Getting to grips with Wordfast
Thread poster: Mike Ck

Mike Ck
Local time: 09:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 28, 2002

I´ve recently installed Wordfast, I`m reasonably computer literate, but this is my first contact with a CAT tool since I haven`t been translating for that long. I`ve installed Wf to use generally, but especially because I have a big translation of a number of manuals with common terminology and large sections of repetition and can see the enormous potential of a CAT tool for such a project. I recently translated all the product specs for the same company and it was the good ol` “haven`t-I-seen-that-somewhere-before” cut an`paste routine which in the year 2002 I definitely want to get out of.

I`m learning the concepts through the manual, but I think what I need is to place all this in a more global setting or more specifically a procedure or working method that would give me a clearer idea what to do when faced with a translation. It seems to me the programme will work much more effectively if it is setup well beforehand. A guide to the main stages I would need to go through for a typical translation would be very helpful. How do I incorporate glossaries I have from the previous translation into the present project? Sharing TMs/glossaries? Attributes? Don`t quite get Macros(?). Think that’s enough to be going on with!!

Thanks in advance for your time and help.


[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-08-28 16:54 ]


Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:02
Italian to English
+ ...
lots of questions, but Aug 28, 2002

I\'ll start with other TMs: I imported a Trados memory to WF and it worked like a jewel. If your customer sends you the memory, you can use the WF tool tab to import it to WF and create your own memory. I saved loads of time this way.

You\'ll find most of the stuff you need in \"tools\" under that funny-looking \"f\" to on the far right of the toolbar.

First of all, I changed the default colors. There are many advantages in this: a) you don\'t accidentally overwrite your source; b) you can instantly see later on if it was a close match or a fuzzy one.

I set things (through the \"tools\" tab) to blue for source, black for new target to translate, hot pink for 100% matches and green for fuzzy matches that need attention (but the colors are up to you).

You should also look into Pandora\'s box to set WHERE the segment ends. I work from Italian, so I set it to avoid having WF divide the segment after Sig. (Mr.) and a number of Italian acronyms (they love putting a full stop after letters!). You simply add what you need based on your source language.

I know you can align texts, but I\'ve never done it. In any event, WF has been a lifesaver so far and has saved me plenty of hours of work.

Please note that by \"tool\" I mean the one in WF and not in WF Tools!

Anyway, you can write to me directly if anything isn\'t clear to you. But go ahead and use it: it sounds far more complicated than it really is!

BTW: I also changed my \"fuzzy\" threshold as I found the default rejected things that were fairly close. I lowered it to about 72% (as opposed to about 80%). Again, toolbar.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-08-28 18:21 ]


Intergraf  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
You can import glossaries as CSV text files! Aug 28, 2002


Translation Memory can truly be helpful with repetitive jobs. Wordfast is a Word template which seems to make heavy use of macros and database capabilities - I say \"seems\" because I\'ve just installed it myself and I\'m not real familiar with it.

One thing I did read is that you can import your glossaries as plain text in CSV format. So if you have any glossaries in Word or Excel, or even Access, you can export them as CSV files and then pull them into Wordfast. (Haven\'t tried it yet, but I did take a peek at the TM it generates in plain text, and I really like being able to edit it with just about anything that can open a text file.)

One thing I\'ve found from using CAT tools - the more info you can get into them, the more they can match and spit back at you. At first they\'re pretty useless, until you can get a fairly decent-size TM going. I would suggest you gather all your glossaries and import them into Wordfast. Also, check out its aligning and corpora features - I believe it has them, but again, haven\'t had the time to try it out.

Aligning is matching up sentences in the source and target languages. In other words, building a link of correspondences between sentences or phrasal units.

With programs that use corpora (e.g., MultiTrans), you tell the program that two documents match as source and target, but you don\'t go through the pain of aligning the sentences one by one before using it. The programs automatically aligns what it sees as sentences, and of course doesn\'t always get it right - but this is not a problem. When you need a match and the sentences are not properly aligned by the program, you do it on the fly and tell it the correct alignment. This realigns the document from that point forward. This method saves time, especially in the short run, and after a while you end up with pretty usable reference corpora.

Don\'t know if this helps any, but feel free to email me if you wish. I\'ll be playing with Wordfast from now on, since it seems simpler and more agile than others I\'ve tried, and I may be of more help then (once I actually know what I\'m doing!).

Good luck!



David Daduč
Czech Republic
Local time: 09:02
English to Czech
References Aug 29, 2002


Download Worfast\'s manual ( - that\'s a must.

See Sylvain\'s great pages for Wordfast learners -

Join the Wordfast group, search archives or post questions -

And enjoy Wordfast!


David Daduc


Mike Ck
Local time: 09:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks for help... Aug 29, 2002

Thank you for your help. It says a lot about the manual since having studied more I find I´ve picked up most of what I need to know to get me started.

Useful info about segmentation, cb, it´ll help because of the way the manuals are set out. And the fuzzy matches tip also.

Good to know about the glossary situation. Thanks, Terry.

David, the references have proved invaluable, so I can get started without too many problems.

My only query now is macros...Will check out yahoo forum.

Cheers, Mike


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