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How to speed up your translating with Search/Replace.
Thread poster: Jo Macdonald

Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:14
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Dec 5, 2005

Here’s some tips on using Search/Replace I wrote for a friend on mine.
I couldn’t find a similar thread so I’ll post it here.
Many of you will already know this of course, comments welcome.

Less typing = less time.
If you’re using Word you can use the search/replace function to replace all the same words in the document by typing them in just once. You can even do this with one-letter words such as “e” in Italian which might appear hundreds of times and changing it to “And” in English at the click of a button. You can copy words from a dictionary on CD or online and paste them into the Search/Replace dialogue box to replace words without even typing one letter of them.

It’s important to remember to check the “Whole word only” box when replacing one-letter or short words that could easily be part of other, longer words, otherwise you’ll make a right royal mess of things.
Near the “Whole word only” check box you’ll find the “Capitals” check box which is handy to use if you want to change lower case to higher or whatever. If you leave this unchecked, Word will attempt to respect the formatting in the original.
I’m not too sure about the “Use jolly character” “Format” or “Special” functions as I don’t use them, maybe someone in the know can help out on that.

Unchecking the “Whole word only” box you can change parts of words, such as endings. For example in Italian to English I can change “………zione” to “………tion” and so on.

You can also use Search/Replace to change the order of words, or add/remove words in phrases or parts of the same. As you run through the doc checking for words you can auto-translate, if you notice phrases or groups of words that will always need switching around, do it automatically.

At first you’ll be wary of changing things but then you find which you can change and which it’s better not to.
Also you want to watch changing short words (especially one-letter ones). For example when changing “e” to “and” E-mail will be changed to AND-mail. You can Search/Replace “AND-mail and change it back to what it should be and if you use Search/Replace before doing the rough translation and proof reading you will notice these things.

If, for some reason you can’t use the “Whole word only” function (when changing two short words for example), you can add a space to the beginning and end of these words (and the ones you’ll replace them with obviously) to stop the Replace function changing parts of longer words.

If you use the UP or Down mode of finding words you can run through the doc to see what will be replaced. Or if you’re sure about what you’re replacing it’s faster to use the Replace All mode.

If you use a Cat tool like Trados/Sdlx you can create a termbase of words you want to change automatically.
These words will be changed in segments where no matching segment in the Translation Memory is found.
This can speed up work immensely.

Different versions of programs will apply termbases in different ways so you have to experiment a bit. I found that one version of Sdlx would apply it to parts of words so you can’t use short words in the termbase or the result will be useless. Trados 7 doesn’t seem to want to recognise short words, so after applying the machine translation you can run through the doc using Search/Replace as above.

A good way to add words to your tembase to add them as you’re running through the document using Search/Replace. That way the Cat tool will replace them for you in the future.

Sdlx has a built-in Search/Replace function you can launch with Ctrl + F (Find in Source) and Ctrl + H (Search/Replace in Target).

When using Trados you must check “Segment Unknown sentences” in the Translate function tab, otherwise you will not get a clean (hidden) source and a Target with machine translated words. Likewise, when using Word’s Search/Replace function with Trados you should temporarily close any open segments you’re translating to prevent the Replace function from changing the relevant word also in the Source. You can leave the segment open if one of the words you’re going to change has already been pre-translated, in other words if the text to translate is already different from the source.

Trados will leave the termbase pre-translated words formatted blue. To avoid having to change the colour after clean up you can set the Translated Text Colour to “Blue” so Clean Up will automatically remove the Blue formatting of the words without having to change the colour by hand. Make sure the original colours of the Source are respected in the finished translation.

You can also use Search/Replace to change all the double spaces in the Translation to single spaces with one click, instead of doing this with the Spell Check.

Remember that some words may have different meanings in different contexts, and instruments that can be used to speed up your work should not prejudice the quality of the result.

