Jul 29, 2012

memoQuickie: Adding terms to multiple memoQ termbases

By default, memoQ always writes new terms to the primary termbase; other termbases selected are for reference only. However, as of version 5, it is possible to change where terms are written and to write to more than one termbase simultaneously.

Select a term to record and choose Operations > Add Term... or use the toolbar or keyboard shortcut to open the dialog for creating a termbase entry.

The upper right of the dialog shows the termbase(s) to which terms will be written. Clicking the small, black arrow opens the dropdown menu where all termbases in the project can be selected and deselected for adding terms.

In the example above, the term will be written to two termbases.

The selections remain the default for all new term entries in the project until changed again. If the primary termbase is not selected, no terms will be written to it.

Creating translation projects in memoQ 6

As with most other translation environment tools, memoQ translations are performed in "projects" which bring together all the necessary support resources for reference, quality assurance, etc.

New projects are started on the Dashboard when you open memoQ or in that and any other context by choosing Project > New Project...  

This opens the Project Wizard.

 Name the project, choose the source language and a target language and add any relevant meta data (for inclusion in translation memory and term data). Recording the version history is a good idea if new versions of source documents may come or if you want to track changes in a translation.
The next wizard screen lets you select the documents to translate.

These can also be added later if you do not have them or are creating a template project for later use. Import adds the selected documents to the project using default filters; Import with options... allows other filters to be specified or special filter settings to be chosen.

The translation memories page of the wizard shows all the registered TM resources; memoQ uses a primary TM into which translated segments are written and as many reference TMs as you like. Here the ISO 9001 memory is chosen as a reference for matching and concordance search.

Termbases also have a "primary" termbase and any number of reference termbases, but unlike TMs, new information can be written to more than one termbase simultaneously if the settings are adjusted later.

After the project wizard setup is finished, the project is ready to be used for translating. Double-clicking an item in the translation documents list will open it for work.

Jul 27, 2012

Translating embedded objects in Microsoft Office documents

Yesterday a colleague sent me a note to say he had been searching my blog for information about translating compound Microsoft Office documents (that is documents with embedded objects) in memoQ and couldn't find any. I presume he was referring to the article about how often one CAT tool is not enough - combined workflows with other tools can frequently help solve many tricky translation problems, and DVX2 or STAR TRANSIT are definitely useful options for preparing compound Microsoft Office documents for translation in memoQ. Some time ago I recommended using STAR TRANSIT as a pre-processing tool to one of my agency friends, and he carried out a very large, complex project successfully using memoQ's excellent integration features for STAR TRANSIT projects.

There is, of course, another simple way to translate the embedded objects in a Microsoft Office document that does not involve purchasing other software licenses. I don't usually talk about it, because there are a few limitations, and until recently I had not figured out how to avoid corrupting the files when I tried to do things the "easy" way. This approach is not limited to memoQ and will actually work with most CAT tools - so SDL Trados Studio users can do this as well, for example.

It is useful to know that the Microsoft Office 2007/2010 file formats (DOCX, PPTX, XLSX) are really just ZIP files containing XML and a bunch of other stuff. That stuff includes a folder with the embedded objects in formats that can be dealt with directly.

If you have an older, binary MS Office document (DOC, PPT, XLS) with embedded objects, convert it to a 2007/2010 format.

If you rename the file extension DOCX, PPTX or XSLX to ZIP and unpack the ZIP file, inside the folder you will find a folder called "embeddings". The files in that folder can be copied elsewhere and usually handled directly in your CAT tool. But problems usually arise when you put them back, rezip the folder and change back to the original extension. The compression gets screwed up, and the Microsoft Office file is corrupted and won't open.

The only reliable method I have found for avoiding this is to use the Windows Explorer (under Windows 7) to open the ZIP file:

Here's what the "guts" of one DOCX file with a bunch of embedded Excel tables looks like:

Inside the word folder you'll find the embeddings folder:

The contents of the embeddings folder look like this:

Simply copy the embeddings folder somewhere safe, translate its contents, then copy them back to the ZIP file using Windows Explorer. Then rename the ZIP extension to the original extension for the file.

