Monday, October 01, 2018

SDL Trados Studio Manual 2019 - Just Published

Mats Linder has been publishing (and regularly updating) his "SDL Trados Studio Manual" for many years now, thus providing an indispensable service to all users of SDL Trados Studio, who otherwise would be left at the mercy of SDL's own obscure documentation.

He has just released the newest version of the manual SDL Trados Studio Manual 2019, updated to cover the most recent version of the program from SDL.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 Manual cover
The new version of the manual describes what's new in Studio 2019, as well as the features offered by new plugins released in SDL's app store since the previous version of the manual. 573 pages.

Monday, July 09, 2018

"Unique opportunity"

I got this in the mail:
Offer from XxxxXxxxx  
Xxxx from XxxxXxxxx says Hi!  
Dear Sir/Madam, 
I am a project manager at XxxxXxxxx, and I am very pleased to send you this email, offering you a unique opportunity. Let me tell you about my company's point of view in some detail. Due to the crazy, competitive market we face, our company has established its method, which is based on filling the gap between translators and the translation projects that are most appropriate for them. To do that, we make some tiny changes to the translators' CVs before sending them to our clients. These changes might include removing their contact details and replacing it with ours. This is done so that they don't need to bother themselves with loads of emails. We are going to be the one to contact the client, discuss the project, and then send it to our translator who will definitely be able to make much more money through this saved time. To accept the offer, have a look at our authorization template (attached), have it signed, and then send it back to me along with your resume and cover letter.Finally, I would like you to know that we at XxxxXxxxx have got a highly qualified team of project managers, all of whom work in harmony with a great number of competent translators. And we would be thrilled to welcome you to our team, and to help you reach your full potential through this job!If you have any questions, feel free to reply to this email. 
Thanks for your time and consideration.  
Sincerely yours, 
Xxxx Xxxxxxx 
Project Manager /XxxxXxxxx  team
(I redacted the name of the sender and his company, since I'm not interested in offering them free advertising.)

There is no need to say that accepting their "unique opportunity" would be foolish in the extreme: you would in effect authorize them to use your résumé for their own purposes, and nothing would then prevent them from sending any translation job received thank to your résumé to some cheaper translator or even to a free machine translation engine.

Stay away from this: they are not offering a service: it cannot be anything other than a new scam.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Punctuation Guide

The Punctuation Guide is a useful online resource that shows the current style of American punctuation. According to the author,
In creating this guide, I have consulted dozens of authorities, both online and in print. Where the authorities disagree, I either have explained the various positions or have presented the style I believe to be most useful. 
The Punctuation Guide was created by Jordan Penn, a longtime enthusiast of American language, usage, and style.

An interesting article on "Google Translate" and its legal implications

The Volokh Conspiracy, a law blog, recently published an interesting article on some legal implications of the use of Google Translate: "Google Translate" and the Law of Consent Searches.

Friday, April 20, 2018

How to preview a Bitly address without clicking on it

Sometimes we receive Bitly shortened addresses in e-mails, or sometimes we see them in tweets or blog posts.

The problem is, how to be sure that clicking on them won't redirect us to a malicious address?

A solution, of course, is to just never click on such shortened addresses... but that might mean missing on some interesting sites or links. fortunately, for Bitly there is a way of checking to see what the real address behind the shortened one is, and also what reputation that address has:

Just copy the Bitly address to your browser's address bar, add a "+" sign to it, and hit Enter--you'll be sent to a preview page for the link, where you'll be able to see the real address, and any warning about the reputation of the address, like the following:


Monday, April 16, 2018

SDL invents new language

Not content with providing some of the best-known software tools for translators, SDL, a language technology company, is apparently hard at work inventing previously unknown languages.

The proof: recently translators have been receiving messages to offer them free training. and apparently that training is available in multiple languages.

One of them is "Mexican":

Mexican, a brand new language brought to you by SDL

When asked about the new language, SDL representatives said they could not answer right now about Mexican, as they were busy at work developing other new languages, including Swiss and Belgian.

They confirmed, however, that work on the Yugoslavian language had been definitely put on hold, as news that the country of Yugoslavia no longer existed had finally reached SDL's headquarters.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Re-Posting from the Xbench Forum

I'm re-posting this directly as it appeared on the Xbench forum, as it may be of interest for all those who use Studio and the Xbench Studio plug-in:
With SDL Trados Studio 2017 Cumulative Update 9 (CU9) the Xbench Edit Segment (Ctrl+E) feature may stop working (it does not open the Studio document).
To be able to use the Edit Segment functionality after you updated your Trados Studio 2017 to CU9, just download and install the latest Xbench plugin for Studio (build 13)

Friday, February 23, 2018

What tools do technical writers use and prefer?

