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. BY JOST ZETZSCHE © 2008 INTERNATIONAL WRITERS’ GROUP, COMPILED BY YVES AVÉROUS
CAN YOU SEE MY SKYPE?
I’ve written about Skype  before and how it’s become the chosen form of communication in translator commu- nities, albeit primarily as a messaging rather than a telephony tool (I can’t even recall when I opened another messaging tool). A new feature that was introduced with the latest version will probably just cement this status. It is now possible to share your desktop with a person with whom you are messaging or talking. Well, “sharing” may not be quite the right term since the only thing it does is display your current screen, but this is very help- ful when you have to ask a question about something that isn’t working or when you have to show someone how to do an opera- tion correctly. At this point, it’s not possible to have both ends share at the same time or to show something to more than one person at a time; in addition, the refresh rate is a little slow and the image looks a bit coarse. Though there are lots of other apps that offer this, I STILL like it, if only because it’s easier to stay in the program you are in while talking to someone, rather than starting up something different that the other person may first have to install.
BE ADVISED TO USE AN ADVISOR
Belarc Advisor  to be exact. The irony with this tool is that while it reminds you of the necessity of Windows and Office updates, it does not remind you to update itself. So I have been using a copy that I downloaded a few years ago, unaware of the interesting new features that it now offers. This tool provides you with a very detailed report of all the hardware and software that you have installed, includ- ing operating system, processor speed and memory, system serial number, printers, controllers, displays, etc.
This can be very helpful for various rea- sons. It gives you instantaneous access to all the information you need when your computer requires servicing; it shows you how many crazy applications you have installed (and hopefully convinces you to uninstall a bunch of them in due time); and it lists serial numbers for many of the software programs you installed which you might otherwise have forgotten or have a hard time getting to.
What I did not mention is that it’s free, it takes just a minute or so to install, and not more than two to execute and receive a many-paged report. As mentioned above, it now also gives you a report on Windows or Office updates you might have missed (therefore circumventing the memory- draining Windows-internal tool for this purpose).
In a recent newsletter I mentioned the new online-based PDF-to-Word  application, which works surprisingly fast and accurate- ly. After I sent the newsletter out, however, I was embarrassed to notice that I had not looked into its multilingual capabilities, a shortcoming that was also pointed out by Claude Simard. Well, I am glad to report that it is mind-bogglingly multilingual. On PDF-to-Word’s company blog it says Multi-language text support. Convert all Unicode-based text, in any LTR (left-to- right written) language.
Yeah, right, I thought. Show me the goods! So I converted a PDF file con- taining Chinese, Russian, Swedish, and Spanish text, and it did so beautifully. Wow, I thought, that’s not bad, but I know where to prove them wrong: Amharic — no way they can do that right (many of you remember that I wrote about the poor Amharic support in many tools). But what can I say? It converted it beautifully. Now, you can’t convert a non-Unicode exot- ic-language font, and image-based PDFs (including scanned files) also don’t work, but otherwise it looks quite powerful. (You can check them out in Article 2201 in the Trados knowledgebase—thanks to Emma Goldsmith, Carmet Erez, and Amit Dharma for this tip.)
This past week I realized that Adobe Acro- bat (Professional) has a feature that I have simply overlooked in the past — the index- ing feature. I was working on a job with a couple hundred PDF files as reference ma- terial. While it’s possible to search through all the PDFs in a full-text search, it’s both time-consuming and heavy on your pro- cessing power. What I had never realized is that it’s very easy to create an index for any number of PDFs on your hard drive or network that you can easily delete after you are done with the task.
Here is how you do it: Select Advanced Document Processing > Full Text Index With Catalog in Acrobat (please note that you need the Professional edition for that) and then click New Index. Under Index Title, type a name for the index file. You can also enter a description of the index and look through the advanced options under Options (where, for instance, you can exclude certain words), and then you will have to select in which directories and sub-directories the PDFs that are going to be indexed are to be saved. Once you are done with all of that, click Build, and then specify the location for the index file. The initial building process may take a few moments, but any subsequent search- es (you can perform these through the advanced options under Edit > Search or by simply opening the resulting .pdx file) are blazingly fast and give you very quick access to the respective location within the PDF files.
Once you have an index built, you can also use the Adobe Reader or the Acrobat Standard edition to look through it. JZ