The Translorial Tool Kit

By Jost Zetzsche © 2007 International Writers’ Group, compiled by Yves Avérous

The Tool Kit is an online newsletter that comes to its subscribers’ mailboxes twice a month. 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.

I Am Thrilled and Ecstatic
That’s what IATE stands for, isn’t it? Well, some say it stands for Inter-Active Terminology for Europe, but the fact is that I — and many of you — are thrilled and ecstatic that a version of the EU’s combined terminology monster has finally gone public! Check out http://iate.europa.eu if you are a Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, German, Greek, Spanish, Estonian, Finnish, French, Gaelic, Hungarian, Italian, Latin, Lithuanian, Latvian, Maltese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovakian, Slovenian, or Swedish translator, and bookmark it right away!

Excellent Resources
Open-source chronicler and German translator Martin Wunderlich has updated his link list with open-source resources for translation/localization to now number 78 (!) different tools. You can find it at
www.martinwunderlich.com/foss-links.htm.

And while we’re at open-source, a few weeks ago Corinne McKay published a very interesting interview with Marc Prior, the “Mr. Linux for Translators”: www.translatewrite.com/foss/index.php?s=foss&p=osupdate16.

A long time ago I mentioned the Yahoo! group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/help_/, the “IT Help desk for translators.” Unlike many of the other Yahoo! groups that are tool-specific, this one is open to any and all computer-related questions that a translator may have.

Finally, I regularly receive queries about whether there are any easy introductions for Trados, and of course, there are. The Trados manual that you can find at http://www.ittranslations.com/trados.htm is a good and well-written introduction for Trados. Also, for Italian speakers there is a very well-done online course for Trados at www.intraweltelearn.com. In fact, I liked it so much that I am now working with Intrawelt to develop some online classes based on my Translator’s Tool Box book.

It Comes with a Ribbon
You’ve all heard the news: the new versions of Microsoft Windows and Office have been released. And since my second computer had just given up its ghost, it was a good opportunity to take the plunge and get a Vista and Office 2007 computer.

I am not going to write a review of these programs — there are plenty of those out there. However, I would like to focus on a couple of things that are important for us translators: multilingual abilities, and statistical abilities (such as word counts).

In Word 2007, the most important menüszalag for us translators is probably Review. Here you can find the spelling, language, and review options. All the commands that used to be in the File menu (Open, Save, Save as, Print, etc.) are now available when you click on the Office Button in the upper left-hand corner. And the all-important Options dialog can be accessed from everywhere where you see an Advanced or More button, but most easily under the Office Button and “Word Options.”

There are some improvements that make Word just a little bit easier to work with for us. For instance, the real-time word count that the Mac version of Word has had forever has now been integrated. A little field down on the status bar shows you how many words your current document has, and the number is updated as you type. But — tada! — here is some other good news about word counts in Office 2007: words in text boxes are finally counted (if you check that option in the Word Count dialog). This was a long missing feature and is certainly a welcome addition. Words in WordArt, hidden text, headers, and footers are still not counted, but typically they are a lot less to worry about.

On to Windows Vista. It’s very pretty when you have the new Aero view enabled, but, boy, I would not advise you to upgrade until you buy a new computer, or you have assurances from the manufacturer of your present computer that your (recently purchased) computer is compatible.

Of course, there is the Microsoft Upgrade Advisor under www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/upgradeadvisor that supposedly tells you what parts of your computer have to be replaced to work with Vista, but it’s simply not worth it to spend several days hunting for new drivers and replacing video cards just because the new Windows is pretty.

On language-related things, setting up foreign language keyboards had not changed since Windows XP, but you don’t have to enable support for “complex” languages anymore. This was always an unnecessary stumbling block and I am glad it’s gone. What is really cool is that you can now have Windows with a Multilingual User Interface (MUI), meaning you can switch the languages and the locale that Windows runs under. Unfortunately, you do have to buy the more expensive Ultimate version, but especially for folks who deal with more than two languages this is a real treat.

Upgrading: The Other Side
Some of you may remember that we followed Norwegian translator Olav Pettershagen a while back during the fulfillment of his New Year’s resolution of 2005/6 to completely shelve his Windows computer, including his beloved Déjà Vu, and switch to Linux and Heartsome. He himself was not sure how this would affect his business or his use of translation environment tools, but I checked back with him after a year. Here is his report:

“No news really. Everything is proceeding smoothly. My stunt did not scare any customers away, so I’m still overloaded with work :).

“Comparison between Déjà Vu and Heartsome: Although the concept is very similar, I think Heartsome has a cleaner and better user interface, which speeds up the actual translation process. Heartsome handles assembling (the automatic piecing together of terminology and translation memory snippets into a first translation draft — Jost) very well.

“And much to my surprise I have still not encountered MS Office files which could not be handled in Heartsome via OpenOffice and Open Document formats.

“All in all I’m very satisfied with my ‘switch,’ most of all because of the general convenience of the Linux desktop — better access to all useful resources means time saved — in addition to a total absence of general data trouble, of course. Linux is very boring in that respect :).”

Lingo
Sebastian Abbo from Lexicool.com asked me to look at the latest version of Lingo (
www.lexicool.com), his terminology management tool. And so I did.

Lingo is a stand-alone terminology management tool that is very straightforward to use, supports all Unicode-compliant languages, works alongside any Windows-based application including Windows Vista, and allows you to export and import glossary files in various formats including TMX.

I spent a long time talking to Sebastian about the use of his tool vs. full-fledged translation environment tools, and he described three main reasons why his users like his tool: Many feel that the terminology components of existing tools are too complex and prefer a more user-friendly solution. Still others are intimidated by larger tools and see this as a stepping stone to starting with computer-assisted translation. And lastly, his tool is also used by monolingual terminologists.

What I also liked was Sebastian’s eagerness to make the tool even more usable. I suggested a feature that allows you to search just by highlighting a term in any application and then pressing a key combination — and he immediately started to work on it. He got it done for anything pre-Vista, and once he tackles Vista compatibility he will release a new version with that functionality.3

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