MET workshops

Excel for Wordies: accounting and workflow


A basic working knowledge of Excel can help translators, interpreters, and project managers with frequent tasks such as billing, quoting, accounting, and scheduling. Translators familiar with the program will translate spreadsheet files with greater ease, and confident users may also find it useful for quick glossary creation and as an organizing tool. However, the Excel interface has been known to discourage people more used to word processors. This workshop aims to build confidence and will assume little knowledge of the program.

Facilitator: Mary Fons i Fleming

Purpose: To understand the basic ways in which the Excel interface frustrates translators, especially by behaving differently from Word. To learn to use formulas and names for basic invoicing, quoting, and accounting purposes. To introduce uses of Excel for lists (e.g. personal task lists and task assignment lists) and text-based files (such as bank statement files exported from online banking services).

Description: Most translators, editors, and interpreters are familiar with the Word interface and with their favorite CAT tools, but many find Excel hard to deal with, whether they are translating spreadsheet text or trying to use its features. Learning Excel’s strengths and figuring out how to deal with some of its trickier aspects can help with translation jobs and streamline admin work. Each participant will practice skills using whatever version of Excel is installed on their computer. Further learning through informed trial and error will be encouraged and facilitated.

Structure: The workshop will begin with a basic introduction to the Excel interface, including data entry, navigation, formulas, and names. Participants will then be walked through a template for quotes, including formatting and formulas. Next, they will be shown an invoice and will modify the quotes template, step by step, to produce an invoice form with a similar appearance. They will be walked through the features of a very simple accounting template and will practice making changes to it. Finally, there will be a quick demonstration of using Excel to organize a schedule.

Who should attend? Translators, editors, or interpreters frequently stumped by Excel or wanting to learn more about its possibilities.

Outcome skills: Participants will be able to navigate Excel spreadsheets with confidence, understand spreadsheet formulas, and produce their own spreadsheets.

Pre-meeting information: If you are interested in attending this workshop or future editions, please fill in this brief survey to help fit the content to potential participants. Users should bring their own laptops with an installed working copy of Excel (preferably Excel 2010 or later, but earlier versions will be accommodated).


About the facilitator: Mary Fons i Fleming is a conference interpreter and translator based in Barcelona and a founding partner at AIB (Associated Interpreters of Barcelona). She uses Excel regularly for glossaries, invoicing, and quoting, and occasionally for statistical reporting and parallel-text processing.
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