Dec 6, 2017

Iconic changes to memoQ

Like many people, I keep several versions of memoQ installed on my computer at the same time. Some of these are newer versions, which are strictly for testing until I have determined that they are completely stable for the processes I rely on in my work. Others are older versions needed for compatibility with particular client servers that have not been upgraded yet.

One thing that has always been somewhat inconvenient to me in maintaining multiple versions of the software on my computer is the fact that Kilgray does not distinguish the icons at all between versions, nor do they distinguish the icons used for various auxiliary programs for memoQ, like the web search and the very useful TM external search tool. Well, I fixed that.

new working icons for memoQ

I created a series of new icons to distinguish the shortcuts I use to launch various memoQ versions and the memoQ TM search. They are available here, along with the original 64x64 pixel memoQ icon in case somebody wants to do a different custom icon based on it.

Changing the icon for a program shortcut is very simple. Simply right-click on the shortcut on your Desktop, for example, and click the Change Icon... button to open the corresponding dialog, from which you can select an icon file (*.ico) or a program from which to extract an icon for use.

There are, of course, other approaches, such as using the free Resource Hacker tool to change the icons used by the EXE file. But messing with executable files isn't really advisable in most cases.

If you have artwork to convert into an icon (ICO file), this can be done using the free CONVERTICO web site:

The site can also convert ICO files into bitmap files that can be edited using Microsoft Paint or other applications. Click on the logo above to go to the site.

Changing the icons for my shortcuts give me a better overview on the Windows taskbar of what is actually running when I work with some version of memoQ:

The Windows Taskbar icons seem a little fiddly to change. It took me a few tries of pinning and unpinning the application on the taskbar before the icon appeared right for memoQ 2015 (7.8), while the newer version looked OK on the first try. It's probably some sort of Windows Registry issue. In any case, the icon change for the desktop shortcuts works every time, and that at least gives me a better visual overview so I don't launch a version of the program I don't intend to work with,

Dec 1, 2017

Appearances matter in your CAT tool.

This morning on the social media memoQ forum of Putin's Western election influence platform, a user expressed their [1] woes while editing a translation with a lot of italic formatting in the text:

I assume they were facing something like this:

The problem is not so much the italic text per se, but the user's choice of display font for working. I have the same problem sometimes. Usually what I do is switch the text in the translation and editing grid of memoQ to a monospace font like Courier. I also keep the non-printing characters visible (and do so in Microsoft Word as well) so that I can pick up formatting problems like extra spaces, for example, or optional hyphens (which tend to produce "rogue tags" in a CAT tool, making term matching and search functions useless in most cases and complicating the work in other ways too).

The font here is Courier New

This approach can be used with most CAT tools which have their own editor. In recent versions of memoQ, this is done via the Quick Access Toolbar under Options > Appearance:

Changing the font in CAT tools can not only improve the visibility of the text you work on; it can also be an aid in editing. Many studies and articles have been published on how to improve accuracy when editing or proofreading one's work, with tips such as these:

12. Font size
Change the font size to one you can work with easily on your screen.
13. Font
We all have our favorite fonts. For proofreading change the font to the one that allows you to find mistakes most easily. Start by trying Times New Roman, Arial and Calibri and work through other fonts until you find one you like.

It would, of course, be nice to have a one-click changover possible; I don't think any tool offers that at present. Considering that everyone faces this issues, software providers should think about that.

A font like the one above isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it would slow me down and make me notice careless typing errors better when I read through a text before delivery.

[1] This post is gender-neutered to provide a safe space for today's university students to pick up editing tips.

Nov 26, 2017

MS Word Macros to Speed up Translation-Related Terminology Research

Guest post by Tanya Harvey Ciampi, English translator (DE/FR/IT>EN)

Is your terminology research slowing you down?

When we translate Microsoft Word documents, we often find ourselves having to leave Word to look up terms online, for example in monolingual dictionaries for definitions, in bilingual dictionaries or translation memory databases for translations, on specific reputable websites (such as newspaper websites) to double-check usage or frequency of use, or on clients’ own multilingual websites to check how certain terms have been translated in the past to ensure consistent use of terminology.

