TIPS for MemSource

Termbase usage
If a term base is attached to your project, the TB field on the bottom right side of your Editor screen is green. In such projects, you can enter new terms on the run while translating  in MemSource Editor. To do so,  press CTRL+T to open a window for entering new terms. You can either type the source and target terms manually, or highlight them in the text and press CTRL+T which will copy & paste the terms to the corresponding fields. Then make the necessary settings (case sensitive, etc.) and hit Enter. This will add the term to the MemSource term base attached to the project in the write mode.

CAT Tool entries interpretation
When you click onto a TM or TB entry in the right hand pane, the date, author and other additional details for this entry are displayed in the window on the bottom of the pane.

How to ensure proper target file generation in SDL Trados Studio

First of all, you should regularely check your translation for tag errors (F8) min. once an hour.
Besides this, it is generally recommended to run the command File > Save Target As ... during translation as often as possible, min. twice per hour. This option generates a clean target file from the current state of the translation and helps you to control from the very beginning, that the hitherto existing translation is technically correct and may be cleaned up without further ado.

How to ensure proper target file generation when working with client's SDL Trados Studio packages:

First of all, you should regularely check your translation for tag errors (F8) min. once an hour.
Besides this, it is generally recommended to run the command File > Save Target As ... during translation as often as possible, min. twice per hour. This option generates a clean target file from the current state of the translation and helps you to control from the very beginning, that the hitherto existing translation is technically correct and may be cleaned up without further ado.

If you open an SDL project package from a client, wherein the Save target option fails already from the very beginning, you should not proceed with this project package but work directly with the client’s source files and TMs by adding them to your own SDL Trados Studio project.

The following procedures are recommended:
1) In case you have not yet started with the translation but have already received error messages in connection with the client’s package:
Open the original source file (e.g. *.docx) in SDL Trados Studio and save it to a location of your preference. This creates a new SDL Trados Studio project with a folder structure at the specified location. Assign the client TM from the project folder that was created when opening the client's package to this new project (in the Projects pane, select your new project by double-clicking it and choose Project >Project settings >All language pairs >Translation Memories >Add).

Proceed with translation in this new project as usual. Remember, though, to regularely press F8 and save your translation as target file, to check for errors on the run and to determine more precisely at which point the target data generation fails.
When having completed the translation without issues, you should be able to generate the deliverables, i.e. final target file (e.g. *.docx) and the translated bilingual SDLXLIFF file without any further problems.

2) In case you have already translated files in the client’s package, but cannot save them as target files, although all tag errors have already been eliminated, proceed as follows:

Create a new empty TM and import your completed SDLXLIFF file into this TM.
Pretranslate the client's original source file (e.g. *.docx) with this TM. All fuzzy or empty segements in the file eventually represent sources of errors. Complete the translation of this new file as usual and output it as final SDLXLIFF and clean target file (e.g. *.docx).


Free online CAT weighting tool available

Language services providers spend valuable time using CAT analyses to determine project prices with different weighting factors.

LSP.net now provides a free online tool that makes price determination much easier. Users upload the analysis file in their browser and enter the price per word. The tool immediately determines the total price for the translation project, in addition to the price per file as required. When weighting factors are entered, the tool displays the weighted prices.

CAT Weighting Tool

The price per word and weighting factors can be adjusted to reflect changes. Automatic conversion into standard lines is also an option for the German-speaking region.

Online CAT weighting toolt
Users can save their personal settings for future visits to the website in a browser cookie. They can easily print their weighting tool results.

Unrestricted use, free of charge. Currently, the tool can only process SDL Trados analysis files (XML) from Studio 2009 and 2011 – but it will gradually be expanded to include analysis files from additional CAT environments. Visitors to LSP.net are invited to forward their wishes and suggestions for improvement to the developers using a convenient online form.

CAT Weighting Tool –> www.LSP.net/cat

Data privacy protection: LSP.net does not save user data or files. The analysis files are deleted as soon as the the LSP.net server has read the data.

SDL TRADOS® is a registered trademark of SDL


Adding macros to the MS Word Normal template

Macros can be used in many ways in Microsoft Office applications, and quite a few people have published macros that are useful in preparing texts for translation in various ways. However, with the changes in Microsoft Office versions and the confusion of templates, toolbars, button and clickable text to run macros, a great number of very smart people are simply afraid to use tools that could save them many hours of work.

One fairly easy way to install and run macros is to put them in a global template, such as the Normal template, which is used every time Microsoft Word runs. It is a convenient place to put macros you might want to use in many different documents.

Start Microsoft Word. In MS Word 2003 and earlier versions, the macro list is found under Tools > Macros > View Macros.  In MS Word 2007/2010 the same functionality is accessed on the View ribbon with the Macros icon or Alt+F8. Open the list of macros and select the Normal template from the dropdown list:

Type the name (1) of the new macro and click Create (2):

The editor for Visual Basic macros will open and the the beginning and end of your new macro will be created automatically. You can change the name if you like or paste over the generated text. Type or copy the code for your new macro, save it and close the editor.

