Applying Penalties in Wordfast Pro

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Penalties are used in Wordfast Pro to draw the translator’s attention to subtle differences in Translation Memory (TM) matches, such as “Case” differences, “Tag” differences, or different punctuation marks, etc. Penalties are especially useful with exact matches. If there is a 100% match and a penalty applies, the background will become yellow and you will see a red box around the score in the TM Lookup window.

To adjust penalties, go to Preferences > Penalties. Here are explanations for some of the settings:

  • 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 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.
  • Tag 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 translation units (TUs) coming from a TM created by a Wordfast aligner. Such TUs should have the user TALIGN! added to any TM exported by Wordfast Aligner, by default.
  • 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.