If you went out and bought the newest smartphone, you wouldn’t just buy it, charge it, give someone a ring and send a couple of texts; you’d go beyond this, exploring what other functions and applications the phone has to offer, thus getting the most out of your new investment. So why don’t we have the same attitude when it comes to the software we use every day – the software without which we would have difficulty working as a translator?
This section of sourcetext-targettext shall be used to collect tips which aim to improve your use of office software and, in turn, speed up your productivity, as well as covering formatting issues and other general functions which can ease the translation process and improve the quality of the end product. It may not be the most exciting read (sensible and practical texts don’t tend to be the most catchy) however it hopes to be useful – not just for new translators, but for anyone who has trouble stepping out of their little zone of IT comfort.
We aim to build up these tips over time – feel free to send in tips of your own using the contact form!
Tip #1 – Compare documents
Situation: you are sent an existing source text and translation, along with an updated source text. The updated source text shows no marked changes, leaving you to go through the two source texts, looking for which sections (or words, or even the odd number!) have changed.
Solution: rather than spending time either checking the old translation against the new source text, or checking the source texts against each other manually, Word can do this for you at the click of a button. Open one of the source text documents, go to the Review menu, click on “Compare” and select the other source document. This creates a new document which tracks any changes between the two texts. You can now amend the target text much more easily and quickly by referring to these changes.
(Specific example for Word 2007, this function is available in other versions of Word, i.e. under the Tools menu in older versions)
Tip #2 – Header and footer on first page only
Situation: you are translating a letter written on company headed paper, with the company’s financial details at the bottom of page 1. Rather than typing these details into the document as if it were the body of the letter, you would prefer to use a header and footer. However, when you do this, the same information appears on every page of the document, not just on page 1.
Solution: select the “Insert” toolbar, then go to add a header. This will bring up a specific menu for the header, where you can check the box next to “Different first page”. This then means that any header or footer you add to page one is intended for this first page only, and anything else you insert from page 2, i.e. a page number in the footer, shall appear on all other pages.
(Specific example for Word 2007, this function is available in other versions of Word, i.e. under “Page setup” then “Layout” in the File menu in older versions)