Tuesday, November 26, 2013

SDL Trados Studio 2014 – The Manual

Mats Linder has just published the new updated version of his Trados Studio Manual.

The new version of the manual (expanded from 345 pages for Studio 2009, to 385 pages for Studio 2011, and now to 430 pages) has been updated to reflect the changes from Studio 2011 to Studio 2014. As previously, it comes in two version: a clean one and one in which the changes from the previous version are highlighted; this is very useful for those who want to skim through the manual to see what has been changed and added to the program.

The manual is sold for USD 49 (Euro 38) to new users, and at a discounted price of USD 24 (Euro 19) to those that are upgrading after buying a previous version of the manual. In any case, a reasonable price for a very useful resource.

I highly recommend the manual both to new users of Studio and to those who already are familiar with it: the manual is thorough, clearly written (unlike SDL’s own help files), and independent.

The manual is provided in pdf format, but it is also ready for printing (for those who don’t mind killing a few extra trees): it comes with a substantial table of contents and a very complete index.

A suggestion I have for Mats is to consider publish future editions as a true e-book: this would be useful to the increasing number of people who use e-book readers and tablets, as it would then permit such features as increasing the font size as necessary.

You can purchase the full-price version of the manual from www.TradosStudioManual.com. If you already purchased a previous version, you upgrade it from the Upgrade to 2014 page.

Special offer for Xbench

Until November 29, ApSIC is offering Xbench, its super-useful terminology and QA tool, at a 50% discount.

While the 2.9 version of Xbench is still free, I highly recommend upgrading to the professional version (3.0): it supports more file types and offers useful additional QA tests.

Above all, by paying for the pro version you help ApSIC actively support and further develop one of the very best utilities for translators.

You can purchase Xbench at www.xbench.net. For more information on how Xbench can be useful for translators, see my presentation (now slightly out of date).

Friday, November 22, 2013

How to search on multiple PDF files at the same time

There is a customer of ours that always sends multiple PDF files for reference, together with .itd files to translate.

Since the PDFs illustrate the mechanical maintenance procedures described in the translation files, being able to search the PDFs to find the correct illustrations is essential. Searching each of them separately would be time consuming (and tedious). Fortunately, there is an easy way to search numerous PDFs all at the same time. Using Foxit Reader (an excellent free tool, much superior to the bloated Adobe Reader), just hit Ctrl+Shift+F to open the search pane,

Foxit Reader Search Pane

select the All PDF documents in radio button, browse for the folder where you have saved your reference PDFs, select the appropriate checkboxes, and hit Enter.

Foxit Reader will display all the files (and location in the files) where your search terms are to be found.
Foxit Reader Search Results

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Common cover message errors

Every week I receive a number of messages from freelance translators, offering their services.

Most of those who send these messages usually fail to distinguish themselves, and fail to make any positive impression.

Take this message I just received:
I am [Name redacted] from Italy. I am an Italian native experienced translator and proofreader. I translate from English to Italian and via versa[2]. I have worked for several translation agencies, translating various fields[3], it would be a real pleasure for me working with you as freelance translator, so I am sending this cover letter and the enclosed resume to introduce myself and my skills and experiences[4] to you. 
My rates are flexible and negotiable[5] depend[6] on the subject of the text and the urgency of the task. I look forward to working with you in the near future.
Now: what's wrong with this?
  1. Generic salutation. It tells me this is part of a mass e-mail campaign (i.e., spam) and that is not addressed to me or to my company. A message with such a salutation most likely goes straight to the spam folder: If the writer cannot be bothered to address it to a specific person or at least to a specific company, why should the recipient be interested in reading it?
  2. English to Italian and vice versa. The writer says she is an Italian native, and claims to be able to translate not only from English into Italian, but also from Italian into English. Translating into a language you are not a native speaker of is usually the mark of the amateur. There are exceptions (such as people who are really native speakers of two languages, and even a few non-native speaker who do have the exceptional ability to translate into their second language at a level indistinguishable from a native speaker), but these are very few and far between.
  3. Various fields. The purpose of the cover letter is to entice me into opening the résumé. I might do so if the message indicates a specific field I'm interested in. "Various fields" tells me absolutely nothing.
  4. Skills and experiences. Again, a missed opportunity for distinguishing herself from all other wannabe translators. Which skills experiences? The message doesn't say, so once again I have no reason to open the résumé.
  5. Flexible and negotiable rates. This translator writes "flexible and negotiable". I read "I'm a doormat, please step on me". There is probably no better way to indicate that one is not a real professional than saying from the beginning that your rates are negotiable. This translator is in effect negotiating against herself. (Hint: translation companies are usually more than ready to ask new translators to lower their rates. Don't help them do so by indicating from the beginning you are an easy mark!)
  6. Grammar errors. The writer claims to be able to translate into English, but then cannot even write correct English in her cover message. This not only undermines her credibility as an Italian into English translator: it also casts a shadow on her English into Italian skills. 
Remember: the main purpose of your message is to entice your prospect to open the attached resume, or to ask for more information. To do that you should distinguish yourself from other translators. Make your message stand out from the rest: indicate some specific skill or experience, address you message to a specific person, write in a way that clearly show you know your business.