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My first translation with Wordfast Classic

A basic translation session using Wordfast Classic consists of two steps.


  • Open the document to be translated, click the first "Next" toolbar icon.
  • The first source segment appears against a blue background. Segments may be delimited with purple markers which should not be deleted or edited. The lower box (either green, yellow, or grey) is the target segment. If Wordfast finds an exact or approximate translation, it will be displayed against a green or yellow background; otherwise, the lower box will be empty and grey. Type your translation in the target segment, that is, only in the lower (green, yellow, or grey) box and nowhere else.
  • Click the "Next" toolbar button or press Alt+Down to record or commit the current segment in your translation memory (TM) and move to the next one.
  • Translate the document, clicking "Next" to commit segments.
  • To end your translation session, click the End icon (or press Alt+End). If you validate the last segment of a document, Wordfast will end the translation session automatically.
  • When the entire document has been translated, you can verify your work (revise, proofread, run spellcheck, etc.). To edit a segment, press Alt+Down to open it, edit it, then close it with Alt+End.


After verifying your translation, click the Wordfast icon, click the Tools tab, select the translated document in the Select documents list, and click the Clean-up button. Answer "Yes" to the "Update memory" question only if you have revised or proofread your document without opening and closing segments as instructed above.


  • Backup your original (source) document before translating it. Never translate originals.
  • Alt+Home can be used to resume a translation session. It will re-open the segment that was last closed. If Alt+Home is used when the last document is not yet opened (as when you simply launch Ms-Word), it will re-open the last closed document, and resume translation at the last closed segment.
  • Always have hidden text visible, so that the source text and segment delimiters are visible, when verifying your translation. Ctrl+Comma provides a quick way to toggle hidden text off/on to "preview" the final translation; but always make hidden text visible again before you resume revision. Get accustomed to Word's Tools/Options/View dialog box and its various options.
  • See Pandora's box "ProcessQuotes" command to set up the way you want Wordfast to handle quotes. You may postpone this feature until you’re more comfortable with Wordfast, but it is highly recommended to use it (as well as "ProcessApostrophes" and "ProcessDashes"). The TM's quotes, apostrophes and dashes/hyphens are not always in tune with the particular requirements of your current project and/or client, which may vary. "ProcessQuotes" will save you time, and keep your TM streamlined.
  • During a session, you can select text further down in the document and force Wordfast to use that selected text as the next segment by pressing Shift+Alt+Down. This is useful when, for example, you need to skip part of a document. The selection will normally be somewhere further down in the document. But note that the selection can even be within the source segment, in which case you are actually shrinking your segment.
  • Wordfast does not consider isolated numbers as translatable items, and does not segment them. You can select such isolated numbers and force Wordfast to segment them. Finally, remember that Pandora's box has a switch ("SegmentAll") that will force Wordfast to segment isolated numbers.
  • Wordfast proposes the translation unit (TU) that has the highest match rate, if it finds more than one matching TU. The Alt+Right/Left Arrow shortcuts will display the next/previous matches by order of match value, among the top 10 matches found in the TM.
  • It is possible to work without the TM (when you do not wish to have propositions or to have Wordfast update the TM). The Shift+Alt+M shortcut will deactivate/reactivate the TM at any time.
  • If the source segment contains bookmarks, red markers will be positioned at the bookmark's beginning and end.