Apologies if the title isn't clear, I'm not sure how to express this.
I'm trying to establish roughly how many words a Classical Chinese text results in, once translated into English. Classical Chinese being an extremely concise language, I imagine a translation into English should render at least twice as many words--but is there an approximation?
For example, if I take the first sentence of the classical Chinese-language Wikipedia entry for "Classical Chinese" ("文言"):
A fairly liberal English translation (my own) might render this:
Classical Chinese is how China and [its] frontier lands wrote their language, stated their ideals, and expressed their feelings.
This yields a Classical Chinese to English word count ratio of nearly 1:1 (here, it's 18:19), which is suspect, in that the brevity of the former is underrepresented; I'd expect something closer to 1:2.
At a stretch, everything after the last comma in the original sentence could be translated simply as "and expressed themselves", giving a ratio of 6:5, which is absurd, because any beginning student of Classical Chinese knows that it isn't wordier than English!
Also, it doesn't strike me as meaningful to attempt to generate a heuristic from a sole example.
Is there a rule of thumb?