This sort of research involves switching to a browser, copying and pasting or retyping our term into a search box, possibly adding specific search criteria, and finally launching a search: all that typing and clicking can be time-consuming and easily cause us to become lost among the many windows opened.

Macros to the rescue!
This is where macros come in. A macro is essentially a short sequence of commands that automates repetitive tasks. Macros cost nothing to create and can be tweaked to do exactly what you need them to do, based on your specific language combinations and favourite online terminology resources, providing these lend themselves to this sort of querying.

How do macros work?
A macros consists of code, which you simply need to copy and paste into the Macros section of Word. That done, you then need to assign an icon to the macro and add it to your toolbar to launch the macro with a single click every time you need it. If you wish, you may also assign a specific key combination to the macro (for example CTRL plus a key of your choice) so that you can launch the macro from your keyboard, too.

From now on, when translating a text in Word, all you need to do is place your cursor on a word that you wish to look up and click on the corresponding icon in your toolbar (or use the assigned key combination) to launch the search. That’s all there is to it!

A few examples of macros and what they can do for you:

SCENARIO: Imagine...SOLUTION... with a single click! need to look up a term in the bilingual dictionaries and but this requires opening your browser, browsing to both dictionaries separately and pasting in or retyping your search term on each website... quite time-consuming! A macro to search both dictionaries at once taking your word from MS Word and inserting it automatically in both dictionaries for you... with a single click from within Word.
(This macro can be adapted to all sorts and any number of websites)
What this macro does essentially is launch a Google search from within Word, adding specific search criteria, in this case:
“your search term” or wish to run a search in the online translation memory database (or,, etc.) to check how other translators have translated a certain term or expression. A macro to search Linguee taking your word from MS Word and inserting it directly in the Linguee search engine with a single click from within Word.
This macro produces a list of source- and target-language sentences containing your search term along with context. are translating a text and need to check how a particular expression is used. You decide to search reputable sources such as high-quality newspapers to check usage and/or frequency of use of a specific term or expression. Where do you look? A macro to search specific newspaper websites which you consider reputable sources from within Word.
(This macro can be adapted to all sorts and any number of websites.)
This macro essentially launches a Google search from within Word, adding specific search criteria to target a specific website, for example:
“your search term” are translating for a company that has a multilingual website and you need to check how a specific term has been translated in the past. A macro to search for the term on a specific multilingual website from within Word.
This macro can be extended to cover various related multilingual websites. In banking, for example, these might include the following:
This macro essentially launches a Google search from within Word, adding specific search criteria, for example:
“your search term” or or are translating a text and can't find an appropriate translation of an expression or technical term in any dictionary. A macro to search for your term on a large multilingual website such as that of the European Union from within Word. This macro targets the section of the EU website containing translations side by side (“parallel texts”) on the same page, saving you precious time.
This macro essentially launches a Google search from within Word, adding specific search criteria, for example:
“your search term”
Once you have opened a page on the EU website, all you need to do is specify your target language under “Multilingual display” to view source and target language side by side.

See a couple of these macros in action:

These and more macros are available for free at

The macros themselves are written by a translator with translators' needs in mind and can be adapted to your specific requirements.

Macros may also be created to automate the web-based terminology research techniques for translators found at
... reducing them, too, to a single click in Word!

The original search techniques on which these macros are based were featured in the book entitled “Google Hacks” (“Hack #19: Google Interface for Translators”) by Tara Calishain, Rael Dornfest


Tanya Harvey Ciampi, Dipl. DOZ (Zurich)
English translator (DE/FR/IT>EN)
6673 Maggia, Switzerland,

Tanya grew up in Buckinghamshire, England, and went on to study in Zurich, where she obtained her diploma in translation. She now lives in the Ticino, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, where she works as an English translator (from Italian, German and French) and proofreader.