What\'s the best system for filing translations?
Thread poster: Anne Lee

Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:01
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
May 16, 2003

I\'m in urgent need of advice on how best to store the translations I completed over the last few years. I tended to store them chronologically, but it is all getting out of hand. Do you store floppies with the print-outs and invoices with the translations? Do you file per customer or chronologically? I have boxes, ring binders and plastic folders. Even a filing cabinet, too. But the shorter translations do not warrant a folder of their own. Can anyone share good practice with me, please?


Pilar T. Bayle (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
The Way I Do It May 16, 2003

The way I do it is simple and it works quite well for me. All my jobs are distributed into folders (in the computer) by clients. Thus I always have all the jobs I have done for a certain client in the same folder. Each project has its own folder, in which I keep original documents, translations, reference materials, TMs if specific to that job, and a file of the messages about that specific job (that way I keep Outlook quite clutter-free).

I have another main folder in my computer called invoicing. That one is arranged by fiscal year. All invoices I issue in a specific year are in the same folder, together with an Excel sheet in which I consign all details of the invoices plus payment dates and so on. That helps me keep track of the money they owe me and due dates.

icon_smile.gif And all these folders (clients and invoicing) are copied regularly into CD-ROMs, in case my HD goes belly up, so I will not lose anything.

All my invoices are also printed for tax purposes and I keep a hard copy of them.

It works quite well for me, and it\'s the system I have arrived to after trying different things.

icon_smile.gif Good luck!



Alan Johnson  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:01
German to English
A question of taste May 16, 2003

At least in part. But my system looks like this:


Client A


Unclean (if you use CAT tools)


Client B


Unclean (if you use CAT tools)



I don\'t keep anything on floppies anymore - until I switched to CD a couple of years ago I was into the hundreds of floppies. Everything is backed up to a second HD and then to CD, with a separate CD archive for each year.

Invoices are stored by number, i.e. chronologically.

Does that help?



Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:01
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Bad habit but easy May 16, 2003

Even with CD:s its not easy to keep track. I store the email kompletely away with attachements, that means a copy of the email folder. So if there is a need I can look later what I got and what I have sent. But usually nothing is ever needed again. Outlook can archive old messages regularly.

If I have printouts I store them in the FIFO-way, the new on top of the old copies.


Marc P (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:01
German to English
+ ...
Filing May 16, 2003

Here\'s what I do:


Only source texts, when I receive them on paper only. Otherwise, strictly electronic media only. I have 16 A4 ring binders on my shelves with old translations dating back almost ten years, but the last five years\' work accounts for perhaps one of these as my orders hardly ever come in on paper/fax nowadays.

It\'s worth thinking hard about how you should structure your electronic records. My translations are stored like this:







There is a similar folder structure for glossaries, another for invoices, etc.

If I were to work for you, I would assign you a unique code with a constant number of digits, e.g. AL01. An order would have a name consisting of this code, followed by the date (perhaps just two digits each for the year and month), and a serial number. So, if you were to send me a text file_one.doc today for translation, it would end up on my system at


The advantage of a system like this is that it makes searching, for example for terminology in past translations, much easier. By specifying the root directory for the search, I can easily limit a search of my file system to all translations, or to all orders for one customer, or to texts in one specific order. I can use wildcards to limit the search to a certain year.

Other variations are possible, but an order numbering system comprised ONLY of consecutive numbers and/or date information doesn\'t give you this flexibility.

Some people use quite complex order tracking software, and integrate their translation, text counting and invoicing systems. I\'ve never tried this so I can\'t tell you whether it\'s worth it.

As for archiving, as Alan says, CD is the way to go, though if you find yourself often searching through past translations it\'s worth keeping them on your hard drive as well - hard drive capacity is cheap nowadays. You might consider converting texts to other formats for storage purposes, either to reduce the size, or to make them more accessible. Images account for the greater part of very large files, so if they don\'t contain any information of use to you, you can delete the images from the file (this applies particularly to Powerpoint presentations). You might consider converting binary formats such as MS Word or RTF to a plain text format or an xml format such as OpenOffice.org; this makes them more accessible to search/retrieval software.

One last thing about CDs: every once in a while (decide yourself how often), give someone you trust a CD with ALL your data (translations, terminology, invoices) for safekeeping.




Joeri Van Liefferinge  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:01
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
My system... May 16, 2003

I have one of those nice \"number stamps\" which is the first step of every project. When a job comes in, I take a job folder in which I will keep all the paperwork; then I take my stamp, which gives the project a project number.

That project number is added to the name of the files the clients send me (type -, which makes it easy to group all the files of one project). I save the files on my E disk (clients), where every client has a folder.

The project number is also the name of the file I create in Déjà Vu for that project (just the number, nothing else, and those files are saved on my F disk (Projects)).

When the translation is finished, Déjà Vu automatically exports the translation to E:\\client\\nl_client (where nl is the language code of the translated text). If there\'s also a French translation of the text, it will be saved in E:\\client\\fr_client.

The job number is my reference on the invoice. If the client has a question about a certain project, I ask them for the reference number, which allows me to immediately find the job folder (after a job is done, it is archived by number), the Déjà Vu file, the source files in the client folder and the translations for every language.

It took me a while to work out this system, but so far it has proven to be very easy.




Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:01
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Fantastic May 16, 2003

A wealth of advice here. After reading all these suggestions, I realise that I should back up my information more often. Thank you so much, everyone. This rainy week-end will see me putting a few of those ideas into practice!


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