The Magic of AutoHotKey

In a previous article, I talked about how certain pieces of hardware can drastically improve a translator’s workflow. One particular add-on I fell in love with is the Stream Deck, a multi-purpose keyboard that was originally designed for live streaming of games, but that can be used for pretty much anything you can imagine. Since I’m a total nerd, I decided to give it a spin for a couple of months, and it’s been a real help when juggling with multiple tasks.

However, the Stream Deck alone isn’t enough to power through all your assignments. While you can make some pretty basic macros with the included software, anything that requires more than just a few key presses requires a different solution – which is where AutoHotKey becomes useful. If you’re like me, you’ll often have to juggle between different servers, clients and tasks, and you want to automate the “non-translating” parts of your projects to spend more time on what matters – the quality of your final delivered translation.

Therefore, I made a few “quick and dirty” macros on AutoHotKey, a program that basically simulates keystrokes (and many, MANY other things) to automate certain actions. You’ll find a selection below:

Auto-connect to a server:

MemoQ has a function to connect to online projects, and if you have a lot of clients, scrolling down the list to find the right one can be time-consuming. With this macro, at the press of a button, you’ll automatically open the tasklist of this server:

WinActivate, memoQ dashboard
SendInput, ^!e
Sleep, 500
SendInput, {Tab}
SendRaw, url_of_the_server
Sleep, 200
SendInput, {Enter}

Note that SendInput, ^!e is a way to tell the program to simulate CTRL + SHIFT + E, which is my shortcut to “Check out from server”. Make sure to review and change this line based on your own settings.

Launch Pretranslate:

SendInput ^{F7}
Sleep, 200
SendInput, {Tab 9}
SendInput, {Enter}

This macro allows you to bypass all the Pretranslate options and just use your last settings (which is always the same in my case). Again, my shortcut to open Pretranslate is CTRL + F7, so change your SendInput ^{F7} if necessary.

Copy/paste term to any dictionary

SendInput ^c
Run chrome.exe "" " --new-tab "
Sleep, 500
SendInput ^v
Sleep, 500
SendInput {Enter}

As the name suggests, this macro automatically copies and pastes any term you highlight and inserts it into your dictionary of choice. In this particular example, I used Reverso because it is one of my favorite tools not just to find definitions, but also synonyms, in-context usage and more, but it also works on Wordreference and any website that has an automatic entry field.

If you run Firefox, replace chrome.exe by firefox.exe, or iexplore.exe for IE (but why would you still use that?)

When it comes to simple (or even advanced) automation, the sky is the limit, and you don’t need to have much in-depth knowledge about coding to make any script that simplifies your life. As a matter of fact, many translators already did – just Google “MemoQ AutoHotkey” or “Trados AutoHotkey” and you’ll find plenty of resources!

Since it’s the season of giving, I’ve also created a few custom icons based on the Clarity icon pack for all those scripts. Feel free to use them!

Download all icons as .zip

Do you use macros in your daily work, in your CAT tool or otherwise? ‘Tis the season of sharing, so don’t hesitate to spread your knowledge with your fellow translators!

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