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(Continued)

Now, if you want to use a style in several pages, or even the whole site, you have to copy the same styles in the header of each page. Not too smart. The solution was to write all the styles in a separate file, called a style sheet, then to link each page to the style sheet. That way, you write the styles only one time, and in each page, you have a link in the header that looks like this:

<link href="stylesheet.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">

A style sheet file’s extension is “*.css”. Now, as a translator, this is relatively important to know because it determines how the text will be displayed and where. The same page can look completely different with and without the style sheet. With experience, you can look at the source code and “see” the page (No, this ain’t the Matrix yet ;-). That helps a lot, because you don’t need to check out the page in the browser every few minutes.

Anyway, this should cover the basic HTML you need to translate. When you get a bit more time, pick one of the many HTML tutorials on the Web and learn about tables and frames.

How to translate HTML

There are two reliable, proven methods and many wrong methods. Amongst the wrong methods, the most populars are:

• Opening the HTML file in Word, working there and “Save as a web page”. This changes the code and turns it into a complete mess that is twice the size of the original page, cause display issues no-end and is about as popular for search engines as a dead cat at a wedding. If you want to hear a webmaster scream, go ahead.
• Translating in other WYSIWYG editors (What You See Is What You Get). They mess up the code as well, usually, while I don’t know any as bad as Word for that matter, save perhaps frontpage. Dreamweaver is an exception to that rule, but a costly one if you are simply translating.
• Using a translation software that hides the tags. That can be very attractive for beginners, but if you understood the section above properly, you will see why this is not a good solution at all. An example of such software is Catscraddle. That software is very smooth but will cause problems because you don't know what is what, and the sentences are cut midway if the page use formating. If it was doing a correct job, I would be the first to use it because I love the interface and it's very fast. Unfortunately, the basic concept is VERY flawed and if you want to do a professional job, just don’t.

The correct methods include:

• Open the page in an HTML editor, preferably one that support color coding of the tags. There are many freewares. I like very much AceHTML, but that's far from the only one available. Either way, translate the text and move the tags as needed. I.e.:

English: John’s <i>girlfriend</i> is quite cute.
French: La <i>petite amie</i> de John est plutôt mignone.

As you can see, you have to decide where the tags should be in the target language.
Working that way can be a pain, but if you know your code and are careful, the output will be irreproachable. However, you must stay very alert not to forget or erase tags by mistake.

• Preparing the file, then using a CAT like Wordfast or Trados to translate it, then restoring the HTML format. Not all CAT work the same way, but remember that professional handling of website translation *requires* quick access to the tags. The ability to move, edit or delete tags is not optional, it’s a must. With Trados, you can also use TagEditor, although you may miss the flexibility that comes with working in Word. Moving/deleting tags can be quite clumsy in TE.

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