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Featured application: OpenOffice.org

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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. The suite, including applications for word processing, presentations and spreadsheets, is available for Linux, Macintosh and Windows, and requires minimal (or no) retraining if the user is already proficient in the corresponding proprietary applications. For the translator, OO.o offers some language-specific advantages, such as localizations not yet on proprietary vendors' radar screens: Slovenian, Welsh, Lithuanian, Zulu, Basque, Estonian, and the list goes on, at http://l10n.openoffice.org/languages.html

For translation memory users, be aware that as of yet, the most common translation memory programs are not able to handle OO.o files directly, since they depend on Word macros. However, it is possible to either save OO.o files in Word format, then open them in MSWord, or to use the OO.o-compatible, and free, translation memory tool OmegaT, located at http://www.omegat.org and also running on Linux, Macintosh or Windows.

Featured website: http://www.getopenoffice.org

Continuing the theme, an excellent website for OpenOffice.org users of all skill levels is Solveig Haugland's http://www.getopenoffice.org. Directly from the homepage, you can “Learn More,” “Get the Software,” or check out “Books and Training.” Solveig is the co-author of the excellent OpenOffice.org 1.0 Resource kit, a user's guide that comes with a CD of the software, available for $26.39 (with free shipping!) from Amazon.com and other bookstores. For only $10.00, there's a CD of OpenOffice.org 1.1 including an Essentials workbook and templates. The site also includes lots of free tips such as templates, advice on switching to and using OpenOffice.org in various environments such as schools, universities, and government, and information about training services. Please note that there is no financial relationship between myself and getopenoffice.org; I just think it's a great website!

This article may be freely reproduced or redistributed
for non-commercial use with attribution to the author
Copyright 2005 by Corinne McKay

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