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Customizable Shortcuts in Translation Environment Programs?

March 5th, 2009 | by Naomi de Moraes

In a recent Tool Kit, Jost Zetzsche wrote an article on the frustration he and many of us feel when switching between programs, and having to remember which keyboard shortcuts work in which environments. There is currently a discussion on the topic on the mailing list, so join today if you are not yet receiving emails!

Tool Vendors, Unite!
(Jost Zetzsche)

This past week I have been simultaneously working on two very large projects — one day on this one, the next day on the other, then on the first one again . . . you get the idea. One is in Trados TagEditor and the other in Star Transit. I don’t particularly mind working in either of them. In fact, I have enjoyed the different environments of these particular projects with excellent termbases and TMs — if it weren’t for the keyboard shortcuts! It is sooo frustrating to get your fingers used to one set of keyboard shortcuts … and then switch to another tool where the shortcuts are completely different — and actually often perversely do the very opposite of what you want to do.

So, here is my plea: TEnT vendors of the world, allow us to customize keyboard shortcuts!

Or even better — and I know I’m asking for the quasi-impossible here — agree on an exchange format for a settings file for keyboard shortcuts so that it can be exported and imported between different products.

At last year’s ATA the same issue was independently raised, so the Translation and Computers committee asked the tool vendors to work on ways not only to allow for the customization of keyboard shortcuts (many of them already do that), but also to allow for the possibility of saving current keyboard shortcuts into an external file — most likely an XML file — and at the same time being able to load a file with the settings from a different program, thus allowing for true exchangeability.

(BTW, the latest version of Wordfast has already made the biggest steps in that direction — you can already load different schemes for keyboard shortcuts.)

To achieve this exchangeability of shortcuts two things need to be done (aside from the application-internal changes that the vendors need to work on): an exchange format needs to be agreed upon as well as a list of features that are common to (almost) all tools. I sat down last week and tried to come up with a first stab at such a list. Here it is, and I would love your feedback. (Please don’t be frustrated with the awkward wording — I tried to be as inclusive and politically correct as possible.)

  • Start the translation of a segment by activating it and querying associated linguistic assets.
  • Start the translation of the next segment by activating it and querying associated linguistic assets.
  • Start the translation of the next untranslated or fuzzy segment by activating it and querying associated linguistic assets.
  • Save current data to the terminology repository.
  • Save segment to the translation memory/bitext repository.
  • Join/expand segments.
  • Split/shrink segments.
  • Save translation asset.
  • Close translation asset.
  • Open translation asset.
  • Search for highlighted term/phrase in translation memory/bitext repository (“concordance search”).
  • Search for highlighted term/phrase in terminology repository.
  • Start spell-checking.
  • Save translation asset in original file or export translation asset to original file format.
  • Copy source to target segment.
  • Enter terminology match.
  • Enter match from translation memory/bitext repository.
  • Enter non-linguistic placeable.
  • Start find process in translation asset.
  • Start replace process in translation asset.

Again, please let me know which common features I have overlooked or which should not be included in this list.

***** end of article from Jost ***

So, let’s hear from you on the list, in the comments below, or directly to Jost.


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