Random insertion of placeholder tags in Chinese source text - Is this a bug?
Thread poster: Paul Denlinger

Paul Denlinger  Identity Verified
United States
Chinese to English
May 23, 2016

I use Wordfast Pro 3.x when working for a major translation agency, and I have noticed a major issue when translating from Chinese into English, which is my major area of expertise.

As a general rule, I like my Chinese source text to have minimal placeholder tags, except when dealing with terms like dates and URLs. This is important because if there are fewer placeholder tags, I can translate MUCH faster. Just to give an example, when my PM followed my guidelines on only inserting placeholder tags for dates and URLs, a job which I would normally take 4 hours to work on was done in 1.2 hours instead. So, I would say that placeholder tags are a very important issue.

Now, I have noticed that WF Pro seems to insert placeholder tags into Chinese source text on a completely random basis, with no rhyme or reason, which slows the translation process down considerably. Not only that, but with the same text, run twice through WF Pro, the number of placeholder tags inserted will affect the total segment count for the text! To give you one example, placeholder tag insertion in a text resulted in 380 segment pairs. The next time, WITH THE SAME TEXT, it resulted in 405 segment pairs! Of course, this caused confusion for my PM, who did not read Chinese, and therefore had trouble dealing with it and explaining it to the client. I was able to see right away that the whole issue was being caused by WF Pro placeholder tag inconsistency.

I will not go into detail about how placeholder tags are inserted into Chinese source text, but suffice it to say that it is random and often ridiculous. And it affects translation speed when the linguist has to perform all kinds of translation somersaults to maintain placeholder tag consistency between the Chinese source and the English target text.

Is this a problem only with Chinese, or do other languages have the same issue?


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Random insertion of placeholder tags in Chinese source text - Is this a bug?

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