Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Easy Zoom Controls with an AutoHotkey Script

During remote simultaneous interpretation on Zoom, it can be a hassle to reach for the mouse and move the cursor to the microphone or camera icon to mute/unmute or turn the camera on or off. The Zoom windows may not even be in focus when one needs to mute/unmute, which adds to the cognitive load and stress in an already demanding situation.

An alternative solution that has given me much more control is creating an AutoHotkey script to perform the following actions:

    1. Bring the Zoom window into focus (make it active)

    2. Press the microphone or camera button

    3. Return focus to the original window 

Once the AutoHotkey script is ready and running, I simply press my chosen hotkey (shortcut) to control my microphone and camera. I like F1 for the microphone and F2 for the camera.

Watch it in action!

Here's how you can do it too.

1. Get AutoHotkey 

If you're already an AutoHotkey user, you can skip this part and simply grab the script, which you can find here. The script includes the following hotkeys:

F1 - Mute/unmute 

                    F2 - Start/stop video

                    F3 - Open chat window

                    F4 - Open/close participant list

                    F5 - Start/stop screen sharing

Please note that with the exception of opening the chat window, all other actions return the focus to whatever window was active when the hotkey was pressed.                    

If you are new to AutoHotkey, download the program here and install it. After installation, nothing opens, that's normal. AutoHotkey runs in the background and allows you to run your own scripts. You can learn more about it here.

2. Get and run the script

After you've installed AutoHotkey, download the Zoom Controls script here.

Unzip the file and save the file called Zoom controls.ahk in an easy-to-find folder. Once safely saved, double-click on the file. Note that you can easily inspect the contents of the script by opening with a plain text editor, such as Notepad.

A green box with a white H should appear in your system tray, indicating that the file is now active. 

3. Use your new shortcuts!

Now you're ready to use your shortcuts. Open Zoom and try them out. Try opening another window, such as Notepad, for example, and pressing one of your shortcuts (F1 to mute/unmute, for example) while you're typing in Notepad and watch your Zoom microphone change state while your cursor remains in Notepad.

4. Add your shortcuts to devices other than your keyboard

If you have an Elgato Stream Deck, you probably know that it provides a plug-in that offers Zoom microphone and camera control capabilities. However, the plug-in actions cause the Zoom window to gain and retain focus, which may not always be desirable, for example, if you need to mute/unmute while scrolling through a reference PDF or Powerpoint. 

Furthermore, I have found that there is some lag between pressing the button on the Stream Deck and the action actually being performed in Zoom, which is not ideal during simultaneous interpretation. See the difference in responsiveness between the Elgato plugin and the AutoHotkey script in the video below.

Fortunately, the AutoHotkey hotkeys can easily be added to the Stream Deck, using the Hotkey or Hotkey Switch options under System.

In addition to the Stream Deck, I also use a Logitech mouse with programmable keys, so I have a third option to quickly mute/unmute and start/stop video.

You're probably wondering if you can do the same with other platforms, and the answer is, probably yes. It's only a matter of telling AutoHotkey to activate the appropriate window, sending the appropriate shortcut for whatever action you want to perform, and then returning the focus to the original window. You can always use my script as a starting point and simply modify the appropriate parts as needed. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Restoring file type associations and icons

I can't remember exactly when this happened, but for the past couple of days, all sdlxliff files on my computer are displaying a MemoQ icon instead of the actual Trados Studio one.

Not only that, but the sdlxliff file type is associated with MemoQ, which means that if I double-click on an sdlxliff file, my computer tries to open it with MemoQ.

If you've encountered the same inconvenience with this file type or any other, here's how to fix it.

File type associations

1. On the Windows File Explorer, right click on any of the problem files and select Properties, then click the Change button on the Properties dialog box.

2. Select the right program from the list to restore the file type association. 

The icon will also change to reflect the one for the program you have chosen. If that's still not the right file type icon, keep reading to learn how to change it.

