Wednesday, July 05, 2023

Italian and English installable or online dictionaries

I first wrote about the Italian bilingual and monolingual dictionaries available online some eighteen years ago. Since, however, such links are liable to change, with old sites disappearing and new ones taking their place, below is an up-to-date list of sites that offer English-Italian, Italian monolingual, and other Italian bilingual dictionaries.

  • Picchi’s English-Italian dictionary (published by Hoepli) is available for free from La Repubblica website: Dizionari - La Repubblica. The same site also offers the Grande Dizionario di Italiano Hoepli and Hoepli’s Dizionario dei sinonimi.
  • The current incarnation of the excellent Sansoni English-Italian dictionary (published by Rizzoli) is available online at the Corriere della Sera website: Dizionari e Traduttori - Corriere della Sera. The same web page also offers several other Italian monolingual dictionaries, like the Dizionario dei modi di dire and a Dizionario di citazioni, and Italian-Spanish, Italian-French and Italian-German and Latin-Italian bilingual dictionaries.
  • The venerable Hazon English-Italian dictionary is available from the Garzanti website: Garzanti Linguistica, where you can also find Garzanti’s Italian monolingual dictionary and an Italian-French bilingual dictionary.
  • The English-Italian bilingual dictionary I’m currently using most often is Ragazzini’s. You can subscribe to it on Zanichelli’s site (Dizionari online Zanichelli). From the same site you can subscribe to several other dictionaries, including Zingarelli (Italian monolingual), several specialized English-Italian bilingual dictionaries, and other bilingual dictionaries including Italian-Spanish, Italian-French, Italian-German, Italian-Russian, Italian-Arabic, Italian-Modern Greek, Italian-Chinese and Italian Japanese.
  • Oxford-Paravia Concise English-Italian dictionary is available as a (paid) subscription from the MobySystems website.
  • offers free access to a useful English-Italian dictionary, as well as several other online dictionaries.
  • The website offers a wide range of bilingual and monolingual dictionaries, either via online subscriptions (generally more expensive than those available from Zanichelli), downloadable installable dictionaries, or both things combined. Among the dictionaries downloadable from are Picchi, Sansoni, and many others; unfortunately, the excellent Italian monolingual Devoto-Oli is no longer available for individual subscription, though it is offered for multi-user subscriptions.
  • While the bilingual dictionaries offered by eLexico include Marolli’s Grande Dizionario Tecnico Inglese, it is cheaper to buy it as a Windows app from this link.
  • lets the user search many dictionaries. You can find Italian-English bilingual dictionaries, as well as many other linguistical resources. 
  • The Treccani website offers access to the Enciclopedia italiana online, to the Italian language Vocabolario, and to a good Italian synonyms dictionary. 
  • Il Nuovo De Mauro is a very useful Italian monolingual dictionary and can be consulted for free online.
  • Francesco Urzì’s indispensable Dizionario delle Combinazioni Lessicali is available as a (paid) online resource. 
  • Finally, for those of us who try to resist the tide of useless, redundant (and often misleading and incorrect) anglicisms in Italian, Antonio Zoppetti offers il dizionario delle Alternative agli Anglicismi, significati e sinonimi in italiano.

Monday, July 03, 2023

How to access Microsoft terminology now that Microsoft shut down its Language Portal

On June 30, Microsoft closed the Microsoft Language Portal. For at least a few weeks before that, a message appeared on the Portal, with links from which the users could download Microsoft Terminology and Style Guides.

Those links disappeared with the Portal, but it is still possible to download the style guides and access both terminology and the UI strings: 

See below:

The interface provided to search the terminology and UI strings is Microsoft Power BI, a “unified, scalable platform for self-service and enterprise business intelligence (BI)”. 

Whether the access to terminology and UI strings through Power BI is temporary or permanent is unknown.

