The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020 - 35

RESOURCE REVIEW

BY RAY VALIDO

How a Deeper Knowledge of Basic Tools Can Up Your Game

D

uring the years that I've worked as a translation project
manager, I can recount many times when I've been
consulted on technical issues-anything from formatting
a document properly to transitioning from a PC to a Mac (or
vice versa). Sometimes I've heard translators express something
along the lines of, "I'm a linguist-I didn't sign up for all this
techie stuff!"
I can also remember many occasions after I would teach a
new function or a shortcut in MS Word or PowerPoint when
a translator would tell me-sometimes years later-that my
shortcut made their life easier and helped them work a lot
faster over the long run. On these occasions, I can't help but
wonder-how much more productive could that translator
have been with just a few more techie tricks up their sleeve?
While we as translators can sometimes be reluctant to delve into
the technological side of our computer tools, deepening our
understanding of the programs we use on a daily basis can help
streamline the way we work.

Figure 1: Example of a Shortcut Key

BENEFITS
You may be surprised at the number of features you already have at
your disposal that could help you work better and more efficiently.
Taking some time to learn those functions might just help you to
get through that next cumbersome translation, or speed up your
work so that you're able to meet that deadline. Why bother to learn
some of the features that your computer's software offers? Here are
three outcomes that I've personally experienced:
Increased Productivity: It goes without saying that the more you
know your software, the easier it will be to work with your word
processor, computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool, or other
online platform. Building your technical skills and deepening
your knowledge will allow you to work faster and more efficiently.
Keeping Ahead of the Game: The better you know your
software, the easier it will be to get used to a newer version of that
program once an update rolls out. Also, understanding one type
of software program might very well make it easier if you need to
transition to another similar program, such as switching from one
CAT tool to another.
Becoming More Attractive to Potential Clients: If a client
knows you can work in MS Word and handle styles or text
embedded in images without any help, that client will be more
likely to call on you again for similar projects. These are valueadded skills that can only enhance your marketability as a
translation service provider.
How do you go about learning to use software more
effectively? With the availability of online video tutorials and
social media user groups, learning new tricks or even deepening
your knowledge of the programs you already use can be quite
painless. I belong to a Facebook group for users of Adobe
www.atanet.org

Figure 2: Context Menu
InDesign, which is the software I use most for multilingual
desktop publishing work. Sometimes people will post solutions
to situations I've encountered and been unable to solve. Other
times, I'll discover that a problem I've been experiencing isn't
my fault at all, but rather a problem with the software awaiting a
bug fix. Several CAT tool platforms also have similar user groups
American Translators Association

35


http://www.atanet.org

The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020

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