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 A computer journal for translation professionals

Issue 15-5-248
(the two hundred forty eighth edition)  


1. "Come Together, Right Now, Over Me!" (Premium Edition)

2. "Technology: You Can Use It Any Which Way" (Gábor Ugray)

3. Sharing Some Love with the Machine (Premium Edition)

The Last Word on the Tool Box

Good Stories

I love a good story. Some stories are deep and meaningful and profoundly weave together the fabric of our lives. Others are more whimsical but can still help to communicate something important.

In popular culture, the terms "rocket science" and "rocket scientist" have become synonyms for the highest of intellectual achievement and potential. In fact, Merriam Webster defines a rocket scientist as "a person who is exceptionally intelligent, especially one who is skilled in technical areas."

So in this context, the account about the Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who demonstrated how to make energy bars on YouTube became a perfect translation industry story when Google Translate turned this into a recipe of a very different kind.

As the article says: "Computers can fly a spaceship but when they translate an astronaut's video they make disastrous sexual mistakes."

(Yes, we can argue the anecdote's technical validity, but sometimes a good story doesn't need to be viewed too critically to deliver a great punch line.)


I would really appreciate it if you could join me (and others) in using social media to shame media outlets that are too cheap to pay for professional translation, mistakenly thinking it's OK to say stuff like "according to a rough translation" and then quoting Google Translate'd gobbledygook. There are unfortunately too many examples to list, but this was one of the bizarre examples last week.

1. "Come Together, Right Now, Over Me!" (Premium Edition)

Thanks very much for responding to the document I shared calling for ideas about new directions translation technology is or should be headed. Interestingly, I don't think we came up with anything earth-shattering. This means one of two things: either we aren't particularly creative, or the technology we're using is doing a decent job. I'll leave it up to you to decide which of the two is more accurate.

Still, we were able to distill a couple of themes that I compiled into a letter and sent to the developers of the following tools: ABBYY SmartCAT, Across, Cafetran, Déjà Vu, Fluency, MadCap Lingo, MateCat, memoQ, Memsource, Metatexis, OmegaT, Smartling, Star Transit, Swordfish, Text United, TM-Town, Trados Studio, Translation Workspace, Wordbee, Wordfast, and XTM.

The webinar is booked out, but you can register to receive a recording (free) right here.

Here is the letter:

. . . you can find the rest of this article in the premium edition. If you'd like to read more, an annual subscription to the premium edition costs just $25 at Or you can purchase the new edition of the Translator's Tool Box ebook and receive an annual subscription for free.



Fast and customizable monolingual term extraction software

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Visit for the online user manual and trial version. 


2. "Technology: You Can Use It Any Which Way" (Gábor Ugray)

It's been only four months since I wrote about the new release of memoQ 2014 R2 and described it as a major release despite its rather unassuming name. Now (coinciding with memoQfest in Budapest at the end of this month) memoQ 2015 is going to be released, and despite its bigger-sounding name I'm not sure I would call it a major release -- at least not in comparison with its predecessor. The internal designators of the version seem to verify that notion. While memoQ 2014 was version 7.0, memoQ 2014 R2 was version 7.5 and the present memoQ 2015 is version 7.8. That seems to be a much more accurate nomenclature than the silly year designators.

Still, it's an interesting release, and there are a number of features in it that make it worthwhile to upgrade -- particularly because it's free to upgrade when you're part of Kilgray's maintenance program -- or to take another more serious look at memoQ if you're using something else.

One of the most glaring changes in the previous version was obviously the ribbon, the now ubiquitous menu replacement that exposes features more easily (and frustrates those who don't like change). When I talked to Kilgray's Gábor Ugray about this feature at the beginning of the year for the previous version, he promised that the initial implementation, which didn't allow for customization of the ribbon tabs (or even the Quick Access Toolbar -- the little bar with icons in the upper left-hand corner of the screen), would be overhauled in the next (i.e., this) version. I'm happy to announce that he kept his promise. It's now possible to change two different ribbon tabs: The (new and more project management-oriented) Workflow ribbon bar and the Quick Access ribbon bar, as well as the Quick Access Toolbar (which in memoQ's case are two different things), are customizable in an interface that is similar to what you might also have seen in other programs, such as MS Office. I tested it and it worked well, including a feature that prevents the adding of shortcuts and icons into modules of the programs where they don't belong.

Gábor also praised the updated look of the icons, though I'm not quite sure that I share his enthusiasm . By trying to make the ribbon bar icons looks more professional, Kilgray gave up some of the more recognizable symbols for operations like "open" and "close" that have long been etched into the computer portion of our brains, leaving me slightly lost and longing for the familiar. (One icon they unfortunately kept is the Assign icon, which has always looked silly to me.)

