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Why you probably need a VAT number if you’re based in France

Most freelancers in France seem to believe that, like in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (and possibly other states), small business with income below a certain threshold are not required to acquire an intra-EU VAT number. However, a government website makes it very clear that any French business or auto-entrepreneur that purchases or supplies services across EU borders needs to obtain a number. The €10,000 threshold that applies to goods does not apply to services. Here’s what the French authorities say:

En revanche, le numéro devient obligatoire … lorsqu’elle vend ou achète des prestations de services à des sociétés établies dans l’UE.

This rule is so unknown that many freelance translators have reported that they have struggled to convince the tax office to give them a VAT number. I therefore recommend that when you request the number, you provide the tax authorities with a print-out of the webpage that states that you require it.

To request the number, you must use the messaging service of your professional account.

See also Invalid Swedish VAT numbers – how to correct them.

If you found this article useful, why not translate it into French so that more people will find it? I will add a sentence stating who translated it and a link to your website. You may use the article on your own blog too, provided that you state the source. Send me an e-mail if you are interested.


Prevent PerfectIt from introducing mistakes into your text

A common complaint on PerfectIt user forums is that PerfectIt introduces mistakes when you use the fix button. This is particularly dangerous if you use the Fix all button. Imagine trying to remove a hyphen from 30 occurrences of the same word, only to discover much later (when it’s too late to use undo) that it has introduced 30 mistakes in your document!

In this video, I explain why it happens and how you can prevent it from happening.

I also mention a PerfectIt masterclass series that I’ll be running soon. The series will be announced on this blog. In the meantime, follow the #PerfectItMasterclass hashtag on Twitter, where I’ll be sharing some PerfectIt tips and explaining giving you a preview of some of the things I’ll be talking about during the masterclass.


How to change the language in all stories (including comments) in a Word document

Updated version uploaded on 1 December 2022. This updated version includes a correction of the error that was in the video and other minor tweaks, and it now updates the language in certain cases where it previously did not work.

Ever felt frustrated when Word keeps selecting the wrong language every time you add a comment? This video explains how to change the language for all elements of a Word document, including footnotes, comments and text boxed, in an instant.

The macro code is below. The video explains how to import the code. Note that near the top of the code, sandwiched between asterisks, there is a line you may need to change, depending on the language and variety that you want to use.

Please leave a comment to let me know whether it works for you.

Sub LanguageAllStyles()

Dim LanguageId As MsoLanguageID

LanguageId = msoLanguageIDEnglishUK ' Insert the Name or the Value listed at https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/office/vba/api/word.wdlanguageid.


' Macro to change language in styles
' Loosely based on a macro posted by Macropod (17 July 2012)
' http://www.vbaexpress.com/forum/showthread.php?42993-Solved-Macro-to-change-all-styles-to-a-specific-languageDim TrackChangesActive As Boolean ' Only possible values are True/False

Dim CheckSpellingAsYouTypeActive As Boolean
Dim CheckGrammarAsYouTypeActive As Boolean
Dim ShowFormatChanges As Boolean
Dim doc As Document
Dim SkipTrackChangesQuestion As Boolean

Dim oDoc As Document, oSty As Style, oStor As Range

Application.ScreenUpdating = False

'Block taken from my personal “MacroSwitchesOff” code
If Options.CheckSpellingAsYouType = True Then CheckSpellingAsYouTypeActive = True Else CheckSpellingAsYouTypeActive = False ' Checks whether CheckSpellingAsYouType is switched on.
Options.CheckSpellingAsYouType = False
' Forces Word to check everything again with the new language. Cancel the above line if you don’t want Word to forget when you’ve “Ignored” a flagged spelling.
' Without switching this setting off and on, Word still underlines words that are correctly written in the new language.
If Options.CheckGrammarAsYouType = True Then CheckGrammarAsYouTypeActive = True Else CheckGrammarAsYouTypeActive = False
Options.CheckGrammarAsYouType = False
' See previous comment

If ActiveDocument.ActiveWindow.View.ShowFormatChanges = True Then ShowFormatChanges = True Else ShowFormatChanges = False
ActiveDocument.ActiveWindow.View.ShowFormatChanges = False
'Check whether Format changes are shown

If ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = True Then TrackChangesActive = True Else TrackChangesActive = False

If SkipTrackChangesQuestion <> True Then ' Skip the track changes question
If MsgBox("Perform the operation with track changes?", _
vbYesNoCancel) = vbNo Then
ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = False
ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = True
End If
End If

Set oDoc = ActiveDocument
With oDoc
For Each oSty In .Styles
StatusBar = oSty
On Error Resume Next
oSty.LanguageId = LanguageId
On Error GoTo 0
End With

With oDoc
For Each oStor In .StoryRanges
StatusBar = "Setting story " & oStor & " to language " & LanguageId
oStor.LanguageId = LanguageId
Next oStor
End With

ActiveDocument.Range.LanguageId = LanguageId ' Uses the normal method, equivalent of pressing ctrl+a and setting the language.

'Block taken from my personal “MacroSwitchesOnAgain” code
' The lines below revert settings to the status they had before the macro was run
If TrackChangesActive = True Then ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = True
If CheckSpellingAsYouTypeActive = True Then Options.CheckSpellingAsYouType = True
If CheckGrammarAsYouTypeActive = True Then Options.CheckGrammarAsYouType = True
If ShowFormatChanges = True Then ActiveDocument.ActiveWindow.View.ShowFormatChanges = True
ActiveDocument.ActiveWindow.View.ShowFormatChanges = True

Application.ScreenUpdating = True

MsgBox ("Finished! The language of all sections of the document has been set to " & LanguageId & ". If you wanted to select another language, open the VBA editor by pressing alt+f11 and change the 'LanguageID' shown at the top of the script")
End Sub


Red Bull and the No Homers Club: Does “any” mean “all” in the Formula 1 rulebook?

Remember the No Homers Club in The Simpsons? A young Homer Simpson (in a flashback scene) is denied entry to the No Homers Club. He protests that Homer Glumplich is part of the club, before being told by the doorman: “It says ‘No Homers‘ (with the final s stressed). We’re allowed to have one.”

Of course, The Simpsons is a fictional show, but this week, Formula 1 team Red Bull presented an argument on the meaning of “any cars” that is just as ludicrous as that of the No Homers Club.

Before I discuss the meaning of “any”, for the sake of any readers who did not watch the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and do not watch Formula 1, I’ll explain what happened last Sunday in layman’s terms, for the sake of context. You can skip to the subheading “What the rules say” if you watched last Sunday’s race.

Continue reading


Institutional style guides

During my presentation entitled “An overview of institutional styles: from excellent tips we can all apply to the downright weird guidelines we should probably ignore” for the 2021 conference of Mediterranean Editors and Translators, I talked about the style guidelines of different international institutions.

The style guides I mentioned during the publication that are publicly available can be downloaded from the following links:

Council of Europe English Style Guide
European Commission Claire’s Writing Tips
FAO Style
OAS English Language Style Guide
OECD Style Guide (third edition)
United Nations Editorial Manual Online
WIPO Style Guide
WMO Writing and Style Guide
World Bank Group Publications Editorial Style Guide

This information has been posted on my blog. Please also visit my main website to find out more about the services I offer.


Peer-to-peer lending platforms: referral codes with special offers

Referral codes:
EstateGuru: EGU22806
October: TBARTON
Reinvest24: nhv4dof8
EvoEstate: 5eccdd7a62c79 / InRento: inr6440

In this post, you will find affiliate links to EstateGuru, Iuvo, October, Reinvest24 and EvoEstate, four peer-to-peer lending platforms that I use. By using these links, you’ll benefit from special offers.

I won’t write about the pros and cons of using these platforms, as plenty has already been written about them online. Please note that this post contains affiliate links that benefit me as well as the person using them.

EstateGuru provides property-backed business loans. It includes an auto-invest option. My current annual return, at the time of writing, is 10.82%. If you use this sign-up link or the promotion code EGU22806, we will both receive an extra 0.5% on investments in the first three months.

