Keyword msword

One of the neat little things I did over the past few days was a simple Word macro -- at least, it should have been simple, but the problem is one I've had for a long time.

In this case, what I wanted to do was to fix up a few documents I had from a translation customer. This particular end user, for reasons known only to them, captions their figures using fields. The fields are in text boxes for easy positioning, and the field results (the text you see on the screen) are the captions.

Only one problem: the fields are always variable results for variables which don't exist in the document. All I can figure is that the document preparer makes these things in little snippets with some other tool which spits out Word texts, then they paste those into the text boxes.

So, you're asking now (unless you're a professional translator) who cares? You just type your English over the German in the captions, and you're home free, right? Well: no. Everybody who's anybody in the wonderful world of translation nowadays uses translation tools, in this case TRADOS.

TRADOS does two things for you: it stores each and every sentence you translate in a translation memory (a TM), so you (sort of) never need to translate anything twice, and it also makes it much easier to step through a document translating. The use of TRADOS makes translation much easier, and it also helps you stay consistent in your use of words and phrases.

Herein lies the problem: those fields were untouchable by TRADOS. There are two modes in TRADOS: one steps through the document using Word macros but doesn't deal well with text boxes (and yes, you'll note they're in text boxes). So that approach was out. The other (the TagEditor) converts the entire document to an XML format, then edits that in a very convenient way. The TagEditor makes short work of text boxes, but those field results were invisible to it.

Stuck! And so for a series of three jobs from that customer, I just didn't use TRADOS on the figure attachments, and hated it. Last week, though, I took screwdriver in hand (metaphorically speaking) and decided it was showdown time.

OK, that's the teaser -- follow the link to get the ... rest of the story.

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