PerfectIt: a good addition to your editing arsenal

One of my longstanding and favorite clients recently suggested that their translators and editors start using PerfectIt, an editing tool that works within MS Word. After trying it, I found its features very helpful for certain types of translations. This is not an affiliate deal, but I think into-English translators should consider adding PerfectIt to their arsenal of editing tools.

PerfectIt is not really a spelling and grammar checker, but rather an enforcer of consistency, and of consistent style and formatting. I may find it more helpful than many people do, because I don’t have the best internal consistency-checker. I’m the person who’s always scrolling back through the document, wondering if I used CEO or Chief Executive Officer back in the previous section. PerfectIt is great for just these kinds of things. Once installed, it works within MS Word, via a button on the navigation ribbon. After launching PerfectIt, the look and feel are pretty similar to MS Word’s own spelling and grammar checker. The tool cycles through a variety of checks, finds any problems, and asks you whether you want to fix them or leave them.

As an example, I used PerfectIt last night to check a 5,000 word translation. I had translated this file in Trados–which has some built in QA checks. Then I had spelling and grammar-checked it in MS Word. Still, PerfectIt found many areas for improvement, such as:

  • Words that I hyphenated in some places but not others (underutilized under-utilized)
  • Words where I had used two different spellings that are both correct, but inconsistent (gray, grey)
  • Expressions that I capitalized in some places but not others (the Government’s agenda, the government’s agenda)
  • Bullet items that ended in inconsistent punctuation; PerfectIt asks you whether you want to end bullet items with no punctuation, a comma, or a semicolon, and then it enforces that rule
  • Inconsistent capitalization in section headings (Initial Caps versus ALL CAPS)
  • Acronyms that I defined more than once instead of only in the first instance
  • Various other inconsistencies that are hard to find in Word unless you enjoy macros and regular expressions: numbers below 10 not spelled out, improper thousands separators in numbers converted from European format, etc.

The checking process for a 5,000 word document took about 10 minutes.

Of course the hitch is that your document must be in MS Word, because PerfectIt does not work as a standalone program or as a plugin (plug-in? plug in?) to any other program. You could (sort of) hack a similar process together using Word macros and regular expressions, or make an extensive QA checklist and run it manually. But I do think PerfectIt is worth a look for most translations. There’s a 14-day free trial, and the paid version is US $99.

Readers, any feedback on PerfectIt or other editing tools?

22 Responses to “PerfectIt: a good addition to your editing arsenal”
  1. Inge Noeninger October 11, 2017
    • Corinne McKay October 11, 2017
  2. Sue Anderson October 11, 2017
    • Corinne McKay October 11, 2017
      • Victoria Patience October 12, 2017
        • Corinne McKay October 12, 2017
  3. Tracy Miyake October 11, 2017
    • Corinne McKay October 11, 2017
  4. Melissa Harkin October 11, 2017
    • Corinne McKay October 12, 2017
  5. Geraldine October 12, 2017
    • Corinne McKay October 12, 2017
  6. Juliana F. Pazetti October 12, 2017
    • Corinne McKay October 12, 2017
  7. Michael Wells October 12, 2017
    • Corinne McKay October 12, 2017
  8. Catharine Cellier-Smart October 12, 2017
    • Corinne McKay October 12, 2017
  9. Reed James October 13, 2017
    • Corinne McKay October 13, 2017
  10. Antoinette Karuna October 14, 2017
  11. Max de Montaigne October 16, 2017

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