What Is a “Page”?

There is a serious misunderstanding about the meaning of “page” among people who have never ordered a translation. Typically they will say that the MS is a certain number of pages, meaning how many sheets of paper the MS is printed on. But since there is such great variation in that respect, the translation industry defines a “page” as a certain number of words (in Western languages) or characters (in Japanese). Typically this is done by counting the words or characters in the entire MS, and then dividing by a certain number, which is defined by the translation vendor. Here too there can be considerable variation, so the client should be sure to ask the vendor about its definition of a “page.” In my case, a page is 400 Japanese characters. So if your Japanese-language MS contains 10,000 characters in total, the output will be 25 pages. Because I count from the source, the client knows immediately how much the job will cost, and there are no surprises later.