If you open the file and look at it, you'll get a shock. When you see all the objects in their original language, you might think something went wrong. Nothing bad has happened; you merely need to refresh the objects. This can be done by opening each briefly to edit or using a macro to open each object and close it again quickly. In a job with dozens of embedded objects in a long file, this macro is a helpful shortcut.

Given how easily accessible this embedded content actually is, one has to wonder why other major CAT tool providers like SDL and Kilgray have failed to offer the option of importing embedded content in their filters up to now. Let's hope they do soon. In the meantime, this workaround should enable many people to deal with this complex and irritating file format challenge.

Here's a summary of the procedure once again:
  1. Rename the *.???x file to *.zip 
  2. Under Windows 7, right-click on the ZIP file and open it using the Windows Explorer. Using ZIP tools of any kind risks corruption by changing the compression ratios. 
  3. Find the embeddings folder inside the ZIP structure. Copy this elsewhere and use it as the source for translation. It will contain all the embedded objects as single files. 
  4. Copy the translated content back into the embeddings folder in the ZIP structure.
  5. Rename the ZIP file to its original extension. 
  6. Open the file and refresh each embedded object (which will initially appear not to have been translated) by right-clicking and opening it from the context menu or running a macro to do that.

Translating "foreign" bilingual tables in memoQ

--- In, Liset Nyland wrote:
> A client has sent me a 2-column rtf-file export from DVX.
> It looks similar to the MemoQ export but not quite.
> The target column is full of fuzzy matches, so I need to recover these.
> ... do you know if there's a bilingual format exported from DVX that can
> be loaded and translated directly in MemoQ?
There is one way to deal more-or-less directly with the DVX bilingual RTF tables - or any others being introduced by other providers or bilingual tables that some customers are fond of using to store translation strings or other content. I would love to see a general import routine from Kilgray that allows selection of source and target columns of various file types in a dialog, but until then...
1. Get a copy of the PlusToyZ macros by German/English to Ukrainian/Russian translator Arkady Vysotsky.
2. Copy the source and column targets into a separate RTF or MS Word file.
3. Run the PlusToyZ macro to convert that to a Trados-like bilingual (the old Wordfast/Trados RTF/DOC bilingual)
4. Import the converted file to memoQ using the default filter, which is intelligent enough to recognize that you are dealing with Trados-compatible bilingual DOC/RTF.
5. Translate, edit, feed the TM, etc.
6. Export the processed file.
7. Use the appropriate conversion macro in PlusToyZ to turn the data back into a table.
8. Paste the data back into the original bilingual table from DVX or whatever tool it came from.
This is the preferred method to use when your bilingual table is partially pretranslated, or you have a translated table you want to edit while having a better look at the source text. This would also be a useful method for jobs I've had where customers have string or terminology lists in Excel to translate that are in some cases incomplete.

Once you get to Step 3, you can translate that bilingual format in any tool which works with the old Trados RTF/Word segmentation, such as WordFast Classic.I think that was actually the reason Arkady wrote those macros in the first place.

If you want to protect the DVX codes (or similar structures, including placeholders) or store them in the TM as proper tags, run the Regex tagger or use a cascading filter a described in my other blog post about regular expressions for DVX external table translation in memoQ. Of course, for content other than DVX tags, a different regular expression will be needed.

Jul 24, 2012

Free online tutorials for English translation from Birbeck College

English legal translator Juliette Scott recently posted an article on her blog for legal translators about a free opportunity offered by Birbeck College, University of London, for those interested in translation into English from Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The non-interactive tutorials offer the opportunity to translate various sorts of texts, then compare one's work with annotated reference translations. This would seem to be a useful tool for self-assessment and learning for those considering work in translation or for experienced translators who enjoy seeing how others approach a text. I've copied the relevant FAQ from the Birbeck site below, with a link to all the FAQs in the first line and in the graphic above.


