The latest lingo buzz...

The internet is buzzing with articles, blog posts and tweets about the translation and language worlds. With so much information whizzing across your screens it can be tricky to stay on top of what's going on out there. But never fear, Lingo Woman is here! If you want to keep up with the latest buzz, this is the place to be. Grab a coffee, kick back and enjoy!

Ever wondered what would happen if you mapped every geotagged Wikipedia article and then analysed it for language use? That's exactly what a team of Oxford University researchers have been finding out and it makes for some pretty interesting results! Check out the maps that were created here...

Speaking of language maps, Eric Fischer has created a fantastic map of the world's languages as used on Twitter. You can see the map in full here but this article also provides an interesting region-by-region breakdown.

For all you Twitter users out there, Rose Newell over at The Translator's Teacup has developed a nifty dedicated #xl8 URL shortener. You can read her post about it here. It's the perfect Twitter tool for translators as it creates a URL with the xl8 reference already buried right in there, saving valuable space in those 140-character tweets!

In other translator tool news, David Turnbull over at Legally Speaking has put together a list of handy Chrome extensions for translators. From split screens to a multiple tab organiser, there's something in there for every Chrome-using translator. Read the list right here.

Have you ever wondered what the French really mean by their facial expressions? Check out this humorous guide to interpreting the French face. You'll never be confused again!

Another article sure to raise a laugh or two is the top 20 picks in Lonely Planet's Lost in Translation photo contest. Travellers have submitted funny and confusing translations from all around the world. There are some real corkers in there!

On a more festive note, a 'Christmas vs. Xmas' video over on Merriam-Webster explains the surprising history of the controversial abbreviation 'Xmas'. Definitely worth a listen.

And finally, for those of you struggling to decide what to buy your translator pals this Christmas (or any other pals for that matter!), check out the recently released book by Alejandro Moreno-Ramos 'Mox Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation'. If previous Mox cartoons are anything to go by it's sure to be an amusing read. I certainly hope to get one in my stocking this year!

Yours truly,
Lingo Woman

Lingo Woman's Microsoft Word formatting tips for translators #3

Inserting Dot Leaders

I like to share any useful Microsoft Word formatting tips that I come across when translating. I'm sure if it's something I find useful, then other freelance translators out there may find it useful too. 

I've been working a lot lately with scanned pdf documents, which means spending a lot of time recreating source document formatting. And something that's been super useful (and time-saving) for me with this type of work has been finally figuring out how to insert a dot leader. "What's a dot leader and why would I ever need to use one of those?!" I hear you ask...

Well, have you ever tried to recreate a table of contents and wondered how on earth to insert that long line of dots leading from the text on the left to the corresponding page number on the right? A bit like this:

Now of course I realise that it is possible to insert an automatic table of contents which will do this sort of thing for you. But what if you just want to manually create a table of contents?

I have to admit that in the past I've attempted to 'recreate the look' by simply holding down the full stop button. Any of you out there who have tried this will know that all you end up with is a big old mess, with a wobbly line of page numbers down the right-hand side of the page. Not good. So, after lots of research and googling (trust me, it takes a while to figure it out when your google search goes something along the lines of 'how on earth do I insert that long line of dots across the page in a table of contents from the text on the left all the way across to the page number on the right').

Eventually I figured it out and, as it turns out, it's really easy to do (especially once you work out that the technical name for that 'big long line of dots in a table of contents' is actually a 'dot leader'. So here's how you do it:

  • Type the text that you want to appear before the leader, e.g. 'INTRODUCTION'...
  • Then, on the horizontal ruler above your document, click where you want the tab to stop (i.e. where you want the page number to be). Like this...

  • Next click the Page Layout tab...

  • Then click the Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher...

  • Then click the 'Tabs' button...

  • Under 'Leader', click the leader option you want (dots)...

  • Click OK
  • Now press the TAB key on your keyboard and, hey presto, the dot leader is inserted! Now you can add in your page number, so it should all look something like this:

NB: When you press Enter to start a new line, the format stop is automatically carried over for you so you don't have to repeat the whole process again for each line.

Easy, right?!