The Translorial Tool Kit

By Jost Zetzsche (c) 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. If you would like to subscribe to The Tool Kit, visit www.internationalwriters.com/toolkit/ and mention Translorial during the subscription process; Jost will put your name in a drawing for one free Tool Box book per edition.

Big Browser

The New York Times had an interesting article on February 27 (“Protecting Yourself From Keylogging Thieves”). Here is a quote: “The network security firm Sophos estimates that an unprotected computer has a 40 percent chance of being infected by a malicious worm within 10 minutes of being connected to the Internet. After an hour, the odds rise to 94 percent.” Pretty shocking, huh? Here is a great article on how to make your browsers safer: www.cert.org/tech_tips/securing_browser.

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Feeling at Home

After a few scary refusals to start by my old computer, it was time to purchase a new computer last week. It was interesting that after installing the usual programs, I discovered a couple of programs that I had used for years on my old computer but had completely taken for granted and almost forgotten I had ever installed them.

Here’s one of those that I’m sure will be useful to many of you. Microsoft’s PowerToys website (see http://tinyurl.com/2meyw) has a number of interesting tools for Windows XP, including the wellknown Tweak UI, which gives you much easier control over the general behavior of Windows. My favorite tool on the site, however, is the ClearType Tuner. It allows you to set the screen display of characters into a customized and much more easily readable form. Once I had that installed and configured, my eyes relaxed.

Another was the dreaded Caps Lock or Insert keys. There are very few things that I hate as much as when I hit these keys without knowing it and the following text is either in all caps or overwritten. Fortunately, Windows allows you to have a little beep sound go off every time you hit the Caps Lock, Num Lock, or Scroll Lock keys. To activate this feature, select Start>Settings>Control Panel>Accessibility Options and check Use Toggle Keys.

To make the Insert key beep every time you hit it, you can download the free and tiny Insert ToggleKey utility at http://www.mlin.net/misc.shtml.

Multiplying in Windows

Terence J. Oliver had an interesting question: “Is there a facility under Windows (e.g., in Windows Explorer) for making a duplicate of a file without opening it in the relevant application and doing a “Save As …”? The answer, of course, is yes. The magic key is the Ctrl key. If you press the Ctrl key while dragging a file, several files, or even a folder, you can see a little plus icon appear beside your cursor, indicating that Windows will copy that item rather than just move it.

Once you drop the dragged content within Windows Explorer, Windows will make a copy of that file or folder and rename it to “Copy of ,” even within the original folder. As an extension of this, you can use the same strategy within most Windows applications as well. This is especially helpful for translators who often have to copy text from source to target.

And just to finish the key combination plus dragging: pressing Ctrl+Shift does not create a copy of the file, but a shortcut (or within Word a cross-reference), i.e., a link that allows you to open or execute the file.

Worthy PlusTools

In a recent newsletter, I described a way to quickly search and replace text in a batch of word files. Robin Hardy-King rightly noted that Wordfast’s +Tools offers the search feature as well as other non-Wordfast-specific features such as converting a batch of files (such as .doc to .rtf) or breaking a password in a Word file. (Though this may sound fishy, many of you know that this is essential for many translation projects and can otherwise only be done by fairly expensive specialized programs.)

Other functions of the +Tools program are tied into the functionality of Wordfast, one of the leading translation environment applications. Still, just the features described above (and there are many more) make it worthwhile enough to download it even if you don’t use Wordfast, and not only because it’s free (more info at www.wordfast.net).

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