FAQs VI: The Online Programme

  • VI-Q1. How do I qualify to take the online programme?
    VI-A1. The online courses are open to anyone who is eligible on the grounds of being both a native Anglophone and having another language (or languages) at an advanced level.
  • VI-Q2. How many of the online courses can I take?
    VI-A2. You may take as many as you are qualified for (and can thus benefit from).
  • VI-Q3. How can I register to take the online programme?
    VI-A3. By emailing
  • VI-Q4. What does each course consist of?
    VI-A4. Each course consists of: nine passages of 350-500 words each (of different types: three literary prose texts, three journalistic texts and three specialist texts in academic fields) which you will be able to download and work on and of nine ‘annotated translations’ by the tutors, giving comments/reasons for possible translation choices, which you should consult only after you have completed your own attempt at the text.
  • VI-Q5. Is the online course interactive?
    VI-A5. No. To get the most out of these courses, you should download and work on each text in your own time, then look carefully at the ‘annotated text’ for it, learning from the comments provided by the tutor before you attempt the next one.
  • VI-Q6. Will the nine texts be at increasing levels of difficulty?
    VI-A6. Not necessarily. They are selected to give maximum range and maximum kinds of translation challenge.
  • VI-Q7. How can I give feedback on the online courses?
    VI-A7. All those taking an online course will be required to complete a feedback form when they have completed a course. This is both to help us test and enhance our provision and also to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme when we report to our funders. Also, when you first register, you will need to complete a form giving basic information (your name, contact details, affiliation, nationality etc). This is to help us accumulate statistics for our report to our funders.
  • VI-Q8. Do the online courses only run at certain times, or have to be done within a certain timespan?
    VI-A8. No; because they are non-interactive, you can do them at any pace and at any time to suit you.

Jul 14, 2012

Hacking Trados Freelance Languages

One of the great nuisances for me in working with Trados is the limitation of the freelance version with respect to the languages that can be set. Only five are permitted at a time. If for some reason you need to make changes, the standard advice is to uninstall the application, clean the registry and re-install. All in all a fairly time-consuming process if you are used to more streamlined CAT tools that install in 5 minutes or less. And work afterward. Also, when I install SDL Trados Anything on my Windows 7 system with all the latest schnick-schnack and see Win XP components and runtime engines with dates like 2005 being hammered onto my system, I am... well... just a little concerned. One of these days I expect SDL will refactor its software to make it more scalable and able to match the performance of other leading applications. Until then I will tread carefully with anything involving installation.

All in all, registry hacking, though generally spoken of in fearful terms, is probably the safer, gentler alternative for adjusting the five languages set for Trados. Why would I want to do that, you ask? Although I actually only work with two languages and amuse myself with another two, I get sample files in various combinations I would never dream of handling with requests to look briefly at some technical issue. This week it involves Polish. Up to now my main concern with the Polish language has been to discipline myself not to mistake it for Russian when I've passed 20 shots sampling the variety of vodkas in polite company in that fine country. But today I had to open a TWB TM with English and Polish, and my friend the Flagman said it was verboten.

Fortunately, others have gone before, deciding it's bullshit to waste time re-installing the software for such a little thing, and after a bit of Google Searching I found that the necessary key to hack is the value at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > TRADOS > Shared > IDNG:

Alles klar? Various users then revealed the Masonic secret of the key: the last ten digits are five groups of two digits each, with each two digit group being a hex code for a given language. Crikey. I take it all back about memoQ regex being obscure. The last part of my key was originally set to
with the last ten digits resolving to
5D - English
53 - German
4D - Russian
58 - French
47 - Dutch

In the screenshot above I've already changed French to Polish (41). After rebooting the computer, everything worked fine and I could have a quick look at the files.

