Questions on potential Wordfast issues on the Mac
Thread poster: Solfrid Lokslid

Solfrid Lokslid  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:23
Member (2006)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Nov 23, 2006

Hi everybody!

I am using Wordfast v.5 on my Mac G4. I have only recently begun to learn Wordfast. So far I've never actually had to supply any client with an updated TM after the translation is finished. Now I have a potential project in front of me where this will be required, plus supplying them with a clean and an unclean translated file. The TM supplied by the client originates from Trados.

Will the updated TM I give to the client at the end of the project be easily opened and processed by a PC user?

I have read where there can be a potential problem with for example letters like è à ü changing into other characters. Are there any other known issues between sharing Tms from Mac to PC?

I apologize if I am asking a question that has already been answered elsewhere on the site. I have done a search of previous forum postings, but I have not found anything specifically about this.

Thanks for any info in advance!

Solfrid


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David Daduč
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:23
English to Czech
Different text encodings on Macs and PCs Nov 23, 2006

Solfrid Lokslid wrote:

I have read where there can be a potential problem with for example letters like è à ü changing into other characters. Are there any other known issues between sharing Tms from Mac to PC?


Yes, there’s a problem but there’s a solution, too. Normally, a Trados TM should be exported to TMX (Translation Memory eXchange) format. Then the TMX file is selected as a TM in Wordfast. Wordfast recognizes it is a TMX file and converts it into its own Wordfast TXT TM, with all the units in it.

If you follow this procedure while your Wordfast is on the Mac, some special or accented characters may get corrupted, as you rightly mentioned. This is because text encoding is unfortunately different on PCs and Macs.

The simple solution is to open the TMX file in MS Word on the platform where the TMX file was created and saving it as a Word document (DOC). Of course, this may be a problem with huge TMs. Send the DOC to the other platform, open it in MS Word, and save it as Unicode text, making sure the file extension is .tmx. Select this TMX in Wordfast and all characters should be fine (because the Unicode text file was actually created on the right platform).

Another solution might be sending the TMX file from platform to platform directly and re-saving it there in a smart text editor that will be able to convert all the characters correctly. You would need to test this, though, to see if all is well.

Moreover, I don't think you need to send your TM to the client, as they should be able to clean up the “uncleaned” document in Trados, updating their TM directly. I think this is easier for you as well as your client.


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Solfrid Lokslid  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:23
Member (2006)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, David! Nov 23, 2006

I appreciate your very helpful information.

Solfrid


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Rodolfo Raya  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:23
English to Spanish
TMX is platform independent Nov 24, 2006

David Daduc wrote:

Yes, there’s a problem but there’s a solution, too. Normally, a Trados TM should be exported to TMX (Translation Memory eXchange) format. Then the TMX file is selected as a TM in Wordfast. Wordfast recognizes it is a TMX file and converts it into its own Wordfast TXT TM, with all the units in it.

If you follow this procedure while your Wordfast is on the Mac, some special or accented characters may get corrupted, as you rightly mentioned. This is because text encoding is unfortunately different on PCs and Macs.


Hi,

A TMX file is actually an XML file and as such it is platform independent.

XML files declare the character set in its header. If there is no declaration, UTF-8 is assumed. TMX standard imposes additional restrictions: valid character sets are UTF-16, UTF-8 and US-ASCII only.

One of the most important features of TMX is the possibility to use it in different environments. A tool that imports translation memory in TMX file must check the encoding of the XML file and parse it appropriately.

If a tool is unable to properly read a TMX file generated in a system with different character set, then that tool is buggy and doesn't really support TMX for exchanging translation memories.

Best regards,
Rodolfo


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David Daduč
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:23
English to Czech
Thank you for correction Nov 24, 2006

Rodolfo Raya wrote:

A TMX file is actually an XML file and as such it is platform independent.

XML files declare the character set in its header. If there is no declaration, UTF-8 is assumed. TMX standard imposes additional restrictions: valid character sets are UTF-16, UTF-8 and US-ASCII only.



Thank you for the clarification and correction of what I said.

You are quite right: "Uni" in Unicode stands for universal. Character encodings are only different in ANSI, not in Unicode. Hence, it should be possible to send a TMX file from PC to Mac (or the other way round) directly, without difficulties.

One problem with Wordfast is that it cannot read UTF-8 files (which is very difficult for a VBA application). However, if the TMX file is UTF-16, it should be fine to send it from PC to Mac and select it in Wordfast directly, without any corruption.

All this means that Solfrid should be able to use the TMX file created on a PC directly in Wordfast on her Mac, supposing it is UTF-16. I was too pessimistic, and confusing.

I have just consulted Yves Champollion (the creator of Wordfast) and he says the DOC workaround I mentioned was recommended earlier because Mac users (OS7 to OS9) would sometimes open and edit TMX files in text editors that tended to corrupt some Unicode characters. And, of course, the workaround also circumvents the UTF-8 issue.


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