Tags are pieces of information that describe the data or content that they are assigned to. They are typically used in CAT tools to indicate the portions of a text that have different formatting (such as distinct fonts, font sizes, or font colors) and they are also used as placeholders. They are important because they help translators and editors guarantee that the layout and formatting of the source text is preserved in the target text.
There are two main types:
They correspond to text formats such as bold, italic, superscript, subscript, non-breaking space, among others. Most of them are paired tags, that is, for each opening tag, there should be a matching closing tag. Both affect the content between them. However, some of them are individual, as is the case of line break and non-breaking space tags.
They are replaced by specific elements (such as dates, email addresses, phone numbers, etc). In contrast with formatting tags, they always work individually, i.e., there are no opening or closing tags.
In the following images, there are some examples of tags from different CAT tools:
Different CAT tools offer the possibility to hide or show tags in different formats (with a number or with more detailed information of the type of tag). Some CAT tools show tags with a default format that cannot be changed, even though sometimes they show information about their content or the type of format they represent when hovering over the tag. However, other tools, such as SDL Trados Studio, give us the possibility to select how to see them and even let us hide them.
Moreover, when working with tags it is crucial to consult the source text in order to be aware of the content and format of the text that is being translated. It is not advisable to hide tags, since doing so can bring about formatting problems or difficulties with the correct processing of the bilingual files due to missing tags that were omitted because they were not visible.
In SDL Trados Studio, tags can be selected in the following formats:
It is important that the same tags in the source segment are present in the target segment, in order to avoid mismatches when running QA (Quality Assurance) tools such as Xbench or other QA features built-in in CAT tools. If a segment contains numerous tags, one simple way to ensure that all of them are included in the target is by using the “Copy source” feature and then overwriting only the English text with the related translation.
When translating, it is also key to consider the element that the placeholder will be replaced with, so as to avoid gender or number agreement mistakes or errors with the order of the structure: