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 A computer journal for translation professionals

Issue 16-1-257
(the two hundred fifty seventh edition)  


1. Explorer Magic

2. Fluently (Premium Edition)

3. Partnerships

4. The Tech-Savvy Interpreter: Your Internet Connection Speed: How to Test It and Why It Matters

5. Trados OpenExchange

The Last Word on the Tool Box

Early in the Year

Just two weeks into the new year and it feels like we've been here forever! (The only thing that doesn't work quite right yet is the handwritten 2016. Thank goodness that a handwritten 5 is easily corrected to a 6!)

I was amazed at the overwhelming response to the 2016-minutes-for-$20.16 offer for the Tool Box ebook. Thanks so much for your continued support! I just have to share this incredulous note I received from one happy purchaser: 

Merchant Note

I'm looking forward to seeing some of you at the Elia Together event in Barcelona in February. It's an event that is specifically designed to bring freelance translators and (larger) translation companies together and could have a real impact for a more constructive dialog.

If you're interested in social media, in particular Twitter, here are some tips I collected recently.

Be well in these early days of 20156 -- and be sure to subscribe to the Japanese edition of the Tool Box Journal if you're so inclined!

1. Explorer Magic

Why is it important to rename files? Well, what if you need to change the extension, say, from HTM to HTML, or you need to change the actual file name from filename.docx to filename_edited.docx? (I want to meet the translator who hasn't done that before.)

All this is easy to do in Windows Explorer. (I know, it's now called "File Explorer" in Windows 10, but it just makes it so complicated to always write Windows/File Explorer to cover all the different Windows versions, so I'm sticking with the old name.) Just right-click a file name and select Rename or simply single-click a file name.

It's a lot harder to do that for many files at once, though.

That's why you have renaming programs.

Here is the one I used to use and recommend: 


The developer of the awfully, awfully named Rname-it (don't miss the irony!) has long stopped developing his tool (I just assume this has to be a guy -- surely no woman would create such a convoluted interface), but it still works and does its job very well. The only downside to the tool is that you cannot rename files within subdirectories, and this is a problem.

For a while I recommended the equally ridiculously named 1-4a Rename for that particular task, but it was admittedly hard to use and sort of a nuisance.

Hacène Dramchini (the author of the Out of Office newsletter) finally showed me a tool that looks a little more 21st century and has a (slightly) better name: ReNamer


Like all other renaming tools, it's free (for non-commercial use) and it's able to do just about everything with your files -- in fact, almost too much.

There's just one thing it cannot do -- and that was always my favorite feature in Rname-It. It cannot change the time and date stamp of any file. This missing feature comes in particularly handy if you have worked until 5 am and prefer your client not to see that... .


Of course, it's also possible to rename lots of files at one time with one of the many replacement programs for Windows Explorer. These are called "File Managers" and there must be dozens of them. The two that have been recommended most often to me by readers are Directory Opus and Total Commander.

One thing that you can do with those kinds of tools is add comments to files that you can then view without opening the file. This can be a very helpful feature that not only saves a lot of time but provides a sensible place for notes. I was always frustrated about the lack of this feature in the plain vanilla version of Windows Explorer. Well, it does exist. Sort of.

Windows does allow you to access a Comments field for certain file types without actually opening them, enter or change your comments, and then view them in Windows Explorer.

How and which files?

It works for all Office and most multimedia files. Just right-click the file in Windows Explorer, select Properties> Details, and then enter your text under Comments.

Entering Comments

Once you enter the text, you can enable the Comment column in Windows Explorer by right-clicking the column header and selecting Comments (you might have to select More to access that field).


When you're finished, you can see your comments in Windows Explorer:

Comments in Explorer

You might notice that one of these files is an OpenOffice/LibreOffice ODT file. In those cases you will actually have to open the file, select File> Properties> Description, and enter your comments in the Comments field there.


Here is one more little file management trick.

I have always loved the Send to shortcut -- you know, the command you see when you right-click on a file in Windows Explorer. It allows you to send any file or folder to any drive (or any program).

All these shortcuts that are displayed when you select Send To are stored in the SendTo folder. It's really super-easy to open the folder and add any kind of shortcut to any program you want. All you need to do is press the WinKey + R and enter shell:sendto.

