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March 1, 2023

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 772. However, the “content” part of this page, which is what we actually need to translate is only 527.

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 count Word 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 WPMLTranslation 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 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 all 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. Often, 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 may be a bit below WPML’s word count.

Differences in word count between WPML and translation service providers

WPML does its best to accurately estimate the word count of a translation job. However, translation services may use a different method to calculate the number of words. This can result in a slightly different word count than what you see in WPML.

Big differences in word count may happen due to compatibility issues. If you notice irrelevant content being sent for translation (code, numbers, symbols) let us know via a support ticket. Provide us a link to a page where this is happening, and we will investigate.