A short list of codes that was shared in the discussion thread had a few errors, which were corrected by other contributors. I'm sure that a bit of research will turn up any other codes needed.
No language set = 84
Afrikaans 67
Azeri 78
Basque 79
Belarusian 77
Bulgarian 56
Catalan 57
Croatian 4E
Czech 51
Danish 52
Dutch 47
English 5D
Estonian 71
Faeroese 60
Finish 5F
French 58
Gaelic 62
German 53
Greek 5C
Hungarian 5A
Icelandic 5B
Indonesian 75
Italian 44
Latvian 72
Lithuanian 73
Macedonian 7B
Malay 63
Maltese 61
Norwegian 40
Polish 41
Portuguese 42
Romanian 4C
For further details, have a look at

Jul 12, 2012

RegEx for translating DVX external view tables in memoQ

Atril's Dejà Vu was the first translation environment tool I am aware of to offer a means of exchanging translation content for review, correction and translation using an ordinary word processor. These "external views" were the original inspiration for memoQ's RTF bilingual tables, which are used in many interoperable workflows not only with people using a word processor but with many other CAT tools as well.

As with memoQ RTF bilinguals, the content in the "external view" which is not to be translated can be selected and hidden with a word processor, leaving only a target column into which the source text has been copied. But these steps alone with the standard RTF filter pose a problem:

The DVX "codes" (tags), which are represented by curly brackets enclosing a number, are not protected. Erasing parts of them can damage the content. It is also not possible to perform a tag check using the memoQ QA functions.

The solution is to use the Regex tagger in memoQ. There are two ways to do this.

If the document has already been imported,

the tagger can be run from the Format menu.

Enter the appropriate regular expression to convert the DVX code to a protected tag: \{(\d+)\}

This expression describes the pattern of the text to protect: a curly bracket (with a backslash in front of it to indicate that this is to be interpreted literally as a character, not as a bracket for grouping something), one or more digits (\d indicates a digit as opposed to d, which is just the letter d, and the plus sign means one or more) and a closing curly bracket ("escaped" with a backslash so it is understood literally as the bracket character in the DVX code.)

Click Add to put the rule in the list, then click Run tagger now.

The result is protected tags in the translation grid of memoQ. These can also be verified with a QA tag check after the translation is completed.

Your regular expression rules can be saved in the dialog above and re-used, or exported from the list under Tools > Resource console... > Filter configurations and shared with others.

The regular expression tagger can also be used as a cascading filter when the RTF file for the external view is imported:

Here the configuration can also be saved or another one loaded.

Jul 10, 2012

European LSP frustration with the US: a typical example

When discussing the problems of a European language service provider (LSP) working with customers in the US, a friend remarked recently that alles, was sich außerhalb ihrer Landesgrenzen abspielt, existiert für Amerikaner nicht... sie sind einfach zu dämlich.

I suppose dem should be fightin' words and I should defend the honor of my countrymen, but the guy is too often right.

I decided long ago that it is seldom worth the bother to do business with those in my country of origin. But that was so long ago that the reasons had faded in my mind, and when I was approached recently by a polite PR rep for a small translation (a page and a half press release) for a trade show in Germany, I thought why not? 

My quotation was accepted without much delay, and then came the familiar request for me to fill out (on behalf of the German limited company that would be invoicing) a W-9 and several pages of a New Vendor Authorization form that asked if my company is a Small Business Concern and asked me to to mark the relevant categories:
  • Small Business Certification (SBC) self certified 
  • Small Disadvantaged (including minority-owned) Business (SDB) 
  • Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) 
  • Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) 
  • Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) 
  • HUBZone Small Business concern (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) certified by the US Small Business Administration 
And I was to supply my Dun & Bradstreet number. And there were terms and conditions, which as I scanned them set off a good number of alarms. I have terms and conditions under which I work, and I have no interest in other terms with more words than the text to translate.

Life's too short. I gave her the name of a nice agency local to her. I hope they can help her out.

It puzzles me that someone involved with international clients can be utterly unaware that US forms like the W-9 have no relevance to contractors abroad, but I've found that this and other misconceptions are the rule rather than the exception among my business contacts on the other side of the Pond. And the idea that I would need to juggle paperwork like that for a small, one-off job is more puzzling still. Had I known in advance that this would be expected, I could have added two hours of administrative fees to the quote for the translation of less than 500 words.