Cool, huh?

Reader Adrian Lumsden sent me a couple of extra tricks awhile back:

There's an additional wrinkle that you might appreciate and enjoy. It makes adding things to the Send to menu even easier. The trick is to add a shortcut to the SendTo folder itself into the SendTo folder. Give it a title something like Add to the 'SendTo' menu. This has the effect of adding an Add to the 'SendTo' menu

item to the Send To menu. Selecting this for a file or folder will add that file or folder to the Send To folder (and therefore menu) itself. Sorry about the slightly convoluted and self-referential language here.I've used this for many years and it works a treat.
More recently I've been using the
Send To Toys app. It adds an item in the Control Panel that is quite powerful for configuring and modifying the Send To context menu item.

If you do both of the things that Adrian suggests, you might end up with something like this: 


Two of the commands in this menu are Clipboard (as content) and Clipboard (as file name). These are put in through the Send to Toys program that Adrian mentioned. They are really nifty commands. With one of them you copy the content of the file (provided that the file format is supported) and the other just the file name (in the Control Panel item mentioned above, you can set whether you just want the file name or the whole path as well).


And now it's time to try this out yourself! Happy geeking! 



Now even easier: Across Language Server v6.3

Across v6.3 enables users to integrate third-party systems in their Across workflows in a controlled manner. The translation environment also boasts a number of new features. For example, this includes filter and sorting functions as well as support for PDF and JSON files. The release of the new Across version was accompanied by the go-live of the new network for all Across users. crossMarket brings together translation service providers and customers. For freelance translators, the crossMarket membership also includes the basic or premium variant of the Across Translator Edition, depending on their membership type.

Would you like to learn more about version 6.3? Check out the new features.


2. Fluently (Premium Edition)

In the age of browser-based tools, Fluency (it's actually "Fluency Now") won't strike you as an extremely modern tool, but it is a very comprehensive tool.

. . . you can find the rest of this article in the Premium edition. An annual subscription to the premium edition costs just $25 at You can also purchase the Tool Box ebook at and receive a complimentary annual subscription.


3. Partnerships

Here are some numbers that might surprise you: More than a billion words were translated with Memsource for two quarters in a row now, and David Canek, Memsource's CEO, now has 30 people working for him (including 10 developers). It's actually the second number that I find particularly impressive, especially seeing that some of them are well-known names such as Konstantin Dranch and Isabella Massardo. Anyone who says the translation technology market (for professional translators, that is) is stagnant would clearly be proven wrong by that. (I'm not sure who might actually be saying that, but I'm just saying...)

Since Memsource is a cloud-based translation environment tool (you can find a number of earlier articles about it in the archives for Premium subscribers), updates occur frequently without much notice (except most likely for the very user the update was meant for). And even the slightly larger "point releases" (releases like 4.2 and 4.3) occur every four to six weeks, for which typically the only thing that users need to do for those is educate themselves on the new features. (With Memsource, of course, there is an exception because there is an -- optional -- desktop component, an offline editor that actually will have to be downloaded once it's updated.)

The newest release -- 5.3 -- is not one that will change any paradigms, but I found a couple of things interesting enough to have a quick chat with David.

The first thing I noticed is a pattern of partnerships. The last Tool Box Journal contained an article about iLangL's Generic Content Provider, which offers a relatively seamless way of communicating with content management systems (CMS). So far, the only direct integration with a translation environment tool is with Memsource -- and both sides say they have a lot of plans with each other. In this new Memsource release, you'll find an InDesign preview feature (it's actually not a true and live preview feature since the InDesign files are rendered as PDF files for the layouted display to the user), and again this is done through a partnership, in this case with Frontlab Solutions, an InDesign review workflow provider.

The drawback of the feature is that you'll have to pay for it (after a free trial period), but I like it on a more fundamental level. I like partnerships. Why? Because expertise in a certain area really is not to be had overnight. So why not focus on what you're good at (in Memsource's case, according to David, "the actual translation") and partner with those that are good in the other areas? Karen Tkaczyk just reminded us in a very poignant blog post in the ATA's Savvy Newcomer blog of the 10-year or 10,000-hour rule, "which says that no one can be an expert until they have spent 10 years working in a field."

