Business, Translation



Before we explore Microsoft’s new operating system, here are some language-related pieces of information that you might not have read about so far: The new glossary for Windows 7 is available. You probably know some of the history of the so-called “Microsoft glossaries.” These were never really glossaries but large translation memories with the translation data of the user interface for many of Microsoft’s software products. From 1994 through the summer of 2006 they were available for free on one of Microsoft’s FTP sites. In July 2006 the free offer was replaced with a multilingual glossary, which now is gone as well. What still remains is the Microsoft Language Portal. The interface of the portal is available in German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and of course English, but much of the language content is available in many more languages. Aside from a very fast glossary search from English into a very large list of target languages, you can download style guides for the same large set of languages. Or you can find links to Microsoft’s attempt at crowdsourcing, the Microsoft Terminology Community Forum, where users can comment on terms that are to be included in future projects. The terminology search feature now includes the terminology of Windows 7—important data for everyone who translates software applications for the Windows operating system.

The translation memory files that were previously available for free can also still be accessed, but not for free. However, they do of course contain the updated Windows 7 and other current materials. What has recently changed for the positive is the price tag. Previously you had to be a member of MSDN for at least US$699 a year to access them, but now you can also access them with a TechNet subscription for US$349. You can find links to both subscription models right on the Language Portal.

Like its predecessor it comes in a variety of flavors and price tags. With Vista, the purchase of either the Professional or the Ultimate versions was a no-brainer for many because of the backup facilities it offered. In Windows 7, these backup features are not only made better but are also available in all other versions. So, is there a need to buy more than the Home version? There is one really good reason left for language professionals  to  buy  the  Ultimate version (especially project managers and other folks who have to work in many languages): the availability of the client language packs for that version. You are able to run your operating system in Arabic, Bulgarian, various flavors of Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Ukrainian. Phew—thank goodness for copying and pasting!

And the “running” of the operating system not only includes dialog boxes in different languages but all other locale- and language-specific settings as well, including the speech recognition engines. The much-praised speech recognition engine of Vista is also available in Windows 7. It is not available for all the languages listed above, but you can find it for Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

If you really have a hard time falling asleep and want to read some technical information on foreign language versions of Windows, check this site:

Here are some of the little things for which I owned special XP utilities and that are now part of the operating system:

  • Rearranging buttons on the taskbar — One of my pet peeves was that the buttons on the taskbar were subject to the order you opened the programs in.  In Windows 7 you can drag it to where you want it.
  • Renaming files — How often do you want to rename the whole name of a file, including the extension? Rarely, if ever. Now, the extension is no longer highlighted when selecting a name of a file in Windows Explorer for renaming.  You can highlight a name for renaming and start overwriting the actual name right away.
  • Notes — What’s up with and still having Post-it notes all over your office in the computer age? Windows 7 now offers Post-it notes for your computer with Sticky Notes.
  • Screenshots — We all shudder at the huge emails with a couple of screenshots that someone sends us—all in bitmap format and several megabytes large! Bitmap was the only format that Windows was able to store with the traditional PrintScreen command, so many of us had separate applications for this. Now Windows 7 (and Vista) has Snipping Tool to take care of that.
  • Link to the desktop — There always were numerous ways to minimize all applications and get to the desktop, but they all required either two clicks of the mouse or a keyboard shortcut. Typically a keyboard shortcut is what you want, except on the desktop where you’ll want to do something with your mouse anyway. Now there is a little button to the very right of your time/date display that will open your desktop (and then go back to your previous application when you click it again). And if you select the right-click option Peek at desktop you can just hold your mouse over the button to look at your desktop rather than actually selecting it.
  • New folder in Windows Explorer — This is something we all have to do ALL THE TIME—create a new folder for a new client or a new project—but it required some mouse or right-click acrobatics in previous versions of Windows. Now there is a standard New Folder button on the toolbar in Windows Explorer.
  • Clocks — Probably the most translator-related topic for a translator is the ability to add two clocks to the standard time and date display in the notification area to the right of the taskbar. Right-click the time display, select Adjust date/time, select Additional Clocks and now you can select to show up to three time zones when clicking on the date/time display.

The WinKey has always been my little friend and I have written about it in the past, but its activities were more or less confined to Now there is a whole plethora of new ones. My favorite is:

  • WinKey + +: Zoom in to 200% (WinKey + – goes back to 100%).

And one other additional helpful Windows 7-specific shortcut:

  • Shift + Click (or Middle Click) on icon in taskbar: Open a new instance of the application

Happy shortcutting! JZ