Perhaps I've squandered a marvelous opportunity here, and I certainly hope the person wasn't insulted by my rather abrupt about-face on the quote. But I find that good business is usually very simple.

Lies, damned lies and CSA data baiting

The Common Sense Advisory (CSA) has announced another rates survey for translation providers - would anyone like to hazard a prediction of the results that will be reported?

As a child, I was subjected to the annual school ritual of standardized testing, as most of those who pass through the US school system are. Around the third or fourth grade I noticed something rather odd about the tests. Aside from a puzzling tendency to repeat the same question material from year to year,the answers were often obvious even for questions I didn't understand. My scores on these standardized tests were more a reflection of my memory and ability to perceive bias than they were of any understanding of the subjects tested. The makers of the test had no particular stake in my choice of any given answer; it's just devilishly hard to avoid pushing someone toward what you perceive as the "right answer". Any good teacher knows how hard this is. That's also why we have double-blind testing and other methods in our often unsuccessful attempts to avoid experimental bias.

If honest people have a hard time constructing a valid test or survey, how much harder is it for those who have a particular agenda to do so? Do they even really try? The CSA bills itself as an independent Massachusetts-based market research company ... [which helps] companies profitably grow their international businesses and gain access to new markets and new customers ... [with a] focus ... on assisting ... clients to operationalize, benchmark, optimize, and innovate industry best practices in translation, localization, interpreting, globalization, and internationalization. Wow. Quite an orgy of jargon to describe what many perceive as a predetermined agenda of special interest propaganda. Like the sellers of another Watchtower, in recent years, the CSA appears to offer salvation.

As I'm sure they do. But for whom? I see the CSA quoted most often by industry shills for machine translation, those who follow the old formula of repeating lies often enough that they are eventually taken as gospel. Rates are dropping, rates are dropping say some of the self-selecting four percent who have responded to past CSA surveys. The fact that my own observations confirm at least the German part of the CSA statement that language pairs involving French and German were the only ones to escape substantial price drops is not prima facie evidence that anything else happens to be true or even that my own observation is generally correct for all market subsegments. In fact, some I know would argue that German translation prices have indeed been depressed in recent years. Statistics drawn from a tiny opt-in minority in a survey are simply incapable of offering any real insight into the truth of either undifferentiated statement, and one would have to be foolish or dishonest to maintain otherwise.

Now the CSA has sent out the call for the four percent and perhaps a few more suckers to share their financials, with the support of agency associations such as the Dutch VViN (formerly ATA, the bunch that try to convince translation agencies that they must get on the MT boat or drown with propaganda fests like the conference in Ede in the Netherlands) and others. The current survey is an "honor system" attempt (i.e. unverified, unaudited) to draw out the details of price policies from participants (freelancers and translation agencies are among those targeted - the CSA rejects the definition of an LSP in the EN 15038 standard and applies it only to companies with a certain number of employees). But there is no mechanism to prevent some monkeywrencher from filling the survey out any which way and skewing the results to paint a picture bearing no resemblance to reality. And even if there were, the tiny participants sample is hardly representative of industry trends as a whole. If I were to look for more reliable sources of data, I might start with some of the mandatory reporting data in certain national jurisdictions, such as that gathered in Germany by the Statistisches Bundesamt. Or try something approximating a recognized method of random sampling or introduce some kind of data auditing. If I felt that these data had any more value than to promote a set, self-interested charlatan agenda of machine translation, I might make an effort to gather credible data.

Rate surveys without a particular ideological or commercial agenda from the ITI and IoL in the United Kingdom and the German BDÜ have larger samples of service providers in many languages, and they mostly tell a story of stable or slightly increasing rates for language service providers.

But if I were paid to get results for my co-conspirators....

