Counting track changes in MS Word

Earlier on in July we have been ‘blessed’ with the ability to translate MS Word documents with track changes in Studio 2011. It seems, however, that an important little detail is missing to make this process more transparent when it comes to invoicing clients. How do you count track changes?

One option would be to painstakingly count the amount of insertions and deletions in the source document, but that would be just as daft as trying to leverage 100% matches on a typewriter.

There’s a little, elegant and relatively inexpensive tool (free to try) which, among other things, allows you to get precise counts of insertions and deletions in tracked Word documents. Enter PractiCount and Invoice.

After installing the program, you go to the Settings tab and then Applications. In the MS Word Section you would tick the “Revisions” box and then select one the 3 available options (I’d normally run two separate counts, one for insertions only and another for deletions only, to get a better perspective of the amount of work that might be involved).

You would then go back to the File Selection tab and drag your Word file with track changes to the “File Name” box and ht “Count Statistics”. Bear in mind that, in this case, the tool will only count the amount of revisions (insertions, deletions or both, according to the option you chose earlier). If you want to get a wordcount for the entire document, go back to Settings>Applications>MS Word and uncheck the “Revisions” box.

However, since we wouldn’t translate on a word-by-word basis, it may not be that wise to charge your clients purely on the basis of insertions. For smaller assignments, a minimum editing fee is not a bad idea, whereas for large contracts, for example, it could be wise to add a certain (fixed) percentage on top of the inserted text. PractiCount allows you to do this in a totally transparent way to the client, which is certainly most important.


Getting wordcounts of websites

You have probably been approached a client asking you to provide a ballpark estimate for their website into your target language. They’d supply you with a link to the homepage and nothing else. You may end up spending an endless amount of time saving each HTML page individually and then running a wordcount only to find out later on they don’t want to go ahead with the assignment and you have essentially wasted your time.

web.word.count is a nifty online tool which provides a detailed wordcount of website content by simply entering the URL. You will get the total number of words, unique words, words contained within alt tags and the full breakdown per page. You can also export the stats to a .txt, .html or .csv formats.

The service comes in two flavours, free and paid. The free service allows you to count a maximum of 100 pages per site and 5 sites per day. For most small sites, this may well be enough if you only need a ballpark. You can have the service counting 500, 1,000 and 2,000 pages per website for £1.99, £2.99 and £3.99 respectively which may or may not be worthwhile.

Linguee – Translators’ best friend

If you translate from English to German, French, French and Portuguese (Iberian and Brazilian) or the other way round, Linguee is a must-have asset in your toolkit. It’s like performing a Google search, but in two languages at the same time, with the relevant source and terms conveniently highlighted for you.

Linguee uses crawlers to search the web for appropriate bilingual texts and to divide them into corpora. Sources of information include professionally translated websites of companies, universities, EU documents and patent specifications.

The identified corpora undergo automatic quality checks by a trained human-machine sophisticated algorithm that estimates the quality of translation. Users can rate translations manually, making the machine learning system is trained continuously.

As you would expect, not all the language pairs you get meet the highest standards, but the tool has saved me endless hours of research. Give it a try.

Making the Most of Microsoft Terminology – Part III

In Part I and Part II of this tutorial, we opened up a Microsoft Terminology Collection file in Excel and successfully transposed the source and target terms into separate columns. Let’s see how we can leverage two other data components, namely the term definition and part of speech.

Extracting the Definition 

  1. Open Notepad++
  2. Copy the information on Column G (descrip) from the Excel spreadsheet to Notepad++
  3. In Notepad++, hit Ctrl+H to invoke the Find/Replace dialog and select Extended from the Search Mode section.

Then perform the following replacement sequence, hitting Replace All:

3.1  Find What: \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n  
Replace With: $$$$$      

[NB: ensure there are no spaces after the last “n”. If no results are found, try removing one sequence of “\r\n” from the Find What box].

3.2  Find What: \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n
Replace With: $$$$$

3.3  Find What: \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n
Replace With: $$$$$

3.4  Find What: \r\n\r\n\r\n     
Replace With: $$$$$

3.5  Find What:  $$$$$         
Replace With: \r\n

Then copy the information from Notepad++ into your new Excel file.

Extracting the Part of Speech  

1. Copy the information on Column K (termNote) from the Excel spreadsheet to Notepad++

2. Still with the Extended Search Mode turned on, perform the following steps:

2.1  Find What: \r\n\r\n
Replace With: $$$$$

2.2  Find What: \r\n
Replace With: \t

2.3  Find What: $$$$$
Replace With: \r\n

Then copy the information from Notepad++ into your new Excel file.

If all went well, your consolidated spreadsheet should look like so:

And that’s it. Now you have a highly flexible termbase with no loss of data, which you can convert to TBX, TMX or virtually any other tag or text-based format.

Shortcut Monday!

MS Excel

  • Ctrl + Page up/Page down   Moves between Excel worksheets in the same Excel document.
  • Ctrl + Tab  Moves between 2 or more open Excel files.
  • Alt + = – Creates a formula to sum all of the above cells

Google Chrome

  • Ctrl+T – Opens a new tab
  • Ctrl+Shift+T  Reopens the last closed tab. Chrome remembers the last 10 closed tabs.
  • Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+8 – Switches to the tab at the specified position on the tab strip.
  • Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+Page Down – Switches to the next tab.

Comparing source and target segments in Studio

During the QA process, and sometimes even during the actual translation, it is useful to check if the source and target segments are exactly the same. It could be that the source segment needs to stay as is, but often times the source could have been copied accidentally to the target segment.

In order to have Studio 2009/2011 flag an error or a warning whenever the target segment is identical to the source, proceed as follows:

  1. In the project menu, go to Project Settings
  2. In the left-hand side panel choose Verification > QA Checker 3.0 > Segment Verification
  3. In the Compare source and target segment section, tick the relevant boxes and choose whether you want to have Studio flag this as an Error, Warning or a Note.

How to change the case of text in Excel (the easy way…)

Changing the case of text in Excel can be a daunting task and the suggested procedure provided by Microsoft doesn’t make things any easier either. There’s a much better and effective way of changing capitalization in Excel without having to use formulas or fiddling with pasting options.



  1. Download ASAP utilities
  2. Select the cells in which you want to change the case
  3. In the ASAP Utilities tab, go to the Text sub-menu
  4. Choose one of the options from 2. to 6.