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Nov 28, 2008

Déjà Vu X as an editing tool (for Trados jobs too!)

Déjà Vu X (DVX) from Atril is probably the most powerful, feature-rich, stable CAT tool on the market today. Its use as a translation tool is discussed widely - its use as an editing or proofreading tool less so. There are two ways in which editing is done with DVX:
  • in bilingual tables (RTF or HTML exported "views" from projects)
  • in the DVX Editor (unlicensed version of the product) or any higher version
The first method is something I do often, providing a commented RTF file with particular segments to which I want to draw attention or a bilingual table of the entire text of one or more files for easy proofreading by clients. Any changes made to the translation can be easily re-imported into my project, checked for acceptability, then applied automatically, after which I can update my TM with just a click or two of the trackpad.

If you work with translators who have DVX but you don't have the tool, you can ask then to make you an "External View" export as an RTF or HTML table. Another option, if the Workgroup version of DVX is available, is to export a bilingual Trados RTF file which you can also review, edit and translate if you have the right tools. (I suppose this would include "Trados-compatible" tools such as Wordfast, but I've never tested this idea. Since segmentation is performed basically the same in MS Word I don't see why it wouldn't work.) Atril has a brief guide for editing "external views" which is available here.

Another option for those without a DVX license is to work with the Editor (unlicensed) version of DVX. This can be obtained simply by downloading and installing the latest DVX version from Atril's Web site. Here once again you are dependent on working with someone who has a license of some sort for DVX who prepares the material to be reviewed. There is a short manual describing its functions which is available here from the Atril web site. No access to TMs or termbases is available here, but the Lexicon can be created (manually, no import) and edited for use in performing terminology QA. The comment function also works, making it easy to give feedback on changes. Spellchecking with the DVX or MS Office module works. The powerful filter function in the context menus of the source and target areas do work, allowing you to review the use of a term or phrase throughout the entire document or project (if you are in the all files view) in a second.

So much for explaining editing for non-DV users. There are also important editing capabilities of DVX of which many licensed, experienced users are unaware. In terms of economic potential, I would rate the ability to import, edit and comment Trados bilingual files as being the greatest. One colleague of mine refused to edit bilingual files for years when requested to do so by agency clients. What she didn't know was that she can quickly import these files into a DVX project where they can be reviewed, changed as necessary, commented (the comments can be exported as one of those external views described above) and re-exported as a "new, improved" bilingual RTF, DOC or TTX file. Once again, I suppose this would work for files created with tools that use Trados-compatible segmentation, but I've never tried it. There is a trick to getting the entire target content in RTF/Word files to import: the "fuzzy match rating" of No Match segments must be changed from zero to some higher integral number. Full instructions for how to edit bilingual Trados jobs are available in a short (currently 5 page) guide I write and made available on the "How To" tab of my ProZ profile or here. This will not allow you to make up for deficiencies in Trados, such as skipping numbers and dates. These will need to be fixed in the uncleaned files using an appropriate text editor, TagEditor, etc. Also, be very, very careful of codes, especially those for segment boundaries. Changes in segmentation must be performed with the Trados (or Trados-compatible) tools themselves. However, for purposes of YOUR TM, you can combine or split segments as you like without affecting file integrity.

When editing those Trados jobs in DVX, you can make perform quality checks using terminology, filter functions, etc. and give extensive feedback using the DVX comments feature. The ability to export comments as an RTF table is probably one of the most valuable features for me. It allows me to get away with ignoring requests to use standard feedback forms in Excel or Word, which would otherwise slow down my work too much and interrupt the flow. Clients find the exchange of information using these tables to be very convenient.

The ability to take on review jobs and give convenient feedback (the comment feature in TagEditor sucks - if the end client doesn't use Trados, there is no convenient way that I know of to pass on feedback and get answers) is a huge advantage for DVX users. This can be done independently with DVX Standard or any higher version. (If you're a cheapskate, you could always use the Editor and have a friend with a DVX license create the projects and export the files, but a real professional will license tools once they prove useful and the ROI is good. However, this might be a useful thing to do in a company where just a few people translate regularly and others may review occasionally.) This increases the range of projects that DVX users can handle and increases earnings potential for those who have excess capacity.

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