If the program you want to use is not in the short list, click on "More apps" and locate the appropriate program on your computer.*

3. After clicking OK, you should see the new program icon associated with your files.

In the example above, I've associated the sdlxliff file type with Trados Studio 2021, which shows in the short list. To associate the file type with Trados Studio 2022, so that sdlxliff files will open in the new version when I double-click on them, all I need to do is find the program in the path shown in the screenshot below.


After completing the steps above, you may still not have the right icons. For example, I'm currently seeing this:

If you're familiar with Trados Studio files, you know that this isn't right. The project file type is showing a blank page icon and the sdlxliff file type is showing the Trados Studio program icon. 

Unfortunately, changing icons is not a simple process, and it involves tweaking the Windows registry. Fortunately, RWS has provided an article with 3 possible solutions to this issue, one of which is a nicely packaged file that you can simply download and run.

A word of caution: Make sure to make a backup of your current registry. You will find a link to detailed instructions in the RWS article.

Here's the result, after running the .reg file:

Now each file type is showing the correct icon.

And that's all there is to it. No more hijacked file type associations and icons!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Adding a Word Count Column to Your Windows Folders

The following procedure will help you add a word count column to your Windows File Explorer view, which can come in handy for translators and other professionals.

In Windows File Explorer, select the View tab, and then Details.

There are 4 default columns shown in the Details view: Name, Date modified, Type and Size. We will now add a Word Count column.

Right-click anywhere on the column name bar. Then, in the menu that opens up, click More

This will open an alphabetical list of columns that you can add to your view. Scroll all the way to the bottom and check the box next to word count. Click OK to close the Choose Details window.

And that's it! Now you'll see the word count for each file in its own column.

As you can see in the screenshot, this works for Word and Powerpoint files. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't work for other common types of files, such as Excel or PDF.

A word of caution: Windows File Explorer takes the word count from the document properties, so there may be a discrepancy between that number and the word count shown by the program where the document was created. Because of this, it would be advisable to consider these word counts estimates only and rely on dedicated programs such as PractiCount or AnyCount for more accurate counting.

As a final note, to make this feature available in other folders*, click the Options button in the ribbon and select Change folder and search options.

Then, in the View tab, select Apply to Folders.

*Special thanks to Iwan Davies for pointing this out.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Adding Spellchecking Languages to Trados Studio

There may be cases where Trados Studio's spellchecking option appears greyed out with a "Language Not Supported" legend. For example, this is what happens if I have a project that has Venezuelan Spanish as the target language.

Luckily, there is an easy solution to this.

1. Go to the App Store and download the Hunspell Dictionary Manager. In this example, I'm using the integrated app store from within Trados Studio 2021.

2. After installing the app and restarting Trados Studio, go to the Welcome view and launch the app.

3. Under "Select appropriate dictionary language", select a base language, that is, a language variant that is in the list and that could be used as the basis to build your new dictionary. In my example, Venezuelan Spanish is not supported, but there are a number of Spanish variants that are in the list, several of which I've added before via this procedure. I will select Mexican Spanish as my base dictionary in this example.

4. Under "Select new dictionary language", select the unsupported language that you need to create a dictionary for. In my example, this will be Venezuelan Spanish.

5. Click Create. You will see a message appear saying that the dictionary has been successfully created. What this means is that a copy of the Mexican Spanish dictionary has been created and labeled Venezuelan Spanish.

6. Close the Hunspell Dictionary Manager app and restart Trados Studio. 

7. Now, the last step is to make sure that you've chosen Hunspell as your spellchecker. To do this, go to Options - Editor - Spelling.

Now your new language variant dictionary is enabled and your previously unsupported language is supported!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

SDL Trados Live: A New Way of Working!

SDL Trados Studio 2021 has brought us a new way of working that opens up exciting possibilities: SDL Trados Live.

In a nutshell, SDL Trados Live integrates cloud capabilities to SDL Trados Studio, even for freelance users.

What this means is that users can create a cloud project on our desktop version of the program and continue working on the cloud from any device with a browser, be it a tablet, a computer with or without SDL Trados Studio installed on it (great news for Mac users!), and even a smartphone. New projects can also be started entirely on the cloud and then either completed online using the Online Editor or opened on the desktop version of Trados Studio for a true hybrid experience. 