One area that has also been strengthened in the new edition is business analytics (this feature will first be rolled out for enterprise customers only and for other users in about two months). Wordbee in particular has long had an emphasis on its very strong business analysis module with dozens and dozens of reporting facilities. Though Memsource doesn't necessarily try to completely emulate it, it's at least "aware of it" and has now invested in a dedicated data warehouse to house the analytical data. Much of that can be accessed through a widget-driven system right from within Memsource and will eventually also be accessible through the open-source Kibana analysis and visualization workbench for completely customizable reports.

Other improvements will include . . . well, check those out for yourself on Memsource's blog



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4. The Tech-Savvy Interpreter: Your Internet Connection Speed: How to Test It and Why It Matters (Column by Barry Slaughter Olsen)

In many parts of the world, Internet access has become almost like electricity. With few exceptions, we expect it to be there and we expect it to work. For interpreters, it doesn't matter if we are at a conference in a soundproof booth, at a medical clinic or a courthouse, the ability to access online materials while working with all kinds of devices is important. In addition, with the growth of remote interpreting platforms, fast, reliable Internet access has become essential for interpreters working over the Internet. Needless to say, reliable Internet access is essential for translators as well.

So, this begs a question. How do you know just how fast your Internet connection really is? In this month's installment of The Tech-Savvy Interpreter, we'll take a look at a simple way to test your Internet connection on any Internet-enabled device. But before we get down to that, let's take a look at three basic measurements that make up an Internet speed test and will help you understand how fast your Internet connection is.

Your Internet-enabled device (e.g. a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone) has to do three things to communicate on the Internet-establish a connection with a computer that has the data you are looking for (known as a server) and then download and upload as needed. These data are first broken down into "packets," which are sent across the Internet and then reassembled on the device that requested them. This information may be in the form of text, photos, audio, video, or other data. It's the miracle of ones and zeros known as binary.

These three actions (connection, download, and upload) are the three parameters used to measure the speed of your Internet connection. Let's take a look at each one.

Connection or "Ping"

Your device's reaction time with the server is known as the "ping." Specifically, the ping, or ping rate, is the amount of time it takes for your device to establish a connection with the server it wants to communicate with and receive a response from it. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). The ping gives you an idea of how responsive your connection will be. As a general rule, if you have a ping of 150ms or lower, your connection should be responsive enough for audio and video conferencing, but the lower (i.e., the faster) the ping the better. (It is very good for online videogames, too; just don't tell your teenage son.) Ping rates above 150ms can lead to pronounced latency (or lag) in both audio and video. If you are just using the Internet to do research or read information, ping rates over 150ms should not be a problem.


Download speed measures how fast your device can receive data from the server it is connected to. Download speed is often referred to as "bandwidth," or more technically as the "data transfer rate," and is measured in megabits per second (Mbps, millions of bits per second). Think of it this way. Your connection is like a pipe, and the bigger the pipe the more data that can be pushed through it per second. Typical entry-level home broadband packages offer download speeds of up to 5Mbps. Faster plans are available, particularly with cable modems, which offer up to 50Mbps and even 100Mbps. Of course, the cost of the plan increases as the bandwidth does. Internet users are hungry for more bandwidth, and Internet service providers (ISPs) are working hard to deliver it. For example, in certain cities in the United States, Google Fiber provides speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (that's 1,000 megabits per second or 1Gbps), and Comcast is now rolling out home Internet connections of 1Gbps and up to 2Gbps in certain areas. That is serious speed that will make HD videoconferencing bandwidth requirements seem small.

Download speed is the measurement of greatest importance for most Internet users because most people's Internet activity is based on what they download. That means they consume much more data than they produce. Think about it. How many books do you download and how many movies and video clips do you watch compared to emails you send or files you upload? In fact, according to Cisco Systems, one of the world's largest manufacturers of networking equipment, by 2018, 84 percent of all Internet traffic in the United States will be streaming video (See Cisco's Visual Networking Index Report 2015). If you are curious about what kind of download speed different online activities require, check out the US Federal Communication Commission's consumer Broadband Speed Guide.