To run the new macro, open the macro list, select the macro (1) and click Run (2):


Cleaning up messy tags in Microsoft Word documents

Some years ago there was considerable frustration among users of translation environment tools who encountered increasing numbers of irrelevant markers (also known as tags or codes) in the documents they translated. These might appear{1}around{2} words or even in the mid{3}dle of them, causing terms not to be recognized and matches in translation memories to fail or be downgraded. This problem is particularly acute with OCR documents, but it can occur in perfectly "normal" RTF, DOC or DOCX files as well.

Many complained about the problem, and providers of translation tools made excuses and avoided dealing with the matter for the most part until one gifted translator with formidable programming skills for macros in Microsoft Word came to the rescue. Dave Turner's CodeZapper collection has probably been one of the most useful support tools for handling RTF, DOC and DOCX files in CAT tools that the market has seen in many years. It has literally saved me hundreds of hours of trouble since I started using the macros.

If you work often with Microsoft Word documents in Trados, WordFast, memoQ and other environments, it is very much worth your while to learn how to use CodeZapper. It is so useful in fact that Atril integrated it in the release of its latest working environment, Déjà Vu X2, as an import option. I hope that other will eventually follow suit.

The collection also contains other useful macros (for tidying up PDF converted files, temporarily moving bulky pictures out and back into files to speed up import, etc.). No installation as such is required. The template file can be copied to the Startup folder of Microsoft Word or loaded from the templates and add-ins folder.

Detailed information on CodeZapper and how to get it can be found here:


A plus for translator productivity!

The PlusToyz by German/English to Ukrainian/Russian translator Arkady Vyosotsky are named only half right. They are definitely a plus, but they are not toys.

On a single page in a Microsoft Word document, Arkady has given us thirteen great macros to improve translator productivity. Each macro is activated by double-clicking the relevant blue text and selecting the file to process in the dialog that appears. Personally, I find the format conversion macros most useful.

The first two enable uncleaned bilingual files in the classic Trados format (also WordFast Classic and Anaphraseus) to be reformatted as a table for easier proofreading, then switched back. The second macro - the one for converting tables in Microsoft Word to the classic Trados uncleaned bilingual format - can also be used as a basis for moving tabular data of many kinds into other translation tools for editing or translation or feeding to a translation memory.

Users of leading edge translation environment tools might not need the macros for handling Star Transit projects or Trados TTX (though users of simpler systems often do), but nonetheless gaps in the functionality of high-end tools like SDL Trados Studio or memoQ still make some of these macros very, very useful in certain situations.

So much value for so little money... well, no money to be more precise. The macros are free! Usually I say you get what you pay for, but in this case, there's a lot more to be had. Thank you, Arkady!

The macros can be downloaded here in a zipped Microsoft Word document.


Improving scanned PDFs for translation reference

It' quite common these days to receive scanned documents from faxes or other sources as PDFs. These can be easy or rather devilish to convert to editable text using a variety of tools, but in some cases, they are simply wanted for reference. How do you search a large, scanned PDF document for a particular bit of text?

Mostly you don't.

Unless, of course, you are clever and convert the PDF to one of the various "text-on-image" PDF formats. If you are scanning hardcopy documents, it is also possible with many scanning applications to convert the input directly to such a format.

I use ABBYY FineReader 11 to make my scanned reference PDFs searchable. This is a quick and easy process that can be performed two ways.

The first and quickest method is to use the context menu by right-clicking on a PDF or image file in the Windows Explorer.

This creates a temporary, searchable PDF which can be saved under whatever name you like. I do this for documents which serve purely as references, where I have no interest in extracting text for translation. It has the disadvantage with FineReader of working with whatever defaults are in place for the last language used.

The second method involves importing the image document into the OCR program, then saving as a searchable document after OCR. This may be useful for documents that have more than one language, where you may apply different OCR settings (for languages) on various pages.

If automatic conversion is used (usually not recommended if you plan to extract text for translation), the process can be rather quick as well, though it is a bit more cumbersome than the context menu method. For example, a 114 page scanned German insurance policy from which I had to translate excerpts was imported from the original PDF, read (processed by optical character recognition) and saved as a PDF/A (searchable text on image PDF which is the current ISO standard for long-term archiving) in slightly less than 4 minutes.

Here's a screenshot of the text search in the PDF/A document using the Adobe Reader. Without this conversion process, it would be impossible to find any text in the document using search functions, because the entire content would be bitmapped images.

Even if you do very careful OCR to extract text for translation, defining zones and optimizing as I do, there are still significant advantages to making a searchable PDF as a reference. First of all, it is often very useful to see text in its proper layout context. Secondly, doing this also helps to identify and correct OCR errors during translation work. I recently translated a scientific article with horrible resolution in the faxed and scanned source document. It was definitely a borderline case for OCR, and when I imported it into a CAT tool for translation, I had to look up a number of places in the original document to see what the text really said. Copying the errors from the source of the OCR text and pasting them in the Search box of Adobe Reader made identifying the correct text a faster, easier process.

There are a number of tools available to convert PDF files to enable them for text search. This makes such resources "translator-friendlier" and may help us find the information we need to do a better job faster. Project managers and clients who are scanning documents for translation can jut as easily prepare the PDF files in this format and help their service providers.