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If you are a translator that works on a word count payment basis, you`ve probably had this problem. You received a document from your customer in the PDF format. The content is a usual mix of text, images and graphs. You lunch your in-built Adobe word count tool and get a number words… completely different to the one your client estimated. What begins next is a long and exhausting dispute with tons of screenshots, endless negotiations, spoiled nerves and wasted time. How to avoid such problems? Let`s find out together!

First Way: Choose One Tool for Word Count

It is one of the easiest solutions that you can follow. The issue may be that, for example, you counted words in Adobe, while your client has done so in Word. A wise decision would be to choose something “neutral”, for example, a free online word count tool. Using this tool you can both get an unbiased solution to your issue. However, there are also certain disadvantages to that solution. Online tools are usually not very precise, especially when it comes to PDF files. Therefore, the result can turn out to not satisfy both you and your client.

Second Way: Agree With Your Client

They say that customer is always right, isn`t it? If the difference is not that big, and you know you can trust your customer, then maybe agreeing with him or she would be a considerable option. As a result, you could at least stop the meaningless discussions and start actually working on your text. However, in any way, such a decision would harm your interests and probably get you less money. What is more, as in the case above, there are no guarantees that your client is using an adequate word count tool. Therefore, you two can still remain unsatisfied.

The Third Way: Professional Tools

This is probably the wisest and effective solution. As a translator, you are probably already using some special software that you pay for to help you. Such software exists for word count as well. For example, Anycount is a great tool for translators to count words in PDF. Apart from being able to read through all those images and graphs, we`ve talked about earlier, Anycount supports many different languages. What is more, it follows a clear and understandable word counting process, that would certainly leave you and your client satisfied. Finally, it is simply a sign of professionalism – using an industry-standard tool would certainly increase the customer`s trust in your skills as a translator!


As you can see, there are several different ways in which you can solve disputes over the word count in PDF. It`s up to you, which one to choose. In some cases, you may not need a paid software. However, if you are a professional translator, isn`t it better to use a professional solution to your disputes with the client? Such an approach would not only save your time but also liberate you from the exhausting debates with your beloved customers!

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