Microsoft Excel

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Microsoft Excel is arguably the world's most popular spreadsheet application.

Excel is used for a wide range of purposes. The application is often used whenever information or data need to be entered in a structured form. With the help of Excel functions and formulas, the entered data can be used for various calculations. The data can also be processed graphically, e.g. in the form of charts.

In professional settings, Excel is used e.g. for simple lists (task lists, vacation planning lists, etc.) or for basic accounting processes (cash basis accounting, recording of revenues figures, etc.). In the field of financial controlling, for example, Excel is used as a tool for creating balance sheets and income statements. However, Excel is often also used for other purposes, e.g. to enter and maintain terminology or to extract texts from databases in table form for translation.

By default, an Excel file consists of a workbook that initially contains three worksheets. Each worksheet consists of columns and rows. The intersection of a column and a row is the cell, which is identified by a combination of a letter and a number (e.g. B3).

Excel files come in various formats. Currently, the most common format is XLSX. This format was introduced along with Excel 2007. Meanwhile, it has largely replaced the older XLS format. The main difference between the two formats is that XLSX is XML-based and thus corresponds to an open standard, while XLS is a proprietary Microsoft format. Apart from these two formats, there are other, less frequently used Excel formats, such as XLSM for Excel macro-enabled workbooks. Excel files can also be saved in the CSV format. This text-based format is often used to exchange various kinds of data (e.g. terminology data).

First Steps

Excel files often contain lots of numbers and formulas and relatively little text to translate. For this reason, the Across Translator Edition automatically hides cells that exclusively contain numbers, formulas, dates, or times. Only the content that actually needs to be translated is displayed.

Before translating an Excel file, the translator should open the document in Excel and especially check for the following features:

Hidden Content

Excel files may have content that is not to be displayed and that is therefore hidden in the Excel files. This may be individual cells or entire rows, columns, or worksheets. The customer must be asked whether hidden content is to be contained in the target document and whether it should be translated. (Tip: Using the default settings of the Across Translator Edition, the translator would have to translate hidden cells, but he would not translate hidden rows, columns, and worksheets. If necessary, this behavior can be changed under >>Tools >>System Settings... >>Document Settings >>Excel 2007-2016.)

Content Not to be Translated/Multilingual Excel Files

Before starting with the translation, it should be clarified whether the Excel file contains any areas not to be translated. As mentioned above, Excel is sometimes used to enter terminology or other language resources in multiple languages, of which usually only one language needs to be translated. In this case, the customer must be asked which content (e.g. columns) needs to be translated. (Tip: Using document settings templates, content not to be translated can be hidden. This can easily be done as follows: In the document settings of Excel, click New to create a new template. Then click Add... to define the area to be hidden.)

Translating Excel Files with the Across Translator Edition

When translating Excel files, there is usually no need for observing any Excel specifics, as typical content such as numbers and formulas is normally automatically hidden (see above). Normally, the translator therefore merely needs to translate texts.

Tips and Tricks

Final Document Review

Upon completion of the translation and check-out of the target document from Across, the translated Excel file should be opened in Excel for a final review and any manual adjustments. For example, is all content displayed correctly? Or does the width or height of some columns and/or rows need to be adjusted?

Auto-adjustment of Dates and Times

If possible, Excel will automatically interpret dates and times and display them in the standard format of the locale activated on the respective computer. (If, for example, a German locale is currently selected, a date will automatically be displayed in the standard German date format. If, however, the US locale is activated, the date will automatically be displayed in the standard US date format.) Therefore, it is usually not necessary to translate these dates and times.