Iuvo provides loan to businesses, and includes the option to buy back. My current net annual return at the time of writing is 9.96%. The platform doesn’t provide a referral link. Instead, I have to send an invitation by e-mail. Leave me a comment or send me your address to my own e-mail address, and I’ll send you an invitation. If you invest more than €1,000, we’ll each receive an extra 2% of your invested amount, up to a maximum of €200. Normal: For investment of €1,000+, 1.5% each, up to €150

October also provides links to businesses. They offer a mixture of loans at rates of 6-9% and State-guaranteed loans at 2%. The downside is that there’s no auto-invest function, and many of the loans sell out within a few minutes of opening. If you use this referral link or the referral code TBARTON, then we each get an extra €20 for every €500 that you invest.

Reinvest24 is a platform for investing in property. There is no auto-bid function, but if you visit fairly regularly (say, once a week), it’s easy to find investment opportunities. If you use this referral link or the referral code nhv4dof8, we each receive an extra 1% of the amount you invest in the first year (full terms at https://www.reinvest24.com/en/referral-terms).

EvoEstate is also for investing in property. It includes an AutoBid function and allows you to limit your bids only to loans in which the platform has skin in the game. If you use this referral link or the referral code 5eccdd7a62c79, we each receive an additional 0.5% from your investments during the first six months. EvoEstate was recently merged with InRento. With this referral link, we will both earn €20.


Macro to prepare documents for monolingual review in memoQ (and possibly other CAT tools)

MemoQ’s monolingual review feature works best with clean Word documents containing no tracked changes or comments. If you import a document in which changes are still visible or in which there are comments, memoQ will add lots of code to the target text, which you don’t want.

This macro cleans the document up and saves it under a new filename (so that you don’t overwrite the commented version), making it ready to be imported as a monolingual review.

The macro includes comments to explain what some of the lines are doing and how you can adjust the macro to meet your needs.

Since many translators use only straight apostrophes and quotation marks in memoQ, then convert them to the curly variety in the final document sent to the client, the macro includes an optional line (deactivated by default) that will revert all apostrophes and quotation marks to the straight variety. Please read the instructions carefully if you wish to use that line.

Thanks to Kevin Mote, who provided the code for the part of the macro that renames the file. My code is a slightly modified version of his. In particular, unlike Kevin’s version, mine does not overwrite the old version, since most translators would want to keep a copy of the commented version they sent to their client.

Sub PrepareForMemoQMonolingualReview()
' memoQ's monolingual review feature works best when you import a document with no tracked changes and no comments.
' This macro removes them, then resaves the file with "clean-for-import" appended to the file name.
' The part that appends the filename is adapted from the macro provided by Kevin Mote (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmote/) at https://superuser.com/a/781501. Thank you Kevin. This was very helpful!
' Please note that, unlike Kevin's macro, this version does not delete the original file.
Dim strFileFullName, strFileName, strNewName, strFileExtension As String
ActiveDocument.AcceptAllRevisions ' Accepts all tracked changes
ActiveDocument.TrackRevisions = False ' Switches off track changes
ActiveDocument.DeleteAllComments ' Deletes all comments in the active document.

ReplaceQuotes ' Reverts quotation marks and apostrophes back to the straight variety, assuming that this is the variety that was used while working in the CAT tool.
' Remove the apostrophe from the above line if you want the monolingual review document to revert to straight apostrophes and quotation marks.
' Note that to run the above line you also need to have installed the "ReplaceQuotes" and "QuotesReplacementBothWays" macros, which I provided along with several others in a blog post at http://www.anglopremier.com/blog/?p=1119.

