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A cartella is a unit often used in Italy’s publishing sector to measure the length of a text. Contrary to popular belief, a cartella does not contain a fixed number of words, which can sometimes be confusing.

Here is everything you need to know about Italy’s famous “cartella” and its use when formatting texts.

una cartella quante battute

What is a cartella?

Practically speaking, a cartella is a typewritten section of text that contains a certain number of characters with spaces.

A cartella contains every character and space used to write a text.

How long is a standard cartella in the publishing industry?

A standard cartella is a measurement unit used in specific sectors in Italy. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a standard cartella for all sectors.

For example, a standard cartella in the publishing sector contains 1,800 characters with spaces divided into 30 lines of 60 characters.

It means that there are 45 lines containing 60 characters in 1.5 cartelle.

On the other hand, a standard cartella in the translation industry contains 1,500 characters with spaces. Meanwhile, a standard cartella in the legal sector contains 1,375 characters with spaces.

As you may have guessed, although the number of characters with spaces remains the same, the number of words can change.

It all depends on the length of the words in the text. A cartella containing long terms will contain fewer words than one containing shorter words.

In very general terms, there is an average of six letters in an Italian word, meaning that a 1800-character cartella contains around 250 words.

How to count characters with spaces in a cartella

Modern writing software such as Microsoft Word can count the number of characters in a document, which are described as “characters with spaces”.

On the other hand, when we talk about “characters without spaces”, we are only referring to letters and punctuation marks, such as full stops, commas, and question marks.

Why are translations counted in cartelle in Italy?

In Italy, translations are counted by dividing the original or translated text into cartelle. In most cases, the length of the translated text is used as a point of reference because it equates to whatever the translator has had to manually type out on their keyboard.

What is the cost per translated character?

When calculating translation costs, you need to consider the distance between the two languages.

Secondly, you need to weigh up the difficulty of the subject matter to be translated: a specialised translation will be more expensive than the translation of a more conversational text.

Once you have determined the cost for one cartella, you can divide it by the number of characters in the cartella (usually 1,500).

If you also need to have your translated text formatted, Eurotrad can help out with its professional publishing and typesetting services and get your translated text ready for print!