Saturday, 18 March 2017

Apps tips from experts I, strictly for translation

Ok, so I found all this tips and recommendations on software in this article, Learn from the Experts! 72 Professional Translators, 139 FREE* Tools to Help You Stay on Top of Your Game, and I chose this apps to check/consider/download/register/use/etc. So many apps, so difficult to organize (add-ons/standalone/site, free/paid, etc), so I only placed them in three groups: strictly for translation, good for bussiness and for productivity's sake. First chunk, strictly for translation:

Text to Speech – By far the best discovery in my 7 years as a translator. And absolutely free. It’s a feature in Microsoft Word which reads your text back to you and has made a huge difference to my final edit of any text. The ear hears what the eye does not see. Changed my life!
PerfectIt – I do a lot of editing and revising, including some quite lengthy reports. PerfectIt is a relatively cheap software which scours your document for the tiniest inconsistencies which are again unlikely to be caught by the naked eye. The one time you hyphenate no-one in a document full of no ones for example. Does a very thorough search and points up ever mistake…
– Even when we check our work carefully and read it through several times, some errors are still difficult to spot. PerfectIt is useful for ensuring consistency in a long translation. The tool will point out spelling, capitalisation and hyphenation inconsistencies, to name but a few, ensure all brackets and quotes are closed, check that abbreviations have definitions, etc.
You can even select a specific style from a dropdown menu or define your own. Trial it free of charge for 30 days.
– As many translation issues come from inconsistent or badly authored source texts, this MS Word plug-in enables an enhanced QA for English documents (think spell/style-checker on steroids). EU, UN and WHO styleguides already built in.
– Even when we check our work carefully and read it through several times, some errors are still difficult to spot. PerfectIt is useful for ensuring consistency in a long translation. The tool will point out spelling, capitalisation and hyphenation inconsistencies, to name but a few, ensure all brackets and quotes are closed, check that abbreviations have definitions, etc.
You can even select a specific style from a dropdown menu or define your own. Trial it free of charge for 30 days.
– As many translation issues come from inconsistent or badly authored source texts, this MS Word plug-in enables an enhanced QA for English documents (think spell/style-checker on steroids). EU, UN and WHO styleguides already built in.
ABBYY Finereader – Getting PDFs either electronically made or simply scanned happens all too often. ABBY Finereader converts it for me in usable Word (or even Excel) format, with the degree of formatting I have chosen myself. Has often proved to be a lifesaver. Not free but not overly expensive (~100 euro for a license).
– For sure one of the best tools to work with PDF, and probably the best if you’re a translator that work regularly with scanned files (dead PDFs). This tool is great to convert those files and use them in your CAT-Tool (after some manual improvements of course) or to estimate the word count and perform a quotation to the client with no effort. However, this is not free. But it’s great value for money! Give it a go!
LF Aligner – The only alignment tool I have ever come across in the past that was worth aligning with, was the old Trados 7 aligner. But that’s hard to come by as a stand-alone product. Behold then LF Aligner, which aligns a lot better, faster, easier than any of the current usually built-in alignment tools. And the tool is free too!
LF Aligner helps translators create translation memories from texts and their translations. It relies on Hunalign for automatic sentence pairing. Input: txt, doc, docx, rtf, pdf, html. Output: tab delimited txt, TMX and xls. With web features.
TextPad – Getting a usual text file or other type of file (software related usually or XML) that is hard to read with continuous lines where it’s difficult to retrieve anything? Open it in the free TextPad that will sort the layout so that you can easily see what’s in it and how the file is structured. Free!!
Microsoft Language Portal – Here you can find all official Microsoft terminology, style guides, UI translations in more than 50 languages. This is the go-to website when you’re localising Microsoft-related content.
OneNote – It allows me to note anything and everything in one place. I have divided it into easy sections (ideas, inspiring websites, CPD etc.) and I have it on my smartphone too, which means that I can add anything to it when I am on-the-go and it is synched to my PC. Very useful tool!
Dragon Naturally Speaking – While this isn’t free, at only £50 or so for the Home version this has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made. It leads to increased productivity (easily doubling your daily output – my record to date is 13,000 words dictated in a day – admittedly with a CAT tool as well!) AND helps prevent or alleviate RSI, which is why I bought it in the first place.
