Originally written
July 31, 2018
January 8, 2020

The word count of your website determines how much it would cost to translate it and how long translation will take. WPML’s word counting tool, which allows you to get the word count for the entire website, or for different sections of the site.

Before starting any translation project, it’s important to know how much it will cost and how long it will take. Most translation services quote their work “by word”. So, to know the total cost, you need to know how many words you’re going to translate.

The overall cost of your translation work will be the sum of:

word_count x cost_per_word

over all of the language pairs that you’re going to translate to.

The “overall” word count, versus the word count in your content

Some word counting tools will take a URL of your site, parse it and count the words. This means that you’re counting not just the words for translation but many words that are part of the theme, menus and other repeating texts. For example, on this very page, the overall word count (including every word on the page) is NNN. However, the “content” part of this page, which is what we actually need to translate is only MMM.

WPML counts only words that belong to the content. This includes the page title, body and any additional fields (custom fields) that belong to this content.

Overall word countWord count of the “content” of this page
Overall, this page contains 772 words
The “body” and “title” of this page contain 527 words

You can see that the overall word count is 245 more words than the content word count, which is what we actually need to translate.

Getting your website’s word count

You can get a word count estimate for the selected content or entire post types in your site. WPML offers two mechanisms to calculate these counts.

Word count for selected content

Go to the WPML -> Translation Management page. Use the filter to find items you want to translate. Use the checkboxes to select the content you want to see the word count estimate for. The estimate will be displayed right underneath the table that lists content.

Word count estimate is automatically updated as you select content
Word count estimate is automatically updated as you select content

Word count for the entire website or specific post types

On the WPML -> Translation Management page click the Word count for the entire site link.

Getting word count for entire post types
Getting word count for entire post types

In the pop-up dialog that appears, select the post types you want to get a word count estimation for and click Recalculate.

Word count estimation pop-up for whole post types
Word count estimation pop-up for whole post types

The effect of translation memory on word count and costs

WPML’s Advanced Translation Editor and all our partner translation services use translation memories. A translation memory means that you don’t have to translate the same text again. So, you can look at the word count that you receive from WPML as the “pessimistic estimate”. When you translate your content, the actual count that you’ll pay for will typically be a bit below WPML’s word count.