Aug 28, 2019

The challenge of light resource updates with many projects in memoQ

"Templates" take two forms in memoQ: the configuration option for equipping new projects with relevant resources in an automated way to save time and avoid forgetting important references or other information, which was introduced several years ago, and the older sort of "template" - a configured, existing project for a particular client or subject area - where new documents are simply added and old ones archived or deleted as time goes by. I use both approaches and still tend to rely more on the latter practice, as many do.

One colleague who is a frequent source of inspiration for new workflow approaches often mentions that her projects and support resources number in the hundreds, so many ideas I have for managing my own more limited set these days are not practical for her work. But recently someone mentioned casually that it was going to be difficult to update segmentation rules in the 1500 or so projects that her team maintains to support in-house translation needs in their firm. Oh, my God. Yes, that would take some time following the usual approach of going to Project home > Settings and selecting a new resource in even 10% of that number of projects.

There is a better way. In fact, this way will work with the desktop editions typically used by individuals as well as with memoQ server installations of any size, and a "mass update" of project light resources can be performed in very little time - less than it usually takes me to finish a cup of coffee in the morning. My recent article on memoQ light resource defaults and how to change them essentially points the way, but more details, now tested with a memoQ server as well, are given here.

Light resources in a desktop edition are typically stored in the paths
C:\ProgramData\MemoQ\Resources\Defaults for default resources and
C:\ProgramData\MemoQ\Resources\Local for customized (user-created) resources, unless that path was changed (as many do if they deal with a lot of files with long names and need to shorten paths to avoid errors when the file and path names together approach the 256 character limit imposed by Microsoft Windows).

Server installations follow more or less the same logic:
C:\ProgramData\MemoQ Server\Resources\Defaults for default resources and
C:\ProgramData\MemoQ Server\Resources\Local for custom ones, unless changed as noted above.

Note that the ProgramData folder is a hidden folder by default in Windows, so you may need to change your folder settings to view it.

Light resources stored in both the Defaults and custom (Local) folders are saved without the MemoQResource header one sees in an exported light resource file. Compare the following two screenshots of the same resource in the external editing and maintenance file (with XML comments to help me keep track of what things mean) and the stored file after importing it into memoQ:

My master resource file for German segmentation, maintained with comments in Notepad++
Imported custom resource file for German segmentation. All comments are stripped by memoQ.

So, what should you do if you have 200 projects for your personal work with a memoQ desktop edition or 1500 projects on your memoQ server, and you have a new segmentation rules file, for example, which you want to apply to all of your projects? Simply
  1. Copy all the text beginning with the XML declaration

    all the way down to the end of the file.
  2. Find the default or local resource to update in the paths described above (or in your own custom path) and open the file in a text editor.
  3. Select all the text in the installed resource file, and paste the text of the new resource over it, replacing the content completely.
  4. Save and close the file.
The changes to your default or custom resource will be active immediately. No need to restart memoQ or close and re-open any projects.

In my case, with the German segmentation file given as an example, I would paste that new content into the resource files for generic German (ger), as well as German from Germany (ger-DE), Austria (ger-AT) and Switzerland (ger-CH). No need to mess with the awful integrated resource editors in memoQ, because I keep a master resource file with explanatory comments to help me maintain it better outside of memoQ, and the segmentation I want will be the same for all language variants.

This method does nothing to disturb the content of existing projects nor does it affect their stability in any way. This should work with any memoQ light resources. Thus, for example, an IT department could plan bulk updates even of local resources like keyboard shortcut or web search settings given the necessary access to user drives on a network.

The approach that many follow of deleting old resources and importing new ones with the same names won't work; this can play Hell with project settings, because memoQ notices that a resource used in projects has been removed, and it does not replace the old assignment with a new one, even if that new one has the same name. I played that game with many variations to see if I could trick memoQ into substituting the same-named resource in my project and had no success at all. Don't go there. Use the process I described above.

Aug 26, 2019

Exporting compatible XLIFF (XLF) bilingual files from memoQ

Here we go again. Although memoQ is the undisputed leader for compatibility and interoperability among translation environment tools, users still encounter problems exchanging files, particularly XLIFF of some sort, with users of other tools. This is not because of any actual difficulty producing compatible XLIFF files, but rather a matter of deficient tool training and the failure to date by memoQ product designers to make the ease of interoperability a little more obvious. Some other tools, like recent versions of SDL Trados Studio, come pre-configured on installation to recognize the proprietary file extensions for memoQ's flavor of XLIFF ("MQXLIFF") and renamed ZIP packages (MQXLZ) containing XLIFF files, but others (or versions of SDL Trados Studio from many years ago) need to be configured to recognize those extensions, or someone simply has to change the MQXLIFF file extension to an extension that will be recognized by any tool: *.xliff or *.xlf are the choices.

