It has been over a year already since my Challenge for a New Decade post, calling for a native Mac CAT tool—in other words, a Cocoa-based program, developed with the technology shared by Apple to create powerful, simple and elegant applications. The only advance we have seen in the past year was the return of Wordfast (Classic) on a brand new version of Word. Nothing very native in all that, a sort of Back to the Future experience that makes you feel like a corrected wrong doesn’t really make a right.

Why, when all the heavy-duty professional tools are working on the Windows platform, should we expect developers to come up with a tool just for the Mac? First, because there has to be a market. Macs have been selling faster than PCs and the Mac OS market share is constantly gaining ground. Second, because this is the multilingual-friendly platform. You don’t need to purchase the Ultimate Edition to have 18 languages included from the get go, and the diminutive ultra comfortable Mac keyboard allows you to type an amazing number of “special” characters with simple key combinations—no Alt-164, or US Extended Keyboard required to reach your locale-specific characters. The Swiss—a multilingual population if any—seem to have caught up with it, giving Mac OS X its highest market share in the world: 17.61% and counting!

But the main reason for a native Mac tool should be Lion, Mac OS X next iteration coming this summer. Current Mac OS technology should be a good enough incentive to develop a cool app, just check Pixelmator in the Mac App Store to see what smart developers can do using mostly ready-made building blocks. Mac developer tools come with advanced and refined technologies such as Core Animation, Core Image, Quartz Composer and others that allow developers to tap into the resources of the system to power their applications without having to reinvent the wheel. For the CAT tool developer, that would mean starting modestly with a ready-made multilingual word processor with automatic spellchecking. Add to this the many enhancements Lion will bring to the user experience like full screen display, multitouch gestures, autosave, etc., and you have a winner.

And the cherry on the cake would be the Mac App Store: guaranteed exposure to all Mac users, instant access and purchase in a few clicks. This formula has already worked wonders for many developers and should definitely make developing an application for translators a viable venture. The future lies in applications that emulate the iPad experience rather than a power plant control center. I want to open a file to be translated in my application and start translating in a matter of seconds. It’s not too much to ask with the technologies currently available.

Whether you are a new, rugged or would-be Mac user, wouldn’t such a tool entice you? Do you have must-have features you would need in such a tool? Please come voice your opinion and ideas on the TransMUG list, found at You should notably find there soon the results from a SurveyMonkey questionnaire posted on the Web a few weeks ago.

Strength is in numbers. TransMUG, a bona fide Mac User Group with corresponding benefits is already 100+ member strong. Come join us via and meet the team and discuss the latest Mac technologies at our next TransMUG meeting, prior to the NCTA May General Meeting, at 11:30 am at Out the Door, in the Concourse Level of the Westfield Center of San Francisco. YA