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(EN) How to create Photoshop Action translation rules with the ATN Action Translator

by Kyrsoft on 24 May 2016 with Comments

Photoshop Elements users might already know this problem, you downloaded from the Internet that cool looking Photoshop Action and when you try it out you realize, that it is an english Language one created with an english PS- or PSE version. The consequence is often, that this action then under circumstances can not reasonably be run and operated in a German PSE version.

In order to adapt Photoshop Actions in retrospect to the respective language localized situations, especially for PSE users, the ATN Action Translator was developed as a small auxiliary help tool.

Rule-based Translation

A core component of the ATN Action Translator is it's Rule-Editor, that allows you to create a "filename.rul" control file by means of simple rules for the translation of Photoshop actions. Where the individual rules in this case have a very simple structure, because the ATN Action Translator finds and replaces basically only strings within Photoshop Actions.

Rules are defined in the Rule Editor within a table in rows:

Nr # Searchtext Replacetext
1 [X] Searchtext 1 Replacetext 1
2 [ ] Searchtext 2 Replacetext 2
3 [ ] null null

The Find/Replace strings always have to be entered in pairs, that is, for a search text there must be a replacement text, or in other words an entire table row must be filled out. Otherwise, it may later during the execution of rules, result to runtime errors. So a general rule is here, each line a rule and individual lines can be enabled or disabled, and only activated rows [X] are used for the search and replace process. Empty or newly inserted rows initialy contain "null" (zero) entries, which you then overwrite with the desired search and replace text.

Note: if you leave "null" (zero) entries in a table without deleting them when saving a rule file, then these lines should not be activated or these lines should be disabled [ ]. Since otherwise if they were marked (enabled) these would be used for search/replacement cycles!

Furthermore, the individual rows within a Rule Editor table can also be moved in sequence, as can individual rows be deleted or new ones added for entries. This correspondingly influences the sequential search and replace processing sequence in the ATN Action Translator, because the search and replace process is always performed sequential line by line from top to bottom!

Important: It should be already pointed out here explicitly, that the order of applying specific search/replace texts in rules for Photoshop Actions is often very relevant, otherwise you run the risk of maybe accidentally overwriting text in Actions (virtually only semi replace) so later occurences of text may then no longer be found right in the sequential processing of search/replace runs then.

Creating .rul Rule-Files for the translation of Actions

A foreign language Photoshop action usually must be adapted to the respective local language version of Photoshop, in order to run smoothly and flawlessly. Often this requires an adaptation of the respective localized Photoshop layer names and command names, etc., provided they are used by default in an action. Photoshop displays such name conflicts often in turn of form of warning windows when running actions. Such error and warning alerts read mostly like this:

  • Das Objekt "Ebene "Background"" ist zur Zeit nicht verfügbar. (The object "Layer "Background"" is currently not available.)
  • Das Objekt "Ebene "Layer 1"" ist zur Zeit nicht verfügbar. (The object "Layer "Layer 1"" is currently not available.)
  • and so on.

Such error messages give usually already a small indication of what Photoshop complained straight when performing a particular action. Furthermore, you can also find on the Internet, using the popular search engines, plenty of notes regarding how certain English Photoshop names, as for layer name, then have to read in German Photoshop versions.

A useful source for this is for example "Englisch-​Deutsch-​Übersetzung der Photoshop-​Menüs und –Werkzeuge" from video2brain, just to name only one quickly here.

If you determined the problematic identifiers, let's say maybe for an English language Photoshop action, you can then afterwards relatively easily write corresponding rules in a .RUL rule file, in order to adjust an english action with the ATN Action Translator to a German version of Photoshop.

Here is an example of a simple rule file for the adaptation and translation of the layer name in an English Photoshop action:

# Searchtext Replacetext
[X] Background Hintergrund
[X] Layer 1 Ebene 1
[X] Layer 2 Ebene 2
[X] Original copy Original Kopie
[X] Gradient Map 1 Verlaufsumsetzung 1
[X] Color Fill 1 Farbfüllung 1
[ ] Vibrance 1 Dynamik 1
[ ] Levels 1 Tonwertkorrektur 1

Case study: Now a little case study which explains why the order of applying specific search/replace text in rules for Photoshop actions is often very relevant. - Suppose we have the following two rules defined in this order...

# Searchtext Replacetext
[X] Background Hintergrund
[X] Background copy Hintergrund Kopie

...the problem here is, that first is searched for "Background" and it will be replaced with "Hintergrund", in which case possible occurences of "Background copy" as text in an action would be replaced to "Hintergrund copy" and thus a subsequent run for the replacing of "Background copy" could not be found and replaced. The result would be that the translated Photoshop action will then not work!

Correct would be instead in this case, the following reverse order of the rules...

# Searchtext Replacetext
[X] Background copy Hintergrund Kopie
[X] Background Hintergrund

Another somewhat trickier variant would be here, when the rules for the compilation process are optimized in such a way, that the text description do not have to be expressed twice or more times in different rules. This avoids usually somewhat of typing-in work. For the previously shown small example it would then look like this...

# Searchtext Replacetext
[X] Background Hintergrund
[X] copy Kopie

...which of course also works appropriately and also leads to the correct desired result.

An optimized variant of the input example above would then look like this...

# Searchtext Replacetext
[X] Background Hintergrund
[X] Layer Ebene
[X] Original copy Original Kopie
[X] Gradient Map Verlaufsumsetzung
[X] Color Fill Farbfüllung
[ ] Vibrance Dynamik
[ ] Levels Tonwertkorrektur can save the numbers-details behind the layer names, as they are anyway still the same in English and German, so you don't need to take them into account therefore. Overall, one saves so a row and a few extra characters when entering the rules.

With time and some practice you can create quite predictive, general translation rules, or a control file for all eventualities, which you can use then together with the activating/deactivating toggle in contained rule lines for a lot of different actions!

Now it only remains for me, to wish all users a lot of success while experimenting with their own rules in the rule editor of the ATN Action Translator!

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