One of the new features of SDL Trados Studio 2011 SP2 that I mentioned in my previous post is the option to show track changes in source segments.
Is this going to be a useful option or is it just a gimmick? Well, as a medical translator, I’m actually quite excited about it.
Why would you want to show track changes in source segments?
Medical translators sometimes have to update product information submitted to the European Medicines Agency (Summary of Product Characteristics, Package Leaflets and Labelling). In these regulatory documents, changes made in the source language are marked through Track Changes in the Word file and have to be translated using the same Track Change option in the target language.
Clinical trial documentation is another area where Track Changes may be needed in source and target documents. Amendments to Protocols and Informed Consent Forms in source documents have to be reflected in their translations and back translations in a controlled environment.
Does SP2 make it easier?
Studio 2011 SP2 has streamlined the change control process and now you can open your document in Studio, see the track changes in the source segments and translate them quickly and efficiently. When you save the target document, all the track changes are there to see in Word.
Normally, of course, you would accept all changes before translating a document. In fact, by default, Studio will warn you that there are track changes in your document so that you can go back and accept them in Word. The difference now is that there is an option to process the document with the track changes showing in the source segments.
How do you do it?
First, a note about file types. Product information submitted to the European Medicines Agency is only accepted in Word 2003 format (.doc) and, unfortunately, Studio has only implemented this new feature for .docx files. So you’ll need to convert from .doc to .docx to begin with and remember to save your translation as .doc at the end.
Before opening the .docx file in Studio, go to Tools>Options>File Types>Microsoft Word 2007-2010>Common and select “Display pending changes” under Track changes extraction mode. I’ve numbered these steps in the screenshot below:
Now open the file. Translate the document, making sure that Track Changes is toggled on in the toolbar. You can see what the segments look like by changing the “final mode” display (equivalent to “Final: Show Markup” in the Review tab in Word).
You’ll still benefit from 100% matches in your Translation Memory because they will be inserted in the target, with a blue TC icon that indicates the 100% match that you would have got if the Track Changes had been rejected in the source. At the same time, Studio looks up matches for the segment with the new changes and offers any findings in the Translation Results window.
Display filter: track changes
The end product
The changes that you make in the target segments are shown when you click Shift+F12 (save as target) and open the target file in Word. This completes the controlled change workflow environment for regulatory documents.
Some thoughts about charging for a “Track Change translation project”
When there are only a few changes in a file, it doesn’t make sense to charge by the word, because the cost of translating 50 or 100 words won’t cover the time you’ve spent replying to emails, entering the job in your project management tool and issuing your invoice. So I recommend charging by the hour or a minimum rate. If, however, the original document has been heavily edited, your client may want to pay you by the word.
Counting words in tracked changes
Unfortunately, MSWord doesn’t count words in tracked changes. One solution is to count the words manually. A better solution is to use a macro. I found one that does the job very well in a PC Review forum posted halfway down the page by Jay Freedman, a Microsoft Word MVP.
The macro will count all new inserted words, but it ignores any deleted text or other changes. It’s still a nifty little macro though, and has helped me calculate my translated word count several times since I discovered it.
Seeing the track changes in the source and reflecting them in the target without leaving Studio is a great new feature in SP2. If you want to learn more about it, I thoroughly recommend Paul Filkin’s article on this subject. And enjoy using the macro if it’s new to you!