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Microsoft Office foreign language proofing tools - any good?
Thread poster: Libero_Lang_Lab

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:05
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Mar 31, 2012

Hi there,

I'm considering purchasing MS proofreading/spellcheck tools for various languages that we work with on a regular basis, namely: Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Arabic and Portuguese.

We already have a rigorous quality control system in place, and established translation and proofreading teams, but I think it will do no harm to have these tools in place as part of the project management process.

But before I spend £20 per language, I'm keen to sound out fellow professionals as to whether these MS tools are actually any good. I have read some pretty damning comments regarding the Arabic spellchecker/proofing tool.

Any informed input would be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Dan


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 04:05
English to Russian
+ ...
Go for them Mar 31, 2012

They are generally as good as English - that is, reasonably good but certainly not perfect. Of course, your mileage may vary from one language to another. I have personally worked with Russian, French, Danish, Czech and Ukrainian ones and did not encounter any major problems. In any event, you are much better off with them than without.

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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:05
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Same here Mar 31, 2012

I use Russian, Ukrainian and Polish and have no major complaints.

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Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:05
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Russian and Ukrainian Mar 31, 2012

Natalie wrote:

I use Russian, Ukrainian and Polish and have no major complaints.



Hi - thanks to the both of you for your comments. That's really helpful. Am I right in thinking that if I purchase the Russian add-on, that covers me for Ukrainian too, or does the latter need to be bought separately?

Cheers,

Dan


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Disaster Apr 1, 2012

I recently installed the Dutch language tool (which also includes French and German) but so far it has been a disaster. What I get is Dutch names for all the Word operations, even though I did not check that option. The spell-check keeps reverting to German and almost the entire document is red underlined, no matter how many times I change the setting to Dutch. I even set Dutch as the default language for the time being, hoping that it would help. What I expected was to be able keep all my other settings in the English default and choose Dutch only as a proofing tool and only when I need it. Perhaps it works only for new documents, not for existing ones?

Further development: even though I have now uninstalled the Dutch language tool, reset all defaults to English, and turned off the spell check, it still says "German" on the bottom grey bar where the language is indicated.


[Edited at 2012-04-01 19:47 GMT]


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:05
English to Russian
+ ...
Let's rephrase Apr 1, 2012

...
if I purchase the Russian add-on, that covers me for Ukrainian too, ...


It sounds like 'if I purchase the Norvegian add-on, that covers me for Danish too, ... '

Spanish and Catalan is another good language pair to consider saving on a proofing tool.


[Edited at 2012-04-01 19:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-01 19:22 GMT]


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Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:05
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ukrainian and Russian Apr 1, 2012

Sergei Tumanov wrote:

...
if I purchase the Russian add-on, that covers me for Ukrainian too, ...


It sounds like 'if I purchase the Norvegian add-on, that covers me for Danish too, ... '

Spanish and Catalan is another good language pair to consider saving on a proofing tool.


[Edited at 2012-04-01 19:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-01 19:22 GMT]



I'm well aware that Russian and Ukrainian are as distinct as Norwegian and Danish! I speak Russian - pretty well, I might add - but put me in a room full of Ukrainians and I'm struggling.

But according to the small print on Microsoft's website, the Russian language tool also covers Ukrainian and for some reason German too. Go figure... that's why I asked.


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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 04:05
English to German
Language setting in MS Word Apr 2, 2012

Tina Vonhof wrote:

Further development: even though I have now uninstalled the Dutch language tool, reset all defaults to English, and turned off the spell check, it still says "German" on the bottom grey bar where the language is indicated.


With MS Word, "language" is a just a formatting property like bold, italic and so on. You may even use different languages for different words, even within the same sentence. Thus, the grey bar shows a property of the document and as such is not influenced by any spellchecker.

If you create a new, empty document, all the formatting including the language is preset by Normal.dot. Of course you may alter Normal.dot, or you may set the language befor typing the very first letter.


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:05
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
What about OpenOffice.org? Apr 2, 2012

I find Russian spelling and grammar check for Microsoft Office (up to 2007, but I doubt that there are any significant changes in 2010) quite inferior to OpenOffice.org.

1. MSO fails with badly misspelled words, OOo does not. Try checking:

Code:
гидорэлктростанция



(two letters swapped, one missing)

MSO will suggest nothing, OOo will deliver several suggestions.

2. MSO lets you only make miserable custom dictionaries where you must enter all forms of a word. OOo lets you add words to the main dictionary (and delete them) with full morphology. Besides, you can bundle several dictionaries in one package and redistribute them as you like.

