Word processors offer users grammar checkers and thesauruses but non-native users should bear in mind that these are not always as useful as other similar tools available online. For example, while grammar checkers can detect a lack of verb concord or suggest the punctuation of long sentences to improve readability, they can also mark a sentence as unacceptable when there is really nothing wrong with it. And while thesauruses can suggest synonyms of selected words, they are not always very complete and do not include guidance on differences between matched words. For this reason, if you are writing in English but it is not your first language, you will need to find other tools and resources to support your word processor’s grammar checker and thesaurus.

Microsoft Word also includes a tool for translating selected words or text, but its usefulness in text creation is limited. It might help you understand an unknown word but it certainly would not help you write correct English. Since the appearance of Microsoft Word 2007, this tool uses online translation (through theTranslate button on the Review ribbon), so it will only work if you have an internet connection. Like all generic automatic translation, it is rather unreliable.

While most authors have no need for this kind of tool, in our context the administrative texts that need to be created in English are often based on already existing texts in Catalan, if not on close translations of these. In such cases an automatic translation into English may be a viable first draft for rephrasing. This process for text production in English is discussed in Online word processors and other online tools.

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