Have fun.
Mac


[Edited at 2005-12-06 08:43]


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 13:14
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Good trick, when used carefully Dec 5, 2005

I used to use Find/Replace very often before integrating Trados to my daily professional life. I have to admit that it did speed things up and helped me avoid inconsistencies, since the same word that had the same meaning throughout the text would always be replaced by the same equivalent in the target language.

However, I soon realized that this method is not perfect when I got to proofreading the first document I worked on using this trick... Text editors are not that smart and, if you ask them to find some piece of text, it will give you all the possible results to "please" you. Therefore, you have to avoid automatically replacing words and expressions that are made of that one little word you were looking for.

To give you a simple example, if you do a search for "when" and automatically replace it with "quando", "cuando", or "quand" — when working with Italian/Portuguese, Spanish, or French, respectively —, you'll realize the software will leave a lot of "quandoever", "cuandoever", and "quandever" behind. This happens because text editors such as Word use this function indiscriminately and will consider "when" and "whenever" to be both suitable results for your search and do what it was told.

Another trick I started using to try to avoid this was adding a space before and after the word I wanted to automatically search and replace. So, when I'd call out the dialog box for this function, I'd type " when " and the software would find only the isolated word and ignore any kind of derivatives. However, no trick is infallible and the text editor would ignore any instances of the word that are followed by a punctuation mark. To cover all bases, you'd have to do several separate searches, for example:

" when,"
" when."
" when?"
" when!"
" when—"
" when;"
" when:"

Besides being careful with these aspects of Find/Replace, you also have to think about all the phrasal verbs when translating from English. If you replace "turn" with "girare", "virar", "dar la vuelta", and "virer", you'll mess things up for those instances when "turn" is part of expressions such as "turn on", "turn off", and "turn up"...

If you don't work with CAT tools, can type fast and use keyboard shortcuts, Find/Replace will still be very helpful when used in moderation. Otherwise, the menu clicking and the derivative typing can become a little annoying and defeat the purpose of speeding your translation up.


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:14
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"Whole word only" "Solo parole intere" box Dec 5, 2005

Hi Rafa,

Yep, you definitely need to watch it, use it with moderation and not overdo it.
You should definitely be wary of overuse at first. I still won’t add “impianto” to my termbase for example because it has various meanings depending on the context. I will change it using Search/Replace if I see it’s always used in one context in the doc I’m working on.

Re: "quandoever", "cuandoever", and "quandever"
It will do this if you don't check the "Whole word only" "Solo parole intere" box.

If you don't use this function it will definitely make a mess of longer words where the word you want to change appears as a part of that longer one. Short words are worse, imagine changing "la" to "the" without checking this box.
Been there, done that.


If you notice it immediately, a good way to right the wrong is to use Ctrl+Z.

Another thing you want to watch is lists with letters a) b) c) etc where e) and o) will become and) and or) when translating Italian to English for example, but if you're using a cat you'll see this when you translate the segment so you can correct it then. It's the same thing you have to watch with e-mail and web addresses, which are very susceptible to being changed to the wrong one by a cat.


What I do is apply a Tm and termbase, then go through the doc using Search/Replace. Then I'll do the rough translation also using Search/replace if I notice phrases or terms that I want to change often and missed before. Then I'll proof read it, and finally spell check it.

This way during the rough translation you'll see any termbase-changed words that aren't appropriate in the context, and you can adapt or change them to suit your needs for that particular translation. If you check “Segment Unknown Sentences” you’ll have a clean Source segment to check your translated segment against. Even if you miss anything during the rough translation, which is unlikely, you should see it proof reading.

This way you are going through the doc several times, which also gives you the chance to assess what it's about and understand concepts used early on if they're explained later.

Also you should be using the same terms throughout the translation, and you're doing several checks on it as you go.
The end result is something you've gone over more times than before, in (probably) less than half the time.
Mac




[Edited at 2005-12-06 08:25]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 23:14
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
That's what translation machines do Dec 5, 2005

So you could use machine translation and edit the result. But I doubt if this procedure will lead to good translations. But it's up to you.

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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:14
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
Not necessarily Dec 5, 2005

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

So you could use machine translation and edit the result. But I doubt if this procedure will lead to good translations. But it's up to you.


