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Preparing files with untranslateable content

Preparing files with untranslateable content allows drug and device companies to do more with lessMore and more pharmaceutical and device companies are starting to manage their own translation memories ("TMs"). Some of these efforts are due to the economy (bringing more functions and control in-house) and some companies are trying to deal with ever-increasing languages requirements.

One of the ways that companies are using TMs is to reduce the source text being sent for translation. For example, typical IFUs or operating manual can contain hundreds or words in contact or label information. Multiplied by 20 or more languages, these word counts add up. Drug regulatory submissions often include tens of thousands of words in non-translateable tables and figures.

While it's sometimes straightforward to indicate text that should not be translated, it quickly gets complicated. So it's great that Kevin Lossner published easy-to-use directions [PDF link] on how to prepare files that contain untranslateable text.

The basic approach is to mark not-to-be translated content as hidden text, so that it can be filtered out and does not appear in the translateable segments. Kevin's directions cover TRADOS TagEditor and Déjà Vu and can be applied to text "chunks" or text that is distributed all over the document.

As medical device and pharmaceutical companies push to "do more with less", this is the type of streamlining that can pay big dividends.

[Via Kevin's Twitter feed]

Confused by all this talk about "translation memory"? Check out the following resources:

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  1. Pablo Muñoz said...
    Excellent post! I didn't think about hidding untranslateable content instead of copying and pasting (which is quite time-consuming, of course). Did you try the same approach for Excel files?

    I would also add that this process might be faster by creating macros to hide the text. It should be easy to assign a button or shortcut for the Hidden format.
    cgtradmed said...
    Thank you for the tip !
    I pass Kevin Lossner's article URL on the list "Medical_Translation", according to the authorization sokindly given by the Author in its copyright note. I am sure that it will be of great help to colleagues.
    ForeignExchange Translations said...
    @Pablo - Good idea about the macro button; that would certainly make it even easier. And no, we haven't yet tried it with Excel files - anybody else?
    Kevin Lossner said...
    FYI, these instructions also work perfectly well with Kilgray's MemoQ, for which the RTF and MS Word filters are set by default to skip hidden text. (Just like TagEditor - with DVX the default is to include it, so an explicit exclusion is necessary.) At the time I wrote the guide I hadn't started using MemoQ seriously, so I was unaware that it was also relevant.
    Kevin Lossner said...
    @FET: Other methods apply for Excel files. Set the text to red for DVX, specify the exclusion ranges for MemoQ. For v8.3 Trados and before, hiding columns and rows worked, but what one can do about discontinuous ranges interspersed with translatable text with Trados I do not know.
    Herbert Eppel said...
    Hopefully clients will do this kind of pre-processing (and other pre- and post-processing tasks) themselves rather than expecting/leaving the translator at the electronic coalface to do it.

    For further thoughts on this and similar issues please refer to my article "What makes a good agency", published in a recent issue of the ITI Bulletin and the current issue of the MDÜ magazine

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