Subscribers to MSDN platforms used to be able to download all UI strings and terminology. I don’t know if that is still true.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

MTPE of Poor Quality Source Texts: Some Practical Suggestions

To achieve the best MT results, you should first correct the source text, when it is a scanned hard copy or an automatic transcription of recorded speech. Here are a few practical suggestions:

  • Choose the correct settings before running OCR. In particular, select the correct source language (you’ll see better suggestions during verification), select the correct graphic resolution for each page and the correct text direction for each piece of text, and de-skew and clean each page that requires it. Verification should be run by someone familiar with both the source language and the subject.
  • Correct misspelled or wrongly transcribed words.
  • Add “[sic]” after any word that you cannot identify and that you suspect is an artifact of the OCR process. This helps the post-editor focus on problem areas.
  • Capitalize proper nouns and acronyms.
  • Lower case incorrectly capitalized words.
  • Reassemble sentences broken up by periods (hard returns) or new lines (soft returns).
  • Feed the source text to the MT engine only after completing such corrections; doing otherwise will yield substandard results and will take longer to post-edit.

When the source text is good, you can skip pre-editing, but, when it is questionable or poor, pre-editing enhances the quality of the resulting machine translation and helps the post-editor achieve the desired quality.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

An AutoHotkey solution to a memoQ problem

The memoQ problem…

Some installations of memoQ suffer an annoying problem: cut and paste doesn’t work. The rest of the program works, as does copy and paste, but not the "paste" part of cut and paste: memoQ deletes your text at Ctrl+X all right, but it does not save it to the clipboard, so you have nothing to paste when you hit Ctrl+V.

If you try to perform the operation via the context menu, no luck, either: after Ctrl+X, paste (Ctrl+V) is greyed out.

Cut and Paste not working in memoQ

The problem appears unpredictably: you could have (as I do) two similar computers, with a similar panoply of software installed. On one cut and paste works as expected in memoQ, while in the other it doesn't.

memoQ’s support staff are aware of this problem, but (since they have never been able to reproduce it) their developers are unable to fix it. memoQ's support offer several suggestions that sometime work, from disabling other programs that might interfere with the clipboard, to deleting certain temporary files, and finally to that old favorite of all support organizations: reinstalling the program… but even reinstallation, for certain users, fails to correct the problem.

Fortunately, there is a simple workaround: instead of hitting Ctrl+X to cut and Ctrl+V to paste, you can add a step—copy (Ctrl+C), delete (Del), and finally paste (Ctrl+V)—but if you are accustomed to just using Ctrl+X/Ctrl+V in all other programs, you are likely to forget that you have to use different steps in memoQ.

...and the AutoHotkey solution

So we need a more permanent solution, and one is at hand (this also is thanks to a suggestion from memoQ support): using an AutoHotkey1 script to replace the “cut” part of cut and paste.

Here is the script (complete with comments to explain what each step does):

#NoEnv  		; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future 
                        ; AutoHotkey releases.
SendMode Input  	; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed 
                        ; and reliability.
SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir%  ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.
^x:: 			; Assigns to the Ctrl+X shortcut the following actions:
#IfWinActive memoQ 	; ensures script works with memoQ only, not with other programs
Send ^c 		; Copy (as if "Ctrl+C" had been pressed)
Send {del} 		; Delete (as if the "Delete" key had been pressed)
#IfWinActive 		; end of the "works in memoQ only" part of the script
Return 			; end of the script

You can use this script "as is" if you already have AutoHotkey installed: just copy the above code to an empty text file and save it with an .ahk extension; then, whenever you need to work in memoQ, double click on the script file to launch it.

If you use other AutoHotkey scripts, you also can add the above code snippet to one of your other scripts (so long as none of them tries uses Ctrl+X as a hotkey). And you can even compile the script to an independent .exe file, to use on computers where AutoHotkey is not installed.


1 AutoHotkey is a free, open-source scripting language for Windows that allows users to easily create small to complex scripts.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Guest Post: Launching CLEAR Global: Translators without Borders Is 10 and Ready for More!

by Jennifer Cajina-Grigsby

Translators without Borders begun when a small group of people translated information for aid organizations helping people hit by the Haiti earthquake 10 years ago. Driven to close the language gaps hindering critical humanitarian and international development efforts worldwide, the rapidly growing Translators without Borders team has achieved a lot since our founding. For example, we:

  • Translated information following the earthquake in Haiti, tsunamis in Indonesia, cyclones in Mozambique, and hurricanes in the USA.
  • Translated 1,900 Wikimedia medical articles in 83 languages, which helped over 40 million people access free and accurate health information.
  • Created multilingual chatbots to give people in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria accurate and reliable COVID-19 and Ebola information (read about Translators without Borders’ COVID-19 global response and glossary).
  • Started creating language maps in over 60 languages for organizations to better prepare for multilingual communication.

This would have been impossible without the support of donors, partners, and our community of linguists, translators, and local experts: over 60,000 volunteers contributing time and skills for a world without language barriers. Some have been with us for almost 10 years. Their experience working with Translators without Borders allows them to polish their translation skills, learn about the language technology we’re building, and get a solid foundation for their careers in translation.

Translators Without Borders recognizes the work of its volunteers by giving recommendations, references, and milestone certificates when the volunteers reach a certain word threshold. We foster a relationship with our community based on reciprocity, fairness, and shared values. Our community members work when they can, producing content for people who speak marginalized languages.

Thanks to this community, our impact has increased over the past years. Since our foundation, we have significantly grown as an organization, but much is yet to be done. Thus, with Translators without Borders at our core, we have evolved our brand to CLEAR Global, which includes CLEAR Insights and CLEAR Tech: entities working together for a more just society. Our goal is to make sure that the four billion people who speak a marginalized language are listened to, and can get the information they need, want, and understand. That’s what CLEAR is all about: Community, Language, Engagement, Accountability, and Reach.

ClearGlobal website

To go with this brand evolution, we’re running a campaign to lead us into the next 10 years. We want to raise funds for building diverse, scalable language technologies based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Our teams and partners will use them to better communicate with local communities. We’ll implement solutions to help people who speak marginalized languages to ask for, receive, and share vital information.

As a nonprofit, we’re always seeking support. If our cause and growth resonates with you, you can join our community right now. If you want to do more to support our growth, you can also help us spread the word about our “10 years on. Ready for more” campaign or even make a donation. Every contribution counts and will contribute to improving other people’s lives.

About the author:

Jennifer Cajina-Grigsby, before joining Translators without Borders, worked as a freelance translator for US nonprofits. Jennifer has always been passionate about language diversity and how to help bridge the global language divide. Her desire to do more led her to Translators without Borders, a nonprofit helping people get vital information, and be heard, whatever language they speak. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Translations from Italian and into Italian

A couple of links for those interested in Italian translation:

Nota del Traduttore, a YouTube series from Italian publisher Gruppo Mondadori, in which several Italian translators speak about their work.

Backstories: Afro-Italian Women Writers, in the July/August 2021 issue of WORDS without BORDERS, The Online Magazine for International Literature: 

This issue presents writing by Afro-Italian women. In the face of xenophobic rhetoric and policies, Black Italians have pushed their country to confront its colonial past and engage with its present diversity.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Guest Post: The Studio Academy - Mastering File Types in Trados Studio

by Michael Widemann

Even though I have been using Trados products for nearly 20 years now, I only started digging deeper with the release of Studio in 2009. And this for a good reason.

As a project manager responsible for delivering multilingual translation projects to my clients, I am confronted with ever more different file formats, many of which are specific to only one client. This is especially true for XML. But there is so much more: Different versions of Microsoft Office documents, FrameMaker, InDesign, csv and text files, JSON or YAML. Every file type is based on a completely different concept and each new version comes with new features that make established processes redundant.

What I needed was a completely different approach to how I use Studio. The defaults were not good enough anymore.

Then, in 2009, I also started working as a Trados trainer where I had the chance to work with freelance translators, project managers at agencies and localization specialist in small and large companies all over the world. And what I soon began to realize is that – even though everybody has their own workflows – most of them work with Studio’s default settings. They install it and go for it.

