Typing Tips for Translators: Q&A

Underwood_1_longLast week I gave a webinar on Typing Tips for Translators. It was part of the current SDL campaign called Empower. Energize. Excite., which has content on Marketing advice, Practical tips, Potential clients and Personal wellbeing. Some 350 people attended the webinar and there was a flurry of questions at the end. Here’s a summary of the Q&A session, including questions that I didn’t have time to answer and some extra ones that arrived by Twitter and email afterwards. I’ve placed the questions in the order that each topic was discussed in the webinar. Click on a question to jump to the answer.

If you missed the webinar and these questions whet your appetite, register here and watch a video of the webinar in your own time.

Keyboards

  1. Is an external keyboard always superior to an integrated notebook keyboard?­
  2. ­Are mechanical keyboards more durable than membrane ones? I must say I like to hit mine hard when I’m in a hurry­.
  3. ­Which keyboard do you use yourself?

Touch typing

  1. Can you recommend any specific course to learn how to type correctly?­
  2. ­How long does it take to learn touch typing? ­
  3. ­Is it possible to learn touch typing while still translating for clients (I assume it will be a lot slower at first?)

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

  1. Must the room atmosphere be very quiet?
  2. Can you use two languages while dictating?
  3. Are different English accents recognised?
  4. I’ve got a comment, not a question, about Dragon and Mac.

Shortcuts

  1. [MS Word] How does one unhide everything that was hidden, instead of unhiding each hidden part individually?­
  2. Could you share a cheat-sheet of your shortcuts by any chance?­
  3. If I press Alt+spacebar+n, I minimise the current window, but how can I maximise it?­

SDL Trados Studio

  1. How can I print out the list of shortcuts for Studio?­
  2. ­­Does Ctrl+number for selecting a match from the translation results window also work in concordance?­
  3. In Studio, I noticed you did not overwrite the source, but wrote from scratch. Do you find this way faster?­
  4. If I use Ctrl+Alt+Shift F9 to show the final text in Tracked Changes, how can I revert to the markup text?­
  5. Do any of these time-saving tips make it worth upgrading from Studio 2014 to 2015 in your opinion?
  6. Does the Regex Match Open Exchange app have a good help text?
  7. ­To use the Regex Match Autosuggest Provider, do we need to provide the complete date for it to be recognized?­

Any more questions?

Q&A

Keyboards

  1. Is an external keyboard always superior to an integrated notebook keyboard?­

Laptop keyboards usually come with low-profile keys, making your typing experience quite comfortable for short sessions. But an external keyboard means you can raise the laptop monitor up and position it further away from you, to avoid looking down and straining your neck and to improve your wrist posture. Watch out for small laptops and notebooks that don’t have full-sized keycaps.

  1. ­Are mechanical keyboards more durable than membrane ones? I must say I like to hit mine hard when I’m in a hurry­.

Mechanical keyboards have a much longer lifespan and they’re less sensitive to hard handling. But you’ll get more out of a mechanical keyboard in terms of speed and comfort if you type lightly and don’t come crashing down on the keys.

  1. ­Which keyboard do you use yourself?

I use a Filco Majestouch-2 brown switch mechanical keyboard. When I bought it, the choice was limited because I was looking for a Spanish language layout.

Cherry MX brown switches give you tactile feedback when the keys actuate, which means you feel a slight bump when the keypress is registered. Typing is fairly quiet and quite light (the actuation force needed is about 45 cN).

I thoroughly recommend it!

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­Touch typing

  1. Can you recommend any specific course to learn how to type correctly?­

I learnt before the days of online courses, but other translators have recommended www.typing.com and www.ratatype.com. If you prefer playing games while you learn, try www.freetypinggame.net.

  1. ­How long does it take to learn touch typing?

How long is a piece of string?! ­I’ve read that it takes 10 hours to reach a touch typing speed of 15 words per minute. From then on it’s a question of practising and building up your speed. I’d recommend spreading those hours out, so maybe you should be looking at a two or three week period.

