|Article Title: Wordfast|
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The information presented here is for translators and others that would like to learn more about using Wordfast as an everyday tool for translations. All information presented here is from my personal acquaintance with this tool for professional translators. I started using the free version (now named 3.35x), and today I use Wordfast 5.
General information about CAT-tools
I have experience with three different CAT-tools. The one I most frequently use is Wordfast 5. I also use Trados 7. Wordfast is by far the best tool, and easy to learn. It is possible to learn what you need just in one night. Learning how to use one of the other tools might take "forever". And when you learn the basics, it will be easy to add the little extra to customize Wordfast to suit your needs.
Advanced functions and practical tips for Wordfast
Settings in MS Word
When using Wordfast the first time I noticed that Wordfast might change some settings in MS Word. Go to Tools-options-view to have a look at the different settings and how they work. For instance, the hidden text is checked to make it possible to view Wordfast's segmentation. Another box that could be checked is the "field codes". With this one checked, remember that e.g. table of contents are presented as a single code. Do not panic; just remove the checkmark for field codes.
Settings in Wordfast
Set up Wordfast as you like, and save the settings by naming a new ini-file by clicking on "Save setup as".
Typical settings depend on your project. I recommend enabling "Pandoras Box". By pasting all the commands in, you can choose which one to use. See the complete list in the manual, available on www.wordfast.net.
My favorite commands are the "CopySourceWhenNoMatch" combined with "Propagate1" , "Propagate2" and "Propagate3". This will instruct Wordfast to copy the source text into the target field when translating. If a word is found in glossary 1,2 or 3, this one(s) will be replaced in the target text. Brilliant, and it will speed up your work, especially for general texts. The word(s) are marked with a colour in the source text for easy spotting, and can be set (in Pandoras Box) to display different colours. The words can also be marked using Ctrl+Alt+right, and pasted by pressing Ctrl+Alt+down.
I also recommend turning the function "LeaveColors" on. This will prevent Wordfast to apply auto color (black) after clean up.
An easy way to create a glossary is to open a blank excel document, and save it as "text (tab delimited)". Then, open the text file with Wordfast. Then you have a Wordfast glossary. Much easier than with other CAT-tools.
To add words in the glossary during translation, simply press Ctrl+Alt+T after marking the source word(s). Press Ctrl+Alt+T again after marking the target word(s). A dialog box will ask you into which glossary to enter the terms. You can decide in the Wordfast glossary settings which glossary/glossaries you want to add terms into by default.
Wordfast and Excel
Open a blank word document, and the excel file to be translated. Click where to start inside the excel-file, open an emty word-document, and press Alt-down.Wordfast will start importing the text, and you translate inside Word. During the process, the text will also be translated in the Excel file.
After you have finished the translation, and some troubleshooting
After finishing the translations you can edit the segments before cleanup. I normally edit, and then save a copy of the segmented file. I then run the "clean up" process in Wordfast. If I find a mistake after running the clean up processes I can always return to the segmented version for editing, and finish off with a new clean up. I this way the TM will always be up to date.
Remember: It is not possible to run "clean up" if you have open translation units. Close them all before trying to start clean up. Otherwise it will not be possible to enter Wordfast.
Some times the clean up report says that there were one or two segments that where not cleaned up successfully. This could happen, and often it is caused by an error in the segmentation of the file. You will find these pairs of segmented text easily when browsing through your file. Pressing CTRL+ALT+F12 will remove the protection of the delimiters, and you will be able to remove the source text. Keep the translated text. If you need to remove some coloured boxes during this work, press CTRL+Q after marking which boxes to fix. These tricks is all you need to fix problems inside MS Word. Problems like this can happen if you leave a pair of translation units open, and then save and close MS Word. When you reopen it might work to press Alt+down two times, but if it does not, you need to remove the translation units, and color by using the method described above.
Sharing a TM
If you are working on a large project it is possible to share a TM. In Wordfast you can decide to share, e.g. via e-mail (In Setup-Share choose your preference). If you set this option, a small extra file is created with the extension "snd". This file will contain the new Translation Units (TUs) that you add. When you send this small file to another translator the new TUs will automatically added when opening a TM in the same directory. Clever. Important: The snd-file should always be deleted after sending.
I learn new "tips and tricks" by using Wordfast every day, and will update this document when I have more practical informations to add. Feel free to contact me if you have useful information you want to share after working with Wordfast for a while.
Trados and Wordfast
You can import a Trados export files directly into Wordfast. You can then export the TM into TMX-format, and import it into Trados, or most of the CAT-programmes available. Wordfast segments with the same tab delimiters (the small segmentation characters in MS Word that segments the source and target text and show the match percentage) as Trados. This means that you in most cases can clean up a file translated in Wordfast, with Trados (If you own both tools).
Wordfast and HTML, SGML, XML etc.
If you download the free tool called "Plustools" from www.wordfast.net, you can tag files that contain HTML, SGML and XML. After translating the files, untag the files with Plustools. I will recommend reading the manual before tagging your files, and always keep copies of your files.