Tagged files Wordfast Classic

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Wordfast Classic is designed to translate the Word native "DOC" format. Tagged files are better translated with programs that were designed from the ground up to handle tagged files, like Wordfast PRO.

Wordfast Classic retains the capability to translate "tagged" files, but it should be noted that an Ms-Word tool cannot efficiently handle or protect tags. Translating tagged files with Ms-Word requires expertise, should things go wrong at any stage.

Some translation agencies, which are equipped with tagging software to prepare documents, may ask free-lance translators to work on tagged files. Agencies and free-lance translators should know that Wordfast is compatible with the most current tag formats, such as Trados and RWS Rainbow. Here is some advice for translating tagged documents. Please pay attention to the following advice, because tagged files that are not properly handled can cause serious problems.

Agencies that entrust tagged files to a translator for the first time should review the first translated file immediately after the translator has completed it, to make sure tags have been properly handled. If necessary, adjustments should be made before going any further into the project.

Internal tags

The red tags (usually with the style tw4winInternal) are internal and are mostly found within the text to be translated, and in the translation.

Example: The <B> final </B> document.
translates into Le document <B>final</B>.

In this example, <B> and are tags that command the bold type in HTML. The translator has positioned the red tags at the right position in the translated sentence. The translated text does not have a tw4winInternal (neither a tw4winExternal) style (with a "Normal" or "Translatable" style). Only tags have a tag (tw4winInternal) style, red or grey. Styles are important, because tagging/untagging software relies on style, not font colour, to differentiate tags from translated text.

! Be careful when typing. If you type regular text (for example, right after right after a <tag>), and notice that the text appears red, stop! Only tags must have the tw4winInternal style. Regular text should have another style, usually named "Normal", or "Translatable", whatever that is. In fact, the style of the regular text does not matter, as long as it is neither tw4winInternal nor tw4winExternal. Note that to revert text from a tw4winInternal style (or any other style) to the default style, select the text and press Ctrl+Spacebar. A slower method involves the Style listbox, the mouse, etc. If you are not familiar with Ctrl+Spacebar, learn it right now: select some styled text, apply it and see how it works.

! Internal tags must normally not be modified, edited or translated. Some tags can be added or omitted if the translation requires it. Otherwise, the golden rule is that all internal tags (usually enclosed between < and >) present in the source segment must be duplicated in the target segment, and positioned correctly.

To duplicate these internal tags, Wordfast provides a set of shortcuts. Ctrl+Alt+left/right will select the next/previous internal tag (in the source segment); Ctrl+Alt+down will duplicate ("bring down") the selected tag at the insertion point, in the target segment. You should get used to these shortcuts. For better speed, you can type < or / and AutoSuggest will pop up a list of available tags for quicker placement.

If you copy the source text into the target segment and translate by overwriting it, or if you edit an existing target segment, make sure the translated text does not have a tag (red or grey) style. If the cursor is immediately after a red (or grey) tag, whatever you type will also be red (or grey), and this causes problems later on. To avoid this, remember that if your cursor is immediately after a red tag, pressing Ctrl+Spacebar will restore the normal style at that point, and the text you type will not have a tag style. Ctrl+Spacebar is an Ms-Word shortcut.

In a regular tagged style, the only two important styles are tw4winInternal and tw4winExternal. Text outside tags can have any other style (styles named Normal, Translatable, etc.) or font attributes (bold, blue, whatever).

Here are examples of correct and uncorrect translation units:

Examples of translation units Notes
The <B> final</B> document is here.

Le document <B> final</B> est ici.

This TU is OK.
The <B> final</B> document is here.

Le document <B> final </B> est ici.

Problem: the target word "final" has an internal tag style
The <B> final</B> document is here.

Le document <B> final</B> est ici.

Problem: the target segment's first tag has lost its internal (red) tag style.
The <B> final</B> document is here.

Le document <B> final est ici.

Problem: the target segment's second tag is missing (it should be </B>).

Wordfast has a Quality Assurance option called "Identical tags in source/target segments". I recommend turning this QA option on. To avoid having false alerts for tags that are actually optional, use Pandora Box' "OptionalTags" command in Wordfast/Setup/PB.

Most optional tags are tagged items (like the unbreakable space, quotes, ampersand etc) that look like &amp; or <<:hs> or &nbsp; etc. You may have them in the source segment but not in the target segment, or the reverse, according to the translation's needs. Thus, the following segment:

The R &amp; D department is <B> ready </B>.

Le Département "Recherche et Développement" est <B> prêt </B>.

is valid, even if there are three internal tags in the source segment and two in the target. The source segment's ampersand has not been re-used. There may be other exceptions where even non-optional tags must be added or omitted.

Long tags. WFC considers any contiguous text with an Internal style as a one tag. So for example


<palign="left" font="Times New Roman" size"12"><strong><table align="center">

is considered one tag.

If this contiguous stretch of text actually contains more than one tag, and if these tags have to be handled separately, use the Ctrl+Alt+Up shortcut to make WFC treat this tag as separate placeables. The pairs of characters < and > as well as & and ; will be considered as tag beginning and tag ending.

External tags

External tags (tw4winExternal style) are kept out of the translation. Like internal tags, they must not be edited, deleted, translated etc.

! In case of doubt, stop and ask the client or the agency. Do not proceed if you are not sure you handle tags correctly. If you start working on a project with tags for the first time, submit your first translated file for review and approval before going any further.

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