Common problems with Wordfast Pro

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Here are some common problems you can face with Wordfast Pro (WFP).

License fails to activate, stuck in demo mode

Q. I can’t activate my license on a PC! I’ve tried both online and manual activation and WFP remains in demo mode. What can I do?

A. This might be caused by changing your system clock settings. First, you should set your system clock to the right time. To do this, please see the following article: How to correct your Windows system clock. Once you have done that, you will need to search your computer for any future dated files and folders. Please see the following article on how to do that: To perform a search operation.

Wordfast Pro is slow, especially with big files

Q. I’ve started running into a slowdown problem… even copying the source takes a few seconds. It’s almost as if the program is running short of memory. How can I speed things up?

A. There are several quick fixes to resolve this problem:

  1. Make sure you are using the Hunspell spell checker and not Microsoft Word (PC-only). The use of the Microsoft Word spell checker can slow down WFP to the point of frequent freezing. Modify this setting by going to Wordfast Pro > Preferences > Spellchecker.
  2. If you have the "spell check as you type" option active, disable it. This could cause slowdown issues, especially with large files. Furthermore, best practices dictate that spell checking should be done during the revision phase and not the translation phase. You save time by using "change all" for frequently misspelled words and don't break your translation flow by constant spelling error interruptions. You can disable it by going to Wordfast Pro > Preferences > Spellchecker.
  3. Try disabling term highlighting. Go to Wordfast Pro > Preferences > Terminology and uncheck the option that says "Enable term highlighting as you type", as in this screenshot
  4. If you are saving TMs, glossaries, or projects to a back-up or synchronisation folder such as Dropbox or Google Drive, this can take up a lot of computer memory because it is constantly re-syncing the files. Put the service on pause while working on your translation.
  5. Try disabling Show Whitespace Characters by clicking on the icon under the Edit Tab in the TXLF Editor. This improves the speed of the TXLF Editor.
  6. On a very large Word file with images, compress all images in the source document, save it as a copy, translate the copy, then use Analyze in Quicktools or from the Current Project view to pre-translate the original source file.

Thanks to Danielle Deremo Cosimo for compiling a few of these issues.

Wordfast Pro won’t open large Powerpoint files

Q. I have a very large Powerpoint file and it is crashing Wordfast when I try to import it. What can I do?

A. There a few workarounds to resolve this problem:

  1. Submit a feedback ticket from within Wordfast Pro by clicking the WF icon, then Feedback. Tick the "Send application log files" and "Send project files" boxes. If the project contains large files, sending the feedback might take a while.
  2. If you use 7-zip (PC) or the Unarchiver (Mac), you can unzip[1] the PowerPoint file (if it is a PPTX file), and then you can look in the “media” subfolder to see if there are any large files (e.g. images or videos). Once you have identified them, open the source file, select the images that are over 1 MB and under File, use the Compress Pictures… option to make them smaller (choose the smallest value, e.g. Email 96 ppi). Remove any videos. Translate in Wordfast. Once you have your target file Powerpoint file, open it and replace compressed images with original images (from the unzipped folder) and re-add embedded video.
  3. Hack the .INI file on PC (instructions coming soon). This file allocates memory to Wordfast and you can increase it manually.

Importing a TMX translation memory (TM)

Q. My  client sent me a TMX translation memory and when I try to import it into Wordfast Pro, it either fails or 0 TUs are imported. What is wrong?

A. Make sure the language pairs of your project exactly match those of the TMX TM. For example, if you have a TM whose source is “fr-FR” and target is “en-US”, you cannot use a project whose source language is “fr” only and whose target language is “en” only. You should create/open a project with “French (France)” (fr-FR) as your source language and “English (United States)” (en-US) as your target language. You will then be able to import the TMX TM into an existing TM or a new TM.

Opening a TXFL file sent via email

Q. I tried opening a TXLF file my client sent me and I get a message saying “Invalid document format detected”. What gives?

A. Ask your client to either send the TXLF file in a GLP package or to compress it in a ZIP or RAR format, then send it to you. This will prevent the TXLF file from being corrupted by email providers.

Import terminology with proper encoding

Q. I just imported a glossary from a tab-delimited text file and all the accented characters, special characters, or non-Latin language characters are not displaying properly. What do I do?

A. You need to convert the .txt file of the tab-delimited glossary to Unicode before importing it into Wordfast Pro. To do so, open it in NotePad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) and select "Save as"; under "Encoding", select Unicode (UTF-16) or UTF-8.

Change Language of the Target PPT File

Q. Is there a way to make Wordfast Pro assign the target language to the translated PPT?

A. Apparently, the PPT filter does not have this improvement. To work around that, save the SOURCE document as PPTX; when you "Save Translated File", you will get the target PPTX file with the correct target language.

In fact, using PPTX (instead of PPT) seems to be the quick fix for several issues in both WF Pro and WF Anywhere.

Remove PDF source from the target file

Q. I have translated a PDF using Wordfast Pro. However, in the target document, the text is garbled and consists of both the source and the translation. I would like to get rid of the source text.

A. Actually, the source appears on a background image. Open the target document in Word, click on a blank part of the page, and then press the 'Delete' button on your keyboard, and it gets rid of the background. Do the same for each page of the document, and "Save" it.


  1. Thanks to Samuel for the tip!