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Jan 17, 2009

Hidden in plain sight: a new use for the DVX lexicon!

Tonight is one of those times when I really feel like kicking myself. Or maybe celebrating instead. I consider myself a "power user" of the CAT tool Déjà Vu X, but there are so many features in that software and so many possible ways of applying them that one can easily overlook very useful options. I just discovered one of those.

Maybe I'm the only one who has never paid attention to the "Lexicon" option in the export dialog for "external views" (this is an Atril term that describes, among other things, the RTF tables used for proofreading by persons who don't use DVX). When I finally noticed it tonight, several useful applications became apparent.

I use the DVX Lexicon quite a lot in a number of different ways. I use it as part of the process of analyzing the statistical breakdown of words in a text to decide "critical" terminology to be coordinated with a client. I use it to collect key terms that I want to share in a glossary with a customer, some of which might have a low frequency and thus be missed in my statistics-based term work. I also use it for lists of "obligatory terms" from customers, though this function is less useful in DVX than in its predecessor DV3, because the Lexicon is no longer an absolute override list for the assemble function.

Up to now, when I have used the Lexicon for coordinating terminology with a customer, I have shared it via an Excel export and, after changes are made, the original Lexicon is deleted and a new one is created by importing the edited Excel list. Comments are sometimes exchanged in additional columns of the Excel sheet, but these are not really properly tracked, and after the list is exported into DVX they will probably be ignored for the most part.

If, however, instead of exporting the Lexicon as an MS Excel table or tab-delimited text one exports it as an external view in an RTF or HTML table, comments can be included (for the import as well!). Be sure to include the IDs so that an edited Lexicon can be re-imported. Changes are shown upon re-import (thus no need to use the MS Word function for tracking changes).

What are the disadvantages of this approach versus the other methods of Lexicon export? Neither the frequency information nor the column for the number of words is included. That's it. If this information is really interesting, a second export can be provided.

What are the advantages?
  • Inclusions of comments or examples in the comment column of the export if the comment function (Ctrl-M) is used for entries in the Lexicon. This is a good way of discussing/negotiating issues involving terminology and keeping track of this information.
  • Selective exports of the Lexicon (e.g. only commented entries)
  • Web-ready terminology export (as an HTML table)
  • Tracked changes upon re-import. One can accept or reject these changes in the import dialog. Only changes are shown in that dialog.
I will certainly be incorporating this feature in my future projects, because it offers important additional options for simplifying terminology communication with clients. I only wish I had noticed this years ago!

1 comment:

  1. Very good tip!
    I have just used it to create a glossary of abbreviations
    DAC CAD Comité d'aide au développement de l'OCDE
    GFATM FMLSTP Fonds mondial de lutte contre le SIDA, la tuberculose et le paludisme
    ICPD CIPD Conférence internationale sur la population et le développement:

    ILO OIT Organisation Internationale du travail
    OHCHR HCDH Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies aux droits de l'homme

    UNDP PNUD Programme des Nations unies pour le développement
    UNFPA FNUAP Fonds des Nations unies pour la population
    WHO OMS Organisation mondiale de la santé

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