Terry's TMG Tips

Data Entry Issues with Languages

This page updated 15 Jul 2015

Version note: Applies to TMG 8 & 9

This article discusses data entry issues that arise when using a language other than English.

Other articles, found on the main Languages page, or linked in appropriate places below, provide more detail on related features.

While TMG has significant capabilities to operate in various languages, there are still some aspects of the program that reveal it's English-language foundation. This article discusses some of them, and offers some suggestions for dealing with them.

Topics Included in this Article
Inputting Dates Dealing with English month names
Names and Places Fixing English field labels
Sources Translating source components
Flags Issues with standard Flags

Inputting Dates

Dates may be entered in TMG in a variety of formats and still be recognized as "regular" dates. Regular dates mean that TMG understands the date entered and can use it for sorting, computing ages, and other functions. Regular dates can be displayed in screens and reports in a variety of formats as set by the user in Preferences and report Options. If the display format includes months in text, that text is in the user's selected language.

Among the formats in which dates can be entered and recognized are:

30 Aug 1864 30/8/1864
30 August 1864 30.8.1864
Aug 30, 1864 30 8 1864
August 30, 1864 8 30 1864
August 30 1864 8/30/1864

Note that both all-numeric formats and formats with the months in text are recognized, with a variety of punctuation and separators.

The Issue: There is a restriction on the use of months entered as text – only English spellings and abbreviations are recognized.

Suggested solutions:

  1. Enter dates in an all-numeric format.
Set the Date Format in Preferences > Program Options > General with the day and month in the same order you prefer to enter them. It doesn't matter whether you choose an all-numeric format or one that includes text. When the day is less than 13 TMG will interpret the day and month correctly so long as you enter them in the same order you set for display.
  1. If you are comfortable with English month names, enter the months in English.

Name and Place Elements Labels

TMG provides ten separate fields to enter the various elements of place names, for example, City, County, and State. See my Data Entry Tutorial for more detail. The advantage of entering places in these fields is it allows control of how or if each element is displayed in various reports and charts, and various searching and filtering functions.

Similarly, TMG provides nine separate fields to enter the various elements of people's names, for example, Title, Given Name, and Surname. See my Data Entry Tutorial for more detail. The advantage of entering name in these fields is it allows control of how names are displayed in various reports and charts, and various sorting, searching and filtering functions.

The Issue: By default, the labels on the Name and Place elements are in English, regardless of the language the user has set.

Suggested solution:

Create a custom Name Style and a custom Place Style, and create custom element labels in your preferred language. When you apply those Styles, your labels will replace the standard English ones. Use of Styles in this way is described in my article on Using Styles to Translate Name and Place Elements.

Source Citations

TMG provides a large number of Source templates to record various types of sources. These templates arrange various elements the user enters, such as Title, Author, Date, etc., into source notes arranged according to recognized style guides. They control the order of elements, special formatting such as Italics, punctuation, and in some cases provide text such as "editor" or "compiler."

Issue 1: The names of the Source Types is in English, not the language set by the user.

Suggested solution:

Rename commonly used Source Types, using names in your preferred language. The procedure to do this:

  1. Open the Master Source List (Tools menu), and select the Source Type you wish to rename.
  2. Click the Edit button - in the screen that opens, edit the "Custom Source Type" field at the top of the screen so that it reads as you prefer.
  3. Repeat for each additional Source Type you wish to rename.
You can only edit the names of Source Types when you are using the default Custom Source Category. If you are using the "Mills" or "Lackey" Source Category, see the "Caution" note near the top of my article on Creating a Custom Source Type for instructions on changing to Custom.

Issue 2: Any phrases included in the templates are in English, not the language set by the user, and punctuation follows American English rules, which sometimes differs from those of other languages.

Suggested solution:

Edit Source Types you commonly use to comply with usage in your preferred language. My article on Working with Source Templates explains how to edit the templates.

There is no real need to do this all at once. If you like, you can wait until you print a report with source notes and review the output. If you find any issues, edit the associated Source Types at that time.

Issue 3: The names of the Source Elements are in English, not the language set by the user. Since those names are the labels for each field, the user sees English labels on the data input fields in the Source Definition screen.

Suggested solution:

Rename commonly used Source Elements, using names in your preferred language. The procedure to do this:

  1. Open the Source Elements list (Tools menu), and select the Source Element you wish to rename.
  2. Click the Edit button - in the screen that opens, edit the name field at the top of the screen so that it reads as you prefer. Click the OK button, and click Yes on the warning prompt that appears. Every appearance of the Element you edited, including the field labels on the Source Definition screen and the Output Templates, is changed to your preferred name.
  3. Repeat for each additional Element you wish to rename.

A list of all the standard Source Elements may be helpful, and can be found here.

Standard Flag Names

TMG provides for Flags to record simple information about people, for example whether the person is living or not. There are seven standard Flags, and the user can create any number of custom Flags. Of the standard ones, three are of importance in the operation of the program:

Sex: controls whether the person is recorded as male, female, or unknown
Living: tells whether the person is known to be living or not, and is optionally used to control output for living persons in reports
Birth Order: controls the order in which children of a couple are displayed when the birth dates of the children are not known

The names of the standard Flags can be translated, and the single-letter values, such as M (male), F (female), Y (yes) and N (no) can also be translated. Translations are supplied for some of the standard Languages and users can supply translations for other Languages other than English (US).

Issue 1: The translated values correspond to the standard values in the same order, and listing them in a different order doesn't change the value as understood by the system, but simply mislabels the values causing user confusion.

Suggested solution:

Remember to assign values in a different Language in the same order as they appear for English (US).

Issue 2: There is no provision for applying different labels and values for custom Flags, so users who work in multiple Languages cannot provide different translations for each Language.

Suggested solution:

I know of no solution.

Items Not to be Translated

Some items are not to be translated, no matter what the language used within TMG. They include:


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