3. MSO fails to suggest splitting two words when a space between them is missing. OOo does not fail.

4. With OOo, you can make a choice between mixed е/ё, only е and only ё spelling patterns. MSO has only mixed one.

5. MSO makes sometimes really weird suggestions. For example, it insists that “сырьё” is a colloquial form, while it’s not. This bug persists (and similar ones), as I remember, from MSO 97 with no action taken to correct it.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
not German Apr 2, 2012

Rolf Keller wrote:

With MS Word, "language" is a just a formatting property like bold, italic and so on. You may even use different languages for different words, even within the same sentence. Thus, the grey bar shows a property of the document and as such is not influenced by any spellchecker.



But why would the grey bar indicate that the document is German when it is not? The document is Dutch, but the program has its mind set on 'German', Dutch never appears in the grey bar. And spell check underlines everything in Dutch except the few words that are the same in German, even AFTER I uninstalled the program. I had to turn off spell check and that is exactly what I wanted the program for in the first place.


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:05
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
It does not Apr 3, 2012

Tina Vonhof wrote:

But why would the grey bar indicate that the document is German when it is not?


It does not. It indicates the language of the text that is selected or where the cursor is positioned. The document language is another property.

the program has its mind set on 'German'


Most probably, you’re typing using the German layout, and the program just tries to serve you the best way by setting the text language following the layout.



[Edited at 2012-04-03 07:34 GMT]


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Antoní­n Otáhal
Local time: 04:05
Member (2005)
English to Czech
+ ...
@ Tina: language of text in MS Word Apr 3, 2012

Language is a "text attribute" in MS Word - i.e., each letter may be in a different language similar to, say, bold, italics, or font colour. In principle, you can have a five letter word and each letter may be in a different language (though it does not make much sense to assign languages in this way).

For example, you can use the following macro to set the language of a selection as British English:

Sub UK()
Selection.LanguageID = wdEnglishUK
End Sub

I have macros for the most frequently used languages, and the corresponding buttons on the toolbar, to make this aspect easier to cope with.

Antonin


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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 04:05
English to German
Language setting Apr 4, 2012

esperantisto wrote:

"It indicates the language of the text that is selected or where the cursor is positioned."

Right.

" The document language is another property."

I've just leafed through the list of all document properties in VBA - there is no such property.

However, there is a Language Detected property (I would have called it Language Guessed property
This property comes into play if the user activates the "Detect language automaticallay" checkbox.


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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 04:05
English to German
Setting the language conveniently Apr 4, 2012

Antoní­n Otáhal wrote:

I have macros for the most frequently used languages, and the corresponding buttons on the toolbar, to make this aspect easier to cope with.


Thats what I have for years. But your macro affects only the selected portion of the text.
Just have a look at the following macro. It sets the language to any and all components (main text, footers, text boxes, ...) at the same time. And it modifies the styles accordingly (important, when you enter/insert new pieces of text).

' ----------------
Public Sub uLegeDokSpracheFest(SPR As Long)

Dim KOMPONENTE As Range, STYLE As STYLE

'ActiveDocument.Styles("Standard").LanguageID = SPR
'ActiveDocument.Styles("Standard").NoProofing = False
Application.CheckLanguage = False

' Wir setzen die Styles, damit nicht beim Editieren die
' frühere Spracheinstellung wieder durchkommt
On Error Resume Next ' Weil nicht jeder Style eine LanguageID hat
For Each STYLE In ActiveDocument.Styles
   STYLE.LanguageID = SPR
   STYLE.NoProofing = False
Next STYLE
On Error GoTo 0

For Each KOMPONENTE In ActiveDocument.StoryRanges
  KOMPONENTE.LanguageID = SPR
  KOMPONENTE.NoProofing = False

  While Not (KOMPONENTE.NextStoryRange Is Nothing) ' weiter in Textrahmen etc.
      Set KOMPONENTE = KOMPONENTE.NextStoryRange
      KOMPONENTE.LanguageID = SPR
      KOMPONENTE.NoProofing = False
  Wend

Next KOMPONENTE

End Sub
' ----------------

HTH


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:05
Member
French to English
+ ...
Brilliant, possible in EN? Apr 4, 2012

Rolf Keller wrote:

Just have a look at the following macro. It sets the language to any and all components (main text, footers, text boxes, ...) at the same time. And it modifies the styles accordingly (important, when you enter/insert new pieces of text).



Thanks a lot, Rolf, that's really useful!

Is it at all possible you could either share with us an EN version of that, or tell use which bits to change — I'm not used to working with macros, so I wouldn't know how to edit it myself


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