Working in Google Docs

One client sometimes sends me jobs that the end client requires to be done in Google Docs.

In this particular case the translatable text was broken down to sentence level chunks, or, in some cases, even to sub-sentence level chunks, and the whole thing arranged in a spreadsheet. Excel has been around for quite some time, and most CAT tools can easily handle Excel files.  Now, with the source text residing somewhere up in the “cloud”, the translator is definitely not up in cloud number nine.

Here’s how I handle such assignments:

  1. I receive a link from the client that I can open in a browser to access a gmail account. Username and password are sent by the client.
  2. I open the assigment by clicking on a link that appears in an email on the client’s gmail account.
  3. Google Docs opens. I copy the translatable column and paste it to a regular .doc file.
  4. I set up a project in my CAT tool, import the .doc file and do the actual translation.
  5. I copy the translated column from the target .doc file back into Google Docs.
  6. I send an email to the client confirming that I’ve completed the translation job.

I might as well enter my translations right into Google Docs, without having to bother with any copy-and-paste or firing up my CAT tool.  But then I would miss out on the opportunity to provide a consistent translation. For this particular client and subject the last time I did a translation project was over a year ago.  By doing the job the longer way, I managed to maintain consistency and style, along the lines of all related earlier projects.

But then again – Google Docs is a very good web based emulation of desktop spreadsheet programs. You can hide and unhide columns and rows, change column widths, add comments to cells, change colours, etc. Probably much more too, but I needed only these basic functions for this particular job.

And if I ever wondered why an end client would prefer using Google Docs to more straightforward solutions such as Excel – well, as it turns out, the end-end-end client happens to be Google itself 🙂


About bancsaba

Discovering the world, step by step, word by word
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