May 27, 2009

Escape from Code Hell!

Although I've never met Dave Turner nor have I ever corresponded with him, there are days that I think of him as one of my best friends. Why is that? Because he has made my working life a lot easier. And he has done the same for many other users of CAT tools like Déjà Vu, MemoQ and Trados with his CodeZapper macro collection. Many of us have suffered with "rogue" codes (tags for you Trados users) in RTF and MS Word documents. A typical mess I see almost every day looks like this:
There are many different strategies for cleaning this up, but it is difficult to find one that works in every case. I often run the document through the OpenOffice word processor, but this is a bad idea for complex documents, because the format often gets trashed. Other methods like copying and pasting the content into a new document also have drawbacks. Dave's macros are about the easiest, most reliable way I know of escaping Code Hell most of the time. After running CodeZapper, the sample text above looked like this:
Now that's much easier to translate, isn't it? With results like that, which save massive amounts of working grief, you might wonder how much a cool solution like this will cost you. Update: A mere 20 euros. See the latest post on CodeZapper for information on where to get it.

This is one tool that is definitely worth adding to your bag of tricks.


  1. I had the impression from comments you posted elsewhere that you were tired of this particular solution too (not that that invalidates the solution itself of course).

    For my part, I haven't had much to do with tags, but I hate them anyway. However, it seems I'll have to get used to them if I continue using MemoQ. The nice people at Kilgray assure me that tags are necessary, but I don't believe it for a minute.

    I want them to a) handle them better in the first place, b) hide them from view as far as possible (i.e., more than at present), and c) allow the translator to override them completely at their own discretion.

    I hope other users will join me in lobbying Kilgray to deliver on this. As your first screenshot indicates, that is not optimal presentation for comprehension of the source.

  2. @Rod: If by "tired of this particular solution" you mean DVX, that's not the case. I'm tired of certain issues not being addressed and the lack of development in the last several years. However, there are still many things I can do with it that I cannot do with MemoQ (and vice versa, so I balance my choice according to project needs). In any case, these are screenschots from MemoQ, not DVX. The problems aren't as frequent there as in DVX, but they do occur.
    MemoQ at least integrates trivial tags for font formatting in the interface and allows them to be altered, which DVX does not. That does often simplify things.
    Tag overrides would be very nice. Yesterday MemoQ refused to export a simple Word doc until I added a superfluous tag in the target. It wasn't a big deal, but an "at your own risk" switch-off option would be nice. One could always switch it back on if there is an issue.
    In some cases it's very dangerous to trash the tag - for example if you combine segments in a bilingual Word file for Trados which is being translated in an environment like DVX or MemoQ. You really do have to know what you are deleting or at least know that it is not needed.

  3. If they can't be eliminated completely, at least an option to hide them while you grapple with the text would be nice. Otherwise in systems with visible tags, the tags very easily become the focus of attention, distracting from the main task of getting the translation right.

    I might find it easier to forgive their presence if they weren't so insistently in the way at every step.

  4. I downloaded and installed the new Codezapper 2.4 this week and I can only echo your thanks to Dave Turner. It's great for getting rid of extraneous tags and also for avoiding image bloat. A great tool. I've been using MemoQ for almost 2 years now and I really don't find its tags a problem. Any I can intuitively see are not necessary, I just insert at the end of the segment. Of course, I'm only referring to Word files and your problem with tags may relate to other file types. Perhaps it's all just down to what you get used to.

  5. Just saw a notice than another update to the CodeZapper macros is available (version 2.5): href="


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