In certain types of documents some phrases must be translated consistently, and the client will not be happy if we do otherwise. So you can either add the phrase to your glossary/termbase or S&R it.

Other types of texts require more creativity and repetitiveness will not be good for them. That's where S&R is not a good idea, and probably the original will not be very repetitive in the first place.

Regards,

Piotr


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Angus Woo
Local time: 05:14
Chinese to English
+ ...
CAT tools Dec 6, 2005

With things like TRADOS, SDLX..., it is much easier nowadays. Consistency is no longer a problem.

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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:14
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
A hack for multiple spaces, too Dec 6, 2005

You can also replace multiple (more than two spaces) in one go.

In Find enter ^32{2,}
(exactly as written above, it means find the character with code 32, that is a space, which occurs at least two times side by side)

In Replace with enter a space (press the space bar once), and tick the "Use regular expressions" check box. You may need to click "More" to reveal this option.

Finally, click Relace all.

HTH

Piotr


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:14
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Quality Dec 6, 2005

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

So you could use machine translation and edit the result. But I doubt if this procedure will lead to good translations. But it's up to you.



Hi Heinrich,
It's the same as any other instrument, whether it be the function of a program, a cat, or a keyboard.

The result is as good as the input you put into it, and the control you exercise over it.


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 13:14
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Big difference Dec 6, 2005

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

So you could use machine translation and edit the result. But I doubt if this procedure will lead to good translations. But it's up to you.


The big difference is that you are the one inserting such words in there. Of course that are words with multiple meanings, but the "human element" makes a difference here if you know the background and you're sure that such word will always mean the same thing throughout the text.

Machine-translations such as the language services offered by Google and BabelFish are not to be used because of the lack of the context, since computers still can't differentiate what's what.

Again, now that I'm using Trados in conjunction with MultiTerm, I don't have to worry about Word's Find/Replace function, but when I used to use it, I'd go sentence by sentence and, whenever I'd find a word that I know would be repeated throughout the text, I'd open the dialog box and do a Find/Replace for it. When I'm not 150% sure that such word will only mean the same thing until the last page, I go through "Find Next" instead of "Replace All", so I can decide whether I want the substitution to really take place for each instance.

Therefore, we're not advocating the use of computer translators, but discussing shortcuts that can make our lives easier. But the "human element" always has to be present, no matter how advanced the technology may get.


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 13:14
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Agree! Dec 6, 2005

Jo Macdonald wrote:

It will do this if you don't check the "Whole word only" "Solo parole intere" box.

If you don't use this function it will definitely make a mess of longer words where the word you want to change appears as a part of that longer one. Short words are worse, imagine changing "la" to "the" without checking this box.
Been there, done that.


If you notice it immediately, a good way to right the wrong is to use Ctrl+Z.


Yeah, I've been there too... "Whole word" is a precious option for this feature!

As for Ctrl+Z, it remains my best friend for 10 years now...


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 13:14
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Good one! Dec 6, 2005

Piotr Bienkowski wrote:

You can also replace multiple (more than two spaces) in one go.

In Find enter ^32{2,}
(exactly as written above, it means find the character with code 32, that is a space, which occurs at least two times side by side)

In Replace with enter a space (press the space bar once), and tick the "Use regular expressions" check box. You may need to click "More" to reveal this option.

Finally, click Relace all.

HTH

Piotr


I had never heard of that one before. I have a pretty good eye for catching double spaces (a habit I didn't lose after some years of programming...). So far, I've only used " " to replace " ", but I'll surely try your option as well.

Thanks!


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Yngve Roennike  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:14
Danish to English
+ ...
"Cuandoever" remediation Dec 27, 2005

But then when you encounter "cuandoever," you simply reverse the process by globally replacing that word with whenever.

On that note, I made a post some months ago concerning placing a phrase automatically in the search feature in Word with a key combination such as CTL H after highlighting it, which unfortunately is not possible (nor can you make a macro to do so).

