposes.

Best Online Tools

There are a surprising number of online tools for getting word counts from websites. Here are some of my favourites:

Website Word Counter (http://www.a2zwebsitetranslation.com/spider_main.php): What I love about this site is that all you do is type in the URL of the website, specify whether you want a count of just that page or a set number of URLs in the domain – or all of them. If you have a large website you’ve been hired to translate, this can give you an instant idea of the scope with a fair degree of accuracy.

Word Count Calculator (http://www.wisgary.com/programs/wordcount.aspx): This site will give you instant stats on word count, character count, and line count as you type. This is often very useful if I’m invoicing on the number of words in the final document instead of the original document, as I can type my translation directly into this and see where I am at all times.

Count On It (http://felix-cat.com/tools/wordcount/): This site will give you counts stats on uploaded files, which is great if you’re not actually working from a web site or something you can easily cut and paste from.

Cut and Paste Word Count (http://www.javascriptkit.com/script/script2/countwords.shtml): This site does just what it says: Instead of having to type in text or direct it to an existing URL, you can simply cut and paste text into it for an instant word count.

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