As translators we have to deal with the work of technical writers, but apart from some obvious programs (like MS Word), we often don'know the tools that technical writers use in their work. For a look at what tools technical writers prefer, see Technical Writing Tools: The Ultimate Choice of 83 Experts.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Infographic: Software Tools for Translation

I'm currently developing a course on CAT tools for the University College of Denver University.
I find mind mapping useful to generate and organize my ideas, so I created a mind map of the kind of software tools used by translators - CAT tools, of course, but also other types of tools, from those that help us manage our projects, to those we use for more specific tasks.

I asked Jost Zetzsche to take a look at my mind map, to see if he had any suggestions about types of programs I might have forgotten or things that should be changed.


Jost gave me some suggestions, and asked for a copy of the infographic for his Tool Box Journal.

Here is a copy of the infographic:
Software Tools for Translation
Software Tools for Translation

You can click here for a larger copy of the file, and here for a downloadable pdf.

I'd appreciate any suggestion or idea for future improvements.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bad programming decisions in CAT tools

Everyone knows what software bugs are: flaws in a program that make the software fail or behave in unwanted and unexpected ways. Bugs are unavoidable in something as complex as software. The most we can reasonably ask of programmers is that they try to lessen the frequency and severity of bugs by using sound programming practices, and that they correct bugs quickly, once found.

Bugs are unintentional, whereas virus, Trojans and other malware are created with malicious purpose.

But, between unintentional bugs and willful malware, there is an entire class of problems caused by intentional programming decisions: when software features work as designed, but the design itself is ill-thought-out.

I'll give two examples from SDL Trados Studio and memoQ.

In Studio, an example of flawed design is the deliberate disabling of "smart quotes" when change tracking is active. According to SDL, "This currently is by design so that no uncontrolled/automatic changes should happen when typing in review mode." However, they didn't think through the real-world consequences of their decision: now, a translator may use smart quotes during translation, but since they are disabled during review, any apostrophe or quote entered during review will be straight. After review, the text of the translation will contain a mess of straight and curly quotes and apostrophes.

SDL Studio: The translator used smart quotes, but the apostrophe used during review is a straight single quote.

Furthermore, apostrophes and quotes are tiny characters: it is entirely possible no one will notice the problem for a while. The first person to notice might very well be the customer... perhaps when he receives the final printed copy, after it is too late to correct the error.

Disabling smart quotes when change tracking is active is harmful, and the problem is made worse because it is not well documented.

For me, I have a good workaround: a short program I wrote in AutoHotkey that allows me to use two different types of smart quotes (and also straight quotes) with no tweaking of Studio's settings, no matter whether change tracking is active.

Maybe, under certain circumstances, it would be better to disable smart quotes during review, but this is a decision that should be left to the translator, not imposed by SDL.

Let's now pass to Studio's main competitor, memoQ.

Here, the flawed feature is a change introduced with version 8 of memoQ: a new behavior, touted as an ergonomic improvement, of the Shift+F3 "change case" function.

Before version 8, Shift+F3 behaved in memoQ much the same as in Word, Studio, or many other programs--it toggled through the various permutations of change case: all lowercase, ALL UPPERCASE, and Mixed Case. Now Shift+F3 opens a drop-down menu, where the user can select the case.

memoQ: An unecessary drop.down menu for a simple function.

The result is the same, but the new "feature" hinders smooth typing by shoehorning in the workflow a change no user had sought. The new behavior slows a translator used to hit Shift+F3 a couple of times, until the desired case is achieved, then press the right arrow and continue typing. Changing case now often requires at least an extra keystroke; worse, it introduces an unnecessary change in a behavior that most users had imprinted in their muscle memory. And since Shft+F3 continues working as before in other programs, the irritation caused by the change will not fade away as you form new habits.

Unlike with the Studio example, there is no workaround: the only thing you can do is return to memoQ 2015, abandoning any useful feature added in version 8.

I imagine that if Kilgray introduced this new feature, someone must have either asked for it or thought it was a brillant idea. Instead, just like SDL's disabling smart quotes in change tracking mode, it is a bad programming decision.

Special free software offer


As I mentioned before I use a short AutoHotkey program to enter smart quotes and apostrophes in Studio. The program lets me enter "smart" single and double quotes, curly apostrophes, "French"double quotes, and also, when I need them, "straight" double and single quotes.

This works for me and would work for other Italian translators as well. If you need a copy of this utility, let me know, and I'll be happy to send it to you "as is".

I can customize (for a small fee) this utility to use different sets of single and double quotes. If you are interested, please write me (you can use the contact form in this blog).