And it works. Even if you have never worked with such a tool, the fundamental concepts are easy to understand: translation memory, concordance, terminology integration. Saves time and money. Great. Plus 51 file types right out of the box. Studio handles them all.

After all, this is Studio’s concept: Whether you know how InDesign works, what an XML file is made up of or have mastered the intricacies of JSON files – Studio makes it possible for you translate them. No questions asked. No job you need to turn down because you do not have the required software. Studio – even in its standard installation – extracts the text it deems translation-worthy and presents it to you in a uniform working environment.

Yet there seems to be a problem...

All these options might be overwhelming. How can you possibly decide on whether to extract content from Master Pages in InDesign documents, decide on the right Parser settings or if it is necessary to insert a UTF-8-BOM, for example, when you have no idea what this is all about? And what's the deal with regular expressions and segmentation rules?

This is the problem I aim to solve with “The Studio Academy”: The complete guide to mastering file types in SDL Trados Studio:

- Detailed explanations on all available file type options, based on real-world examples.

- Everything you need to know about the concept behind file types in order to make the right decisions.

- Bonus information on embedded content, regular expressions, segmentation rules, XPath, ....

These modules are for you if...

- You don’t want a piece of software to make decisions for you. You want to be in control.

- You want to customize Studio to extract only the text you actually need. Not more, and certainly not less.

- You want to create your own file types to have the best solution for unknown file formats.

- You want to be able to handle files that do not follow any standard (e.g., HTML files copied to Excel) by using embedded content, regular expressions and customized segmentation rules like a pro.

Where and when to customize file type settings

About the author:

Michael Widemann is a project manager at a translation agency and an approved Trados trainer with 20 years’ experience in the industry. He also works as a translator and has published several books, mainly about music, some of them with Cosoc Grand Palace Publishing (his own publishing company). He is responsible for the German version of the Xbench manual, loves finding new ways to improve his workflow and hosts the podcast “Keine Zeit”, a weekly talk show about productivity, communication, motivation, goals, life and whatever else can go wrong.

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Feed Burner Goes Away, and unfortunately so does your email subscription

 If you subscribed to receive updates from About Translation by email, please note that, since Google is going to remove or restrict Feedburner, your subscription will stop working in July 2021.

I've already removed the link on this page that allowed readers to subscribe, since there is little point in accepting new subscriptions, if the entire subscription service will stop working soon; I'm currently looking into alternatives to send the updates to this blog  to the readers who still wish to receive them. In the meantime, please note that I also automatically announce new posts to this blog via my Twitter feed (@RSchiaffino).

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

memoQ Regex Assistant

Version 9.8 of memoQ includes the Regex Assistant, a new tool that helps creating, validating and using regular expressions. I haven’t used the new feature extensively, yet, but look forward to exploring it more next time I use memoQ for a translation project.
memoQ 9.8 - Regex Assistant

Friday, April 16, 2021

Trados Studio 2021 - The Manual

Mats Linder has just published a new edition of his excellent Trados Studio manual, now covering version 2021 of the tool.

Cover of Trados Studio 2021 - The Manual

As usual, Mats has done a thorough job of describing the details of the new version of the tool, with one important exception, that Mats explains at the beginning of the new manual:
The 2021 version [of the tool] is mainly about the introduction of SDL Trados Live [...] The online editor will require many pages of documentation before it is covered to the same depth here as Studio. Upcoming editions of the 2021 manual will provide such documentation
So, the new manual covers other important changes introduced by SDL (now RWS) in the new version of the tool, but doesn’t describe (yet) the details of Trados Live, the online version of the tool.

Still, while we wait for Mats to also cover the new online tool, the 2021 manual is essential reading for all translators who want to make the most of the new features in the tool, including, for example, improvements to the advanced display filter.

As usual Mats provides also a version of the manual which highlights the changes made to the previous edition. I’ve always found the highlighted version to be particularly useful: the highlights help readers skip to the places of the book which describe changes or new features.
You can buy the Manual (or upgrade to the new edition) from Mat’s web page: SDL Trados Studio - The Manual