By Yves Avérous
If you attended last month’s Macworld with the interests of translators who are Mac users at heart, then you had to admit that this most recent conference was one of the strangest in years: a Macworld sans Mac! No hardware announcements nor software announcements from Apple: only iPods since—if you don’t consider it too much of a stretch—the new AppleTV and iPhone are new variations of that known principle. So what is left when even iWork ‘07 is not part of the top billing? Office 2008. (Yes, 2008, since that’s pretty much when you will be using it.) Previously named Office 2007 for the Mac, the Microsoft suite is slipping ever later. But demos were presented on the stage of the Microsoft booth, and a nice slideshow on the eWeek site at http://snipurl.com/17hn0  offers a clear first look at the promising beast.
As for the product itself, Microsoft’s copy machine has once again run at full speed: Take the Aperture loupe, some Adobe layout tools, Pages’ templates, and sprinkle all this on top of Office 2007 for Windows’ “ribbon” interface and … voilà: Word 2008 with a Mac-only Publishing Layout. PowerPoint, too, receives a serious dose of “fresh” inspired by Keynote. The new features and looks should be an improvement (besides Entourage’s new gaudy satellite, branded “My Day,” floating on your desktop), including speed and stability on the Intel Mac, when this “Universal” suite doesn’t have to run atop Rosetta. Still, it was confirmed to me at the booth that neither Word 2008 nor the others will run legacy VBA macros. Unless there is a way for Yves Champollion to port his great translation memory tool Wordfast (http://wordfast.net ) to AppleScript, we will have to make some hard choices by the end of this year.
Follow the evolution of this productivity thriller and more at http:transmug.com and by subscribing to the TransMUG list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transmug . Membership in this full-fledged Mac User Group recognized by Apple also offers advantages such as discounts on Macs and other products. And it’s free!