1. The Tool Box
Journal and InterpretAmerica Present: The Tech-Savvy Interpreter
A column about interpreting in a translation
technology newsletter? Really? Why? Well, much like translators did at the
turn of the 21st century, interpreters are seeing their
work and workplace change and expand because of technology. And let's be
honest, there are many translators who also interpret. If you are one of
them, or moving towards becoming an
interpreter too, then this column in the Tool
Box Journal is for you.
Today, technology is a huge component of any
successful translation practice. This is quickly becoming the case for
interpreting as well because the influence of technology on interpreting is
a rising tide that interpreters need to understand to remain competitive
In the coming months, this space will
provide news and insight about a wide range of technical aspects of
interpreting, from the underlying technologies that are fueling the growth
of remote interpreting like standards-based video codecs and WebRTC to
specific hardware and software that help interpreters become more
productive and make their job easier, like terminology databases, web-based
interpreting platforms, new headsets, smart pens and tablet computers.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in the business or
technology side of interpreting?
Mark your calendar now to attend think! Interpreting 2016 in New
The 3rd installment of the
groundbreaking GALA/InterpretAmerica collaboration think!Interpreting
will take place at the 2016 Language of Business
Conference in New York City from March 20-23, 2016.
Have an interesting business model or
technology project to share? Submit a proposal.
Call for proposals open through September 30, 2015. Need a few more days to
submit? Mention you saw this ad in the Tool Box Journal and submit your
proposal by October 5.
Read this recent
blog post to learn more, then be sure to join us in New York City in
SDL roadshows coming to a city near
This autumn we are back on the road visiting
customers in 17 cities across the globe. If you haven't already, visit our
website and register for a free event near you.
The SDL roadshows give you the opportunity
to keep up-to-date on industry news, new product information and tips and
tricks to get the best out of SDL's translation technology.
"There's no substitute for a hands-on,
face-to-face session with the experts."
Claire Cox, Owner, CC Translations
a blog by Claire Cox who shares her experience of our spring roadshows.
for a roadshow and join the conversation on Twitter #SDLroadshow.
For a long time, Atril was the company among
vendors of translation environment tools that many liked to mock (a little,
and very kindly at that) for the long time it took to release promised
upgrades to their software. Well, I think we can clearly pass that honor to
Wordfast now, or, more
specifically, the team around Wordfast Pro (and we also do it
Wordfast Pro 4 was announced with great fanfare at the ATA conference
in San Antonio in, yes, 2013. Just now, two years later, I had a talk with Wordfast
sales and marketing manager John Di Rico, who is quite confident that it will
be released in January of 2016. We shall see. (But, again, we want to stay
The version that I looked at
and that we talked about (which actually already carries the version 4.5
designator) is in beta or maybe even pre-beta stage, so I won't bore you
with the bugs or not completely developed features that are apparent, but
it still gives a pretty good idea of what the final product will be like.
I asked John what he thought the outstanding
features of the tool are, and he pointed out the ease of use (easier than
other tools and easier than the previous Wordfast Pro 3) and the low
price (if it stays the same as it is presently, the regular price will be
400 euros and the update for existing users of Wordfast Pro 3 will
be free). I can see where he's coming from. While I'm not sure that it is
indeed easier to use than all other tools in all of its aspects, it's
simple enough once you understand some of its core principles.
Like most other tools, Wordfast Pro 4
will no longer have the traditional menus but a ribbon interface and a
different and fresh-looking one at that (though it's unfortunately not very
customizable). This is what the ribbon interface looks like with an open
translation file ("TXLF Editor"):
can see the other views listed in the Wordfast 4 menu, through which
you can also cycle with the Alt+W
keyboard shortcut (that's essentially the central trick you'll need to know
when working with this version of Wordfast).
You can also see a couple of other new
features in the screenshot, including the bilingual table, a two-column Word
file that allows you to translate and/or edit outside the Wordfast
environment, and the preview which allows you to preview ongoing
translation in its native environment (Word, InDesign, web
browser, etc.). One response to those features would be: Great! I would
expect that response especially from users of Wordfast Pro 3. The
other response might be: Don't essentially all tools have those features?
And I suspect that these responses will
predominate once Wordfast Pro 4 is released. Aside from the great
usability and the (continued) low price, I could really not see any
groundbreaking new feature in the release that I looked at. I confess that
this disappointed me a little because we had been promised a bit more. When
I asked tool vendors in the webinars I did in 2014 about a number of
features, Wordfast's response was often: "It will be there in Wordfast
4" (such as generic terminology resources, subsegment matching
from MT, automatic fixing of fuzzy match segments using sub-segment TM and
MT suggestions, specific user profiles for different project participants,
exportable keyboard shortcuts), and I see only very few of those promises
in this new version (none of the ones mentioned just now).
Here are some new and important features,
- The translation format
is not the odd TXML format anymore but a standard XLIFF format (which
can be easily processed in tools like Déjà Vu, memoQ,
and Trados Studio -- in the latter even with preserved WYSIWYG
- AutoComplete from
complete MT and TM matches as well as TM subsegments
- Package export and
import for projects to ease communication between PM and translator
- WYSIWYG display for
the most common formatting choices
- Filtering on segment
- Templates for
So, all around a great catch-up to other
tools, but nothing where I would say that this really makes Wordfast Pro
stand out. And the reason that I hark on that so much is that I think it's
strange because the other Wordfast products -- Wordfast Classic
and Wordfast Anywhere -- do have features that make them stand out. Wordfast
Classic, for instance, uses AutoSuggest with subsegments from multiple
MT engines (and has done that for quite some time) and Wordfast Anywhere
-- well, you'll read about that elsewhere in the newsletter.
