The Translorial Tool Kit

By Jost Zetzsche (c) 2006 International Writers’ Group, compiled by Yves Avérous

The Tool Kit is an online newsletter that comes to its subscribers’ mailboxes bimonthly. In Translorial, we offer a quarterly digest of Jost’s most helpful tips from the past season. If you would like to subscribe to The Tool Kit, visit www.internationalwriters.com/toolkit/ and mention Translorial during the subscription process; Jost will put your name in a drawing for one free Tool Box book per edition.

Invitation to GALA

The quickly growing Globalization & Localization Association (GALA) has invited Tool Kit readers to subscribe to GALAxy, a free e-newsletter for language professionals. You can subscribe at www.gala-global.org/index.php?action=view_newsletter. On their website, check out the “GALA on Technology” blog at www.gala-global.org/blog. The blog was created as a space to “gather, collate, and discuss the impact of tools within the localization industry.” Participation is open to anyone. While GALA is an organization that is not primarily for the freelance translator, it would be great if people from all parts of the industry began exchanging ideas on technology there. There are a good number of online forums for translation technology issues, but most of them are used by one or the other group from within our industry, and this may be a good opportunity to start something different.

CD emulators

CD emulator programs allow you to create up to 23 virtual CD drives on your hard drive, make an image (a complete copy) of the content of a CD, and thus enable you to play several CDs at a time, all at higher speeds and with much less demand on your equipment than through the original CD-ROM drive.

For us as translators, this can be particularly interesting if we need to work with several CD-based dictionaries at a time. Once the emulated CD drives are created, they appear as equals to any “real” CD-ROM drive under My Computer, and all of them can be accessed through a rightclick on an icon in the taskbar as well.

So, what’s the catch? Well, aside from the fact that some DVDs and CDs have a copy protection that does not allow them to be copied, there is none. That is, if you have a very large hard drive that can handle a lot of data.

There are a number of products out there: VirtualDrive (see www.farstone.com/home/en/shtml/vdpoverview.shtml), Original Virtual CD (see www.ztekware.com), or Virtual CD (see www.virtualcd-online.com). Virtual CD is the one that I am most familiar with, but as far as I can tell the others are “virtually” identical.

Easy dictionary searches

Here’s a tool to make searches through dictionaries a lot easier. Wordfinder (see www.wordfinder.com) is an interface to more than 110 dictionaries from many different publishers in 10 languages (Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish). With the Wordfinder interface you can assemble nice little customized compilations of dictionaries to fit a specific project. The software will search all those dictionaries at the same time and display the matches all at once. Oh, yes, and it is also available in a Macintosh version.

Compare in CATs and docs

Track Changes is a much-loved Word feature. This feature allows for great communication between translator, editor, and project manager by showing each party what has been revised in the document. In fact, for many this feature has become such an integral part of the translation workflow process that it is sorely missed if it’s not available, as for instance when you work with TRADOS TagEditor .ttx or SDLX .itd files (the SDLX translation file format). The freeware ApSIC Comparator (www.apsic.com/en/products_comparator).

Resourceful Address

Philip Rand pointed me again to www.translatum.gr, a site that I’ve mentioned before but which is certainly worth another mention. Spiros Doikas has assembled one of the better lists of tools, dictionaries, and other helpful information that extends far beyond the Greek origin of the site.

Forget Fast Save

If you have problems opening other Office files in TagEditor, you may want to check that all changes are accepted, then turn off Track Changes (in the Tools menu), and perform a Save As (shortcut key: F12) under the same or another name. Also, disable the fast save option (Tools> Options> Save> Allow fast saves), which tends to bloat files immensely as it just appends the old copy to the end of the existing file. (Here is a Microsoft article about this: http://tinyurl.com/c74ry.)

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