Tag Archives: softbreakhyphen

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When converting a PDF file to a DOC/DOCX file for translation, you may end up with a bunch of “Optional Hyphens”—or as SDL Trados 2009 refers to them, “softbreakhyphens”.  Academic publications are particularly affected.  These symbols in your source text can trigger some annoying tag verification errors in Trados.


What’s so irritating?  Beyond the useless tag verification errors, the hyphens can also confuse tools like Lingvo X3 and prevent matching within translation memories. There can literally be hundreds of these irritations in an article.  There are no less than five (highlighted in yellow) in the abstract below. 

The annoying hyphens in this PDF are highlighted in yellow.

They don’t go away, even after converting a PDF to DOC/DOCX.

After converting to DOC/DOCX, the hyphens remain.

Here’s a trick to quickly get rid of them before parsing the converted DOC/DOCX file with translation software such as SDL Trados.

  1. Bring up the Find and Replace dialog. (CTRL+H)
  2. For the “Find what” field, select “Optional Hyphen” from the Special drop down menu.
  3. Leave the “Replace with” field empty.
  4. Click “Replace All”.

Say goodbye to the unhelpful hyphens.