02 May, 2011

Electronic Tools for Translators in the 21st Century


 Personal computers and the Internet have brought about a shift in the way translators work. Twenty years ago most freelance translators used a typewriter or dictated translations to a secretary; ten years ago they had a computer with a word processor; nowadays most translators need to know how to use translation-memory software and terminology managers, and must be expert Internet users. They might also have replaced the secretary with a voice-recognition software system. Telecommuting is now a reality within the profession, since electronic means of communication mean that customers and translators no longer need to be in the same geographical area, and members of the same translation team may live and work in different places. The Internet (and, by extension, computer proficiency) is not only a source of information or a tool for translations, but also the platform for communication with clients, agencies and fellow translators.   
  • Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) software is helpful to translators, since it speeds up the translation process.
  • The translator has to consider the software licenses restricting the use of the program and its cost.  
  •  Licensing schemes are of two categories: open-source/ free software and close-source/proprietary software.
  •  Accordingly, the programs are one of the following types:
1. Commercial software is computer software sold for commercial purposes.
2. Free software can be used, copied, studied, modified, and redistributed without restriction. ‘free’ of ‘freedom’ and not ‘free of charge’
3. Freeware ‘free of charge’ copyrighted computer software which made available for use free of charge for an unlimited time
4. Shareware (opposes freeware) the user has to pay after some trial period (usually no longer than 30 days.)
  • CAT technology is either electronic tools or other useful software packages

·   A blog can be created by following easy steps in a free weblog publishing system as Blogger (http://www.blogger.com/) after which a person can talk about any topic and can publish.
·   Among the blogs from which translators can get some recommendations as translation notes is (http://www.transnotes.blogspot.com/)

 Image Editors

·   ‘Translators are expected to have some basic skills in order to undertake a translation job which deal with graphics’
·   They should be aware of the existence of image editors such as Photoshop (http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/, commercial), Pain Shop Pro (http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=Corel3/Products/Display&pfid=1047024307383&pid=1047025487586,%20/ shareware), Photo Filtre (http://www.photofiltre.com/ freeware), and The GIMP(http://www.gimp.com/ free)

 CAT Tool

Translation Memory Systems

·   Using translation memories allows translators to leverage previous translations
·   The most popular translation memory system is SDL Trados (http://www.trados.com/, commercial)
·   Other cheaper ones are Wordfast (http://www.wordfast.com/, commercial), and DéjàVu (http://www.atril.com/, commercial)
Terminology Tools

·   For terminological consistency, terminologists may use term-extraction and concordance tools such as WordSmith Tools (http://www.lexically.net/worlsmith/, commercial; version 3.0 is freeware), TextStat (http://www.niederlandistik.fu-berlin.de/texstat/software-en.html, freeware) and AntConc (http://antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp/antconc_index.html, freeware)

 Web Localization Tools

·   To have a multilingual website, translators are advised to become familiar with tools for web localization such as the HTML editors like Dreamweaver (http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamwweaver/, commercial) and NVU (http://www.nvu.com/, free) in order
·   Such tools preserve the original layout by avoiding any modification
·   Other CAT tools may also allow the user to see both the source and the target texts at the same time and preview the translation in the browser
(http://www.stormdance.net/software/catscradle/overview.htm, freeware) is a reference for CAT tools for web localization

Software Localization Tools

·   In order to translate software, it is necessary to deal with localization tools to extract or edit the menu, window and message strings in a single resource file.
·   The leading CAT tools for software localization are Alchemy Catalyst (http://www.alchemysoftware.ie/products/catalyst.html, commercial) and Passolo (http://www.passolo.com/, commercial).

 Subtitling Tools

·   Many young translators prefer translating a film through subtitling than a legal contract.
·   Many subtitlers subtitle TV shows and spread them over the internet, while others code software programs to subtitle TV series to get some feedbacks from other subtitlers via forums.

   Machine Translation Systems

·   Nowadays, machine translation produces good-quality results with simple texts or texts with controlled language such weather forecasts.
·   However, some editing is still required before and after processing a text in a machine translation system.
·   There are many free online machine translation systems such as Altavista’s Babelfish (http://babelfish.altavista.com/); commercial systems (http://www.smartlinkcorp.com/), Systran (http://www.systransoft.com/) and Power Translator (http://www.avanquest.com/)

 PDF Tools (Portable Document Format)

PDF files can never be modified, so there is no risk of losing the format when different version of the same software is used.

 PDF Readers

·   The PDF reader is Acrobat Reader (http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/acrobat/readstep2, freeware)

·   Another PDF reader is Foxit Reader (http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php, freeware)

 PDF Creators

·   To produce PDF files, PDF creators can be installed as “virtual printers”
·   Such PDF creators are  Acrobat Professional (http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatpro/, commercial) and PDFCreator (http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/, free)

 PDF Converters

·   To edit a PDF file, it needs to be converted by a converter to a Word document.
·   Good converters are Solid Converter (http://www.solidpdf.com/, shareware) and ABBYY PDF Transformer (http://www.abbyy.com/pdftransformer/, shareware)

 PDF Editors

·   Converting a PDF file to a Word document may not maintain the same quality.
·   Thus, PDF editors can be used to edit PDF files directly, preserving the original layout.
·   PDF editors are (http://www.iceni.com/infix.htm, shareware) and Foxit PDF Editors (http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/pe_intro.php, shareware) 

 Desktop Publishing Tools

·   As opposed to Word Processors, which are used to write documents, Desktop Publishing tools (DTP) are used to design a stylish layout for a journal or magazine.
·   The translator does not necessarily need to know how to create a document from scratch, but s/he will be benefited from having the DTP skills
·   The best-known DTP tools are FrameMaker (http://www.adobe.com/products/framaker/index.html, commercial), InDesign (http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign/, commercial), QuarkXPress (http://www.quark.com/, commercial) and Scribus (http://www.scribus.net/, free)

 Proofreading Tools

·   ‘Proofreading is a process which focus on the correction of errors such as misspellings or typos and mistakes in grammar and punctuation’
·   PDF proofreading tools are Highlight Tool and the Strikethrough Tool
·   Other cheaper alternatives are Foxit Reader Pro (http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_rd_pro.php, shareware), Jaws PDF Editors (http://www.jawspdf.com/pdf_editor/index.html, shareware) and Bluebeam Revu (http://www.bluebeam.com/web03/products/BbRevu.asp, shareware)    

Tools for Freelance Translators
Billing Software

·   Before attempting a freelance job, it is advisable to know the price the translator will charge.
·   Among the billing software that can help to manage translation invoices are BillQuick (http://www.bqe.com/, shareware), Freeside (http://www.sisd.com/freeside/, free), and FactuSol (http://www.sistemasmultimedia.com/es/factusol.htm, freeware, in Spanishh)  

 Internet Fax Services

·   Windows comes with a fax service that uses a modem to send fax.
·   Another source fax service is though the Internet like InterFAX (http://www.interfax.net/en/, commercial), FaxZero (http://faxzero.com/, free for the US and Canada) or TrusFax (http://www.trustfax.com/pricing.asp?code=reseller6, commercial)

 Other Useful Software Packages

·   There are three other useful software packages which come handy when using the computer: anti-malware software, file compressors/decompressors, and miscellaneous tools

 Anti-malware Software

Malicious software is designed to infiltrate computers. It includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware and adware.

 Antivirus Software

·   It is important to install an antivirus program to detect and eliminate computer viruses
·   The best antivirus software packages include AVP (http://www.packagw..kaspersky.com/, commercial), Norton Antivirus (http://www.symantec.com/index.htm, commercial), McAfee Antivirus (http://www.mcafee.com/index.htm, commercial), AntiVir (http://www.free-av.com/, freeware) and AVG (http://www.grisoft.com/dec/1, freeware)

 Anti-spyware Software

·   The most popular software used to fight spyware is Ad-aware (http://www.lavasofrtusa.com/software/adaware/, freeware)
·   There are two other alternatives such as SpyBot Seach & Destroy (http://www.safer-networking.org/, freeware) and Spyware Terminator (http://www.spywareterminator.com/, freeware)


·   ‘A firewall is a piece of software that tracks every attempt to access a computer and asks its user to grant permission to execute something when software receives data from the Internet’
·   It perfectly works together with antivirus software to block online viruses.
·   Examples of firewalls are ZoneAlarm (http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/home.jsp, freeware & shareware), Kerio (http://www.kerio.com/, shareware) and NetDefender (http://www.programmerworld.net/personal/firewall.htm, free) 

  File Compressors/Decompressors

·   File compressors reduce the file size depending on the file type to be able to send and receive the file on the Internet.
·   Compression file formats are zip, rar, ace, 7z
·   The most popular file compressor is WinZip (http://www.winzip.com/, commercial)
·   Other alternatives are WinRAR (http://www.rarlab.com/, shareware), WinACE(http://www.winace.com/, shareware), 7Zip(http://www.7-zip.org/, free), ALZip(http://www.altools.net/, freeware), and IZArc (http://www.izarc.org/, freeware)  

 Miscellaneous Tools

Miscellaneous tools are other useful tools for translators:

·   Search and Replace Tools: InfoRapid Search & Replace (http://www.inforapid.de/html/searchreplace.htm, freeware) and Actual Search & Replace (http://www.divlocsoft.com/, shareware)
·   Screen Capture Tools: WinSnap (http://www.ntwind.com/software/winsnap.html?index.html, freeware), MWSnap (http://www.mirekw.com/winfreeware/mwsnap.html, freeware) and Snaglt (http://www.techsmith.com/snagit.asp, shareware)
·   File Compression Tools: WinMerge (http://winmerge.sourceforge.net/, free) and ExamDiff (http://www.prestosoft.com/ps.asp?page=edp_examdiff, freeware)
·   Mass Renaming Tools: ReNamer (http://www.redbrick.dcu.ie/~den4b/, freeware), Lupas Rename (http://ww.azheavymetal.com/~lupasrename/news.php/, freeware), Flexible Renamer (http://hp.vector.co.jp/authors/V%20A014830/english/FlexRena/ freeware)


·   Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) includes electronic tools and other useful software packages
·   Electronic tools are NINE: word possessors, electronic dictionaries and encyclopedias, tools for the Internet, image editors, CAT tools, PDF tools, desktop publishing tools, proofreading tools, tools for freelance translators
·   Other THREE useful software packages include anti-malware software, file compressors/decompressors, miscellaneous tools.