Divide up your computer screen


If your source material comes in electronic format, such as a .pdf, other image file, or Word file, as opposed to a printed piece of paper, you will want to learn how to divide up your monitor. Some people like to print out their electronic files, but I consider this a waste of paper and entirely unnecessary.

If you will be working in a different program than the one you received (for example, a .pdf file opens in Adobe Acrobat and you might be typing your translation into a Word file), you will want to position your two programs so that you can view them both comfortably. If you have a very large monitor or two of them at the same time (using several computer monitors), you could place the programs next to one another. But I like to work on a small light laptop, with lots of batteries so that I can go out into nature, and I find it perfectly acceptable to work on such a small screen by having the two programs positioned one above the other. That is the one great advantage of windows, that concept which Bill Gates took from Macintosh and brought it to the archaic world of Dos. On the top right hand corner of each program (even file), you will see three little icons

divide-up-your-computer-screen-2-translation-jobsThe left one minimizes your program or file (puts it out of view and sends it to your task bar at the bottom of your screen), the second one maximises it so that it takes up the entire screen, or allows you to resize the program and position it where you want to. The last X closes the program or file.

In this case you see two sets of these icons, the top row being for the program, and the second row for the file embedded within it.

Position the source document so that it covers the top half of the computer monitor, and the target (often Word) so that it covers the bottom half of the monitor. You can push the upper window high up so that the bar is partially covered, and push the bottom window down so some unimportant functions are not visible. Within each program you can remove from view all toolbars <how to..> you will not need, to maximise the viewable document within each program. At the middle horizontal section, the programs can overlap a bit, covering up parts you do not need. Play around with this for a while and I find it no problem to translate with both documents visible on my little laptop monitor.

To jump between the two programs, simply alt tab it, by holding down the ALT key, then pressing TAB once Command TAB on Mac). Or press the TAB key enough times until you get to the program you want. Once you get to the program once, pressing alt tab again gets you back to the previous program. In this manner you can quickly jump back and forth between the two programs without depending on the mouse, which will only slow you down.

When in either of the windows, the up or down arrow should be enough to navigate in the document. Or some of the Word shortcut keys could help with this < .

If you are translating within the same program, like Word, sometimes it happens that you view one file while translating into another. So you can divide up your “panes” in Word in the same manner, so that one file takes up the top half of the computer monitor while another the bottom half. You can also customise your Word to create a shortcut key to jump between one file and another, by going to Tools > Customise > Keyboard icon > category “Windows and Help” > Next Window. Once that is selected, put your cursor into the “Press new shortcut key” box and select your shortcut combination (I like to use two: ALT F1 and ALT `) and press Assign. You can program your Word in many ways like this, and customise it in general, as explained later.

To repeat, if your source and translation files are both within Word, Alt Tab might not work (depends on your version of Windows). If you can view both files within the same Word window, create your shortcut key as per the instructions above to jump between them.

So make sure you set everything up for yourself and learn shortcut keys, not automatically always depending on your mouse, because every little corner you cut will eventually add up to higher income.



Head Honcho at KENAX
After translating and managing translation projects for more than 20 years, I'm happy to teach others the ropes and move on to other interests. My greatest perk from this profession is that it has given me the freedom to work when and where I want, and eventually to loosen the straps and travel freely around the world.

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