Apr 3, 2012

Source text versions in memoQ

This feature of memoQ is slightly controversial at the moment, because the scope of functions available in the Translator Pro and PM versions differ.

The idea behind source file versioning in memoQ 5 is to save time and avoid possible problems of pretranslating from TM(s) which may spit out the wrong material. To use source versioning in memoQ, you must specify it on the first page of the Project Wizard:

In the Project Manager edition of memoQ, the source document versions will be shown; currently that is not the case in the Translator Pro edition, but the various versions of the source text that are imported are tracked in the project just the same:

When a new version of the document is received, it is brought into the project using either the Reimport or the Reimport as... command in the Translations view.

Clicking No in the dialog enables you to browse for the new version, which may have a different name or even a different file format. Here I replaced a DOCX with an ODT file. I could just as well have imported a PowerPoint file for content previously translated in an RTF file.

To use a previous major version as the translation reference for the new file, select Operations > X-translate... (instead of Pre-Translate..., which uses the translation memory), selecting the major version of the source file you want to use and the relevant options. (Each time you reimport the source file you create a "major version". A "minor version" is created when a version is imported, each time a target file is exported for that source file version, and when the version is "finalized" before another source file reimport is carried out.)

Here's the result:

Easy to filter out the old material and translate the new stuff. If you do a pretranslation (Operations > Pre-Translate...), the TM will supply you with other matches which were not exactly corresponding to the previous major version selected.

In the Project Manager version of memoQ, it is possible to select various versions and output comparison views of the differences:

Note the fuzzy matches which will come from a second step of pre-translation
I find the HTML comparison table for major versions very useful, and I think it would be helpful for legal translators and financial specialists who are sometimes bombarded with dozens of version changes on tight deadlines. Thus it would be a good thing for Kilgray to reconsider this history feature for the Translator Pro version as well.


  1. Thanks for blogging about this, Kevin. When versioning was first touted as one of the new features of MemoQ 5.0 I was very hopeful that my work as a financial translator, which as you say involves being bombarded with updates to previous versions on tight deadlines, would be much easier not to mention less error-prone. Not so unfortunately, since for some reason versioning, and x-translate, have been excluded from the Translator Pro version. So I'm still on the old method of importing each update as a new document and using pretranslate - meaning I have to check each segment to make sure nothing incorrect was inserted from the TM - rather than being able to take advantage of X-translate, which would take the translation from the previous version only. I can only echo your suggestion that Kilgray reconsider this, as even individual translators do in fact very often function as "project managers" in the sense of having to handle and track many different versions of documents, whether in financial reporting where the source documents are updated as they pass through the various chains of command in the company or in legal translation where versions change as the parties negotiate. Even for translators working via agencies and not with direct clients, these are all things that are normally handled by the individual translator and not the project manager.

  2. Susan, it's not true that versioning and X-Translate have been excluded from the Translator Pro version. The functionality is there, and I have trained people to use it in that version. The problem is that by excluding the display of the versions in the translation file list and not making the history features available in the Translator Pro edition, Kilgray has created massive confusion among the users.

    But in any case, for the sort of work I have seen you and some hardcore legal translators do, the history (version comparisons) are very important and could in fact be expanded in some useful ways (which I will explain another day or leave others to hammer on).

  3. Ok, no surprise that's it's more complicated than I thought. :-) Thanks for clarifying that. Now if only I could figure out how to use these features...


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