Let’s imagine that you are a freelance translator and your customer asked you to translate a contract. You eagerly agree and get…a scanned copy of the document. That’s cool if you have previously agreed that for scan jobs you are paid on a per hour basis. But what if not? What if your customer demands job to be done on a per word basis? And even worse…requests you to send a quote immediately?
Well, if there is a wish, there is a will. Let’s get a free OCR tool and fight the problem.
1. After googling for free OCR tools I chose a SimpleOCR. It is absolutely free for typed text and can be downloaded here (straight link to EXE file).
2. Double click the file and proceed with the installation, until you see the this.
3. Click “Machine print” to access the free feature (see screenshot above).
4. Click “Select” to proceed to ther OCR features.
5. Click Process button to load the image.
Note: this is a sample screenshot made from a scan.
6. Click “Convert to the text” button to start the OCR.
7. Edit the garbled and unrecognized words, to get a more accurate word count (the more spaces you have, the more “words” you are likely to get in the statistics later).
8. Export the result into a DOC file.
9. After you open the saved DOC you will see a surprise… There is an image file in the doc and the text is duplicated (i.e. originally OCRed and edited one). Delete the duplicate text and the picture.
10. Get some statistics using the MS Word built-in tool.
If it seems a bit complicated or time-consuming process to you, you can submit your file to a free online OCR at http://www.free-ocr.com/ (OCR available only for English, German, French, Italian, Dutch or Spanish). Again, before using anything free and web-based think twice of the privacy.
Of course this just a temporary and quick one-time solution. If you need a quick and extensive word count (or any other statistics, like character and line count), it is better to use a professional word count software (accuracy means budget here). Moreover the commercial word count tool will provide you with accurate word count statistics even for Cyrillic and Scandinavian languages, which is far more than 6 or 7 offered by free OCR tools.