' Get current name:
strFileFullName = ActiveDocument.FullName 'for Word docs
'strFileFullName = ActiveWorkbook.FullName 'Use this line instead for for Excel docs
'strFileFullName = Application.ActivePresentation.FullName 'Use this line instead for Powerpoint presentations
If (InStr(strFileFullName, ".") = 0) Then ' Checks whether the full file name contains a file extension by looking for a dot.
res = MsgBox("File has not been saved. Can't rename it.", , "Rename File")
Exit Sub
End If
' strFileName = Right(strFileFullName, Len(strFileFullName) - InStrRev(strFileFullName, "\")) 'strip path - not used. Next line used instead.
strFileName = strFileFullName
strFileExtension = Right(strFileName, Len(strFileName) - InStrRev(strFileName, ".")) ' Identifies the file extension
strFileName = Left(strFileName, (InStr(strFileName, ".") - 1)) ' Strips the extension from the strFileName variable
' If InStr(3, strFileName, "_Delivery", 1) <> 0 Then strFileName = Left(strFileName, (InStr(strFileName, "_Delivery", 1) - 1))
' The above line is not used. Originally intended to strip the word "_Delivery" and the delivery number from the file name (assumes "Delivery" is at least the third character; not case-sensitive). But I dedcided I wanted to keep the delivery number.
' If you wish to remove something from the file name you can reinstate the above line (remove the apostrophe) and replace "_Delivery" with whatever you want to remove.

' Prompt for new name. Replace "_clean-for-import" on the next line if you prefer something else to be appended by default.
strNewName = InputBox("Rename this file to:", "Rename File", strFileName & "_clean-for-import." & strFileExtension) 'Saves with the new name. Extension is not changed.
If (strNewName = "") Or (strNewName = strFileName) Then ' (Check whether user cancelled)
Exit Sub
End If

' Save file with new name:
ActiveDocument.SaveAs2 FileName:=strNewName 'for Word docs
'ActiveWorkbook.SaveAs2 FileName:=strNewName 'for Excel docs
'Application.ActivePresentation.SaveAs FileName:=strNewName 'for Powerpoint presentations

End Sub


Macros to replace apostrophes and quotation marks before and after using a CAT tool

To ensure that concordance searches in translation memories work properly and to increase fuzzy matches, many translators systematically replace curly apostrophes and quotation marks with straight ones before importing a document into their CAT tool, then revert them back to the curly variety before delivering the final document to the client.

Until recently, I used a very simple find/replace macro to achieve this, but then I realized that the macro didn’t replace apostrophes and quotation marks situated. I searched online and found a solution that works not only in the main document but also in footnotes and text boxes. Thanks to Doug Robbins and Greg Maxey, whose work I drew on to create one of the macros below.

Copy the following code into a single module in your normal.dotm template, then run the ReplaceQuotes macro before importing your document into your CAT tool and the ReinstateQuotes macro after you have exported from your CAT tool to Word.

I’ve included extensive comments so that you can understand what each line is doing and adapt it as necessary.

Sub ReplaceQuotes() ‘ Replace curly quotation marks and apostrophes with straight ones.
Options.AutoFormatAsYouTypeReplaceQuotes = False ‘ Sets autoformat option not to replace curly quotes with straight ones. This is reset in the final like of the QuotesReplacementBothWays macro.
End Sub

Sub ReinstateQuotes() ‘ Replace straight quotation marks and apostrophes with curly ones.
Options.AutoFormatAsYouTypeReplaceQuotes = True ‘ Sets autoformat option to replace curly quotes with straight ones, in case the user has manually set the option to false before running the macro.
End Sub

Sub QuotesReplacementBothWays()
pFindTxtFromOtherMacro = “‘”
pReplaceTxtFromOtherMacro = “‘”
pFindTxtFromOtherMacro = “””” ‘ Find all quotation marks (smart or curly). Four quotation marks are needed because the ” symbol has a special meaning that must be cancelled.
pReplaceTxtFromOtherMacro = “””” ‘ Replaces with smart or curly, depending on whether ReplaceQuotes or ReinstateQuotes was run.

‘ Remove the apostrophes from the start of each line in this section to replace French guillemets with English-style straight quotation marks.
‘ pFindTxtFromOtherMacro = “« ” ‘ Find all opening guillemets followed by a space (incl. non-breaking spaces).
‘ FindReplaceAnywhere
‘ pFindTxtFromOtherMacro = “«” ‘ Find remaining opening guillemets with no space after.
‘ FindReplaceAnywhere
‘ pFindTxtFromOtherMacro = ” »” ‘ Find all closing guillemets preceded by a space (incl. non-breaking spaces).
‘ FindReplaceAnywhere
‘ pFindTxtFromOtherMacro = “»” ‘ Find remaining closing guillemets with no space before.
‘ FindReplaceAnywhere

pFindTxtFromOtherMacro = “” ‘ Makes the variable empty again
pReplaceTxtFromOtherMacro = “” ‘ Makes the variable empty again
Options.AutoFormatAsYouTypeReplaceQuotes = True ‘ Reverts to Word’s default setting. Change this to “False” if you prefer Word not to replace straight quotes with curly ones as you type.
End Sub

