Microsoft Office files, especially Word documents, are the most commonly translated file formats. At the same time, they are also very complicated documents that have numerous features. For example, besides standard text in the body of the document, a Word document may contain other types of translatable content: images, embedded objects, one or several tables of contents, comments, tracked changes, document properties, and quite a lot of more complicated elements.
Not all types of translatable content in Office documents require translation in every case. For example, slide notes in PowerPoint presentations are typically not translated. So, every CAT tool has numerous import settings which control what gets imported, and these import settings need to be configured correctly in order to translate the right text.
On the other hand, CAT tools are not all-powerful and they cannot translate all the types of translatable content available in every file format. For example, you can’t translate images in a CAT tool. This means that some text will need to be translated manually, outside your CAT tool.
Also, CAT tools cannot change document structure and most formatting, so it is important to prepare documents before and after translation. For example, you need to remove incorrect paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences before importing the document, and ensure that text is fully visible in tables and textboxes after exporting from the CAT tool.
All of this presents a lot of challenges to a project manager or a freelance translator who works with Microsoft Office documents and CAT tools:
- They need to configure the import settings of the CAT tool to translate all the text required for the customer. This means that they must know what is inside the document and remember which content is not imported by default or in the current import configuration.
- They need to know what their CAT tool cannot translate, i.e. what needs to be translated manually, as early as possible to allocate additional time, prepare a correct quote, perform required DTP, and translate all this text without overlooking anything.
- They need to understand whether the document needs to be formatted before and after translation, for example, to fix badly formatted text that will cause issues inside the CAT tool, or to ensure that all text is fully visible in the translated document.
Forget-me-not is a new program which helps freelance translators and LSPs translate Microsoft Office documents efficiently and without overlooking anything. It analyzes the content inside several Microsoft Office documents and produces detailed reports that explain:
- What content will not be imported into your CAT tool by default. For example, comments in Word documents are not imported by default, so you need to change the import settings to translate them.
- How to change the import settings of your CAT tool to import particular content. These instructions are specific to your CAT tool.
- What content cannot be imported into your CAT tool because it is not supported. For example, document properties such as document title cannot be imported into memoQ and so they need to be translated manually.
- How to translate specific content manually. These step-by-step instructions will explain what needs to be done to translate the text.
- Whether the document contains any potential formatting issues that need to be handled before translation. For example, tab characters between words may be a sign of bad-quality OCR (in which case they need to be replaced with spaces) or they can separate text into columns (in which case you may need to change the segmentation settings of your CAT tool).
- Whether the documents contains elements that require attention after translation. For example, textboxes do not expand to fit the translated text in most cases, and so you may need to resize them manually in the translated document.
Forget-me-not produces reports in two formats:
Summary report of all potentially translatable content and formatting elements that require attention.
By looking at this report, you will be able to decide whether you need to change import settings, do manual translation, or perform additional formatting before / after translation:
Sample summary report produced for one Word document. Target CAT tool: memoQ.
As you can see on the screenshot above, the text in the Action column gives you a brief summary of what needs to be done. When potentially translatable content cannot be imported into your CAT tool, you will see “Translate manually” in the Action column, and you will be able to get some understanding of the effort required by looking at Text and Word Count columns. When content can be imported into your CAT tool as an option, you will see “Can be imported”, and you will need to decide whether this text needs translation and change your import settings accordingly. You can also find each element in the document by looking at its page number in Page column, or click Details… to see detailed information how to import / not import this content into the CAT tool, translate it manually, or format it before / after translation.
Translation Instructions Report which provides instructions for each type of content present in each analyzed document. This report is generated according to the checkboxes in Include In Report column of the Summary report, so you can exclude content which is not required. Translation Instructions Report extends the summary report with readable notes and instructions. This report can be saved as a PDF or Word (DOCX) file.
You can consult this report whenever you need to see the list of content that requires attention, read instructions for changing the CAT tool’s import settings or translating the content manually, check the final document, see recommendations for formatting elements that require attention before / after translation, etc. You can view this report under Translation Instructions Report tab of the Document Content Report dialogue or save it as a PDF or Word (DOCX) file and use it at any stage of the translation process.
Here are some screenshots:
List of content, notes and import instructions. Target CAT tool: SDL Trados Studio
Manual translation instructions for document properties
Special instructions for dealing with fixed-height table rows in the final document
As you can see on the screenshots above, Translation Instructions Report groups content into categories and provides the following:
- List of content for the category, with the same information as in the summary report.
- Information whether the content will be imported by default or not (if the content can be imported as an option).
- How to import or not import the content into the CAT tool (if the content can be imported as an option).
- How to translate the content manually using the original Microsoft Office application. This is also provided for content which can be imported as an option, because this content may not get imported if you misconfigure your CAT tool and so you will have to translate it manually.
- Important notes about the content.
- Other instructions that are relevant.
Let me now summarize what you can achieve using Forget-me-not:
- Translate all the translatable text that requires translation. Forget-me-not helps you import each document into your CAT tool using correct import settings and understand which content is not supported by your CAT tool and so needs to be translated manually.
- Understand what needs to be formatted before and after translation to avoid issues inside the CAT tool and to ensure a well-formatted final document.
- Prepare accurate quotes and avoid surprises at the last minute. By importing documents into your CAT tool correctly and understanding what needs to be translated manually or formatted before/after translation, you will be able to produce accurate quotes and plan the work better.
At this time, Forget-me-not only supports Microsoft Word documents and 3 most popular CAT tools: SDL Trados Studio, memoQ and Memsource. Support for Excel and PowerPoint formats as well as other popular CAT tools will be added in the near future. It is available not only as a standalone application, but also as a Word plug-in, so you can use it from inside Microsoft Word too.
I must also say that Forget-me-not is not a magic bullet: there are some very complex Microsoft Office documents out there which contain translatable content which is not yet supported by Forget-me-not and, most likely, by your CAT tool. So, I highly recommend you to do a thorough check of final documents before delivery.
I invite you to take a close look at Forget-me-not. For more information, go here. Download the recent version and evaluate this program without any limitations for 30 days.
What’s coming in future releases of Forget-me-not?
Forget-me-not is a new product with a lot of features in store. Here are some immediate plans:
- Total word counts for content that requires manual translation, included in Translation Instructions Report.
- Support for PowerPoint and Excel files.
- Additional types of content that require attention in Word documents, for example paragraphs that use several different font sizes, fonts or font colors in the same paragraph (usually present in documents produced by OCR or PDF conversion, and usually causing excessive tags in CAT tools).
Other features are in the works so watch the blog and future issues of Translator Tools newsletter closely. Click here to subscribe to Translator Tools newsletter.
As always, I invite you to provide feedback about features that you would like to see in Forget-me-not and I will take it into account in future releases.
Evaluating and buying Forget-me-not
You can use Forget-me-not without limitations for 30 days. To continue using it after that, you will need to buy a license at a very affordable price.
Forget-me-not is not distributed under the annual subscription model which has become so common these days. Your license will be valid for the current major version of Forget-me-not, and new major versions will be released approximately every 2 years. All updates within the current major version will be free of charge, and you will also get technical support. You may activate Forget-me-not licenses on up to 3 computers simultaneously provided that these computers belong to the same employee or individual.
Download Forget-me-not today and enjoy this software which will make you even more productive!