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Lindsay Gallimore

Lindsay Gallimore
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WordFast Anywhere: Build your own TMs and glossaries… anywhere

Published by lindsay_gallimore@sympatico.ca on 2012-02-20

Even if you don't want to learn to use WordFast Anywhere, funny things happened to me while I was testing it out, so you should at least read on for a bit of a chuckle.


As I mentioned in my previous post, I don’t have a magical treasure trove of translation memories and glossaries saved up from all of my previous translations. I kind of wish I did. A combination of laziness and the fear of investing too much time in learning a new program before being able to tackle a paid job were what basically held me back.


Now that I don’t have any paid jobs on the horizon, I have time to fiddle around with some of the available technologies (the free ones!) but unfortunately no “real” translations with which to test them. I’m giving WordFast Anywhere (WFA) a shot using random texts from Health Canada, just to see how the interface works so I can get used to it when a job finally (hopefully) rolls in.


Alright, so let’s do a little play-by-play:


To get an account with WFA, you simply need to provide an email address and create a password. That’s it. No filling in your name and address, no phone numbers, just an email address and a password. If you want, you could even create a dedicated address for your WordFast account. I have had an account for a week now and have received no related spam or messages from WordFast, so that seems to be a good sign.


Alright, now you have your account. It’s time to translate something. You can either copy and paste a text or import something from your computer. I am using the copy and paste option, and because I refuse to read instructions, actually copying and pasting into the text box was my biggest challenge in learning this interface. After much trial and error, I can save you the hassle by telling you that you simply click “Upload using clipboard” under the File menu, which then allows you to paste directly into the text box.


Once you’ve pasted your text, click “send” in the top right corner and you’re ready to work. I have chosen (for no particular reason) to translate a document from Health Canada about bats.


You need to set yourself up with a TM and a glossary before you get to work, and you can do this by clicking the WordFast icon, which is the button with the coloured dots all in a circle. You can select your language pairs and name a TM and glossary to use.


(Hint: this is funny thing #1) My first translation unit is the title “Chauves-souris- Que sont-elles?” To start translating, I press “ALT + DOWN.” Automatically in the upper screen, there are machine translation suggestions for me. They are both fantastic: I can choose to accept “Bats- What is they?” or “Bats- Are they?” Needless to say, I am going to type in my own version.


When you have typed your translation and want to “finalize” it, you can use the shortcut “ALT + DOWN.” Keep in mind that if you are not a shortcut person, the buttons are there to for you to click on. If you weren’t confident about your translation yet, you could mark it as “provisional,” either pressing the yellow arrow button or by using the shortcut “F10.” All shortcuts are listed in the “Edit” menu.


Another thing I can do is maintain a glossary. Since the word “chauves-souris” is going to come up many times, I can add it to my glossary if I want to. By highlighting the term in the source text and clicking the glossary button (“G”) you can enter the English term and save it to your glossary. Next time the term comes up, it will be highlighted in the source and you will be able to place it in your translation. You must activate the highlighted term by clicking on it, then you can use the placeables button or the shortcut “CTRL + ALT + DOWN” to insert it where you want it in your text.


Two observations here. (Hint: Funny thing #2 coming right up.) Firstly, the aforementioned shortcut doesn’t seem to work for me. In fact, it TURNS MY SCREEN UPSIDE DOWN! Yes, it turns my entire desktop upside down. Secondly, the shortcut is practically as long as just typing “bats” again.


Alright, so as you go along you can add things to your glossary and each of your translation units will be saved to your TM. Assuming you are going to be translating a lot about bats, this could prove quite useful. Things like numbers are considered “placeables” and can be selected and placed into your target text in the same way as terms from your glossary.


When you are done, you can have the translation sent to your clipboard, and from there, copy and paste it into your word processor and format it appropriately.


Next time you log in to WordFast, you can use the same TM and glossary as before, or make a new one. They are all saved to your account.


In case you were wondering (I was), your TMs and glossaries are private and “never shared unless you specifically invite others.” You can download your TMs and glossaries if required, which is great if you ever move to other software!


And, since this tool is free, I’m sure you’re asking, “What’s the catch?” According to WordFast, “WFA offers a totally free, full-fledged online tool to all translators, with no strings attached.” I suppose their hope is that if you like the online tool, you may later wish to invest in their software, which will have similar functionality but will be integrated into Word.


Stay tuned next time for my verdict… is this a worthwhile tool to integrate into my (and your) practice?


(And if my play-by-play wasn't enough to get you started, here are WFA's "official" instructions)



I am sorry if the two funny things were not funny to you. I just couldn't stop laughing about "Bats- Are they?" I mean, ARE THEY BATS?? If they are black and look like flying mice... then yes they are. And then when my entire screen turned upside down (not unlike a bat hanging from your attic roof... coincidence, I think not) I thought it was hysterical. Maybe you had to be there?



Hysterical, indeed, and scary!! You should have warned your readers (at least, before your P.S.) that if they were at a public library, they needed to stop reading now. I have just been frowned upon at the university library, for laughing out (really) loud. biggrin

I will also give the online tool a try and see if it is a "worthwhile tool to integrate into my practice". Looking forward to your next posting!