Under Community Review

Showing paragraphs with an actual vertical space instead of a mere “P” in the right margin

Given that hundreds of translators working at the government of Canada's Translation Bureau are soon to be introduced to Trados Studio, I am pretty sure that it would be a good investment for SDL to reprogram the paragraph change indication, departing from the easily overlooked marginal “P” to an actual vertical space like the one that would appear in any end text.

The lack of vertical separation between paragraphs is a major downside of translation memories for people used to translate text directly in word processors, especially people prone to attention deficit. Even seeing the “P” in the margin is not always enough for the brain to linguistically process the paragraph shift.

It is important to note that, although paragraph shifts may not be that important in English, they usually require particular adaptation in French: you wouldn't start a sentence in the same way, depending on if it starts a paragraph or not. So, a clear visual paragraph with vertical spacing would definitely contribute to the quality of translation into French.

And most translations done at the Translation Bureau is from English to French, so it would certainly be good for SDL's public reputation to take that into account.

Parents Comment Children
  • I don't see a vertical separation; just a “P”. I do know that it is put for “Paragraph”, but still, visually, my brain does not process the information in the same way as if it were an actual vertical paragraph space. When proof-reading it in Trados Studio, I feel my translation looks fine. Then, when I proof-read it again in the final document, I clearly see the text does not “flow” naturally from one paragraph to the next, and I need to rephrase. Yet, I feel the translation should feel about the same when read in Studio or in a word processor. 

    I know I'm not the only one, having talked about that with colleagues. And I'm afraid many translators will resent that when they start using Studio in the next few months.

    I don't know how much programming that would imply, but I think it would be a good investment for both SDL and its clients, in the long run. 

  • Which file types are you usually working with? There is a preview functionality that would give you exactly this information.


  • I know about the preview functionality, but it implies extra steps that can become annoying, especially since, depending on the file, it can be long to load. For instance, I just tried with a 32 page Word document I translated recently, and it took 15 seconds to display. Multiply that by many paragraphs, and that implies many minutes lost that could be avoided with a vertical paragraph spacing. 

  • I understand what you are saying, it's not the smoothest feature, but note that there are several options with Word files (Embedded, Word and HTML). It's a feature of CAT tools to take the text out of the layout. In spite of its shortcomings (hope they will receive some attention soon) I think what you are looking for is what the preview function should address. If it's too slow then rather spend time on fixing that.