Jul 6, 2012

The new Trados TTX preview in memoQ 6

When I heard some weeks ago that memoQ 6 would offer a preview of TTX files, I was curious what this would be and how it was possible. In my mind, I had a picture of the view of the original format, and I couldn't see how this could be reproduced from a Trados TTX. Of course it can't.

I made a little file with two sentences, one footnote and one comment in Microsoft Word.

Then I made a TTX from that using SDL Trados 2007 and imported it into memoQ:

The memoQ tags, can of course be displayed in a shorter form using toolbar options; I'm just showing the full tag text here for demonstration purposes. The preview of the TTX is shown below the translation grid. It is of course a preview of the tags one would see in the Trados TagEditor.

At first I thought this was rather useless, but then I realized it had value after all:
  • The original tags are easier to understand than the tags in the memoQ grid, and the color differentiation between inline tags (green) and other tags (grey) is helpful.
  • Unsegmented content is shown, giving you an indication of important content that may require attention like numbers or numeric dates. (I tested this with a different file.)
In the case of that second point, I would re-import the document and select the option to include the unsegmented content. Then use the X-translate function available with version management to pick up where you left off without losing much time. I always leave versioning active in my memoQ projects to allow for possibilities like this. It is also helpful that the new version 6 offers all the features of versioning previously available only in the Project Manager edition of memoQ, which makes comparisons and reporting easier.

Jul 5, 2012

Pride goeth before....

Yesterday a friend passed on the link to his new web site in English, which I had localized recently. The revolving graphic banner of heavy equipment loading cargo for shipment around the world looked brilliant. Of the various suggestions my copywriting friend and I had made for the slogans he had chosen the best. A good job for a deserving company which provides excellent international service. And then I looked closer.

When I discovered that his service provider uses the Open Source content management system TYPO3, I thought the little request he had made would be an easy one with a guaranteed good outcome. After all, memoQ, my translation environment tool of choice, has special XML filter configurations for TYPO3. But it seems that things are not so easy in the world of German CMS service.

Vee haf vayz off enterink ze kontent I was told, or words to that effect. I was dutifully informed that an XML export would contain "unnecessary information" of no interest to a mere translator and that I was to translate from an MS Word file provided. When I expressed my concern that copying errors might result from this procedure and encouraged the use of the free plug-in to export content from TYPO3 for translation, I was informed that his service fee for such frivolous nonsense would be
EUR 95,00 zzgl.MwSt bitte schön. Welcome to Servicewüste Deutschland.

After a few days of negotiation on the technical aspects of this three page translation, I finally decided to heed that old advice about not arguing with fools (who can tell the difference?) and simply sent the translation, albeit as a bilingual draft for simpler review. And I awaited feedback before issuing the final translation. Apparently all was well, because the draft was used to enter the content straightaway.

So far I've found four errors on the two pages I've looked at. All from copy/paste carelessness or retyping things and doing so with a bit too much Teutonic flair in ze zpellink. The thought of the potential damage to the image of my friend's business makes me decidedly queasy. God help him if they decide to do other languages like Chinese, Russian or Arabic, which is a possibility.

A good translation is more than just the right words for an occasion. It is a process. A process of communication among people, which sometimes involves technology. Humans are prone enough to error; even the best of us can overlook small but important details in a familiar text, and it's usually wise to stack the deck and deal with processes that minimize the risk of errors. Like providing translation content in a format that will minimize the human intervention required for information transfer. Please. Our customers deserve that at least.

Jul 2, 2012

Sometimes one CAT tool is not enough

Not long ago, a colleague in New Zealand expressed her frustration about the limits of interoperability for common translation environment tools and her sense of unfulfilled promises:

In the case she was concerned with, she was quite right. There are workarounds for complex MS Word documents with footnotes, but none of these are really optimal for a team working simultaneously in several different CAT tools. In the case of memoQ 5 (which was part of the mix) the lack of support for footnotes in RTF/DOC bilinguals made it impossible to review an uncleaned translation done in WordFast Classic (not a problem for simpler files), and the use of a bilingual DOC export from memoQ used the "simple" format of one segment per line, thus losing the format for the working translator. I hope that will be dealt with in time by Kilgray's developers.

