Applying Penalties in Wordfast Pro

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Penalties are used to draw a translator’s attention to subtle differences in TM matches such as “Case” differences, “Tag” differences, or different punctuation marks, etc.

Penalties are useful especially with exact matches; if there is a 100% match including something penalized, its background will become yellow and you will see a red box around the score in the TM Lookup window.

For example, the "Value" 0.5 (half a percentage point) means that the penalty for each tag is half a point. But as match percentage must be an integer, the "Min" value is 1%, the least possible (actual) value. If you have one or two tags, the penalty will be 1%. So the "Value" 0.5 means that each two tags have the penalty of 1%. You can change it to 0.25 to make each four tags have the penalty of 1%.

You can uncheck a penalty to disable it if you think it does not matter, or you can lower it. To lower a penalty:

  1. You can change the "Value" to 0.25.
  2. You can change "Max" to 1%, if applicable.

1% is enough to change the background segment from green to yellow. So you do not need to waste more match percentage points which could limit your potential to get fuzzy match when the fuzzy threshold is less than the penalized match.

To adjust penalties, go to Edit menu > Preferences > Penalties


Case will penalize matches including upper-case or lower-case differences regardless of how many occurrences you have in one match. 1 means you will have 99% match instead of 100% match (or 84% instead of 85%, etc.) and 5 means you will have 95% instead of 100%, etc.

Non Literal

Non Literal will penalize matches if they have different punctuation marks. If you uncheck it, any punctuation marks (e.g. final full-stop, quotes, etc.) will be ignored and you will get a 100% match even if they differ. However, if you choose to penalize punctuation differences, you will get fuzzy matches.


Tags penalty refers to the difference of "placeables" between the current source segment and the TM match. In Wordfast Pro, Tags/Placeables look like {ut1} and include format data.


Align is for penalizing TUs coming from a Wordfast Aligner translation memory. Such TUs should have the user TALIGN! added to any TM exported by Wordfast Aligner, by default.

Remote TM

Private TU, Public TU, Local TM, and Remote TM should matter only if you use a Remote TM.

Multiple Translations

Multiple Translations means penalizing matches if the TM includes more than one translation for the current segment. The translator can move between multiple translations using the Leverage Next TU / Leverage Previous TU commands.