  1. ­Is it possible to learn touch typing while still translating for clients (I assume it will be a lot slower at first?)

Yes, it’ll be a lot slower! I think I mentioned a “snail’s pace” in the webinar. I’d wait until you have a quiet period and make a start. Then, see if you can get some long project deadlines so that you can translate using your newly-learned technique. Be strict and don’t lapse into your old ways.

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Dragon NaturallySpeaking

  1. Must the room atmosphere be very quiet?

The room doesn’t have to be completely quiet, especially if you use a headset mike. Some people say they can dictate with Dragon and have background music on at the same time.

  1. Can you use two languages while dictating?

You can use two languages, but not for the same text (i.e. you can’t switch quickly). The “Home” version comes in the language of the url domain where you buy the software, e.g., www.nuance.es sells the Spanish version. The “Premium” version comes with that language plus EN.

  1. Are different English accents recognised?

I’ve heard that Dragon has problems recognising accents that it doesn’t have specific profiles for. So a Scottish accent might be a problem, but an Indian one should be OK.

  1. I’ve got a comment, not a question: Dragon does indeed work on a Mac. It’s called Dragon for Mac.

Thanks for pointing this out. I think I confused Dragon with the other two programs we were talking about. AutoHotkey and IntelliWebSearch are Windows-only programs, but you’re right, Dragon is definitely available for Mac.

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Shortcuts

  1. [MS Word] How does one unhide everything that was hidden, instead of unhiding each hidden part individually?­

Select the whole document (Ctrl+A if you’re using an English interface) and then click Ctrl+Shift+H to toggle all hidden text on and off.

  1. Could you share a cheat-sheet of your shortcuts by any chance?­

Here are the shortcuts for Windows, browsers and Word that we discussed in the webinar.

shortcuts_webinar

For a list of my favourite shortcuts in Studio, check out these blog posts on Studio Shortcuts: The Basics and Beyond the Basics.

  1. If I press Alt+spacebar+n, I minimise the current window, but how can I maximise it?­

Press Alt+spacebar+x

Back to top

SDL Trados Studio

  1. How do I print the list of shortcuts for Studio?­

Go to the Welcome view>Home>Show Shortcuts>Print

  1. ­Does Ctrl+number for selecting a match from the translation results window also work in concordance?­

No, you need to use Ctrl+Alt+F3. Place the cursor in the position in the target segment where you want to insert the term, select the term in the concordance search window and press Ctrl+Alt+F3.

  1. ­In Studio, I noticed you did not overwrite the source, but wrote from scratch. Do you find this way faster?­

I prefer to start from an empty target segment. However, if a segment has a lot of tags, I find it faster to copy source to target (Ctrl+insert) and overwrite the text between the tags.

  1. If I use Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F9 to show the final text in Tracked Changes, how can I revert to the markup text?­

Easy! Switch between final and mark-up display with the same shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F9. Don’t forget you can customize this very long shortcut in general options: File>Options>Keyboard Shortcuts.

  1. Do any of these time-saving tips make it worth upgrading from Studio 2014 to 2015 in your opinion?

Definitely. AutoCorrect is a new feature in Studio 2015 and it’s made a big difference to my productivity. I’d find it very frustrating to go back to Studio 2014 now.

  1. Does the Regex Match Open Exchange app have a good help text?

The developer of Regex Match Autosuggest Provider, Junya Takaichi, provides detailed help on his blog.

  1. ­To use the Regex Match Autosuggest Provider, do we need to provide the complete date for it to be recognized?­

No, that’s the beauty of Regex Match. It’s not just for dates, it’s for any source string that you want to transfer to the target. Once you’ve set up the regex string and any variables, it will recognise just about anything. For more details on translating dates, you might like to read this blog post. And for more ideas about how to use Regex Match in other contexts, see Nora Diaz’s blog post.


Any more questions?

If you have any other questions or comments about the webinar or typing in general, please add them in the comments below.