But these, of course, are largely cosmetic quibbles. Here are a few features that are much more functional:

The dashboard -- the screen that displays after you open the program and gives you access to all your projects and resources -- is now very different depending on whether you are a project manager or a translator. The interface for the translator still looks familiar but is greatly simplified, with a drag & drop area for files to be translated (with automatic language recognition, etc.) and essentially just four buttons that allow you to check out or create a project or translate a package from another TEnT (translation environment tool) You will also see a list of recent projects.

The list of projects is actually the only thing you see in the PM dashboard, but it's highly sortable and filterable and you can access the variety of actions you want to carry out with those projects through right-click menus or the ribbon bars. Many of you know that I've been complaining about clutter in memoQ's interface for a long time, and the redesigned dashboards are certainly a fantastic step toward the goal of reducing clutter!

And speaking of project manager-oriented options, there are a number of other new features that are interesting: There now is an option for "lightweight" PM user groups whose members have access to only specific resources and projects (rather than the whole range). This is for instance helpful for a translation buyer with memoQ who wants to pass PM duties for a specific project on to an LSP or translator.

Also, it is now possible for a project manager to receive alerts if the progress of a project is not going as fast as it should be for it to be completed within the allotted time frame. I cringed a little when I heard that (like many of you, I feel that my time management is not my project manager's concern as long as I deliver on time) -- to which Gábor replied with the rather profound headline of this article.

Here are some of the new and very welcome features specifically for translators.

I just finished writing the documentation for the latest version of Déjà Vu so I'm naturally very familiar with that tool. There are a number of features in Déjà Vu that are true stand-outs because no other tool has them. One of those is the fuzzy match repair. Well, make that: was. memoQ now offers this very helpful feature as well. It's incredibly simple and yet very powerful: For any fuzzy match, the tool will try to repair the "offending" part with an entry from the termbase or a subsegment from the translation memory. If you have a well-curated termbase and TM (and only then!), this can be a significant productivity booster. Depending on how morphologically rich your target language is, you might have to make some changes to the inserted term or phrase, but that's a lot better than starting from scratch. I'm very happy that memoQ offers this feature now and even found a clever name for it: MatchPatch. Presently memoQ doesn't consult MT engines to fix the fuzzy matches, but that's just a matter of time.

Very much along the same line is a new feature by which termbase matches are weighted according to metadata (such as client or subject), and data with identical or similar metadata are preferred to other data. (I was actually under the impression that this was already being done, so I stand corrected and am happy to discover that it's now in place.)

One other termbase-related feature is that you can now assign keyboard shortcuts to send highlighted terms to a specific termbase (if you have several associated to one project). I really like that a lot. (I've always been gaga about shortcuts -- if I hadn't met my lovely wife, I might have gotten involved with keyboard shortcuts instead...)

Another improvement I can only appreciate from afar (as I squint at my smallish low-resolution monitor) is the new optimization for high-resolution screens -- must be nice to enjoy that.

One feature actually isn't new but I wasn't aware of it until I looked through the new version. memoQ's ability to highlight certain words, phrases, and whole segments in both source and target according to a number of criteria (Information, Error, Warning, and "World is about to end" -- aka Other) is very helpful and practical. I had a long talk with a professional reviewer yesterday about what she misses most in translation environment tools. Though she didn't mention this particular feature, her biggest complaint was the inadequacy of the comment bubbles in the communication between proofreader, editor, and translator -- but more on that at a later point.

I asked Gábor what he thinks would be most attractive about this new version to users of no tools (aka "newbies") and users of existing tools. He didn't have to think long: A "much quicker way to get started" and "less nerdy" for newbies, and "better interoperability" (such as full WYSIWYG and comment transfer for Trados Studio files) and "cleaner aesthetics" for the experienced user.

I tend to agree. 



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3. Sharing Some Love with the Machine (Premium Edition)

Here are some tips and tricks for how to share some love with your computer. I assume that you're well-equipped with tools such as antivirus programs and the like, but here are some other helpful programs that will make things run smoothly. Most of you will be familiar with some of these (in fact, you might have heard me mention some previously), but I would be surprised if you don't discover something new to put in your tool belt.

. . . you can find the rest of this article in the premium edition. If you'd like to read more, an annual subscription to the premium edition costs just $25 at Once you purchase a subscription you'll also receive access to the archives of Premium Tool Box Journals going all the way back to 2007.



memoQ 2015 to be released May 22!

We know you're wondering what's new in memoQ 2015...

Check out our memoQ 2015 highlights in this video now.

memoQ 2015 will be available May 22, 2015!   


The Last Word on the Tool Box Journal

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