Alphabetizing lists: who does it?
Thread poster: Tsu Dho Nimh

Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 12:36
May 17, 2005

How do you usually arrange lists, such as glossary terms? Does the translator also alphabetize any lists, or is it more common to ignore them in the target language?

We usually have lists that can be sorted into numerical order, but I have some documents coming for translation soon that will have glossaries.


MichaelRS (X)
Local time: 20:36
Clarify with the customer May 18, 2005

It's probably best to just clarify it with the customer. Sometimes they want to know which term in the target language corresponds to which term in the source language, sometimes they just want it alphabetized.

It usually just takes a second with a sort function to alphabetize something, so that's not too much of an issue.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I don't understand your question. May 18, 2005

Tsu Dho Nimh wrote:
How do you usually arrange lists, such as glossary terms? Does the translator also alphabetize any lists, or is it more common to ignore them in the target language?

I don't understand your question because any good word processor or spreadsheet or database program can sort words by column or by paragraph ascending or descending.


Alison Schwitzgebel
Local time: 20:36
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
It depends... May 18, 2005

It all depends on what the customer wants. However, if I'm translating a piece of text that contains, let's say a list of countries in one of the sentences, and if that list is clearly in alphabetical order in the source language, then I do rearrange the order of the countries in the translation to make the list alphabetical again.

Perhaps you could give us a bit more detail about your specific problem.




Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 12:36
Clarification of alphabetizing: I'm a lazy weasel! May 20, 2005

I realized that I was trying to weasel my way out of having to have text translated, then validated, then have the validators sort any lists ... it's going to put a kink in our workflow.

Leaving lists (glossary terms or error messages) in un-alphabetical order after translation would have the advantage that the list's concepts would be in the same order in all languages, which would make verifying the translation against the English original easier. It would unfortunately leave non-English texts with no discernable order.

The end-user is my ultimate "client", so we will have to sort lists to make their user manuals easier to use.


Samuel Murray said that any word processor could do it ... I tried it and discovered that MSFT Word2003 does not reliably alphabetize texts: of the 11 lists I loaded and tried on a US-ENU WinXP system, five remained unsorted despite having different beginning characters in the target language and despite having the language of the text explicitly set to the correct language within Word. I could tell because the error message numbers maintained the original order. (Windows has some unresolved issues with language conflicts between the OS and applications and documents). That means we need to sort lists while the text is on "native" systems.


Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:36
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Well... May 22, 2005

I keep a glossary for myself over technical words/computer words and I keep it in excel as it is the easiest way to sort a column by alphabetical corder.
But can't you use Trados and the MultiTerm option?


Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 12:36
Work flow is atypical: validation is separate step May 23, 2005

This is an international software testing and validating group. We don't translate much text - there is a separate department for translating. We look at software and related documents to make sure the translated text makes sense in the context of the software screens and help files. If necessary, the validation staff will correct a translation (in the software code) before a product ships, but we try to avoid messing with the words.

Depending on the product, we may ship the software in 10-20 languages. The more technical reference manuals can contain many pages of error messages, or programming and hardware terms with definitions. To verify that these lists are correctly and completely translated, it's easier for the validator to see them in the same order as the source so they can compare them more easily:

bear oso
cat gato
dog perro

The user, however, finds the reference manuals easiest to use if the lists are in alphabetical order in the target language.


So, despite the added step every time a text comes back from translation, because we are serious about delivering good products, we're going validate, then fix anything that should be alphabetical.


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Alphabetizing lists: who does it?

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