Wordfast Classic User Manual

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Wordfast Classic (WFC) is a Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) program designed as a Microsoft Word add-on. Its primary purpose is to assist professional translators dealing with Ms-Word documents. WFC combines three core technologies: Segmentation, Translation Memory (TM), Terminology Recognition (TR).

Wordfast Classic First Steps

Translation Memory

This section lets you select a TM or create a new one, define TM attributes, set TM rules, set up a Background TM, set up a remote TM with Wordfast Server or Wordfast Anywhere, and setup machine translation.



Disclaimer: this feature converts from US Customary Units to Metric, and back. For other measures (such as British Units, or the older Imperial Units), the set of signatures must be modified. The default set of conversion signatures is an editable text file located in the same folder as wordfast.dot. It would be called WfCnv-en2fr.txt in our example below (English to French). Advanced users can edit that file for better accuracy. Wordfast Classic's AutoSuggest feature is equipped with an automatic conversion utility as of version 6.28, January 2016.

The mission statement for the WFC converter is:

  • to detect possible units or measures in the source text based on a set of signatures;
  • to suggest the most likely target-language conversion(s) to save time, with rounded values to save time;
  • to work straight off the box with no configuration, yet be customizable by power users;
  • to be a push operation, meaning, the conversions are automatically suggested to the translator based on an automatic detection process. There should be no pull operation, or the need to go get conversions by copy-pasting, selecting, pressing buttons, etc.



Word/character count & billing

Special care

This section deals with expert uses of Wordfast for tasks that require special attention. Wordfast does not guarantees operation because of its very nature. Wordfast is an add-on to a complex program (Ms-Word) that handles documents which, in the course of their lives, have been handled very differently by different people using different version sof Ms-Word (on PCs or Macs), through different formats (DOc, Rtf, Html, etc.) and sometimes very ill-conceived (many people use textboxes when tables, or a much simpler layout, should be used).

The special care section deals with tasks that are possible with Wordfast, but which need special attention in their execution, as well as a good knowledge of Ms-Word. Beginners should train themselves, or seek professional training, before engaging in projects outlined in the Special Care section. It is out of question for any translator to accept a "Special care" job wihout a prior understanding of the risks involved.


Concordance search

TM and glossary management

WFC segmentation rules


Glossary of terms used in this manual

Appendix I - Understanding segmentation & TM

Appendix II - Language & spell check settings

A document can contain text written in different languages. In Ms-Word, the language is a text attribute, just as font, colour, etc. The Tools/Language menu is used to apply a certain language to a selection. This language setting is important, for example, when spell-checking.

Usually, the client will send you a document where all the text has the source language (e.g. "English") as attribute. When translating, it is important that the target text receives the target language (e.g. "French") as attribute. This allows you to spell-check the target segments using the proper dictionary. This should be set up in WFC's Setup/Segments tab.

WFC will apply the specified target language (or default language, as specified in WFC/Setup/Segments) to the target segment. If, however, you have chosen the "leave unchanged" setting, WFC will not redefine the target language.

Appendix III - Macro samples

Appendix IV - Advanced Find/Replace

Note: the Wordfast Knowledge Base, accessible from http://www.wordfast.net has more contents on the following topic.

Ms-Word's Find/Replace feature (FR) accepts wildcards and advanced features. A good understanding of FR can save the day on numerous occasions. I had to oversee translation projects where, to my astonishment, translators were spending hours executing visual/manual Find-Replace actions that could have been safely executed automatically.

Sure, FR actions can be destructive if they're not executed properly, since they can modify unwanted parts of the document. On a short document, a visual/manual FR can be preferred, since setting up and testing a smart and safe FR can take a little while.

Note that PlusTools offers a FR feature that can be run over many files, both in manual and automatic mode, with the possibility to edit the document and restart the FR where it was interrupted.


All trademarks noted are the property of their respective owners.

Ms-Word, Excel, Acces, PowerPoint are trademark of Microsoft Corp.

Translator's Workbench is a trademark of Trados Corporation