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Resources, Technical Assistance and Technology News => Translator resources => CAT Tools Tips and Assistance => Topic started by: spiros on 11 Jan, 2020, 23:51:20

Title: TransTools (Word, Excel and PowerPoint macros for translators)
Post by: spiros on 11 Jan, 2020, 23:51:20
Let's start with TransTools+, a paid tool ($35, but it has a generous trial period), which has only a handful of utilities:

— Hide / Unhide Text
— Multiple Find and Replace
— Highlighting Tool
— Document Processing Tool

The Hide / Unhide Text utility is a tool that is clearly geared toward users of translation environment tools. Most translation environment tools allow for an option to not translate hidden text in Word documents, so you can prepare your documents to hide exactly what you don't want to translate by applying the hidden feature. With Hide / Unhide Text you can do that by

— searching for already highlighted text,
— searching for a certain type of content (textboxes, footnotes, etc.),
— selecting from a preset list of exclusions (such as all HTML or XML tags, or all time stamps in SRT files), or
— using extremely sophisticated search features to locate the text (for more on that, see below).

The Highlighting Tool is similar (only, as the name implies, it applies highlighting), but it's useful for a different purpose. For instance, it's helpful for a project manager to batch highlight certain things in a document before sending it back to the translator or editor. Or, vice versa, for a translator or editor to communicate questions to a PM or client. Any of the steps or series of steps can be saved and applied to later files. Plus, with the Document Processing Tool, they can even be applied to any number of Word files (DOCX, DOC, RTF) simultaneously.

This brings us to the Multiple Find and Replace tool (whose search features are also part of the Hide and Highlighting tools). As the name implies, it can run a number of search and replace processes simultaneously and, as in the other tools, save that list of processes for later re-use. This version of the search & replace tool (in contrast to the one in the TransTools collection -- the one without the +) super-helpfully provides access to a huge range of regular expressions beyond the ones offered in Word, alongside descriptors that help you choose which one to use: 

This document provides a helpful overview of ways to use the tools, and a preconfigured list of common problems after using OCR on a document also serves as a good guide for how to put together a list:

I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of time having to come up with effective ways of searching and replacing data in documents, often in a number of steps and/or over and over with similar processes. This tool is just about as helpful as I can think of when it comes to that.

As I mentioned above, the three main tools of TransTools+ (Hide / Unhide Text, Multiple Find and Replace, Highlighting Tool) can be found among the offered utilities but with a slightly different name and in a less powerful state (such as without all those fancy regular expressions beyond the regular Word ones). But there are plenty of other interesting tools that virtually everyone who has ever worked in technical translation will immediately understand. Here are some good examples:

Document Cleaner -- to get rid of typical problems after OCR'ing a file or converting a PDF or otherwise having to deal with lots of unnecessary codes (comparable to the well-known CodeZapper tool)
Find / Replace Excessive Spaces -- as the name says and including those before and after punctuation marks
Unbreaker -- to remove incorrect paragraph marks after copying and pasting text from a PDF
Dual Language Assistant -- to convert a document into a table by putting each paragraph of the source language into a cell in the left column
Manual Localization -- to automatically convert language-specific decimal separators, including non-breaking spaces
Document Format Converter -- to batch-convert any number of Word files of all formats (RTF, DOCX, DOC) to any other Word format or PDF
Quotation Magic -- to insert correct language-specific quotes
Correctomatic -- to automatically correct certain words (helpful when going between different forms of English)
What is this Symbol -- gives you the ANSI code for the character(s) you highlight
etc., etc.
TransTools optionally also installs tools in PowerPoint and Excel:

Most welcome in PowerPoint might be the Change Language tool (see the graphic above), which changes the spellchecking language in PowerPoint. I think we all can appreciate how helpful that is, knowing how tedious it is otherwise.

In Excel, the Glossary Search tool might be the most helpful: it allows you to search multiple glossaries with an independent program that is also installed at one time.

By the way, you'll need to pay for some of the tools in TransTools after a 45-day trial period, including Unbreaker, Correctomatic, and Quotation Magic (these three will be ported to the TransTools+ version at the end of the month) as well as the Spellcheck Assistant (a tool to build up and use custom dictionaries) and the Document Format Converter. The Tag Cleaner and Unbreaker tools in Excel are paid as well, and TransTools for Visio and TransTools for AutoCAD that we have not talked about here are paid features, too. The TransTools version with all the paid features costs $25.

I can't imagine that you have not seen at least a couple of processes in this wealth of tools that you like, and chances are they might even be among the free offerings. Of course, the drawback of program-specific tools like these is that, well, they're program-specific (i.e., specific to programs like Word, Excel, etc.). What differentiates these is that the utilities they offer really are meant to prepare files that are to be translated or have been translated for use elsewhere (either into a different tool, such as a translation environment, or by a different person with a different function, such as an editor), so their use is potentially much larger than just making life easier in MS Word. And if there is anything to the Винт Разболтайло concept, the usefulness and range of tools will only grow.

— Jost Zetzsche, The 308th Tool Box Journal