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Translating Word documents - do you prefer Word or TagEditor?
Thread poster: Ralf Lemster

Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
English to German
+ ...
Aug 20, 2004

Hi all,
Following the recurring discussion of font handling and formatting issues regarding MS Word documents, Daniel Brockman at Trados raised the issue of which editing environment users would prefer (given a choice):

Longer term, we are also looking at providing an alternative way of working on Word documents through TagEditor. This is not completely decided yet (esp. the timeline), but it would be good to pull the opinions of ProZ users on this to help our decision-making process. Would users accept this as an alternative (we would continue supporting the Word interface), would they prefer TE or Word etc. Maybe we can do a mini-poll on that one of these days?

Let's have your views... TIA.



Local time: 08:08
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
TagEditor !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aug 20, 2004


every program is better than Word.



Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:08
German to English
Prefer TagEditor Aug 20, 2004

For one thing, there would be fewer things to go wrong. I get tired of "Out of memory" messages when working on a long document using the Word/Workbench interface (give me a break --I have a gigabyte of RAM).

Using TagEditor might reduce the likelihood of screwing up the curly brackets, since they would be, I presume, protected the same way as tags.

I've also found that internal references/bookmarks get screwed up in Word when segmenting/pretranslating a file. (I get "compile failed" messages when trying to run the Bookmark Handler macro in Word 2003). Presumably TagEditor would avoid this.

Would using TagEditor prevent font changes? If so, another reason to use it.

Kevin Fulton


Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 08:08
English to Czech
+ ...
Definitely TagEditor! Aug 20, 2004

I would prefer TagEditor for the same reasons as Kevin. I am currently working on a large MS Word document that has been correctly formatted using styles, but I am still experiencing problems with formatting (Word changes font in headings), "Out of memory" messages (with 1 GB of RAM) and problems with bookmarks (even after using the Bookmark Handler). - Kevin, are we working on the same job?icon_smile.gif

Actually, I am thinking of switching to another CAT tool for these reasons.

BTW, it would be nice to add the "change case" function to TagEditor (Shift-F3 in Word).

P.S. Using Word for unformatted (tagged) documents is fine. It's very useful for translating various resource files, where I can search and replace and apply twInternal/twExternal style to filter out the parts that shouldn't be translated. It wouldn't be so easy with TagEditor. So actually I would prefer TagEditor for formatted Word files and Word for unformatted or pure text files.

[Edited at 2004-08-20 13:50]


Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:08
Member (2004)
German to English
Can TagEditor really do the job? Aug 20, 2004

I've just upgraded to 6.5 and have started to use tageditor for ppt and Excel files - much better than before. But can it really do the job when it comes to Word files - even if they have footnotes, imbedded graphics etc.?


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
English to German
+ ...
Not now Aug 20, 2004

Hi Gillian,
But can it really do the job when it comes to Word files - even if they have footnotes, imbedded graphics etc.?

Well, not in the current version, of course - but looking at what's been done with XLS and PPT, I guess there's a good chance this can be done.

Best, Ralf


Cristóbal del Río Faura  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, Tag Editor Aug 20, 2004

For the same reasons as stated above. Also, in a recent job I experienced problems with text language and spell checking - it was impossible to select and keep the desired language for the target text.

However, I would possibly miss some editing features available in Word, such as insert symbols and the like.

By the way, what about a Trados interface for Word Perfect, which is so much better than Word. Okay, now I'm dreaming, but I needed to mention this anyway.


Stefan Gentz
Local time: 08:08
English to German
+ ...
"In the long term" Aug 20, 2004

Ralf Lemster wrote:
Well, not in the current version, of course - but looking at what\'s been done with XLS and PPT, I guess there\'s a good chance this can be done.

Well, I would be careful about that. \"In the long term\" is probably very right due to good reasons. Actually I like the idea of translation word files in TE very much. I even started to write some kind of S-Tagger some time ago, parsing RTFs and creating a tagged RTF like you are used to from FM and moving all the word stuff into an .org file. I gave it up quite early, because to my impression it turned out to become an endless work. And I was only working with the MS RTF 1.5 Specs ...
Also, due to my experience TE often hangs or crashes while opening badly formatted PPTs or big XLS files. I\'m not keen experiencing this with big DOCs. And if you compare the object model of PowerPoint with Word - well, PPT is quite more easy and not by far that blown up as Word. If you think of the endless possibilities word offers - to point out only a few that I\'d assume to make problems: Embedded Objects, Formatting overrides, Word Art, Forms, Graphic Frames, Numbered Lists (a mess anyway in Word), Database Connectivity, fields, X-Refs etc. pp. I\'d say it\'s a quite ambitious project. I guess TRADOS will need to parse RTFs - which brings other negative side effects (e.g. loosing graphic scaling on referenced graphics). On the other hand, SLDX, Star and Across can convert DOCs (actually RTFs) to their Editor (I\'m not sure how it\'s handled in DejaVu), too. Therefore it should be possible for TRADOS, too. I just wouldn\'t put too much hope to get it that soon.



Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
German to Spanish
Well. I never try till now but... Aug 20, 2004

Word 2003 can save docs as XML and there is this "WordML" schema, so I think it can be good possible to use TE with this files. I have not so much time now but I will take soon a look to this possibility.
For me the big problem with TE are the visual "interferences" of the tags symbols ;(



Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Word Aug 20, 2004

I divide too big Word files into seperate files
Secondly I look for pictures and the table of content and jump over them with "Close", scrolling and "Open".

In my opinion the tageditor is working correctly but "cold".

Features I miss in tageditor:
1) spell checker
2) match number of an open segment
3) find/replace
4) page numeration

Especially the lack of a real time spell checker and the match number of an open segment make the tageditor in my opinion a very un-inspiring pile-up of rectangular boxes.

That F7 button can't spellbind me: it doesn't give you that gentle, supporting feeling the curly red underlinging in Word does.
Firstly you need to hit the F7 button which needs additional time and concetration. When you've done so, that spell beast takes you after some seconds, which feel like an eternity to the end of your document, where a stupid rectangular box poisons the look of your translation to tell you he doesn't understand a company's name.

Feels to me like when you discover at 3 AM a burglar in your house, you have to run to the dog kennel, catch your dog at his ears and drag him out of his residence, after which he bites you in your legs and starts to bay at the moon to give the burglar the possibility to slip away, while you're looking for a dotor ar a firts-aid post.

Next to that in my opinion the match number of an open segment is an invaluable information during proofreading, because
non-100 % matches
100 % matches from 'pretranslating'
100 % matches from your current translation (so: repetitions)
all ask for a special approach.

Non-100 % matches are the easiest to proofread because they have the least references.
100 % matches from 'pretranslating' need to be proofread carefully, because they have the most historical value. Some clients wants you to change at the most a few of this matches, because the text of a series of manuals should be as consistent and homophonic as possible. Since TM's from big clients very often contain translations from a lot of preceding of current colleagues, you need all aids to find a balance between the provided matches and your own feeling the text of your document-as-a-whole should be. This is really important.
Repetitions, of course, you normally don't change, but in case you'd discoer an error or when the progression in the document inspire you to make a change (happens also during the proofreading of your own translation), you need to change all the equal sentences, for which you need find/replace and a page numeration.

Actually, I should wish Trados both in Word and the tageditor uses different indications for 100 % matches and repetitions, because they have a different meaning, specially if the TM contains translatiosn form colleagues.

I've heard more people saying: right, the tageditor is technically superior to Word, but the reason is very plain: nearly all entourage and aids are left out, leaving a sterile yet un-inspiring laboratorium.

In my opinion, the tageditor has one edit feature which Word really misses: you can copy (a part of) an open segment and past it in all next open segments.

Besides the technical problems, Word feels warm, informative, supporting. The tageditor feels like somebody did dump you between an awefull mass of boxes, which seems to be more important than real context information.

[Edited at 2004-08-21 09:33]


Maurice Devroye
United States
Local time: 02:08
English to French
Word too Aug 20, 2004

I agree with the majority of the participants that TE is safer when a lot of tags are imbedded. But Word is definitely more flexible.

Recently, I had to replace all the apostrophes by their html code in a 160 page .RTF document. The client wanted to see only those html codes in the target segment.

I do not recommend a global Find/replace in this scenario: too risky. But numerous “find next” and Ctrl/v did the trick and took care of the document.

To update the TM and still return an “uncleaned” document, simply create a temp bilingual copy of your document and clean it using the “update TM” option. And, presto, you are done.

(This method, by the way, works well when, after a spellcheck, you end up with minor corrections in your document and want to update the TM accordingly.)

CU L8R, Maurice


Vesna Zivcic  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
German to Croatian
+ ...
I miss two important things when working in TagEditor: Aug 20, 2004

1. You cannot add entries to a MultiTerm database as you are able to in Word (on-the-fly).

2. You cannot use a reliable spellcheck function as in Word (at least it never works in TagEditor for my mother tongue).


Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
Word Aug 21, 2004

Although I like Tag Editor, the advantage of working in Word is that I can see graphics and layout of the file when translating. When I don't need to see them, I prefer Déjà Vu X.


Sylvain Leray  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
Member (2003)
German to French
Seems interesting indeed Aug 21, 2004

TE is wonderful for ppt and xls files, and Word used together with Workbench often crashes, is not so easy to handle and is often very slow (a bit better since I upgraded to 1024 MB RAM).
Definitly interested !


RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:08
German to English
As an option, yes Aug 21, 2004


The formatting issues can certainly be a pain when using TWB and Word, but there are also workarounds to solve most problems.

The ability to edit Word files in TE would be an interesting option, but certainly not a substitute for TWB. After all, one of the benefits that Trados offers over other systems with a proprietary editor is that you can edit in Word, using all available functionalities plus any add-ins you have.

So if Trados is willing to offer Word editing in TE as an alternative to TWB, we have the best of both worlds, as it were. But not as a substitute for TWB, please!

But one question hovers in the back of my mind: if Trados has the resources to adapt TE for Word files, why can't they invest those resources in achieving a perfect fit between TWB and Word in the first place?


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