All of the concepts explained above for download (i.e., bandwidth and Mbps) apply equally to upload; the flow of data simply runs in the opposite direction from your device to the server. In basic consumer broadband packages, if your download pipe is the size of a water main, then your upload pipe is more like a drinking straw. Typical entry-level home broadband packages usually offer around 0.5Mbps upload speed. The reason for this difference has everything to do with the habits of average Internet users. They download data much more than they upload it.

Here again, ISPs offer other packages with faster upload speeds. If you only use your Internet connection for surfing the web and email, 0.5 Mbps should be sufficient. If you use videoconferencing, web conferencing, or interpret remotely over the Internet, you should definitely have a more robust Internet access plan that provides you with upload speeds of over 0.5Mbps.

There are many different services available to test your internet connection. In this column, I will focus on perhaps the best known and most used service-SpeedTest by Ookla. It is a simple test that takes just a few seconds but provides you with the ping, download, and upload speeds of your current Internet connection.

If using a desktop or laptop computer, the browser-based test ( will be simplest. If you are testing the Internet connection of a tablet or smartphone, I recommend downloading the SpeedTest app from Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iOS). If you are one of the rare birds that uses a Windows Phone, the app is available for that operating system as well.

The browser-based version has paid advertising, but don't be put off. Just be sure to look for the "Begin Test" button in the middle of the screen. The free app versions of the test also have ads, but they are much more subtle.

Once initiated, the test establishes a connection with a nearby server and checks the ping. It then tests the download speed followed by the upload speed. And, voilà! You have a snapshot of how well your Internet connection is working. The test will work on any network-wired, Wi-Fi, or cellular. The app keeps a history of your tests so you can compare connections speeds on different networks and at different locations. If you know you need to connect to Internet servers located in a specific part of the world, on the browser-based version of SpeedTest, you can even specify the region of the world where you want to connect to a server. Just drag the viewfinder to the part of the world map where you want to connect, click on one of the white dots representing a server, and start your test. Of course, if you are connecting to a server halfway around the world, your ping, upload, and download speeds will be slower than if you were connecting to a server across the street.

I usually test my Internet connection when I am getting set up to work at a conference venue to give me a baseline of the kind of speeds I can expect. I then test throughout the workday, especially if the Wi-Fi network is shared by conference delegates, which can bring Internet speeds to an excruciating crawl. At that point, I usually switch to a cellular data network if cell reception is good enough at the venue. At more established conferencing facilities, robust wireless networks are becoming more common. However, since interpreters often work in different venues around town and around the world, testing your Internet connection can give you some idea of what kind of connectivity you can expect at a given venue throughout the day.

Conducting regular speed tests from your home or office computer allows you to know if your ISP is actually providing you the kinds of upload and download speeds stipulated in your contract. As they say, knowledge is power.  

Do you have a question about a specific technology? Or would you like to learn more about a specific interpreting platform, interpreter console, or supporting technology? Send us an email at  



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5. Trados OpenExchange

I talked to folks at SDL about the OpenExchange program before it actually went live more than five years ago, and it's been interesting to watch as the wary skepticism I had back then was quickly replaced with great enthusiasm. I think OpenExchange is one of the most creative and innovative programs we have in the translation technology world. It allows tools (SDL Trados Studio, MultiTerm, etc.) that are already plenty massive to morph and grow in all kinds of ways as determined by each user's needs and her determination of the functionality she wants to add to the tool.

That's not why I'm writing this, though.

When I was first introduced to the platform, there were a number of mechanisms in place that made it really not completely open. First of all, you had to own a Professional edition of Studio. There was also a fee that had to be paid. And after all of that, there was the possibility that you could be denied permission to develop your app -- Kilgray in particular ran against that wall a number of times.

Well, by and by all of that has changed, and I wasn't (hint: made) aware of that.

So, no need any more for a Professional license to develop an app (unless you want to develop something specifically for Professional license owners). There is no longer an application process so anyone can publish anything, and there's no fee anymore either.

It's all open, baby!


The Last Word on the Tool Box Journal

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