Dec 1, 2017

Appearances matter in your CAT tool.

This morning on the social media memoQ forum of Putin's Western election influence platform, a user expressed their [1] woes while editing a translation with a lot of italic formatting in the text:

I assume they were facing something like this:

The problem is not so much the italic text per se, but the user's choice of display font for working. I have the same problem sometimes. Usually what I do is switch the text in the translation and editing grid of memoQ to a monospace font like Courier. I also keep the non-printing characters visible (and do so in Microsoft Word as well) so that I can pick up formatting problems like extra spaces, for example, or optional hyphens (which tend to produce "rogue tags" in a CAT tool, making term matching and search functions useless in most cases and complicating the work in other ways too).

The font here is Courier New

This approach can be used with most CAT tools which have their own editor. In recent versions of memoQ, this is done via the Quick Access Toolbar under Options > Appearance:

Changing the font in CAT tools can not only improve the visibility of the text you work on; it can also be an aid in editing. Many studies and articles have been published on how to improve accuracy when editing or proofreading one's work, with tips such as these:

12. Font size
Change the font size to one you can work with easily on your screen.
13. Font
We all have our favorite fonts. For proofreading change the font to the one that allows you to find mistakes most easily. Start by trying Times New Roman, Arial and Calibri and work through other fonts until you find one you like.

It would, of course, be nice to have a one-click changover possible; I don't think any tool offers that at present. Considering that everyone faces this issues, software providers should think about that.

A font like the one above isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it would slow me down and make me notice careless typing errors better when I read through a text before delivery.

[1] This post is gender-neutered to provide a safe space for today's university students to pick up editing tips.

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