– My life saver when it comes to tight deadlines. It works best when you have it completely trained and the text is not too technical, in my case, it works perfectly when translating novels. It may not be very cheap, but it is worth it!
– OK, so this involves an upfront investment, but I got the DNS software + mic for £200 two years ago which works out at £8.30 per month so far. Dragon not only speeds up my translation rate (and I was a fast typist to begin with!), it gives me more time for proofreading and produces a more natural-sounding text. The other major reason I use it is the health benefit: less typing means a lower risk of developing RSI, plus it gives me the freedom to get out of my chair and dance around the room while I work.
– I’m sure you’ve heard of DNS and that you can save time, rest your fingers and possibly even earn more by dictating your translations. But did you know that DNS can dictate them back to you as well? Just place the cursor where you want the text-to-speech to start and say: Read document/paragraph/screen/etc.
The voice is a bit stilted and it can take some getting used to, but it certainly helps me focus on every single word I’ve written and stops me from delivering jobs with embarrassing mistakes (dairy/diary is a recent example).
Solid PDF to Word – This is the very inexpensive little brother to the main SOLID suite, but does a great job at converting even the most complex editable pdf files to perfectly formatted Word files. I have Abbyy Finereader too, which is invaluable for scanned pdfs, but the formatting can sometimes be a pain. I find it’s always worthwhile seeing if you can use Solid first, as it produces much better formatted results.
– Tool converting PDF files into MS Word files.
Very useful when you receive PDF files to translate, although not all kinds of PDF files can be easily converted.
I’ve used it for more than 10 years as it works well for most of the PDF files I receive.
Directory List & Print – This tool provides an editable text list of all filenames in any folder. Big translation projects often have multiple files and this app makes it easy to add a file list to a spreadsheet, email, Word doc, etc.
There’s a free and a Pro version (€18) and once installed, the list option appears when you right click the folder in Windows Explorer.
Search and Replace for Windows – Search and replace utility allowing you to search for words within multiple directories full of different kinds of files.
Very useful to look for information, but also to change a translated term throughout a whole project, as a translator, reviser or project manager.
New version: Replace Studio Pro.
Repetition Detector – When translating books or texts which require even more creativity than usual, it is important not to repeat yourself (especially when repetition is not a characteristic of the text you have to work on). Repetition detector is perfect to avoid repetitions that can result in a poorly written text.
Reverso Context – You may know Linguee, which is OK for fields such as law and economy, but does not help much when it comes to literary translation.
Reverso Context is great because of its comprehensive database. It contains not only the official documents you would find in Linguee and similar tools, but also dialogues (books and subtitles) and multilingual websites, and it covers both formal and informal language!
Count Anything – Count Anything is a free tool that allows you to count the number of words and characters in a given source. It supports a very wide range of document types, but also URLs, making it very useful to give quick quotes for translating websites. I have tried other pay tools in the past, but this one does a pretty good job and it’s completely free!
– Count Anything is a free word count tool, particularly helpful because it is easy and quickly to use and quite accurate. It supports a large variety of file formats: Microsoft Office files, Open Office files, HTML and PHP files, text and PDF files (text only), XML files. It counts number of words, characters (with and without spaces), Asian and non-Asian words. It also counts words in text boxes, graphs and many other embedded objects.
Acronis True Image – Acronis True Image is powerful backup software that you can set and forget. When my computer crashed and burned recently, it only took me 10 minutes to set up my new system thanks to the daily system clone I had Acronis creating on an external hard drive! If you’re thinking about upgrading your drives or simply want to sleep easy at night, Acronis is a great choice!
Backblaze – When my laptop was stolen a few years ago and I lost 3 weeks’ worth of work I realised I needed to get an automatic back-up tool. Before that I just updated to an external hard drive every once in a while! I’ve used Backblaze (a cloud back-up tool) since that and would really recommend it. It works in the background and backs up everything for you on a daily basis. It costs $5/month which is well worth the peace of mind!
Pen and paper – This is back to basics really, but it truly is my favourite organising tool. Always accessible, infallible, needing no Wi-Fi and so so simple – we’ve learned to use it years ago!
With a pen and a piece of paper I am way more creative than in front of a screen, so I can draft a blog post in no time. Similarly, my to-do lists are always written in ink or pencil, rather than typed on a device.