3. Smart as a CAT (Premium Edition)
can vouch for that: Cats are smarter than dogs. Yes, I have to admit that I
have given up my disdain of dogs. I love my dog (along with my cat) with
all my heart -- but he ain't smart. Yesterday we went out to the beach (as
we do every day) and he found a gigantic seven-foot sea lion lying in the
surf (typically not a good sign for the health of the animal). My dog ran
up to bark at the ailing creature and the poor, sick sea lion, probably for
the last time in his life, reared himself up to twice the height of my dog,
barked back, and then slid back into the ocean. My dog (with the
unfortunate name of Chase) spent the next 20 minutes swimming and diving in
the surf, searching for his new acquaintance so he could continue the
posturing -- with no such luck (in any sense of the word). Today we found
the poor sea lion dead on the beach, and what does my stupid dog do? Turns
around and looks at me with a grin to say: See what I did?
on the other hand? Check out these real-life stories of what your office would be like if your CEO were a
. . .
touched base last week with Anna Sidorova, the marketing chief at ABBYY
Language Services, about SmartCAT. I've written in length here
about SmartCAT before (see edition 240 of the Tool Box Journal)
and in a review in MultiLingual
(if you want to subscribe for free to the digital edition for the next six
months, go here and enter the code that you'll find on that page --
you're welcome!), so I don't have to go through the whole rundown of what
it actually is and what its features are again. Instead, I would like to
reflect on where (I think) SmartCAT stands after some time on the
market, what that means for all of us, and then look at some of the new
. . . you can find the
rest of this article in the Premium edition. An annual subscription to the
premium edition costs just $25 at www.internationalwriters.com/toolkit. I
would encourage you to subscribe. Your support makes my research and
in-depth analyses of the translation technology market possible.
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4. Dealing with Image-Based PDFs
When I talked about Trados Studio 2015
in the June edition of the Tool Box Journal, I mentioned how
different tools deal with image-based PDFs and how difficult it was to find
a halfway decent result.
First, though, it's important to remember
that the vast majority of PDF conversion tools just don't deal with
image-based PDFs at all. Period. (That's actually three periods.) (Now it's
The ones that do, employ an internal process
of optical character recognition (OCR). ABBYY SmartCAT naturally has
a real leg up on that since ABBYY is the owner of PDF Transformer,
which many like as the best tool in the class of stand-alone PDF
converters. But does that automatically mean that SmartCAT is the
I did some testing with an admittedly
difficult document -- my own bibliography -- which contains a number of different languages and
a number of made-up words (don't ask!). I converted the first page into a
graphic and then had the tools have a go at it.
This is a section of the original:
Here is what the latest version of ABBYY Transformer+
made of it (an earlier test with an older version of Transformer was
You can see that in general it did a good
job. It did not like words like "lobotomy" (who does?) and other
strange words; it had a difficult time when formats were switched (see the
"mATA" rather than "in ATA" in the first
line); and it had a hard time knowing where to use commas and where to use
Here is what we get from ABBYY SmartCAT:
Overall I would say it's about the same,
with slightly different errors but overall very acceptable.
Now, to give you an appreciation of the
quality, let's see what the latest version of Adobe Acrobat (DC) does with its
integrated OCR capabilities:
Clearly a lot more errors, and many of you
would agree that it would be easier to retype the text rather than correct
it before translating it.
Or how about this from Trados Studio,
which also boasts OCR capabilities:
It's sort of humorous that the only reason
it got better halfway through the mess is that it essentially gave up and
just placed an image starting with "Good Right" -- well, it's
neither good nor right, I'm afraid.
But the most surprising result comes from a
tool that you wouldn't really expect it from (at least, I didn't): Wordfast Anywhere.
Look at this:
I would call this really, really good. It
capitulated with terms like "TEnT" or "Craze," but my
sense is that this is maybe the best of all results. And what's behind it?
I have absolutely no idea, but Wordfast's Yves Champollion promised
to tell me over a few beers sometime. So, I'd like to go on record to say
that I'm ready to sacrifice myself for you, and I can't wait to drink with
him and find out.
Here is one other curious thing that was
introduced in the latest version of Acrobat. It's a feature that's
not helpful for translation but might be helpful for last-minute touch-ups:
Acrobat DC internally converts image-based documents into editable
PDFs by essentially faking the look of fonts that it does not have
installed or characters that in reality it does not recognize. And if you
enter new characters, it will also try to emulate the look of the previous
Our particular example does not look too
impressive, but I tried with other text containing fonts that I didn't have
installed and it worked quite well. Here's how it looks with our example
inside Acrobat (note the text that I entered at the end and which was
automatically entered in the correct font and style):
"I had been working with another
CAT tool for a few years when a new client of mine insisted on me using memoQ. I fell in love with it
instantly and have been an avid user ever since."
Orsolya Bugár-Buday, Hungary
5. XTM 235 (Premium Edition)
you believe that the license plate of my sad and broken Buick actually
carries the name of a translation environment tool? If that's not fate, I
don't know what is. Now if I could only figure out what the "235"
intends to communicate to me . . .
nice to hear when additional features are introduced in any given tool to
help existing users go to the next level by providing feature parity with
competitors. But when it comes down to it, that doesn't really interest me
as much as when I see new concepts being developed or existing concepts
being broadened and developed.
had a chat with the folks from XTM this past week, and I enjoyed it
because there was a mix of both categories of features.
. . . you can find the rest of this and the
next two articles in the Premium edition to which you can subscribe to at www.internationalwriters.com/toolkit. 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.
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2015 International Writers' Group