memoQ for the non-tech savvy – Part 2: First Translation

If you read Part 1, Introduction & Review, of this mini-series on ‘memoQ for the non-tech savvy’, you’ll know that I switched over to memoQ from Wordfast Classic a few months ago. My main reason to suddenly change from one CAT to another was because of ongoing problems using Wordfast after updating my system to the latest versions of Windows and Word. I was also fed up of the constant crashes every time I switched on Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) to dictate my translations.

In this second post on memoQ, I’ll highlight the basic steps you need to know to do your first translation in this CAT without watching any videos or webinars or reading the manual in case you’re short of time as I was.  Or your mind starts to boggle at too much techspeak.

When you open memoQ, you arrive at the Dashboard. This is where you see a list of all the documents you have translated in memoQ (once you’ve got that far. I’ve blanked out some details for confidentiality reasons).

Import the document you need to translate into the largish white box near the top.  Either drop the file into the box or browse through your folders to find it (marked with the green arrow).

You cannot import the document if it is open.

After importing your file (or files if your project contains more than one), click on Start translating (shown with the green arrow).

The next screen you see will be memoQ processing the import.

The Project template information screen pops up next. Here you can choose to use a template by filling in the boxes. Or you can also click on Create without template (bottom left).

I use a template with one TM (translation memory) and TB (term base) per language pair. And to save time, I usually just provide a bare minimum of details (client, project and delivery date).

The no template screen (on the left) lets you fill in the same details about the project as before.

(For more information on creating templates, please see this memoQ Help page.)

After completing this step, you arrive at the Project home screen, which gives you a number of options.

To get started translating quickly, choose your TM (if you imported any during the set-up phase) by clicking on Translation memories in the left-hand column.

Then select Translations and click on the file you want to start with (if you have imported more than one for this project). This takes you to the translation interface.

If you need to get back to this screen, the Project home button is just under the ribbon on the left.

The translation screen layout is divided into four main parts:

1. The ribbons across the top.

2. Translation suggestions and TM matches on the right.

3. Segments to be translated directly under the ribbon.

4. View pane. Under the segments. Here you can see your document in its proper format so you can read your translation for flow. This feature is a huge plus over Wordfast.

For Wordfast users used to the source segment on top and the target below, memoQ can be customised to show this layout (which I have done as I prefer it). The default is side-by-side, however. To change, select the View ribbon, then Active row and choose “In the Middle (Horizontal)”.

Alt+down arrow takes you to the next segment, as in Wordfast, although you can use just the down and up arrows to navigate the segments.

There are eight ribbons in memoQ, which can be daunting for translators used to a simpler layout. However, Quick Access contains the main actions you need to begin translating. (You can customise this ribbon if you think it’s missing an operation you often use. Learn how to do that here.)

Right clicking with the mouse in either the source or target segment displays many of the options in the Quick Access ribbon and some other operations from other ribbons with their shortcuts.

Selecting Join combines the current segment with the next one.

To divide the current segment into two, place your cursor where you want it to separate and select Split.

Unlike in Wordfast, if there are repetitions in the text, memoQ will only show you your previously translated segments if you confirm them first. This can take some getting used to. Confirmed segments can be changed and reconfirmed. They are marked with a green tick.

To make it easier to translate reps, memoQ can sort them for you. In fact memoQ can sort the segments in a number of different ways.

The dropdown sort menu is just above the segments to translate on the right (see the green arrow). Select Frequency (higher first) to see all the reps together at the beginning of the list.

When you have finished your translation, you can run Quality Assurance (QA) to solve any problems. Segments with red exclamation marks are errors and lightning bolts are warnings. You cannot export your document until you solve all the errors. Warnings can be ignored if you wish.

QA is in the Review ribbon. (For more information about warnings and errors, please read the memoQ help pages.)

Lastly, to export your document back to Word (or Excel or PowerPoint), go to the Documents ribbon and click on Export. It opens automatically in the original program. Before doing a final spellcheck in Word, make sure the correct proofing language has been selected and the Do not check spelling or grammar box is unchecked.

Obviously memoQ can do far more than I’ve mentioned, but knowing the above should get you through your first translations without too many complications. In Part 3 of this mini-series, I’ll talk about memoQ’s alignment feature called LiveDocs.

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