The Tool Box Journal 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.
BY JOST ZETZSCHE © 2014 INTERNATIONAL WRITERS’ GROUP, COMPILED BY YVES AVÉROUS
Take the Lift!
Technology development often occurs when someone feels so strongly about a missing or underdeveloped feature that they set out to develop it on their own. This is what happened with Kevin Flanagan and his Lift project
Kevin is a PhD student in computational linguistics at Swansea University and a French-to-English translator. As a translator, Kevin was frustrated with the way sub-segmenting was implemented in translation environment tools.
At this point, tools like Déjà Vu, Trados, memoQ, Star Transit, and others have found ways to suggest sub-segment matches by analyzing existing TM data. It’s a logical thing to do–if you have an existing translation memory. If one sub-segment in the source appears a number of times accompanied by the same sub-segment in the target, then there’s a great likelihood that it’s a match. This is what’s proposed to us as we translate, typically in the form of auto-complete suggestions.
But what if there’s no existing translation memory data for a specific client or project? In that case, the feature does not work at all, or not as reliably. So, why not use external data to evaluate each segment, regardless of whether there is any existing data in that particular TM, and come up with suggested matches? That’s what Kevin’s Lift product does. Visit here  to find a video that shows you how it works, with an add-on that Kevin created (for himself) for Trados Studio and an overview in the form of a poster he presented at a conference last year.
Psss, I’ve got a secret!
A couple of weeks ago I realized that one of Microsoft’s best-kept secrets is really still a secret, even to my readers. There are a couple of real jewels hidden deep inside Windows that shine all day long without (most of) us ever seeing them. The Steps Recorder is one such tool. When you encounter problems, it can be very hard to explain what went wrong to someone on a phone help line. Of course, there are ways to share your computer with someone else – the easiest might be join.me–but another way is to record your problems and send the recording to someone else.
This is exactly what the Steps Recorder does. This tool allows you to record everything on your screen. When the recording is done, it is saved as an MHT HTML archive file and zipped up. Once unzipped, the MHT file can be opened with Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Opera (or with Firefox or Safari with a special plug-in).
This ‘n’ that
I’m pretty sure that there are no translators in European languages who are not aware of IATE, the large InterActive Terminology for Europe database. But I have to admit that I often used to strike out with IATE searches because it was difficult to know what to look for if the exact term was not available. This has changed now with a predictive typing feature that lets you see suggestions as you enter your terms. It’s been available for only a few weeks, but the number of successful searches that I have completed on IATE must have quadrupled during that time.
Clear skies become cloudy
There has been a lot of talk about team translation–something that makes a lot of sense for a certain kind and a certain size of project. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to use technologies like shared translation memories, termbases, or other resources in most translation environment tools.
Some tools have been very good about enabling the real-time sharing of resources between peers. Wordfast has been allowing this for a long time, and the web-based translation environment tools (such as XTM, Wordbee, MemSource, and Text United) have a similar model. While not completely peer-to-peer, since one translator generally has to purchase a slightly more expensive version, these make it very easy and practical for such workgroups to exist. Even the open-source OmegaT can be used in workgroups.
Now memoQ has joined the fray with an offering on its own. The newly unveiled memoQ cloud  offers the following: anyone, whether they own a memoQ license or not, can purchase access to the cloud for a fee of 130 euros a month. Once a project is configured and uploaded to the server, you can invite other users of memoQ Translator Pro to work with you on the project in real time.
It is also possible to purchase licenses for the web-based version of memoQ (WebTrans), which is surprisingly close in functionality to the desktop version. Presently it’s possible to have up to five users of that version at 80 euros a month per seat. All of this is managed through Kilgray’s Language Terminal .
Stay in touch
Twitter has become my go-to place to quickly communicate all kinds of important (and sometimes not-so-important) things. Make sure you subscribe to my (and Jeromobot’s) Twitter feed . JZ