It’s as easy as this: I owe my creativity and organisation to the simplest tool possible – pen and paper. It’s much underestimated but for a minimalist as myself – perfect.
– The low-tech tool I find indispensable is a week-to-view paper diary in combination with a handful of differently coloured pens, either for colour coding or to add to the vibrancy of the page.  The choice is yours! I can see at a glance what I have actually done, and whether I have free time to squeeze in that extra job, and I use it to review “what was good and what was not” at the end of each day and at the end of the week. Having my diary on paper frees up space on the two screens I habitually use for my work. I have tried all manner of calendar apps and programmes and find the traditional diary the most effective organisational tool for me.
Karen’s Replicator – Karen’s Replicator is a freeware that automatically backups files, directories, even entire drives. It copies selected files from one drive/folder to another. Source and Destination folders can reside anywhere on your network. What is more, files larger than 2 GB are supported. A must-have software for every translator who wants to backup his/her work easily without spending many hours to do so.
Grammarly extension for Chrome – As a non-native English speaker, I fear a typo is always around the corner, so having an extension that reminds me the correct spelling or the best way of wording something is really helpful. With this, I can make sure that every email or social media post is always spot on!
Evernote – Evernote is like my second brain. I use it to collect material when I do research for my blog posts, to track my marketing activities (there’s a great reminder feature that alerts you when it’s time to follow up with that dream client) and many other things. I also have a brain dump note, that I use to quickly write down things that come to mind while I’m translating so that I don’t forget about them and can go back to them when I finish the work.
– One tool I couldn’t live without is Evernote. Its Basic (FREE) features include the possibility to save articles and clippings from the web, share information with other users and synchronize across different devices.
Notes on a similar topic are grouped into notebooks.
For me this means being able to save results from web terminology research carried out for a translation or interpreting project, save them in one place and access them from everywhere.
WeTransfer – With the known limitations of all email providers, WeTransfer lets you send up to 2 GB files (free version) in a clean and easy way.
ProtonMail – Forbes even called it “the only email system NSA can’t access” and with good reason, too. Their servers are located in Switzerland, and the emails are encrypted end-to-end, which means it is impossible to intercept and decipher them. You may request an invite (free of charge). Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android.
SugarSync – A great online syncing tool that automatically scans designated folders (i.e. My Documents) for new files, and securely copies them to your cloud storage. Great disaster protection, and lets you grab and edit your files from anywhere. You can also create public links to allow other people (i.e. clients in other time zones) to download specific files.
ApSIC Xbench – One tool I find excellent is ApSIC Xbench. Its many features include converting translation, memory and glossary files between various common formats, but the main thing I use it for is QA. I’ve exploited the checklist facility to set up hundreds of my own language checks (whether my pronoun antecedents are ambiguous, whether I’ve positioned the word “only” correctly in the sentence, etc.). It’s my own free quality assurance companion, customised just the way I like it.
Snipping tool – A desktop app on Windows, this handy little program lets you take a snapshot of part of your screen – perfect for sending confusing error messages to PMs or tech support.
InterpretBank – Last but not least, a tool I would recommend is the terminology management software InterpretBank. It was developed to suit the needs of conference interpreters who want to keep all their conference related glossaries in one place and quickly look up terms in the booth.
While it offers a few awesome features for conference interpreters (memorize glossaries before a conference or look up and extract terms from reference materials, just to name a few), I use it for my translation related glossaries as well.
The one-time licence, which entitles you to all updates, costs 89 €. Before buying it you might want to check if your professional association has a an agreement with the software provider which entitles you to a discount. –’s been around for years, and I’m always surprised more people don’t know it! Simply, it connects your clipboard to all your favourite research sites and more. A kind of alternative to Intelliwebsearch.
The Great Suspender – A Chrome add-in that automatically suspends tabs when they’re not being used, and then reactivates them when you click on them again. Prevents the nightmare of Chrome crashing midway through research with 20+ tabs open!
Automatic Speech Recognition – ASR is picking up in our community for productivity, quality, as well as ergonomics reasons. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking to dictate into English on Windows, and Apple iOS’ built-in Romanian and French ASR when I need to dictate into these languages. Google Voice is not bad at all, either! The ability to look away from the keyboard, rest my eyes, dictate in a natural style, and be more productive overall are key for me. Top tips: don’t dictate like a robot, watch out for ‘speakos’ in the various languages (homophones in English; non-standard, deprecated spellings in Romanian), and take self-revision very seriously!!!
