Translation with Wordfast Classic

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A basic translation session using Wordfast Classic consists of two steps.


Wordfast Classic Step by Step Translation Session, demonstrated by: Yasmin Moslem

  • Open the document to be translated, click the first "Next" toolbar icon.
  • The first source segment appears against a blue background (note that segments are delimited with purple markers such as , which should not be deleted or edited). The lower box (either green, yellow, or grey) is the target segment. If Wordfast finds an exact or approximate translation, it will be displayed against a green or yellow background; otherwise, the lower box will be empty and grey. Type your translation in the target segment, that is, only in the lower (green, yellow, or grey) box and nowhere else.
  • Click the "Next" toolbar button or press Alt+Down to validate the current segment and move to the next one.
  • Translate the document, clicking "Next" to validate segments.
  • To end translation, click the End icon (Alt+End) (if you validate the last segment of a document, Wordfast will end the translation session automatically).
  • When the entire document has been translated, it can be revised (proof-read, spell-checked, post-edited). To edit a segment, press Alt+Down to open it, edit it, then close it with Alt+End.


When proof-reading is complete, click the Wordfast icon, click the Tools tab, select the translated document in the Select documents list, and click the "Clean-up" button (if you work for a translation agency, you may be required to skip this step, i.e., send back the segmented document before clean-up). Answer "Yes" to the "Update memory" question only if you have proof-read or edited your document without opening/closing segments.[1]


  • Backup your original (source) document before translating it. Never translate originals.
  • Alt+Home can be used to resume a translation session. It will re-open the segment that was last closed. If Alt+Home is used when the last document is not yet opened (as when you simply launch Ms-Word), it will re-open the last closed document, and resume translation at the last closed segment.[2]
  • Always have hidden text visible, so that the source text and segment delimiters are visible, when revising (post-editing, proof-reading, spell-checking) a document. Ctrl+Comma provides a quick way to toggle hidden text off/on to "preview" the final translation; but always make hidden text visible again before you resume revision. Get accustomed to Ms-Word's Tools/Options/View dialog box and its various options.
  • See Pandora's box "ProcessQuotes" command to set up the way you want Wordfast to handle quotes. You may postpone this feature until you’re more comfortable with Wordfast, but it is highly recommended to use it (as well as "ProcessApostrophes" and "ProcessDashes"). The TM's quotes, apostrophes and dashes/hyphens are not always in tune with the particular requirements of your current project and/or client, which may vary. "ProcessQuotes" will save you time, and keep your TM streamlined.
  • During a session, you can select text further down in the document and force Wordfast to use that selected text as the next segment by pressing Shift+Alt+Down. This is useful when, for example, you need to skip part of a document. The selection will normally be somewhere further down in the document. But note that the selection can even be within the source segment, in which case you are actually shrinking your segment.
  • Wordfast does not consider isolated numbers as translatable items, and does not segment them. You can select such isolated numbers and force Wordfast to segment them. Finally, remember that Pandora's box has a switch ("SegmentAll") that will force Wordfast to segment isolated numbers.
  • Wordfast proposes the TU that has the highest match rate, if it finds more than one matching TU. The Alt+right/left shortcut will display the next/previous matches by order of match value, among the top 10 matches found in the TM.
  • If the computer or Ms-Word were accidentally turned off during a translation, see the Troubleshooting section.
  • It is possible to work without the TM (when, for any reason, you do not wish to have propositions, or to have Wordfast update the TM). The Shift+Alt+M shortcut will deactivate/reactivate the TM at any time.
  • If the source segment contains bookmarks, red markers will be positioned at the bookmark's beginning and end.