Microsoft Word — side by side translating

Watch the video

Microsoft Word — side by side translating


Side by side translating in Microsoft Word is a good method if we do not have any CAT tool and the Word document isn't too complex. See how to do it properly!

Video Transcript

How to translate side by side in Word

Microsoft Word - side by side translating

In this video you will learn
  • What is side-by-side translating
  • When and why can it be a good choice
  • How to make it possible in Word
  • How to do it smart

Side-by-side translating

What does it mean?

It's very simple. We are talking about side by side translating, when we have the source text on the left and we put the translation next to it, on the right.

When can it be a good choice?

If you do not use any CAT tool and you have to translate a Word document, that is not too complex, then side by side translating may be the perfect way to go.

The source text on the left stays visible all the time, and the translated text occurs on the right, simple to compare with the source text and to correct if necessary, whenever you want.

Side by side translating in Word

How to make it possible

If you want to translate side by side in Word, use two column tables. The first column is for the source text and the second column is for the translation.

You can do this by converting the source origin text to a table.

Select the source text you want to convert and hit menu command Insert | Table | Convert Text to Table. Then hit OK button. Now you have a one column table.

After that you can easily add a second column by copying the existing column or by inserting a new one.And there your are.


How to do it smart

The problem is that in this case each cell in the table may contain many sentences. It would be better if each cell would contain only one sentence.

For two reasons.

First, it's just about comfort but also accuracy and quality when you're translating. It's just better to see and to translate all sentences separately.

Second, if you split the text into sentences and it will be translated this way, then in future you'll be able to reuse the translation you have done, with any CAT tool you want. This is a really big adventage.

So, how to do it?

Microsoft Word converts text to a table by using any character you want. By default it is a paragraph mark. When you convert a text containing 4 paragraph marks, Microsoft Word will change it into a table with 4 cells, actually 4 rows, each containing 1 paragraph.

What to do to get a table with cells containing single sentences?

You have to separate the sentences with paragraph marks.

The most sentences end with dots, question marks and exclamation marks. The easiest way would be to add, directly after them, paragraph marks that would be used by Microsoft Word to convert the text into a table.

But there is an other problem. If the text already contains paragraph marks, sometimes a few together, we cannot just add to them new paragraph marks, because this way we are changing the text structure.

Later, when we convert back the translated table to the text we will be not able to recover the origin paragraph structure.

All that sounds a bit difficult, but it isn't. If we want to keep the origin text structure we have to make a few changes before we do the conversion and after that.

Let's see how it works!

Run command Find and Replace - keyboard shortcut Ctrl+H.

In the first field type in:

.^p (dot) and caret symbol ^p for paragraph mark

in the second field:

.^p^p (dot) and twice ^p^p for two paragraph marks

and hit Replace all button.

Now run the function Find and Replace again and do the same for exclamation mark and then for question mark.

After that we have to change

. dot and one space character into .^p for dot and ^p for one paragraph mark

and then the same for exclamation and question marks.

Select the whole text by using keyboard shortcat Ctrl+A and run menu command Insert | Table | Convert Text to Table.

If you want to translate the text by overwritting it, select and copy the source column and paste it as a second one - for the translated text.

Finally click the table with the right mouse button and run AutoFit | AutoFit to Window.

And here you are! You can translate the text in the right column, sentence after sentence.

When the translation is done, delete the source column. Select it with the left mouse button, press the right mouse button and run Delete Columns.

Now we have only one column with the translation. Select it and run the menu command Layout | Convert to Text.

After that we change with the Find and Replace command:

. ^p for dot and paragraph mark into . for dot and space character.

The same we do for the question mark and for the exclamation mark.

And the last change - space character and paragraph mark into paragraph mark.

That's it!

This way we have the ready translation after side by side translating in Word with the same text structure as the origin text.

For more videos take a look at our youtube channel at Translations Ninja.

Computers & Co.

Translation solutions related to various applications: text editing, DTP, data bases and web sites.

CAT tools

What is computer assisted translation and what are CAT tools. How to use them properly to achieve higher efficiency.

Tips & Tricks

Learn tricks and solutions you may need when you come across problems before, during or after translation.