By Jost Zetzsche © 2008 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.
I have already given some of my predictions in the 100th edition of my newsletter, but let me repeat one for its shock value and give another that I have only recently realized: 2007 was the last year in which MS Word still played any significant role in the TEnT (Translation Environment Tools) translation process. With Trados already having moved away from Word as its preferred translation platform, Multitrans and Wordfast on their way to doing the same thing, and Metatexis hoping to do likewise, there really aren’t that many left hanging on to Word.
That was a giveaway, but this prediction may be more interesting: SaaS! SaaS, or Software as a Service, has finally arrived. SaaS is the concept of not having to install the software on your local computer, but instead using it through a web browser, with most if not all of your language data being hosted by a server. To be fair, there have been a number of applications working in that realm for a while, but they should now gain wider acceptance.
When I first heard about server-based computing it sounded too futuristic, and I resented the idea because it seemed to promise less control. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that freedom (from software updates, computer problems, and backup worries) is not a bad thing, and even traditional vendors will find ways to walk that plank (and I think that most of them will find out they are pretty good swimmers).
Intelligent Web Searches
At the end of 2006 I mentioned the site IntelliWebSearch (www.IntelliWebSearch.Com ) as the tool that should be given the “winner of the popularity-vote-by-translators award.” Last year it should be the tool that “is most often mentioned in this newsletter.” Be that as it may, I can’t help mentioning it again because I have just found out that it is also possible to search the EU’s IATE database with IntelliWebSearch, a process that helped me enormously with a project this week (you can find instructions on this at www.intelliwebsearch.com/readme.html).
And for the one remaining reader who doesn’t know what it is: The free IntelliWebSearch copies highlighted text from any Windows application with a number of user-definable shortcut keys, opens your default browser, and sends the copied text to up to 10 customizable search engines or on-line dictionaries. You may need to fiddle a little bit to configure your search engines and dictionaries for your language combinations, but from that point forward there will be only bliss.
On Demand Training
Well, we’re finally there. Most of you know that I’ve been working together with the Italian Intrawelt on a new site called www.translatorstraining.com that offers something unique: professionally produced comparative Flash-video-based presentations of the 13 leading TEnTs. These include well-known ones like SDL Trados, Star Transit, and Déjà Vu; open-source tools like OmegaT; and relative newcomers such as Across, Lingotek, and MemoQ. We asked the tool vendors themselves to capture the process of translating a very easy and repetitive Word file according to a very strictly written script. After we received the video files back, we narrated them so you wouldn’t be bored with marketing talk but with objective information on how to process the file. This gives you the greatest possible comparability between the different tools. The areas that we focus on are pre- and post-processing of the file, creating a translation memory and a terminology database, and reusing content from the TM and the terminology database.
Two Clever Office Tricks
If you are in a terrible hurry and you don’t want to wait a long time for complex Word documents to open, you can either open them in Wordpad (accessible under Start>Programs> Accessories), or you can render them in MS Word with a draft font. To do this, select Tools> Options> View>Draft Font (in Word 2007: Office button>Word Options> Advanced> Show document content> Use draft font in Draft and Outline views). This will not change the document itself, just the way it appears and the speed with which it opens. If you need to look quickly through a lot of large docs, this can be a real timesaver.
Here’s something that most of you know but which bugs me no end, especially in PowerPoint and Excel, but also in Word: the automatic URL hyperlinking feature in Office, i.e., the feature that automatically changes an email address or a URL into an underlined link. To turn this off, select Tools> AutoCorrect Options> AutoFormat As You Type, and uncheck “Internet and network paths with hyperlinks” (Office 2007: Office button> . . . Options>Proofing> AutoCorrect Options).
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