But fortunately, interoperability really does work - it is "the art of compromise" as one industry guru put it, but there are many acceptable compromise strategies that allow productive collaboration, and memoQ excels in this regard more than any other tool I know. But as I have said so often, we need a broad palette of tools to enable us to handle any job efficiently, and last week's project here was a good example of this.

No good deed goes unpunished, and my punishment for an almost miraculous rescue of the editing and harmonization of a large, complex financial report done in a hurry by several translators, some of whom don't use CAT tools at all, was that I got to do the update of that text and see all the little stuff we missed the first time around when the client CEO and I traded sleep for coffee and Excel spreadsheets. Actually, I loved that job, and I was proud of what we could accomplish in 48 hours that should have taken a week or more of overtime. All of it possible only thanks to memoQ LiveDocs and the QA module. And lots and lots of coffee.

In this round, however, I was determined to avoid some of the pain caused last time by file format problem. The Notes to the annual report contained about 30 embedded Excel tables in a Word document. "So what?" says the user of Star Transit or DVX2. "Uh oh!" say the Trados and memoQ users. This is where interoperability saved me hours of bother.

I'm no longer comfortable doing routine work in my former preferred tool, Déjà Vu. The working environment of memoQ is more ergonomic for me, and although I still miss a number of very useful features in DVX, on the balance, the features I gained in memoQ allow me to do many more things better (or even at all). Nonetheless, this time Atril had the clear advantage.

I translated the main text of the Notes in memoQ, making full use of my translation memories, glossaries and QA settings there. I enjoyed the previews of the embedded Excel documents, which gave me necessary context for some of my work, but the actual content of those tables was untouchable in memoQ. Then I exported the translation, which was an English document with embedded tables in German.

This compound document was then imported to DVX2 together with my TM. I copied the source to target, locked all the English content (it was helpful that the content extracted from the Excel tables was at the end of the translation scroll) and pretranslated what remained from the TM. Less than an hour later I exported the completely finished translation - and saved a lot of fiddly work exporting and importing those stupid tables like I had to do before. I really do hope that memoQ's filters for MS Office documents will be updated to handle embedded objects soon - it's not uncommon that I have Excel, Visio or PowerPoint objects stuck in my Word documents.

After delivering the text, I then turned to the next task: exporting my terminology. Once again, interoperability came to my rescue here. This customer places a lot of importance on the correct use of IFRS and their own terminology. One of the ways we coordinate this is to exchange glossary information in a format that this customer, who doesn't know a CAT tool from a Persian feline, can cope with. A nicely formatted DOCX or PDF dictionary does the trick. But I can't do that with memoQ.

I've been advocating the addition of XSL script selection to memoQ's XML term export for some time now. My own efforts to create good scripts for my purposes are hampered by the fact that I haven't done much programming for a decade now and I've lost most of my skills. So until I sort that problem out, I take the terms in XML from memoQ and import them to SDL Trados MultiTerm. MultiTerm is unique among the terminology tools on the low end of the market in that it has always offered some useful export format templates (which can be adapted) for re-use of the term information in other environments. Formatted RTF dictionaries like the one shown here as a thumbnail, web pages, custom text exports... the sky's the limit if you can deal with the odd configuration options and unexpected crashes. Having traversed that minefield often enough in the past decade, I can usually produce something good-looking from my memoQ terminology with SDL Trados MultiTerm without much ado. And my clients like it a lot more than an ugly CSV export.

So why didn't I just use Déjà Vu or Trados in the first place? Re-read the text above. None of the three CAT tools I use was capable of doing everything I required as efficiently as I needed it done. DVX2 came the closest, but the lack of a preview, the primitive way that tags (codes) are still managed and the lack of comfort I feel translating in that environment (I'm much slower now) made it a poor option for the bulk of the work. But working in carefully planned concert, these three tools produced excellent results, made my client happy and made me happy by saving the rest of my day with an early delivery.