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memoQ 9: Aligning

Aligning is the process of matching a monolingual source text with a monolingual target text to produce a bilingual document where the segments can be reused for leverage.

There are standalone alignment tools but memoQ has a built-in alignment tool in the LiveDocs function.
For full instructions, see memoQ help: https://help.memoq.com/8-2/en/index.html?alignment.html

Opening an alignment project

To start aligning an alignment pair, linguists should follow these steps:

  1. Check out the project with the alignment pairs
  2. Open the LiveDocs pane
  3. Select the alignment pair (identifiable by a green plus-shaped icon) from the list of documents in the corpus and click View/Edit to start editing

This opens the alignment pair in the Alignment editor which has its very own ribbon.
memoQ tries to align the files automatically as well as it can, so any alignment pair will usually be partially aligned at this point.
The linguist's task is to manually correct any issues with the automatic alignment.

Alignment process

First of all, there may be a Edit Translation button in your view. This is visible in multi-language projects only. Click it to allow editing of the alignment.

During the manual alignment process, the linguist will process the alignment pairs and make sure that the segments match correctly. Formatting, tags and content should be identical in both source and target. The linguist can edit the segments on either side and correct both formatting differences and linguistic errors.

Generally there is no need to review each and every link in the alignment grid – especially not if you are confident that the second text is the translation of the first. A quick overview would tell you if this is the case. However, there might be differences: for example, some text might be omitted from the translation or added to it.
If both documents are of the same format, it might be enough to skim through the alignment. You might want to watch for the following:

  1. Two segments are linked, but their length is very different
  2. Two segments are linked, but their formatting is different
  3. A segment is not linked to another one in the other document

All these are indications of misalignment that should be corrected. Corrections are generally done in 3 steps:

  1. Adjusting content. Add or remove formatting from either source or target, correct punctuation, remove tags
  2. Split or join source or target segments. Segments can be split or joined with Ctrl+T and Ctrl+J just like in the translation editor. Use it to create identical segments on both sides.
  3. Re-link segments. (see below)

Linking segments

Different links have different colours.

  • Solid green lines represent links automatically created by the memoQ's alignment function (auto links). The darker the green color, the more confident the aligner is. There are four shades of green, but in practice, mostly two are actually encountered (strong vs. weak).
  • Solid blue lines represent links that you create manually. If you confirm a "green" link, that also becomes a manual link.
  • Pink curves represent cross links between segments located in different rows. Cross links are always created manually.
  • Short red sections ending in a circle represent insertions. Insertions are always created manually.

All alignment links must establish a one-to-one relationship. You cannot link a source segment to multiple target segments; if you wish to do this, you must join the target segments first. Likewise, you cannot link multiple source segments to a single target segment; if you wish to do this, you must join the source segments first.

If you notice a misalignment, first navigate back in the alignment grid to find the first segment that has a problem. Then, correct the content and manually reconnect the links:

  • To create a link manually, click one segment in the source document, and one in the target document. Creating a synchro link will display the two segments in the same row, and the link will be a solid blue line. Note that the previous links of either segment will be removed.
  • If the order of the segments is not the same on the source side and on the target side, you need to create cross-links. To create a cross-link, click one segment in the source document, and one in the target document, then press Ctrl+O. memoQ will not display the two segments in the same row – they remain where they were, and the link will be a solid pink curve.
  • If you wish to indicate that a segment has no counterpart in the other document, you can mark the segment as an insertion: click the segment, and then press Ctrl+I. memoQ will mark the segment with a short red line ending in a circle.

After correcting a misalignment, you can instruct memoQ to attempt to automatically align the rest of the document. To do this, press Ctrl+Shift+R. During the automatic alignment process, memoQ will not change manual links, cross links, manually joined or split segments. In addition, memoQ will not link those segments that were marked as insertions.

Alignment ribbon

  • Create Synchro Link links two segments, and aligns them in the same grid row. Synchro links are indicated by blue lines.
  • Create Cross Link links two segments leaving them in different grid rows. Cross links are indicated by pink curves. Shortcut key: Ctrl+O.
  • Mark As Insertion marks a segment as an insertion, that is, it tells memoQ's alignment algorithm to stop looking for a corresponding pair for the marked segment. The insertion mark is not visible. Shortcut key: Ctrl+I.
  • Remove Link or Insertion removes a link between two segments. Also removes insertion marks. Shortcut key: Ctrl+R.
  • Create Review Link links two segments, and aligns them based on monolingual review. This option is only available for monolingual review. Review links have the same blue lines as synchro links. Shortcut key: Ctrl+L.
  • Remove All Auto Links removes all segment links automatically created by memoQ's alignment algorithm. Auto links are indicated by green lines.
  • Confirm All Auto Links confirms all segment links automatically created by memoQ's alignment algorithm. Confirmed auto links become synchro links and are indicated by blue lines. Shortcut key: Ctrl+Shift+C.
  • Run Aligner runs the alignment algorithm again on the document pair. Respects manual links (synchro links and cross links) and insertion marks – that is, leaves them intact. Shortcut key: Ctrl+Shift+R.
  • Export To TM exports the alignment results – the synchro links and cross links confirmed by a user – to the primary translation memory of the active project.

Wrapping up the alignment session

Once all segments in the alignment session have been processed, the aligned segments need to be exported to a TM.
This will generally be performed by the PM (you need access rights to the TM which translators don't have by default).
Note that Export to TM only works from checked-out projects, not from the online project.

Click Export To TM to open the dialog with the same name.

Select the TM you have been instructed to send the aligned segments to. The only other settings to be aware of is the Only confirmed (blue) links tickbox.
Generally you need to untick this box as otherwise you will not send any pink crosslinks or green autolinks to the TM. But make sure all links in the alignment represent correct segment pairs before moving on.

Click OK to update the selected TM with your alignment.