This entry was posted in 1. The Basics, 2. Beyond the Basics, Keyboards, SDL Trados Studio and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Typing Tips for Translators: Q&A

  1. paulfilkin says:

    Excellent article and webinar Emma… I’m going to remember the Win+Shift+left/right arrows to move the windows from one screen to another. Always a pain for me when recording videos or sharing screens… that was a great tip!

    • Great tips all around for enhanced productivity, Emma, thank you for putting together such a comprehensive resource. After your webinar, all I can think about is mechanical keyboards!

    • Win+shift+arrow is great, Paul. Whenever I read about a new shortcut I stick it on a Post-It note beside my monitor and only take it off when it’s firmly tucked away in my muscle memory.

      • paulfilkin says:

        You’re a lot more organised then me Emma… I just get frustrated that I can’t remember it and keep googling until I can!! Might try and use the post-it method 🙂

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  4. Gan has just sent this question in:

    Why don’t you use a wireless keyboard?

    • I don’t use a wireless keyboard because the cable doesn’t get in my way.

      Wireless keyboards are useful if your screen is some distance away, say if you control your TV with a keyboard. They’re also practical if you travel with your keyboard and want to avoid tangled cables. I had a wireless keyboard in the past when I was using a treadmill work set-up. It made sense then.

      Wireless mechanical keyboards are few and far between. They used to have lag problems, which gave them a poor reputation.
      To be honest, the cable on my keyboard doesn’t bother me. Does it bother you?

  5. Great post and topic. Thanks a lot for sharing so many valuable tips and shortcuts. The shortcut to move windows from one screen to the other is very useful (adopted!).

    A few shortcuts I often use in MS Word:
    F4: repeat last command
    Alt-E-G or Ctrlt+Alt+V: “paste Special” for us copy/paste enthusiasts 🙂
    Ctrl+mouse wheel: zoom in or out
    To select a sentence i also like to double-click (or triple click for the paragraph).

    Browser:
    Shift or Ctrl (or Cmd on OS X)+left click on a link to open in new tab or open a new browser window. With some mice, Ctrl+left click can be replaced by “clicking with the wheel”.

    And I also love the fact that Shift+F3 to change the case also works in Studio!

    • Thanks for sharing your favourite shortcuts, Fred.
      I remember reading about F4 some time ago, but I never adopted it.
      I’ve just put it on a Post-It sticker so it’ll be in my repertoire soon 🙂

      • Thank you! Now I want to buy a mechanical keyboard 🙂 (was thinking of getting one for the new family PC when we change it, to do a bit of gaming). Though what I don’t like is the fact that they’re quite noisy.
        For work, I love my Logitech Illuminated keyboard (wired, now it’s called the Illuminated K740) which i’ve been using for 7 years as an external keyboard for my laptop. Low profile, quiet and smooth strokes, but i have to say i type much less than a “pure” translator as i mainly do project management/QA/DTP. @ShaiNavecom explained several interesting points to me about keyboards on the Standing Out group on FB.

        As for the F4 shortcut, one drawback, for some reason, it does not work with text highlighting, but great to change font color of some words, apply hidden text formatting, etc…

        • Shai Nave’s comments are always worth reading, Fred. Ask him anything at all about hardware, software or webinars “for translators” and he’ll give you food for thought 🙂

  6. Thank you the kind words Emma and Fred. I’m not sure I deserve all of them, but you made me blush :).

    But this is not why I’m commenting. While not teaching any “proper” typing technique, the game http://zty.pe/ is a another great way to refine whatever typing technique one is currently using (or discover that it is inefficient/non-ergonomic/otherwise limiting).

    Z-Type is not unique by any stretch of the imagination. There are plenty of typing games, but the key with them is how well the idea is executed — and I find Z-Type to be one of the better ones in that respect.
    I even use it sometimes to “stretch” and warm-up my typing muscles (and brain) before I actually start my work day, which I find quite helpful at times.

    Well done Emma for compiling this list of advice and resources.

  7. Lots of helpful info, thanks Emma. How long does it take to learn touch typing? Ask a pianist/keyboard player! I reckon that they learn much faster as their fingers are already used to working individually – and I bet a touch typist could learn the piano faster, too!

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