Jan 12, 2017

The ART of all-round translation....

There is a certain mythology that in Ye Goode Olde Days, life was simpler and more generalist and a whole lot easier. I suspect that is mostly bunk. The stresses and pressures were different, but probably no less when considered objectively. I remember trying to help my wife, a sometime English to German translator, find clients in the early 1990s, and back then if you weren't local, the clients mostly did not want to know. And don't get me started on the time and effort of terminology research for my own translations then and in the decades before.

But I think it is fair to say that today, even the specialist must be a JOAT of sorts, at least when it comes to the bag of technological and project management tricks to subdue the unruly projects that many of us often face. Colleagues Dorota Pawlak and Ellen Singer recognized the difficulties faced by many language specialists in acquiring some of the specialist and non-linguistic skills needed to cope with particular work challenges and designed a program of quarterly, half-day small workshops to provide just the environment needed to cultivate this new knowledge and establish bonds with others in the same endeavor.

Upcoming workshops I find particularly interesting include:

Transcreation with Alessandra Martelli on February 4, 2017 in Leiden and

no kidding, the regex workshop on April Fool's Day 2017 with my favorite tech guru, the brilliant but articulate Marek Pawelec, a first-rate teacher who can make even nasty stuff like regular expressions seem simple for the rest of us. And as I have pointed out in various articles, this knowledge can be extremely useful for those who work with tools like SDL Trados Studio, memoQ, Xbench and more.

I encourage you to have a look at the ART project site and see what else is on the menu; it seems to me that they have the right approach for those looking for a good start in interesting new areas.

And keep up to date with them on Twitter....

Jan 6, 2017

A matter of priority in memoQ

Every memoQ user knows the Translation Results pane.

It's that subwindow on the upper right part of the memoQ translation/editing environment which shows content matches from various sources, including translation memories, LiveDocs corpora, term bases, etc.

Most of us don't really do much with it. And why should we? Well..........

Sometimes there are an awful lot of "hits" displayed in that pane. Lots of matches from the TM, and if you're like me and record a lot of specialized terminology and company names not to be translated, sometimes the entry you need to see is not apparent at a glance; you must scroll down some way to find it.

This is a real problem when I am doing financial or legal translations using specialized autotranslatables, or when certain names and nontranslatable acronyms come up very often and cannot be seen conveniently in the visible part of the list in the results pane.

So what's a memoQ user to do? Change the order of data types displayed, for example.

Under Options > Appearance, you are able to change the relative display priority of hits from every kind of memoQ data shown (as well as change the color codes, though I think this is usually a bad idea). The example above has the autotranslatable matches (coded green) set to display at the top of the list. If I had a lot of proper names saved in nontranslatable lists, I would move that category toward the top as well to take advantage of improved visibility and better keyboard shortcuts.

Some jobs definitely benefit from a customized display order in the Translation Results pane. You can change the order in the Options each time to meet the needs of a particular job, or...

... more conveniently, you can have several different configuration files with particular settings for certain work. The relevant configuration is saved in the file Preferences-editor.xml, which is found at C:\Users|{username}\AppData\Roaming\MemoQ.

There are, of course, a lot of other files in that folder. I keep a shortcut on my Desktop now so I can get to the various configuration files quickly when I want to make changes.

The relevant changes to make in Preferences-editor.xml are found between the tag sets for <hitorderex> and <disabledhittypes>:
The first is the order in which the various types of translation hit results are to appear. The second lists those types in the sequence which are not to be displayed. Note that  also includes the types that will not be shown so that if their display is re-enabled, memoQ will know where they belong.

The correlation of the numeric codes used here to the hit types is as follows:
100 = Translation memory
200 = Term base
300 = Non-translatable
400 = Auto-translation
500 = Fragment assembly
600 = LSC
700 = Machine translation
So in the example above, the display of TM, fragment, LSC and machine translation results has been suppressed.

One convenient way to switch quickly between configuration "profiles" is to keep versions of the XML configuration files with descriptive suffixes in the filename and put an alias (shortcut) for that file somewhere convenient, like on your Desktop. Such a file where autotranslatables and nontranslatables are shown at the top might be Preferences-editor_Autotrans-Nontrans.xml

Before starting memoQ, I find the shortcut for configuration file I want loaded, open it by double-clicking and Save As... with the additions to the filename deleted. This will overwrite the preferences file that was used previously. To switch back, I quit memoQ, open the backup copy of the preferences file I usually use and save it under the name Preferences-editor.xml. Until Kilgray implements actual saveable/loadable user profiles, this is as easy as it will get. Of course this method can also encompass other aspects of configuration.

Dec 31, 2016

The Dark Secret of memoQ interface switch-hitters

The memoQ world looks very different in the typical view of a translator versus that of a project manager.

Chaos Central: the memoQ Translator Pro dashboard
Ready to work: the project manager interface of memoQ
These differences sometimes lead to difficulties in training or documenting procedures for others. It can be quite annoying, for example, for the students in a university translation technology course to watch their professor demonstrate a technique in the project manager version as they stare at their local copies of memoQ Translator Pro in the computer lab and try to repeat the steps in that different environment.

Project managers who never or seldom use the Translator Pro version often sow unintended confusion when they explain to a translator who isn't a memoQ power user how to performcertain tasks; it really would help if both were looking at the same setup.

I used to spend a lot of annoying time changing the license in my copy of memoQ when I needed to change from one edition to another for purposes of teaching or writing help instructions for the blogor elsewhere. No longer.

A few years ago, memoQ developers and testers got tired of the same problem, so Kilgray made it possible to switch easily back and forth between the edition views. The only catch, as far as I know, is that you must be using a PM license, such as the one that is included with the memoQ cloud service account.

Switch-hitting with memoQ is very simple, just a few little steps. These are:
  1. Create an XML file named ClientDevConfig.xml with the following content: 
  2. Copy this file into the path: C:\ProgramData\MemoQ. Note that ProgramData is generally a hidden folder, so you'll have to deal with that. If I have to tell you how, you probably shouldn't be doing this :-)
  3. Restart memoQ. There will be a new menu group at the far right of the ribbon menu. Perhaps you noticed that already in the screenshots above. This addition may appear in two different forms:

That's it. So if you are a memoQ trainer or a project manager who needs to explain something to a frustrated translator in a visual context they can relate to, you have another tool to help you with that. This has been a great boon to me for the past few years, and I am very glad to have it in my tattered bag of tricks.