A mix of cloud-based and local projects in the Projects view in SDL Trados Studio

Cloud-based projects list in SDL Trados Live

Adjusting expectations

While SDL Trados Live offers many great features, I think it's important to understand from the get-go what the limitations are.

What is not possible at the time of the initial launch of SDL Trados Live is transferring a local desktop-only project to the cloud. If, and when, this feature becomes available, the power of SDL Trados Live will be significantly enhanced, in my opinion, as we will be able to move packages received from clients to the cloud, if needed.

The second thing that's not possible with a regular SDL Trados Live Essentials subscription, the one available by default to freelance translators, is sharing. This means that we can access our own cloud-based projects and resources, but we can't share them with a colleague who will be reviewing our work or collaborating with us on a large project, for example. This is possible with other types of subscriptions at higher pay tiers, the most basic of which is SDL Trados Live Teams.

Using SDL Trados Live

So, you have upgraded to SDL Trados Studio 2021 and now have an SDL Trados Live subscription. How do you get started? Below you'll find a few tips to make the process as smooth as possible.

Connecting to SDL Trados Live

Make sure you're logged in to Language Cloud, which now includes SDL Trados Live. Do this by going to the upper right corner of SDL Trados Studio and signing in with your SDL account credentials:

Once logged in, you can easily access SDL Trados Live by going to the SDL Trados Studio Welcome view and selecting Language Cloud and SDL Trados Live.

This will open a window in your browser. You are now in the cloud environment called SDL Trados Live.

Setting up your SDL Trados Live

When you are getting started with SDL Trados Live, the first suggestion you see in the Dashboard is to Add Customers.

While you may be tempted to skip this step and try to jump right into project creation, it's not a good idea to do so, as you will find that you actually need to have some data set up prior to creating your projects. The time you invest in this step will save you time and frustration down the line.

Even if you don't want to add each individual customer here, it's a good idea to set up a general "customer" under which to organize your projects. For example, if you translate ES-EN and EN-ES, you may want to set up at least two, one called "All customers, EN-ES" and another one called "All customers, ES-EN". This makes sense because your resources (translation memories and termbases) can then be easily assigned to these "customers" when creating new projects.

Right after you create a customer, you will be asked to add a Project Template. Fill in the required fields and click Next. 

You will now be asked to create a New Translation Engine. A Translation Engine is a central location where you have all your Translation Memories, Machine Translation engines and Termbases, along with your language selections for that specific template. Follow the prompts and either add existing resources or create new ones as you go. 

Remember that any new translation memories and termbases you create will be stored on the cloud. You can easily export the contents of your local translation memories and termbases and import them into these new cloud-based resources to have access to your existing local assets while working online.

While you are given the choice to enter all three resources: translation memories, machine translation engines and termbases, you don't have to add them all. For example, in this case I chose not to add a machine translation engine.

I could create a separate template for this customer that includes a machine translation engine, and select the appropriate template when creating a new project, depending on whether machine translation is to be used or not.

Once you are done setting up your Translation Engine, click Next to go to the Settings step. Here you can have a look at the default settings and change anything to your liking. Once you're satisfied with the settings, click Save.

At this point, you can create your first project based on your newly-created template. Before you do that, though, you may want to take a detour and import any existing translation memories or termbases you want to use (remember that ones you've just created are completely empty at this time).

Importing data into translation memories

To import data into your translation memory, go to Resources - Translation Memories, select your TM and click Import.

Here you can drag and drop your files or find them on your computer by browsing.

These are the file types you can import into your TM, so you have a wide array of choices, including the ability to directly select an *.sdltm file for import.

Importing data into termbases

You may also want to import existing data into your cloud-based termbases. To do that, go Resources -Terminology and select your cloud-based termbase.

The next step is selecting the file you want to import. These are the options:

As you can see, there is no direct import for *.sdltb files, so you will need to convert your local termbase to one of the acceptable file formats. You can do this easily with the Glossary Converter app, downloadable from the SDL App Store, which is now integrated into SDL Trados Studio 2021, making it easier than ever to download and install apps. Just go the Welcome view in Trados Studio and follow the steps below.