For most documents, this search and replace process excels over a CAT tool, the utility of which only becomes apparent when an extensive TM already exists and/or is provided by the client.


Rafa Lombardino wrote:

I used to use Find/Replace very often before integrating Trados to my daily professional life. I have to admit that it did speed things up and helped me avoid inconsistencies, since the same word that had the same meaning throughout the text would always be replaced by the same equivalent in the target language.

However, I soon realized that this method is not perfect when I got to proofreading the first document I worked on using this trick... Text editors are not that smart and, if you ask them to find some piece of text, it will give you all the possible results to "please" you. Therefore, you have to avoid automatically replacing words and expressions that are made of that one little word you were looking for.

To give you a simple example, if you do a search for "when" and automatically replace it with "quando", "cuando", or "quand" ? when working with Italian/Portuguese, Spanish, or French, respectively ?, you'll realize the software will leave a lot of "quandoever", "cuandoever", and "quandever" behind. This happens because text editors such as Word use this function indiscriminately and will consider "when" and "whenever" to be both suitable results for your search and do what it was told.

Another trick I started using to try to avoid this was adding a space before and after the word I wanted to automatically search and replace. So, when I'd call out the dialog box for this function, I'd type " when " and the software would find only the isolated word and ignore any kind of derivatives. However, no trick is infallible and the text editor would ignore any instances of the word that are followed by a punctuation mark. To cover all bases, you'd have to do several separate searches, for example:

" when,"
" when."
" when?"
" when!"
" when?"
" when;"
" when:"

Besides being careful with these aspects of Find/Replace, you also have to think about all the phrasal verbs when translating from English. If you replace "turn" with "girare", "virar", "dar la vuelta", and "virer", you'll mess things up for those instances when "turn" is part of expressions such as "turn on", "turn off", and "turn up"...

If you don't work with CAT tools, can type fast and use keyboard shortcuts, Find/Replace will still be very helpful when used in moderation. Otherwise, the menu clicking and the derivative typing can become a little annoying and defeat the purpose of speeding your translation up.






[Edited at 2005-12-27 16:49]


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:14
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Some more tips Dec 27, 2005

Rafa wrote:

To give you a simple example, if you do a search for "when" and automatically replace it with "quando", "cuando", or "quand" — when working with Italian/Portuguese, Spanish, or French, respectively —, you'll realize the software will leave a lot of "quandoever", "cuandoever", and "quandever" behind.
What you also forgot to say is that "when" should not necessarily be translated all the time as "quand" (for example). There are even cases where "quand" will be wrong, so even if you use search & replace, it'll never do all the work

Jo Macdonald wrote:

I’m not too sure about the “Use jolly character” “Format” or “Special” functions as I don’t use them, maybe someone in the know can help out on that.
You should try to explore them because they also can turn out very useful. Special allows to search for special characters/marks such as hard/soft returns, differents types of hyphens, tabs and so on. One example: I sometimes have texts in German where word are splitted with some strange kind of hyphens. If I don't remove them, Trados won't recognize them well or even not at all. Search & Replace allows to search for hyphens, so you just have to find out which hyphen is the problematic one and replace it with just nothing. And you've got a clean source text to work from!

"Format" allows to search by format, that is to say you can for example search for one style or for certain words in one style. My typical example: I have a text with lots of tags, processed in Word with Trados. When I want to perform a spellcheck, all those tags are very inconvenient because since they are either in English, either in no existing language (i.e. html language ), a French spellcheck will stop me on each of them, which can become very bothering if you've got really many tags. but the solution is quite simple: working on a copy of the file, you can remove all the tags in about 4 clicks. Those tags are in 2 special styles: TtwinInternal and TtwinExternal. So you open S&R, click Format > Styles, select the needed style and, without typing anything in the search box and replace box, click Replace all and that's it, all you tags have been replaced with just nothing, which allows to perform a normal spellcheck.

These are just a few of the applications I was led to use, but you can surely find many interresting tips if you take time to explore it all


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