10 Vital Keyboard Shortcuts for Translators

Translators often have to meet some pretty tight deadlines. When every minute counts, having the necessary time-saving tools close at hand is vital.

Let’s go over the keyboard shortcuts that will save you precious seconds and mean you can deliver the perfect translation every time.

The big hitters

• Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y

These two keyboard shortcuts go hand in hand and can in many ways save you from some very unpleasant situations.

Firstly, Ctrl + Z lets you undo your last action. Say that you had accidentally deleted your translation for the phrase you’ve spent the last few minutes struggling with, simply press these two keys simultaneously and your sentence reappears!

Meanwhile, Ctrl + Y lets you redo your previous action. Maybe you thought it over and that tremendous sentence that you had just recovered no longer meets your standards. Press Ctrl and Y and it’s as if it never existed! You’ll be pleased to know that you can also use this shortcut for a number of programs besides Word.

• Ctrl + A

This shortcut means you avoid scrolling through a 60-page document that you want to copy all the content from; it does it for you! With this shortcut, you can select all the text in a Word, PDF or even Excel document and it works for all situations, including your homepage or online.

• Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V

These keyboard shortcuts are better known as “copy-and-paste”, indispensable for any computer-user and even more so for a translator. Once you have highlighted the right section of text with your mouse, press Ctrl + C, place your cursor where you want to paste the text and press Ctrl + V.

And like magic, there it is! It’s child’s play really. The Ctrl + V shortcut is also handy for things like images or emojis.

The unsung heroes

• “Windows” + V

Very few people know this shortcut and yet…have you ever lost the word or image that you had copied an hour ago? This shortcut will open the clipboard showing all the previous information that you had copied using Ctrl + C.

Once open, you can navigate with the up and down arrows, choose what interests you and press the Enter key to paste. Bear in mind that the last thing you pasted to the clipboard will be automatically chosen when you next use Ctrl + V.

• Ctrl + Shift + N

Is your file explorer a sea of documents? A dumping ground where you are the only one who understands anything? Maybe the time has come to reorganise your workspace, to create some folders with their own subfolders. The Ctrl + Shift + N shortcut lets you create a folder for your scattered documents and prompts you to give it a useful name.

A clear, well-organised workspace will obviously mean you can increase your efficiency as you will be able to find the documents you need straight away. We recommend developing a classification system for your folders and subfolders. (Remember that depending on your keyboard, the Shift key might show a small arrow pointing upwards rather than the word ‘shift’. Whatever your keyboard, it will be found above the Ctrl key.)

• Ctrl + F2

This shortcut is the perfect complement to the one above. You have now created and named your folder but a typo has snuck into the folder name. Don’t panic, it happens to the best of us, even translators!

Click on the folder and press Ctrl + F2. You can get rid of the ugly mistake in a flash, then save the name by pressing Enter. This is a useful quick fix for any type of document in your file explorer.

• Alt + Shift

Have you changed your keyboard so you can write in your second language? Alt + Shift will get it back to normal! This shortcut is hugely helpful when you work with different languages. Each language has a specific keyboard layout for use in any Windows system, whatever the letters and symbols displayed on the keys.

Press and hold Alt with the Shift key and the menu of languages and settings available on your computer will stay open. Scroll through them by pressing Shift again and release Alt once you have chosen the language you need.

• Ctrl + Alt + Prnt Scr

This shortcut is designed with any person using two screens in mind. The Prnt Scr key lets you take a screenshot of everything your computer is showing and saves it on the clipboard (remember Windows Key + V? This is a shortcut that you will come to rely on).

However, there is one problem: you only want to screenshot one screen. Simply press Prnt Scr and the Ctrl and Alt keys at the same time and only the screen with the cursor will be saved. All that remains is to paste the screenshot with Ctrl + V!

Quick tip – if you want to save this screenshot, open Paint (available on all Windows devices) and paste the image there. You can name and save it in the folder of your choice.

With these extremely handy keyboard shortcuts, you have now had a glimpse at some of the secret weapons in a translator’s arsenal. They might seem like no big deal to begin with but these mean many of us can meet the deadlines set for us, and meeting deadlines is a point of pride for BeTranslated!

Do you need to translate your content? You’re in the right place: BeTranslated will take care of it for you! If you have any questions or would like a free no-obligation quote, get in touch with us today.