Automatic Speech Synthesis (Text-to-Speech, TTS) – Hearing someone else read out your translation (or whatever you have written, for that matter) gets your senses involved more fully in the revision and review processes. I’m a big fan of asking Dragon Naturally Speaking to read out what I have just dictated in English so that I can check the style and intelligibility without straining my eyes.
Top tips: 1. start with the range of languages offered for free by your text editor and your operating system before buying a dedicated TTS tool; 2. don’t rely just on the spoken output for checking your deliverable: have another look at your text before sending it to the client.
CodeZapper – A plug-in which cleans tags from badly formated MS Word documents (especially an issue when working with converted PDF files) and makes their import into CAT tools friendlier.
SketchEngine – It is an online corpus analysis tool. You can use it to create adhoc corpora for translations using its web trawling feature to identify domain-specific terminology and syntactic structures, or create your own corpus through hand-picked documents. Through the subscription you also have access to the most important general language corpora for many languages, meaning you can make evidence-based decisions about correct word use or the true meaning of words in specific contexts when working on translations.
Mendeley – Mainly used as a tool for researchers, but this program is an absolute godsend when it comes to organising the papers you gather while doing research for translation projects. You can set it to follow specific folders on your computer. It then automatically loads all the pdfs in those folders into its system, so you never have to repeat searches you know you have done before but can’t find. It also allows you to annotate pdfs within the program for reference later.
AntConc – Another corpus tool! This is a free corpus tool and is most useful if you are going to create your own adhoc corpora from documents you have collected in your research. Laurence Anthony, the developer, also provides open source programs for converting these files to UTF8 text files the program can read, so for those who don’t want to pay for a subscription you can use this program for researching terminology and language use in domain-specific areas for specific translations with this nifty tool!
– I discovered this free tool while taking a MOOC on corpus linguistics by the Lancaster University and once I got the hang of it I got hooked. The developer, Laurence Anthony, offers a series of other free corpus tools and always replies directly to your questions by email. I have written about corpus analysis tools like this one in my blog on terminology and it goes hand-in-hand with Bootcat, to convert websites for analysis in AntConc. That’s 2-in-1!
IATE’s Chrome extension – I believe the extension could be useful for everybody, especially those who work often with terminology related to EU institutions. A user can search for terms without leaving the page they are currently viewing.
Everything Search Engine – I have to say I love, love this other free tool. No more looking for hours for that file that you misplaced! This tool allows you to quickly find files and folders in your computer. A godsend when you do a wrong move and get crazy trying to find your file.
Lupas Rename – When you have a hundred files and need to rename them, this is the (free) tool to use. Not only for your professional work, but also for your personal pictures from your last vacation!
Text Expander – I have been using a text expander for over a decade and I simply could not live without it. Save text snippets or entire templates (for e-mails, checklists, etc.) and have them expand when you type a few letters. It saved me hundreds of hours of typing over the years. Many options available, pick your favourite. At the moment, I use WordExpander (freeware).
EU Glossaries – A search engine created by TermCoord (using a WP macro filtering excel tables) that regroups 223 glossaries published by all EU Institutions. It is one of the most visited features provided by
TermCoord Search APP – This small, lightweight application will allow every Android user to consult more than 8 million terms in 24 official EU languages, searching in the EU terminology database IATE in a fast and user-friendly environment. Results come filtered by reliability and it is also possible to search in a specific subdomain. This project is designed not only for translators, but for journalists and students as well. Thanks to its ease of use, everybody will be able to prompt a search in just few seconds.
IntelliWebSearch – Yes, that’s right: I wrote IntelliWebSearch myself. But I originally wrote it *for* myself: I am a professional translator and transcreator, not a professional software developer.
The tool is designed to save time when checking terminology on the Internet. It doesn’t do anything you can’t do yourself: it just does it a damned sight quicker. If you run into a text where the right terminology is essential and you haven’t much time, it is absolutely indispensible.
NaturalReader – If you deal with marketing materials, such as leaflets, brochures, posters, flyers, advertisements, press releases, advertorials, websites and the like, your transcreation not only has to read well, it often has to sound good too. That’s where NaturalReader steps in: it reads what’s on your screen out loud. It’s also great for picking up on typos.


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