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Looking for a good English spell checker
Thread poster: Paola Grochi

Paola Grochi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 12:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 21, 2008

I'm looking for a decent spell checker, since I'm not happy with Word's. I use a Spanish version of Word and it sometimes invokes the English spell checker and most of the times not. It makes it difficult to work since most of my mistakes are basically typos.
Thanks.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Probably Word is good enough Jul 21, 2008

Just make sure all the text is marked for the proper language and it should work OK. I spell check both English and Spanish on mine and have no problems.

Of course no spell checker will catch all errors as you should already know.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 17:22
English to Hungarian
+ ...
language Jul 21, 2008

Yes, as Henry says the Word spellcheck always follows the language designation of the text.

If you have a file with all English, press ctrl + a to select all, then click Tools/Language etc. I set Word to show a language drop-down menu as I use it a lot. It should not switch around after that.

I have been toying with the idea of installing openoffice.org for spell check only. As far as I know it has a spell checker of its own, which may not be better than Word's (it probably isn't) but even if it's actually worse, using two different spell checkers on the same text would be a big improvement.

Anyone have experience with OOo?

Apart form that, there are multiple free online services, but I have no experience with any. I think some Oxford dictionary CD also includes a spell checker.


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George Hopkins
Local time: 17:22
Swedish to English
WordPerfect Jul 22, 2008

Years ago I used the WordPerfect program, which to my mind was superior in several ways to Word, but clients more or less insisted on Word.

When writing in English English the WordPerfect spell checker used modern UK-spelling as first choice, eg, organization in preference to organisation and so on.

Is there any such spell-checker available today?

[Edited at 2008-07-22 09:29]


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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:22
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Open Office spell checker Jul 23, 2008

FarkasAndras wrote:

I have been toying with the idea of installing openoffice.org for spell check only. As far as I know it has a spell checker of its own, which may not be better than Word's (it probably isn't) but even if it's actually worse, using two different spell checkers on the same text would be a big improvement.

Anyone have experience with OOo?


I have Open Office, and there was no spell checker that I could find. It asks you what spell checker you want to use, so I just selected dictionary.com. Maybe there's a better solution, but that's what I did. It seems to do the job.

Susan


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Paola Grochi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 12:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More problems Jul 25, 2008

In the end, I re-installed the spellchecker on Word. Now it got even worst!
I have to revise hundreds of short texts, and I have to change language everytime I open it for checking. It goes from Spanish to English, UK, American, whenever it wants, the problem is that I need the texts in American English. It's basically making me crazy!!!


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:22
Member
French to English
+ ...
Document problem? Jul 26, 2008

It sounds to me simply as if your source documents are undisciplined in terms of their language settings, and it is those settings that are messing Word around.

If so, surely the simplest solution is each time you open a document, to select all [Ctrl A] and then use Tools > Language menu to set the language to the one you want. It's a bit of a fag doing this each time, and no doubt you could create a little macro to do the job for you with just one keystroke. But I don't know if any software exists to allow you to process a batch of multiple files in this way without actually opening them individually.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 17:22
English to Hungarian
+ ...
button Jul 26, 2008

If you can't solve the problem, setting a button for language setting makes it a bit quicker. Right click on an empty area in the toolbar, choose customize, commands tab, tools, scroll down and drag&drop the language box to your toolbar.

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Paola Grochi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 12:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Found a fix up - Macro Jul 26, 2008

So the problem was only with Word documents, and browsing through proz forums I found someone recommending this page with technical tips for translators, and found a macro and I finallay solved the problem.
Thanks a lot everybody!!
Here's the link:

http://www.sandbergtranslations.com/translator_faq.html

Sorry I can't remember who posted it earlier, so it's not my credit but hers.


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Jon Thompson Coon
Finland
Local time: 18:22
Finnish to English
+ ...
More of a general tip for a problem of this kind Jul 28, 2008

These is hidden markup within every Word document that counts for most of the size of the bloated file we know as .doc. This markup language is what controls all visual aspects (as well as the metadata) of a document. All this markup gets very convoluted very fast in the course of editing, saving, transforming and in general, working with them.

CTRL + A doesn't actually select all of the document, it only selects the currently accessible text field. Plenty of potential problems hide outside this area. It works, but a clean slate might sometimes be preferable: if the only thing important in a document is just the plain text, many headaches can be saved by copy-pasting all the text from Word to, say, Notepad and back to a fresh Word document with correct preferences.

There are also several different ways to deal with these issues in a batch process. I suggest looking at a free program called Autohotkey (reasonable computer literacy assumed), and see if their community has cooked up something that might suit your needs.

I'm very new in translation, but previous career IT experience with clients suffering headaches from overexposure to Word tells me that the less that program gets to screw with your text the better. Since I don't yet properly understand the relationship with Word macros and TMs integrated into Word, please forgive me for potentially putting my foot in my mouth in suggesting to strip the text from all of its metadata.

First post, btw. Hope it was a helpful one.


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Paola Grochi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 12:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks. Jul 28, 2008

Thank you Jon. In fact the texts are very short, just one paragraph, but will take your advice.

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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:22
Member
French to English
+ ...
Welcome Jon! Jul 28, 2008

Jon Thompson Coon wrote:
First post, btw. Hope it was a helpful one.


Very much so Jon! And welcome to ProZ!

I'd always suspected as much, and your informed opinion has greatly reassured me! I had a 200k Word DOC the other day — a brief, not-even-one-whole-page letter — and when I converted it to RTF it came out to 19 Meg !!!!

I'm from the days of good old WordPerfect, with all those irritating but accessible codes in it! Good job they chopped of the 'IMperfect' when Microsoft named their product...

I've had a similar problem (discussed in another thread) where the presenc eof one Arabic (or subsequently Hebrew) character in my text left a language marker somewhere in it that messed up all manner of things at that point in the text, to my great confusion! Particularly since I got the faulty character by mis-keying an AltNum special character code, so for some time didn't even realize what I'd done.


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