The two-step solution is shown here:

On the Documents ribbon in memoQ, click on the tiny arrow under the Export icon and choose the option to export a bilingual file. There is some blue text which, if clicked, will allow a compatible XLIFF file to be exported, albeit with the MQXLIFF extension that some other programs might not recognize.

When the Export button in the dialog (marked 1, above) is clicked, the Save As dialog (marked 2, above) appears, simply change the file extension (the part after the period) to "xlf", for example. Then any program that reads XLIFF files can work with the file you export from memoQ. Despite the change of extension, memoQ will still recognize the file it produced, so it is possible to re-import it, for example if another person has made corrections to the XLIFF file that you want to use to update your translation or reference resources.

In some much older versions of memoQ, it does not work to change the extension in the export dialog; this has to be done directly to the exported file in whatever folder you save it in.

Of course, all of this will be rather difficult if you are one of those users who has not fixed the awful Microsoft Windows default to hide the extensions of known file types. Fixing that particular stupidity requires slightly different measures in different versions of Windows, but in Windows 10 you can do that on the View ribbon of Windows Explorer by marking the choice to show file name extensions:

Aug 25, 2019

Valerij Tomarenko, requiescat in pace

Some of the professional circles of which I am a part have been shaken once again by an unexpected and very untimely loss. One of the most gifted colleagues we were privileged to know, Valerij Tomarenko, lost his life on holiday while hiking in a Scottish national park. The alarm was raised after he failed to return home when expected.

I met him for the first time years ago at a conference in Warsaw; I don't remember all the details of that night in which at least half a dozen bottles of wine were opened with another colleague as we chatted late and later. He was always "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" but his astonishing talents, and the kindness and respect he showed me over the years were all unmistakable. The quality of his writing in English and German - neither his native language - and the subtlety and humor it so often revealed - consistently and rightly drew the admiration of the most perceptive people I know in what was our shared profession. His eye for detail was expressed not only in beautiful words, but in photographs and composed images which never ceased to surprise and delight me and many others.

We had our differences, as people do, but always he refrained from the ad hominem attacks one sees too often now, and expressed himself in ways more likely to call a listener to reflect and consider. I never thought of him as an adversary, but if I am to have adversaries in my life, I hope to be blessed with ones of such caliber and to enjoy a glass together as we toast and dispute our divergent perspectives.

The world of communication and culture is less now without Valerij, and the void he left there is surely less than the one in the hearts of his family and those who knew him. Go read his words, and remember. Vai com Deus, meu amigo.


Aug 20, 2019

Dragon NaturallySpeaking tip: killing the "please say that again" message

One annoying default setting for dictation using Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the display of a message which appears if speech is unclear or - more usually - when there is some background noise. Depending on the active settings, the message box may persist and cover up text so that it cannot be read easily or at all. This is particularly annoying when one edits while dictation is active.

It is possible to limit the amount of time this message is displayed or eliminate it altogether.

The solution to the problem is found in the DNS options:

Under Appearance...

The auto-hide delay settings in the Results Box section are the key. Set to "Never show" (as in the screenshot above), that annoying message will never appear on your screen. If you want to see it for some period of time, choose the desired time to display (the delay before hiding) and when the message appears, right click on it and enable Auto-hide:

Then the message will display and disappear again after the specified time. In my work, I find it an unnecessary interference that can be triggered by a noisy laptop fan or background chatter in Portuguese (when the doutora has visitors), so I turn off the message entirely as shown above.

(Many thanks to David Hardisty for making me aware of this possibility!)

Aug 1, 2019

memoQ Ergonomics Webinar on August 14th

On Wednesday, August 14 at 16:00 Central European Time, I will be giving a talk on working ergonomics in memoQ, drawing on the outline of an online course to be released later this month. You can register now HERE. The webinar will be held in English and is available to all interested parties free of charge. The recording will be available later to participants with the course materials.

This discussion will highlight key concepts and approaches from the course outline shown below. memoQ version 9 will be used as the basis for discussion, but most of the talk's content is applicable to any version from recent years.

Working Ergonomics in memoQ 9.0: Technology Practice for Ease of Use

Getting Laid Out
- Standard memoQ Layouts
This can be improved on....
- More Fun with memoQ Working Layouts!

Colors, Visibility and Priority
- Color My Grid!
- Fonts in the Working Display
Wild & crazy? Or legible? You decide!
- Translation Results List Tuning
See the match results in the order you prefer!

- Setting the user interface language

- Showing hidden characters

Tuning Options for Typists

- Autocorrect
- Lookup & insertion
- Autopropagation and Its Implications
- Predictive Typing
- Keyboard Customizing!

The Great Dictators
- Hey memoQ

- Chrome Speech

- Dragon NaturallySpeaking

- Other Speech Tools and the 3-Stage Process

Other Views of Translation
- Combining and Filtering Files for Translation

- What's in a Translation Files List?

- Making Sense of memoQ QA Results