Apr 17, 2012

Final checks in memoQ

"Having to do a separate final check in Word is a major MemoQ disadvantage over the Word/Trados Workbench (and Wordfast Classic) WYSIWYG procedure. It might even make some of us abandon MemoQ."
I read that statement in a recent digest from the Yahoogroups memoQ forum with some puzzlement. What exactly does the author of those words mean?

There are a few arguments I can muster in favor of the necessity to do a final check in MS Word or another original format. The limitations of the spellchecker in memoQ is one of these. Even when the MS Word spellchecker is used, as I recall memoQ (in the versions where I noticed this problem) did not flag doubled words, and I have a bad habit of typing "and and" and the like.

The use of style guide and consistency-checking tools like PerfectIt! are other good reasons to do such external checks.

But when I do such things, I work on my second monitor and immediately incorporate changes in my memoQ project to keep the TM updated among other things. Also, the filters in memoQ enable me to examine the scope of some problems faster and with greater ease than multiple "Find" operations in a word processor or other software.

But if the person quoted meant simple ease of reading on the screen, I wonder if he has paid any attention to the optimal use of the memoQ translation preview. One could simply resize that pane after translation and read through a preview of the translation:

If a problem is found, clicking on the text will select it and cause the translation window (above the preview) to jump to the segment to be corrected. And of course this works for any format that yields a preview in memoQ, so you are not limited as you would be working with the Trados Workbench macros or Wordfast Classic in MS Word. Excel files, PowerPoint slides, HTML, ODT files and other formats enable you to work this way.

But another reason why I would hesitate strongly before regressing to the tools mentioned is that I would sacrifice the ability to do terminology checks with the QA module. (This is, of course, possible to a limited extent in TagEditor.) Or other QA checks which may be of interest. These features are severely underutilized, but they aren't hard to learn, and they offer considerable benefits to freelance translators in the competition for consistent formal quality.

Similar advantages are likely to be had from other recent versions of leading translation environment tools. Very often it pays to consider the points of difficulty we have with these and discuss them with other users, because often new and better ways of using them will come to light.


  1. Hi Kevin

    Your contributions are - as they always are - illuminating. Actually I tend to think that the person who made the statement you quote rather does not know how to work well with memoQ and what potential this tool has.

    I would consider the "must" of having to do a separate final check in Word - which I always do following the method you stated - as a positive thing (let's say an added QA check before delivery), rather than denigrating a tool which may not really be "in your fingertips".


  2. I took the comments from the support list as a hint that this might be something useful to point out for those new to the tool or who have had little time to explore its features. Or who have just missed a few things. I myself have used certain tools for years and overlooked "obvious" features, noticing them only when I see a newbie using them. So I try not to make too many assumptions about any feature or the expertise of those who use it or do not.

  3. Hi Kevin,

    I've been following the discussion on the memoQ forum you mentioned, and I actually agree with those who say that a final check in Word is indispensable in most cases. And AFAIK these are fairly experienced memoQ users so I doubt it's because they don't know how to resize the preview window. Apparently it's subjective, but I find that the basic layout offered in the memoQ preview window, while very helpful during the actual translation process, is no substitute for reading through the text in its Word (or other file type) layout to make the final edits. The original poster said that he finds more errors when he proofreads in Word, and this is my experience too. As primitive as it seems, I've basically resigned myself to the workflow of doing the final check in Word and then entering the changes by hand into memoQ - except in rare cases where I just need to deliver a "rough" translation, or the translation is very short and then I only read it in the preview window.

    A related problem is how to exchange files with other translators for review (an issue I'm dealing with as I write!). A colleague and I are working on a joint project (he in Studio 2011 and me in memoQ) and we're trying to figure out the best way to exchange the texts for reviewing each other's work since we have to deliver proofread texts to the client. The best idea I can think of is to export 2 files - 1 clean Word file and 1 two-column source/target file. Then the person reviewing can enter their changes in track changes in the bilingual file to be accepted or rejected by the other translator before reimporting. So far so good, the only problem is that the reviewer will have to read everything twice - once in the clean Word file for text flow and context, and once in the bilingual file to check against the original and enter changes.

    As much as I like working in memoQ, this was one of the true advantage of Workbench with its fully formatted bilingual files where you could toggle hidden text on and off as you read through a text to view it with or without the source, and could also make edits in track changes when reviewing other translators' text.

    So things would be just perfect if it were possible to combine these advantages of Workbench with the other undisputed advantages of working in tools like memoQ or Studio. But who knows what the future will bring... :-)

  4. As you know, Susan, where a Word file is involved you can in many cases export a fully formatted bilingual DOC file from memoQ for review purposes and do as you mention, toggling the hidden (source) text on and off. Or for that matter you can work that way with bilingual DOC output from other formats, though there's not much point given the primitive formatting in those cases.

    However, I shy away from doing that because I have had extremely bad experiences supporting agency PMs who have worked with memoQ DOC bilinguals. As soon as the translator starts messing with the segmentation, you are screwed. Or if other forbidden acts are performed like copying the content to another document (leaving behind the properties data needed for re-import). I do have tricks for saving the edits in such cases, but they are not very satisfactory, really.

    However, I suppose in a good number of cases one could use LiveDocs to rescue the mess as I have done with a number of botched translations or proofreading jobs from people that work without compatible translation environment technology.

  5. I resort to a combination of the methods mentioned above. Instead of using memoQ's preview, I open the final doc in Word and place it side-by-side next to memoQ and then enter the changes by hand into memoQ. Sometimes I use memoQ's built in preview, but I am not entirely happy with the way it displays the final document. What's more, there are times when I can't get it to actually work for certain files.
    PS: Kevin, those captchas are damn near impossible to get right, the last one took me nearly 10 reloads!

  6. Kevin, I export the bilingual RTF file, do the final proofing in Word, run the spellchecker and import it back. And when I export the final document, I run the spellcheck again.

    This may sound a bit daft, but when working with excel or xml file, this sort of menial process is a blessing. I do this even with word files and the good think is the changes are incorporated in the TM after the corrections.


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