I need to translate some technical text, specifically about Photoshop actions. This answer explains very well the use of "run" or "execute".

What about the past, when the process is already done? It seems that "run" is changed for "played" as is written in this comment. I would like to know the formal way of writing this.

  • What language are you translating from/to? – Dan Henderson Dec 3 '18 at 17:45
  • Spanish-English, I will use "play" in every case. – Danielillo Dec 3 '18 at 17:59

Played is a passive verb, while run is an active one. It gets a little confusing in the modern computer age, but the guy who hits the button that makes the macro do work would be 'running' it, while if he made a video of that act and put it on YouTube, the person passively watching the macro do its thing could be said to 'play' it. So it's less about now versus later, and more about whether the action is changing anything.

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    play is a common verb when related to macros in computer software, in part because macros are often "recorded" from a series of keystrokes and clicks. As one help site says: After you record a macro, you can play it back. Playing back a macro automatically runs all of the interface actions you recorded using a single action, unless a user input is required. – J.R. Dec 3 '18 at 14:54
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    That's why my question, because a Photoshop action is like a macro as you describe with "a series of keystrokes and clicks", but in the Adobe forums the way to talk about this is "running the action" and "the action played". It confuses me a bit because in Spanish we only use "execute" for all forms. – Danielillo Dec 3 '18 at 15:09
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    @Danielillo - In my experience, run a macro and play a macro are both valid and widely-used in English. – J.R. Dec 3 '18 at 15:35

I don't get what you're looking for exactly. Are you translating from English to Spanish or from Spanish to English?

I'm no Photoshop expert but a quick search for the terms "photoshop action" has drive me to this definition from PC Magazine

Photoshop actions

A feature in Photoshop that lets users download or create a set of procedures that can be reused over and over to edit an image in a particular way. An action is created by manually performing a series of steps and recording them in an ATN file

Notice the word that I've highlighted: recording. You record the steps and you can play then again. You can begin the "play" or launch the execution of the action by clicking in a little button with the standard play icon, a little triangle pointing to the right.

Once launched, the action performs the steps sequentially, it's executed or it runs. Once that all the steps has been performed succesfully, the action ends or finishes, it has been played completely.

In Spanish we got an specific verb to reflect that you play what you have previously recorded: reproducir. You don't just run the action, you play the recorded steps, reproduces los pasos previamente grabados.

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