Saturday, March 22, 2008

Customizing Word before you start the translation work

I like to start working on a document with a large text space on the screen, free from unwanted icons, toolbars, sidebars and the like, but with all the tools and macros to help me translate speedily, and enhance productivity. Here are some methods I use.


I have retained only those icons and menus that I use frequently, and conserve the rest of the valuable space for the document I'm translating. Here's what you do. First, pull down View/Toolbars and uncheck all those icons that you have never used and will never use. I have retained just the Standard and Formatting icons, and have also eliminated common ones such as Copy, Paste and Cut (I use the corresponding keyboard shortcuts). To remove these icons, click Tools/Customize and with the Customize Window open, right click on any of he icons you don't need and delete it. By so doing, I have managed to retain a fairly large working space while having ready access to all the icons and macros. Also retain only those Wordfast icons that you need. If you always hit Ctrl+Alt+ right, left and down arrows for searching and inserting placeables, there is no need to retain icons taking up valuable space! See the image below of just the essential icons.

Adding essential macros

Add your most used macros to the top line on the right side of the default Word menus. In my case these include small macros that I use often in the course of the work, such as Paste Special, Print Preview (helps me see what the created document would like on an A4-size sheet at 100% magnification), ExtTBox (a macro that extracts text from text boxes and dumps it into another file), Wide2Narrow (for converting double byte to single-byte characters) and so on. Also add the useful ones not in front of you such as Wcount (Word's counting feature), and EditGlos (edit Wordfast glossary) so on. To add macros to the menu, again click Tools/Customize, select Commands/Macros and drag the macro to the menu bar. Right click on the name and pare it down to a short one (such as Normal.NewMacros.DDwin to just "DDWin").

Using AutoCorrect judiciously

Register long words that you use frequently in AutoCorrect by abbreviations. If you use "consequently" "specifications" "temperature" often, register them as "cns" "spc" and "tmp." AutoCorrect will expand them for you and cause less wear and tear of your wrist in the long run. After you type a few pages, scan the text for frequently-used words, hit Alt+T+A to bring up the AutoCorrect menu, enter your abbreviation and the complete word or phrase once and register it. From the next time onward just type spc and let AutoCorrect do the rest of the work.

If you don't use the Autocorrect spell check script to automatically correct spelling mistakes as you type, you can use Word's Autocorrect feature to correct spelling mistakes for you. If you have a tendency to type "adn" instead of "and" then register it in Autocorrect and let it correct these mistakes for you. When you finish typing out the document, you might not have to do a spell check!

Also register often used hard-to-find symbols such as the following in Autocorrect:

± ˚C α β γ (I type plmin, deg, alpha, beta and gamma to obtain these).

Other shortcuts

Besides the above, I use other macros such as FindNextJ to check that no Japanese double-bye character remains in the final document, the Quality Check Wordfast shortcut, and some other Wordfast-related macros that assist in translating documents quickly and accurately. Watch out for a separate post on working faster with Wordfast!


Anonymous said...

Where can I find or how can I record the FindNextJ macro? I have tried with Word's S&R function but it looks I am missing something.

Gururaj Rao said...

You'll find FindNextJ and other useful Word macros here: