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Articles for Translators and Translation Companies
Translators and computers






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Софт для профессионального переводчика
Многие переводческие агентства специально предостерегают своих нештатных переводчиков, что "машинные переводы не принимаются и не оплачиваются". Понятно и справедливо. Их качество и достоверность оставляют желать, в подавляющем большинстве случаев…
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Переводчики диктуют
Если сравнивать, с чисто технической точки зрения, письменный перевод с переводом устным, то основное их отличие — это СКОРОСТЬ. Устная речь производит около 3000 слов в час, и это естественный процесс…
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The Ukrainian Cornucopia of Tools
If you've ever heard me talk about translation technology, you'll have heard me mention Ukraine. It inevitably comes up. Why? Because Ukraine is like the promised land for translation technology developers—or, perhaps more correctly, because a handful of software developers have decided to make Ukraine into a veritable hotbed for translation tools…
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Advice to freelance translators on MT post-editing projects
MT post-editing projects can be divided into two main categories, depending on the expected level of quality of the final output…
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Siri vs. Windows Speech Recognition
More and more research is being currently conducted on improving speech recognition performance. Speech recognition systems are being used in various domains, such as automobile, information kiosks, travel planning, wearable and pervasive computing, and others…
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Free Online Translators: A Comparative Assessment of www.worldlingo.com, www.freetranslation.com, and www.translate.google.com
The present article focuses on three free online translation packages—www.worldlingo.com, www.freetranslation.com, and www.translate.google.com —and asks the following: If the objective of anglophone users is to understand the meaning of a given source text (ST), which of these packages would he/she be best advised to use? Taking a text of approximately 200 words from the European Commission’s website, this article asks each of its chosen packages to translate the ST from three source languages (SLs) into English…
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The World Wide Web and Translators
In today’s translation market with online jobs and tight deadlines, the Internet has turned into one of the new resources translators commonly use to obtain fast and easy access to translationally-relevant information. The online translation resources translators draw on may vary from online glossaries to online corpora. This, however, is not the only application of the Web for translators. In fact, the Web itself is a valuable source of linguistic information for translators far beyond what dictionaries have to offer...
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Language Resources for Translation in Multilingual Question Answering Systems
In the field of Information Retrieval monolingual and multilingual tools are being created that can greatly assist specialists in their work; as well as helping other users find a wide variety of information. Multilingual tools are evolving but several years of study and research are still needed to improve implementations. One of the main difficulties facing these tools is the task of translating queries made by users and the documentary sources found in response (Diekema, 2003)...
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The best freeware corpus analysis program for translators?
For many languages, there is a high demand for translation out of the mother tongue. In China, for example, since only a limited pool of native English-speakers are able to translate from Chinese into English, there is a need for native Chinese-speaking translators to translate out of their native language, as Guangsa Jin points out (Jin, 2008). Similarly in Finland native-speaking Finnish translators frequently translate into their L2. This is because native-speaking foreign translators with a sound grasp of Finnish are in extremely short supply...
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Building Blocks
Last weekend I spent an hour looking through books in our home library that I had not pulled out for a while. One of them, a work on linguistics and Bible translation, started with these two paragraphs...
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Computer-assisted Translation Tools: a brief review
Two or three decades ago the work tools of a translator included a typewriter and a collection of printed dictionaries, which are not difficult to handle. However, as a result of incredibly rapid progress in the field of electronic hardware and computer software, nowadays an important component of any translator's professional competence is the technological one, which, first of all, assumes skills in handling electronic resources and tools...
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How to Format in Ms. Word
These instructions were written as part of our translation tips section. Translating is only one aspect of a translator's career, and a professional translator should learn how to format and work in various programs, most importantly Word (most requested by customers). It is one thing to translate well, but it is also important to deliver your document in a presentable and professional format. Many times what you translate gets printed and published, or processed further by others...
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Protect your Computer and Windows
If you get a virus, you should not be overly confident that your virus protection software will find it or remove it. Many viruses masquerade as necessary Windows files and hide deep in the root of your system's brain, undetected by your protection software. As one expert quoted...
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Total Commander Help
I use and like the program Total Commander so much that I have decided to add instructions for its use on my computer tips pages, also to be used by our translation agency project managers. You can download the latest version of the program from these Total Commander pages, where you should find a freeware version...
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Laptop Sunscreen and Sun Shade
I like to work outside occasionally but it can be difficult to work on a laptop since the sun can make viewing the screen or monitor rather difficult. At one point I designed a portable screen shade using balsam wood, cutting the parts to fit and gluing them together, but one day it occurred to me that I could do the same thing using bendable wire and dark cloth, which would be much better than wood since it would be more flexible and portable...
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How to use two monitors with one PC
There are several reasons why you might want to use multiple monitors with your computer. One might be for work reasons, if you need to spread out your programs on several screens. Another might be for display purposes, if for example you are making a presentation to a customer, so that they could watch the same image as you but from the comfort of their own chair and not have to crowd in next to you...
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Pegasus Mail Help
I was introduced to this email program a long time ago and my business has grown with it. I find it a very powerful tool and much better than Outlook, although it may be a little more complicated to set up. Here are some of its advantages...
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Email Solution
Owning a Translation Agency, I tend to advertise a lot on the net looking for more translators and customers, so I tend to get a lot of spam. So much so that I was spending at least half an hour a day filtering out spam, even after a paid filtering service removed about 4,000 of them a month! And this was increasing rapidly every month. Not to mention the risk that I was erasing valid emails, which could have become important clients, only to lose them just because the translator or potential customer did not bother putting text in the subject. Or a long lost friend who did the same...
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Further computer tips
This section continues from the previous computer tips section, which focuses on cleaning up your computer and putting it into good shape. Below are further tips how to improve your own efficiency, and other tips about your computer. I see that I have much to add to these pages...
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Computer Tips
Being the computer guru that I am, I have found myself many times helping my friends with their computers, and I often find myself absolutely appalled when I see what shambles their computers are in. And this seems rampant among the computer owning population <link to statistics>! In any case, I guess it could make sense, for who can expect everyone to be such a guru as myself? So that I can help them when I do not have time, help others, and perhaps divert some traffic to my Translation Agency in the process...
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7 google tools for translators
How can Google help freelancers organize their workplace? In this article I am listing 7 Google tools that may be useful for any freelancer...
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Do you really need translation memory programs?
When translation memory (TM) software programs were first introduced, they were found to be a valuable aid to translators, since they stored already translated sentences and saved translators the time they would otherwise have taken in typing those repeated sentences out again...
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CAT Tools for Beginners
This article aims at giving an overview of how CAT Tools work and is specifically intended for those translators who are familiarizing themselves with these tools for the first time. A CAT Tool is software whose functioning is based on the creation of a Translation Memory, which facilitates and speeds up the translator's work. After having briefly explained how the tools work, the advantages and disadvantages of their use are analyzed. Finally, suggestions are given for those who would like to know more about these tools and start using them...
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Thirteen Days in June (Adventures with SDL/Trados)
The new Trados version is as foreseeable as Christmas: there is one every year, and all of them have more or less followed the same pattern since I bought Trados 2.x, sometime towards the end of last century. However, things ran differently this time and this is a very personal and subjective account of what happened, told from the standpoint of a common translator...
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Translation Tips: OCR, Developing a Strategy
And if you do plan to use a translation memory tool, you will definitely also want a good OCR program. Which can prove quite useful even if you are not using a translation memory tool. For example, you get a large .pdf file which has a lot of tables and graphs in it. One option is to have that file open in one program and visible in the top half of your computer monitor, as explained above, while typing into a blank Word file in the bottom half of your computer monitor...
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Translation Tips: Setting up Your Surroundings, Learning How to Type, Dividing up the Screen, Using Translation Memory Tools
Once you have positioned yourself properly, now look around you at your immediate settings. I like to have pleasant pictures on the walls, classical music drifting in the background, lots of plants all around me, and one of my favourite... an aquarium!...
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Translation Tips: Setting Up Your Monitor, Your Translation Workstation
Translations can be a rewarding profession, because you can learn interesting things while translating interesting documents, learn how many companies, products and services operate while translating documents about them, and you often have the freedom to work when you want and in your own environment...
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Translation Tips: Actually Translating, Finalising your Document, Counting Words, Sending your File
Besides the tips on this subject mentioned at the bottom, obviously one very important aspect of translations is the choice of terminology. For this it is highly advisable to get yourself a good computer translation dictionary. When I first started translating I had an impressive library of translation dictionaries, but once I finally migrated to a computer dictionary, I marveled at the amount of time I used to spend leafing through endless pages looking up words...
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From Mechanics to Managers
I love the radio. It allows me to be doing something else while still ingesting bits of information that I can process if they are relevant. The other day I caught a snippet that sent my thoughts spinning. The program had to do with the history of calculators and how parents used to protest their use in school because they thought it would mess up the way kids learned math. One of the commentators recalled that this argument was prevalent until it was universally understood that calculators actually were turning the little mathematicians from mechanics into managers...
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Translation Tips: Staying in Touch, Saving and Autosaving, Spellcheckers, Keyboards, Translating outside with your laptop
One of the most important aspects of being a professional translator is to stay in touch, be easily reachable and to respond quickly to enquiries. Nowadays many translation companies will send out emails to several verified translators enquiring of their availability. The first to respond to such an enquiry can often be the one chosen to take the project. Hence it is within your interest to know when an email comes in and to respond quickly to it...
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Linguistics Markup Language
Linguistics Markup Language (LGML) is an XML-based framework for describing the syntax and semantics of natural languages...
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Getting Graphic
Most graphic formats (including .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .tiff, and various others) don't contain text. This is true even if it appears to be readable text because the text is nothing more than pixels (little colored dots) on a virtual canvas. While they may form shapes that represent letters, these have nothing to do with the editable letters or words you deal with in a text editor...
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Wikipedia about translation memory
A translation memory, or TM, is a type of database that stores segments that have been previously translated. A translation-memory system stores the words, phrases and paragraphs that have already been translated and aid human translators. The translation memory stores the source text and its corresponding translation in language pairs called “translation units”...
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Universal translator
The universal translator is a fictional device common to many science fiction works, especially on television. Its purpose is to offer an instant translation of any language. Like hyperdrive, a universal translator is a somewhat improbable technology that is an accepted convention in science fiction stories and serves as a useful plot device. As a convention, it is used to remove the problem of translating between alien languages, unless that problem is essential to the plot...
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How to Translate AutoCAD drawings with Unicode Characters using Trados or other CAT tool
Describes 3 methods on how to translate AutoCAD drawings with Unicode Characters. Professional translators are used to work with Translation Memory software packages that help them to re-use repeated phrases, and check words in specialized glossaries, but AutoCAD doesn't have this capability itself...
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To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade
With SDL's announcement not to honor promotion-priced upgrades for versions of Trados 6.5 and earlier come April 2008, many Trados users see themselves faced with tough decisions in these last days of March. Should you pay for an upgrade simply to avoid falling out of the upgrade cycle, or should you start to consider one of the competing products?...
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Computer-assisted translation
Computer-assisted translation, computer-aided translation, or CAT is a form of translation wherein a human translator translates texts using computer software designed to support and facilitate the translation process. Computer-assisted translation is sometimes called machine-assisted, or machine-aided, translation...
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Linguoc LexTerm: una herramienta de extracción automática de terminología gratuita
En este artículo presentamos LexTerm, una herramienta de extracción automática de terminología que es gratuita y de código abierto. Con esta herramienta se facilita la selección de los términos más relevantes que deben tener un equivalente de traducción consistente...
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George Bush’s 18 Year Old Binoculars
The binoculars in this phrase from a machine–translated French article are named Barbara and Jenna. It seems the French word “jumelles” can mean both “twin girls” and “binoculars.” I can’t cite a source – this may be a translator’s urban legend. But even if it isn’t authentic, such an absurdity will certainly seem plausible to most users of conventional machine translation...
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Creating the Ideal Word Processing Environment in Translation Environment Tools
One of the areas at the heart of how successful a Translation Environment Tool (TEnT) is for the translator, editor, and proofreader is the quality of its word processing environment.
Early on, many TEnT makers chose the "easy way out" by using Word or WordPerfect as their main word processing environment. This seemed to have a number of advantages…
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Translation Memory - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Translation Memory is widely used by clients, agencies and individual translators. When used with certain types of projects, those with template information that appears repeatedly, there is a positive impact on quality, consistency, lead time and price. But “TM” is not a magic wand that can be waved over a translation with perfect results. Translation Memory it is NOT the same as Machine Translation…
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Specialized Corpora for Translators:
A Quantitative Method to Determine Representativeness

Nowadays, there can be no doubt as to the importance or the necessity of using corpora in translation. Equally, given the short deadlines and speed that are now demanded in the translation industry, the virtual corpus has undeniably proved itself a most useful tool. Many authors have explored the possibilities offered by corpora for specialized language teaching and translation…
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The Global Content Lifecycle: How integration generates results
The language translation buyer has come to appreciate the benefits that technology can deliver. These benefits offer positive impact to the costs associated with obtaining language translation, the quality of the translated content, and the efficiency this function brings to the overall content lifecycle…
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Exploring Translation Corpora with MkAlign
This paper presents a series of experiments devoted to the development of a new tool for multilingual textometric exploration of translation corpora. We propose to use bitext topography to facilitate the study of lexical equivalencies on quantitative bases. The suggested approach opens up new horizons for interactive exploration of translation resources of multilingual texts in a variety of fields of study: translation, foreign language learning and teaching, bilingual terminology, lexicography, etc…
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The Impact of Translation Memory Tools on the Translation Profession
For different reasons, Translation Memory (TM) tools have become both indispensable and popular. They have caused a sweeping change in the translation market. Translators are no longer restricted to hardcopy dictionaries and glossaries; they can now use online and electronic resources. In addition to all the benefits TM have brought about for translators, translation agencies and clients, they also have some inherent shortcomings. In this article I will explore both advantages and disadvantages of TM for these parties. I will also explain the change TM brought about in the translator's working methods…
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Introduction to Translation Memory and Machine Translation
Course Objectives:
• Understand the structure of a translation memory system
• Be able to set up and save a translation memory
• Apply a translation memory to a Word document
• Explore use of translation memory for HTML and more complex file formats…
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Wordfast and Trados
Well, what is Trados? I already see those smiles on the old timers' faces. Yes, Trados is indeed the leading CAT tool on the market, and is certainly pretty good on that count. If you are a translator, even beginner, you will have noticed a lot of translation agencies around the world request Trados. The first stable datum you should have on that subject is that you can work on most "Trados-Only projects" using Wordfast…
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How About Taking a Shortcut?
For people like us, who spend so much time in front of the computer making the same movements (which often lead to repetitive stress injuries), any timesaver can be useful. Keyboard shortcuts can help immensely, and even allow you to do things that are impossible with the mouse…
English Portuguese

Installing and Launching the Heartsome translation suite on Linux
The Heartsome company has its corporate headquarters in Singapore and offices in Beijing and Hong Kong, so it is hardly surprising that its logo is a stylized handwritten form of the Chinese character '心' (heart). On its web site, Heartsome explains that the heart logo "… aptly describes the totality of our enterprise: quality and reliability, strength and earnestness, honesty and trustworthiness, wholesome yet far-reaching. Ours is a magnificent heart, operationally and in terms of our business practises…
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Integrating the Elements: The Current Integration Process among Translation Tools and Translators
In the orchestra of modern translation workflow, translators are the musicians and translation technologies, represented by MT (machine translation), TM (translation memory) tools, and corpora are the various instruments. In order to produce a symphony that resembles the sound in the composer's mind, all the instruments must be properly utilized and the good performance of musicians is also vital…
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Automated translation quality control
Nathalie De Sutter discusses how new technologies can mitigate the threats faced by Language Service Providers (LSPs).
All maturing industries try to avoid their products being seen as commodities that can easily be bought from any supplier; localisation and translation service providers are no exception. In most cases, translation does not pertain to the core business of the customer, who therefore considers it to be a ‘non-critical’ purchase…
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Tips for OpenOffice.org Writer
Most users don't give much thought to the cryptic INSRT STD HYP fields in the Status bar. However, sometimes they can come in quite handy. When you click on the INSRT field, it changes its status to OVER. Now, if you start typing in a currently opened document, you will notice that the typed text overwrites the existing text…
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Choosing the right computer solution
One area that does tend to get overlooked however is the hardware on which these tools are installed and used. Purchasing the right computer system is a mine field full of 'special' deals and an attractive high spec component glossing over the full system specification. Before rushing into a decision it is important to look at the following issues which will help make a more informative decision in what is a potentially large investment…
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CAT Tools and Productivity: Tracking Words and Hours
A freelance translator calculates her productivity over a period of 18 months tracking number of words translated, time devoted to translation and the CAT-tool used for every project…
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The Okapi Framework: Q and A with Yves Savourel of ENLASO
As of October, 2005, ENLASO has started to port a set of localization tools to the open-source Okapi Framework. The project's developer, Yves Savourel, has been involved in the development of standard XML formats for translation, such as XLIFF and TMX. Open Source Update recently spoke with Yves, who works as a Localization Solutions Architect at ENLASO's headquarters in Boulder, Colorado…
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Maxprograms.com - Free Resources for Translators
It's about time that Open Source Update mentioned Rodolfo Raya's website Maxprograms, which features five free utilities for translators. Rodolfo's “day job” is as a developer for Heartsome, but his tools can be of use to translators using a variety of CAT tools. All of the programs are cost-free, and run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. They are…
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Open Source Update: Questions and Answers with Marc Prior
This month we'll be having an electronic coffee chat with Marc Prior, a Germany-based translator who is an active contributor to many aspects of the free software for translators community. Marc is an original member of the OmegaT team and maintains the
Linux for Translators website in addition to his translation work. Here are Marc's thoughts on a number of issues of interest to the FOSS translator community…
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OpenOffice.org tips and tricks
OpenOffice.org tips and tricks by Dmitri Popov Subsequent to our interview, Dmitri offered to share some of his best suggestions for optimizing your OpenOffice.org user experience…
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Martin Wunderlich's FOSS links page
Many novice (or even experienced) users of free and open software have lamented the lack of a unified list of open source resources for translation and localization. As of this month, lament no more, because translator Martin Wunderlich has assembled just such a list, and it's available on Martin's site…
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Okapi framework released; Heartsome 6 upcoming
This month, ENLASO released a first set of open source localization tools as part of its Okapi framework. The open source suite currently includes Olifant, a .NET application for creating and managing translation memories, and Tikal, a utility that executes utilities from a DOS command line…
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OpenOffice.org 2.0 released
OpenOffice.org celebrated its fifth birthday on October 13; the fifth anniversary of Sun Microsystems' release of StarOffice's source code. Auspiciously, the long awaited OpenOffice.org 2.0 was released this month as well, and you can get your free new version at the OpenOffice.org website.
Open Source Update hasn't tested this release yet, but following are some highlights of the package's new features as reported on the project's website…
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Getting Started with Trados FL in Two Minutes
It is not a secret that many translators believe Trados is too complex and unfriendly. This popular misconception is supported by the bulkiness of Trados’s manuals: FL5.5 was supplied with five manuals totaling 936 pages, and FL6.5 has six manuals totaling 1252 pages - enough to scare off the most computer-savvy translator! However, these manuals can't be short and simple since they are comprehensive and cover all Trados functions and settings, which are almost unlimited…
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Focus on ForeignDesk: Q and A with Dierk Seeburg of Choice Hotels International
Dierk Seeburg is Web Content Administrator with Choice Hotels International in Phoenix, Arizona. Choice Hotels is the world's second largest hotel franchiser with over 5000 hotels in over 40 countries. His responsibilities at Choice include analysis and scoping of mono- and multilingual internal and external web content, process and standards oversight, and translation and quality assurance of English and German web content…
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Fun with OpenOffice.org: OO Extras; NewsForge article on invoicing with Calc
OO Extras is a great website to use when you need templates for just about anything from CD case labels to newsletters to invoices or even legal pleadings. In addition, there are at least 50 templates for use with OpenOffice.org Impress, the application compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint…
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First translation with Wordfast
Translating with Wordfast is simple. Open your document in Word, place the cursor at the beginning of the document and click on the first icon on the left in Wordfast toolbar…
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Wordfast Installation
You need to have a copy of MS Word installed on your computer, and VBA must be enabled. Other then that, you will be able to run Wordfast on Windows or Mac OS. First you need to get your own copy of Wordfast…
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What are CATs?
Wordfast is probably one of the best translation tools on the market. Having used Wordfast for a while, I thought it was time I pay a tribute to that amazing piece of software, and decided to put together a few help pages with screen shots to help people getting started with it…
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CAT - Beware of the beast!
Some translators complain that CATs (Computer Aided Translations) tend to decrease quality. While many (dare I say "most"?) of them don't have a clue what they are talking about and confuse CAT with machine translation, it is true that there are also quality issues involved with the use of a CAT…
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OmegaT, a review
I have long been curious about OmegaT, mostly for 2 reasons:
1. OmegaT is the last free CAT on the market still being developped (that I know of)
2. OmegaT is written in Java, and therefore relatively platform independent…
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Design and Development of Translator's Workbench for English to Indian Languages
This paper describes the system design of a Translator's Workbench (TWB), built around the core concept of Translation Memory System (TMS), a method of capturing, storing and re-using translation. It examines the architectural, structural and procedural framework of the TWB with development details, including implementation essentials, to facilitate better understanding of the software system…
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Q and A with Tim Foster of Sun Microsystems
As reported in Open Source Update issue #8, Sun Microsystems recently released the first two applications in its Open Language Tools project. Tim Foster is an engineer working for Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the Globalization group, currently working on translation tools and technologies. He also is the project lead of the Open Language Tools, and maintains a blog about Translation, Language & Tools (and occasional off-topic items)…
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Fun with OpenOffice.org: tips to optimize your office experience
1) Squinting at the screen to figure out if you put an extra space between two words? Turn on View>Nonprinting Characters or hit Control+F10 to show spaces, carriage returns, indents, etc.
2) Tired of typing “lyophilization” over and over in your latest pharmaceutical document? Enable automatic word completion by choosing Tools>AutoCorrect/AutoFormat>Word Completion. The feature collects words that you frequently use and automatically completes them when you type the first three letters…
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thebigword IT Security
thebigword has a highly secure IT infrastructure. The security measures described in this document are necessary due to the nature of the documents translated for our clients. Financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, government bodies and most global corporations need to have highly confidential documents translated…
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Translation Memory Sharing
The reason for sharing memory is to enable the use of more than one vendor. By centralising your translations, thebigword ensures the highest quality and consistent service that your consumers and regulators expect…
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What is Translation Memory?
Translation Memory, in simple terms, remembers everything we have previously translated for you. This means when you send us a document we only translate new text or edit similar text contained within that document…
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Building your own computer from parts
Too often, people purchase a prebuilt computer because assembling one yourself seems like a hassle, or because it's hard to pick out exactly what kind of parts you want. At the same time, if you're both frugal and demanding about computer performance, putting together your own computer can yield a much better machine with a longer warranty, for a lot less money than you pay to the prebuilt guys…
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GnuCash: open source financial software
Here in the U.S., it's tax time, leading many of us to resolve to keep better financial records in the future. If you run Mac OS X, Linux, or any of the "traditional Unixes" such as Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, etc., it's worth taking a look at GnuCash, a cost-free and open source accounting application…
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Freeware, free software and the open source paradigm
Since Open Source Update debuted in December, a number of readers have suggested articles on various pieces of "freeware" that are useful to translators. Most of these are add-ons to programs such as Microsoft Word, and are distributed for free, but their code is not available to the user…
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NeoOffice: OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X
Thanks to reader Dierk Seeburg for suggesting an article on NeoOffice (cost-free and open source from http://www.neooffice.org), the new OpenOffice.org distribution exclusively for Mac OS X…
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Fun with OpenOffice.org: Exporting PDFs, Exporting Flash presentations, Customizing your keyboard
Exporting files directly as PDF: When you want to create a read-only copy of a document, this new feature in OpenOffice.org 1.1 is particularly helpful. PDFs (portable document format) don't require a specific office suite in order to view them, so they are an excellent way to share read-only documents with people who use different types of software…
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The US$498.00 Linux laptop
Billing itself as the home of "The World's Most Affordable Computers," Linspire, is an extremely user-friendly Linux distribution that has carved out a niche in selling Linux machines that come with all the basic software pre-installed…
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A new look of OmegaT
OmegaT has been around on the Computer Assisted Translation tools market for a little while now, steadily evolving and answering user needs. Its latest release has been available for a few months now (1.4.4.02) and has been reviewed a number of times already.
I am extremely happy to write this short article because, not only as a member of the "development" team (as a non programmer) but also as a freelance Japanese to French translator I find that this new version has the potential to bring new groups of users to this extremely potent application. Before entering the core of the discussion, I will give a few general indications of what OmegaT is, and what it is not…
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Trying Out Linux
Many translators have now heard of Linux and would like to try it out, but are hesitant to do so. Linux is an operating system, and the operating system is the foundation on which all programs run. It is understandable that translators are reluctant to switch operating systems. "I wouldn't let Linux anywhere near my money-making machine", confided one translator I know. However, he then went on to ask me a lot of questions about Linux…
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OmegaT's latest release reviewed
When translators get together, one common question is "How do I decide when it's worth investing in a CAT tool?" With OmegaT, (http://www.omegat.org) that question is easily answered: invest now, because it's free! While OmegaT lacks some features of the "big" CAT tools, it's really free and it really works, making it a great option for translators who don't need the added features (and sticker shock) of more powerful CAT tools. I recently tested OmegaT's newly released version 1.4.4.01 on Linux (Knoppix) with extremely favorable results…
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Running Wordfast on CrossOver Office
For Linux users who want to run a powerful Trados-compatible CAT tool on Linux, running the Wordfast translation memory engine (http://www.wordfast.net , licenses vary between 90 and 180 euros; can be used free for memories of up to 500 TU) is an excellent option. Wordfast runs on Windows and Mac as well, but currently cannot handle OpenOffice.org files natively, since Wordfast depends on MSWord macros…
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Featured application: OpenOffice.org
The free (in terms of cost and source code) office suite OpenOffice.org is a great “gateway” application for translators who would like to get started in open source. Located online at the website of the same name, OO.o is, for all tasks not requiring Word macros, better than 90% compatible with Microsoft Office; this is especially true when a document is created with MSWord, then opened and edited in OO.o. In my first year of freelancing, I used OO.o's “Save as MSWord” function exclusively, and no client ever noticed that I wasn't actually using MSWord…
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Sun Microsystems releases Open Language Tools
The big news in the open source translation community these days is Sun Microsystems' release of the first installment of their Open Language Tools project. On June 21, Sun programmer Tim Foster's weblog announced the release of binaries and source code to the Open Language Tools XLIFF (XML Localization Interchange File Format) Translation Editor and XLIFF Filter…
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How to Leverage the Maximum Potential of XML for Localization
In this article, Andrzej Zydroń explains how DITA and xml:tm fit into the equation and how they will take us beyond the existing XML-based localization standards that have only concentrated on the exchange of information. DITA is a flexible, topic-based architecture that provides a comprehensive model for authoring, producing and delivering of technical documentation. xml:tm is a rather radical departure from existing standards that introduces the concept of text memory, seamlessly integrated into XML documents. …
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Using XML technology to reduce the cost of authoring and translation
At the recent LISA Forum Europe in London, Andrzej Zydron reported on the history of publishing formats and the development of a new XML-based format for translation and authoring memory called xml:tm. xml:tm leverages the architecture of XML to allow XML-based documents to contain multiple language versions, translation information, revision history and other important information that enables end-users to much more easily handle many aspects of a document’s creation and subsequent use. In this article Zydron describes xml:tm and its benefits for users of XML-based publishing formats …
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Translation Technology for Sale: Buyer Beware!
People who master more than one language readily understand that language enables each culture to grasp and express reality in its own way. Yet the common perception of translators as perfectionists who drag their feet lingers on and is particularly widespread in monolingual circles. Less scrupulous marketers of translation technology have long capitalized on this perception to sell their products …
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Amikai: Best-Of-Breed MT Engine
Amikai was founded by three Stanford University graduates in 1999 in San Francisco and opened its Tokyo office in 2000. The word "Amikai" comes from the Latin 'amicus' (friend) and the Japanese word 'sekai' for 'world'. The company develops Machine Translation (MT) applications to facilitate Web-based multilingual communication. The Japan Industrial Journal in April 16, 2001 described the company as possessing the three fundamentals for a successful Internet business: human capital, technical know-how and financial backing …
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Coping with Babel: How to Localize XML
In this article Andrzej Zydron outlines pitfalls that are often encountered by authors, programmers and localizers when first using XML, as well as ways to avoid these problems. Following Zydron’s advice can save developers time, money and headaches, and can help them reach out effectively to the world …
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Why Esperanto and Syriac?
RedleX, a privately-owned Tel Aviv-based software development company, released Mellel, its multilingual word processor for Mac OS X in May 2002. While the release of Mac OS X in 2000 offered the framework for multilingual and multi-script support, few applications have implemented anything but basic Unicode support …
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Dealing With Those Darn PDFs
If you look through the archives of discussion lists for translators, these are the two questions that are most often asked: First, what are the differences between the different computer-assisted translation tools? Second, do any of them support PDF files, and if not, what's the best way to translate those files? …
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Controlling What Programs Windows Runs Automatically
If your computer’s startup is very sluggish or you don’t know what some of the icons in the system tray (the right-hand corner of your task bar in Windows) stand for, it may be a good idea to reduce the number of programs that automatically start each time you turn your computer on …
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To Align Or Not To Align
For those who don't know what alignment is, I'll take a stab at explaining: in the context of most computer-assisted translation tools, alignment refers to the process of selecting file pairs in the source and target language that were translated outside of a translation memory environment, matching all the segments (sentences, headings, etc.), and creating a translation memory database from those matches. The resulting translation memory can then be applied to translate similar or identical texts …
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Keeping Track of Date and Time with Excel and Other Ways to Clock Your Work
There are a number of ways for translators to invoice their clients. We can either invoice by the number of source or target words, the number of source or target characters, or by the amount of hours that we spend on a certain task. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, but each method also has room for improvement …
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Teaching Computers: Building Multilingual Linguistic Resources With Volunteer Contributions Over the Web
One of the most compelling powers of the internet lies in its ability to instantly link a massive number of people and share their knowledge on any subject at little cost. In the following article, researchers Dr. Rada Mihalcea and Dr. Timothy Chklovski outline their project, Teach-Computers, which aims to build high-performance natural language processing tools through tapping into people’s understanding of common words via a simple click on the Web …
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Making the Pieces Fit: Using Translation Technology at Sun Microsystem
This article explains how we at Sun Microsystems use translation technology for our translation activities on GNOME and other projects. It describes our experiences using open standards, such as XML Localization Interchange File Format (XLIFF) and Translation Memory eXchange format (TMX) and our experiences using tools to process these formats. In general, we found that these technologies can increase translator productivity and aid in sharing translations across multiple projects …
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Translation Technology and the Translator
Translators are perhaps the most critical audience for presentations about the automation of translation. Many of them will agree with comments made by J.E.Holmström in a report on scientific and technical dictionaries submitted to Unesco in 1949. Having heard that some researchers were investigating the possibilities, he thought that "the resulting literary style would be atrocious and fuller of 'howlers' and false values than the worst that any human translator produces" …
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Retrospect and prospect in computer-based translation
At the last MT Summit conference this century, this paper looks back briefly at what has happened in the 50 years since MT began, reviews the present situation, and speculates on what the future may bring. Progress in the basic processes of computerized translation has not been as dramatic as developments in computer technology and software. There is still much scope for the improvement of the linguistic quality of MT output, which hopefully developments in both rule-based and corpus-based methods can bring …
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"Show Me That Letter" - Unicode Support Keeps Getting Better
When I first took up the subject of Unicode implementation and support in 2001, I was dismayed to report that Unicode had made almost no difference for typical multilingual end-users because very few consumer applications supported Unicode in any meaningful way. When I picked up the topic again last year, the situation had improved dramatically, and I am happy to report that this improvement has accelerated over the last year, with Unicode support and implementation now increasingly robust …
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Unicode - Where Are We?
Unicode has held out the promise of simplified multilingual workflows, improved publishing support for the world’s languages, and elimination of many hassles that now plague work in the GILT community. In this article Arle Lommel looks at changes in the past two years regarding Unicode support in applications localizers typically deal with …
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Web Services for Translation
Building and managing multilingual Web sites or other applications involves many interrelated and complex tasks. Publishers may have databases, content management systems and other tools which enable them to manage their original content, while vendors may have systems to manage translation such as translation memory systems, terminology tools and project management systems …
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Teaching Computer Aided Translation Tools at Auckland University
If we think of translators as business people, then we should think of their tools in terms of their efficiency. Historically, translation equipment has been rather rudimentary, and has developed over the centuries since the Rosetta stone. The boulder and chisel were replaced by paper and quill, the horse and cart gave way to snail and mail. The past twenty years has seen another revolution in the field of translation tools: the advent of affordable electronic tools for translators …
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CAT tools: A brief overview about concordance software
Have you ever wanted to sort out the terminology of a translation before you start? Did you ever think how wonderful it would be if you could see all occurrences of one term in its various contexts? If so, then you're no doubt familiar with the task of sitting down, reading through the source text, finding the "complicated" words and writing them down so you can look them up …
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Getting More from Translation Memory
Translation Memory (TM) technology and its benefits are widely known in the localization industry. TM technology is mainly used for reusing text, thus saving time and reducing costs by using previously translated units. Through the reuse of text, we can achieve three objectives, namely improved consistency, minimized turnaround time and reduced translation costs …
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TMX: Maximizing the Return on your Translation Memory Investments
High-tech product generation cycles have shortened dramatically with leading hardware manufacturers such as Dell and HP producing hundreds of variations of their machines every few months, all with localized documentation and sales support required as part of a total solution for customers …
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Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows and Word for Translators
There are two important reasons why anybody should use keyboard shortcuts instead of mouse:
- The use of mouse is one of the main triggers of Repetitive Strain Injury, tendinitis and other similar muscolosceletal disorders. Sufferers of these disorders report that they feel less pain when typing compared to when mousing. Thus, a desire to avoid mouse as much as possible
- Once keyboard shortcuts have been mastered then one can work much faster and be more productive …
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Limitations of Computers as Translation Tools
As should be more than evident from other contributions to this volume, the field of computer translation is alive and well—if anything, it is now entering what may prove to be its truly golden era. But there would be no need to point this out if certain problems from an earlier time had not raised lingering doubts about the overall feasibility of the field. Just as other authors have stressed the positive side of various systems and approaches, this chapter will attempt to deal with some of these doubts and questions, both as they may apply here and now to those planning to work with computer translation systems and also in a larger sense as they may be connected to some faulty notions about language held by the general public and perhaps some system developers as well …
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Fishing for the Right Word
There is so much hype in the computer world that one is sometimes tempted not to believe anything. Software mongers would have you believe that simply by installing their shells, you will suddenly be able to perform six tasks at once. Database vendors would convince you that their query language will automatically find you a thousand new customers …
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QWERTYUIOP or Our Typewriter Territory
A Whorfian Picture Parable for Adults, entirely devoted to QWERT, the creatures who live in QWERTYUIOP and speak the Qwert language. Their entire lives are limited to those words and concepts that can be spelled with the top row of letters on the keyboard …
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How Well Does Computer Translation Work? Find Out for Yourself
From this page, you'll be able to connect directly with Altavista's computer translation program "BabelFish" and evaluate how well it truly works. But before we do that—and before this website expresses any further opinion about the quality of "machine translation"—let's listen to what the promoters of this program have to say about its quality …
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Working from audio recordings
Sometimes it happens; not too often, but it does. A translator is asked to work from an audio recording. The client assumes that a translator frequently does this; so doing it in any of the translator's working languages should be a piece of cake …
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Don't Lose Your Foreign Web Site Visitors by Insulting Them With Brain-Dead Translation Services
For some internet marketers it's become a cutting edge strategy to offer multi lingual navigation and promo material on their sites in the hope of expanding their client base. While it is true that international users whose mother tongue is anything but English are beginning to hit the web in hefty numbers, catering to them in their own linguistic format is an art in itself which doesn't lend itself to the cheap and easy "no brainer" pseudo solutions currently being hawked on the net …
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Search engine features and search techniques
When using a search engine, the most difficult problem to solve is the huge amount of results you get and the importance to be granted to them. As a matter of fact, the efficiency of a search engine is mainly due to its ability of listing the results of our search giving the higher rank to the most important topics found. This article intends to carry out a more precise exploration on how search engines are used, in addition to describe the operation of some meta-engines that are also considered accurate and useful…
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On Netiquette, e-mails, etc. (Part 2 of 2)
Always spell check your e-mail and proofread for errors.