Public Sub FindReplaceAnywhere()
‘Performs a find/replace on all parts of a text, including footnotes, text boxes, etc.
‘Found on various webpages, but seems to have been originally created by Doug Robbins and Greg Maxey (https://wordmvp.com/FAQs/Customization/ReplaceAnywhere.htm).
‘Adapted so that it can be run with the find and replace strings pre-defined by other macros.

Dim rngStory As Word.Range
Dim pFindTxt As String
Dim pReplaceTxt As String
Dim lngJunk As Long
Dim oShp As Shape

If pFindTxtFromOtherMacro = “” Then
‘ This macro can be used on its own, in which case the user is asked what Word should find.
pFindTxt = InputBox(“Enter the text that you want to find.” _
, “FIND”)

If pFindTxt = “” Then
MsgBox “Cancelled by User”
Exit Sub
End If

pFindTxt = pFindTxtFromOtherMacro
End If

If pReplaceTxtFromOtherMacro = “” Then
‘ This macro can be used on its own, in which case the user is asked what Word should replace the found string with.
pReplaceTxt = InputBox(“Enter the replacement.”, “REPLACE”)

If pReplaceTxt = “” Then
If MsgBox(“Do you just want to delete the found text?”, _
vbYesNoCancel) = vbNo Then
GoTo TryAgain
ElseIf vbCancel Then
MsgBox “Cancelled by User.”
Exit Sub
End If
End If

pReplaceTxt = pReplaceTxtFromOtherMacro
End If

lngJunk = ActiveDocument.Sections(1).Headers(1).Range.StoryType ‘Fix the skipped blank Header/Footer problem

For Each rngStory In ActiveDocument.StoryRanges ‘Iterate through all story types in the current document

SearchAndReplaceInStory rngStory, pFindTxt, pReplaceTxt
On Error Resume Next

Select Case rngStory.StoryType

Case 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
If rngStory.ShapeRange.Count > 0 Then
For Each oShp In rngStory.ShapeRange
If oShp.TextFrame.HasText Then
SearchAndReplaceInStory oShp.TextFrame.TextRange, _
pFindTxt, pReplaceTxt
End If
End If
Case Else

End Select

On Error GoTo 0

Set rngStory = rngStory.NextStoryRange ‘Get next linked story (if any)

Loop Until rngStory Is Nothing ‘ Loops back to the “Do”

Next ‘ Loops back to “For Each rngStory”

End Sub

Public Sub SearchAndReplaceInStory(ByVal rngStory As Word.Range, _
ByVal strSearch As String, ByVal strReplace As String)

With rngStory.Find
.Text = strSearch
.Replacement.Text = strReplace
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End With

End Sub


AutoHotkey script to move the focus away from the Concordance window

Sometimes you want to keep the MemoQ Concordance window open on your second screen while you work on your document. But there’s no built-in method to achieve this with the keyboard. You can only do so by clicking with the mouse.

This short script moves the focus away from the Concordance window and to the main MemoQ window, allowing you to work on the document while keeping the Concordance window open. Just press ctrl+k to activate the script.

#IfWinActive, Concordance
^k:: ; MemoQ: Move focus away from Concordance window
WinActivate memoQ

The following script closes the Concordance window. Continue reading


Spot the foreign-language influence

Amazon.com: For If The Flies - t-shirt: Clothing

¡Por si las moscas!

Anyone translator living in his or her source-language country needs to watch out for source-language interference. Similarly, an author who writes in one language but lives in a country that speaks a different language needs to be wary of interference from the host country’s language.

Today, Google recommended an article to me in which I noticed foreign-language interference almost from the beginning. See if you can spot it too in this article about the level of English in Spain, then click on “Continue reading” to reveal the answers.

Continue reading