Always edit out unnecessary information from a message you are responding to. Don't just hit the reply button and start typing. Delete unimportant parts of the e-mail you are responding to and reply point by point. At the very least edit out e-mail headers and signature files. Why would you possibly want to have copies of the last 3-4 (or more) e-mails added to the growing list of back and forth? Edit/delete what is not necessary for the conversation to continue…
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On Netiquette, e-mails, etc. (Part 1 of 2)
Today the Internet has become an integral part of our lives and online communications are commonplace… But in order to be successful in your online exchanges you should be aware of Netiquette. What does this mean? Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online, the dos and donХts of online communication, and the informal "rules of the road" of cyberspace…
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Using the Grammar Check
Your computer word processing programme probably contains a "Grammar Check" function designed to help you write more clearly. With each new program version, Grammar Checks are becoming more refined…
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How to use the Free Online Translator to your Benefit
An online translator is an interactive program implemented on a web page offering translations of a text into a different language. The translation is generated by a computer and instantly displayed. And best of all using it doesnt cost you anything!
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Translating HTML files
How to translate correctly HTML files. How HTML works, basic tags, style sheets, what are the issues a translator should be aware of, how to prepare (tag) an HTML file for translation, what to watch for when translating a website…
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Wordfast: A quick and inexpensive way to translate
I used to think that translating on the computer was drudgery. Translation for me five or six years ago was just a way to make some extra money. You could say it was just an afterthought. Of course, this was before broadband connections and Windows XP and other applications. MS Word was the only "tool" that I had. Needless to say, I made mistakes such as leaving words out, and putting extra words in. My terminology was in no way consistent…

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Translation Tools Today: A Personal View
What does the market offer to the professional translator these days? The arena has become so overcrowded with contenders and they are moving so fast, that even watching the major players has become quite a task. I have given up all hope of ever writing a full survey of the tools now available. However I believe I can shed some light on a few issues, mainly for the use of the bewildered many who feel they must acquire translation memory software and are lost in the maze of information…
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eProcurement and Translation
The world of purchasing took a significant change with the introduction of eProcurement systems. Unbelievable ROI was promised and the whole purchasing world was about to revolutionise, all for a mere few million investment…
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Online Translation - The Future??
It is fair to say that most small to medium sized GILT (Globalization, Internationalization, Localization and Translation) companies have professional looking and informative brochure web sites. What is interesting is that more and more of these companies are now following in the footsteps of the industry giants and revamping their sites to facilitate online translation services.
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PDAs and the Interpreter
PDAs (often called "Palms", although Palm is just one of the brands available) are small electronic devices that capture, organize and manage data. As the name suggests, they are small enough to fit on your palm. You input data using a special blunt-ended stick called a stylus (or, for the less organized among us, your fingernail!) to write on the screen…
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Do You Need to Have a Website?
I have been receiving directories of organizations of translators by mail every year since I decided to hang out my shingle and join a translators' association in 1987. I remember that in the eighties and early nineties, the NCTA's (Northern California Translators Association) membership directory was a bulky brochure the size of a small telephone book. Given how expensive it was to mail these things, after a few years they started mailing to members a PDF file on a floppy and you had to pay them $10 extra for the book…
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Trados-Is It a Must?
You can advertise yourself as a Trados user even if actually you use Wordfast. Wordfast is completely compatible with Trados files (bilingual and TMs). No client sees a difference. The difference is significant only to your wallet-Trados is licensed for about $700.00, and Wordfast - from $50.00…
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Famous translation memory tools may have a rest
Wordfast will find its market among those translators who are allergic to any sophisticated software whose developers seem to forget that their objective should be to facilitate the user's life, not to complicate it…
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An Effective and Inexpensive Translation Memory Tool
Translation memory means that you never have to translate the same sentence, phrase or word twice. You do it only once, and when you come across the same sentence, phrase or word next time, a program suggests that you use your previous translation, which may be edited if the context demands it…

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