Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Real-time terminology sharing with Google Docs

One of my partners and I are working on the same project. In a way, it is a throwback to an earlier era: a pdf project that we could not convert using OCR.

We took the opportunity to test the Google Docs spreadsheet as a remote real-time shared terminology tool. We wanted to know if it would allow us to open our glossary at the same time to check terminology and add, change, and delete entries.

The Google Docs spreadsheet does a remarkable job of allowing simultaneous use by two translators.

At first, we set up the spreadsheet so the approved entries were in one page, my partner's additions in a second one, and mine in a third one. We feared that typing a new entry on the same page simultaneously could unintentionally overwrite data. After a while, however, to test the limits of the application, we tried to write at the same time on the same line of the same page.

We could not do that: Google Docs prevented us from accidentally messing up each other's entries.

This was by no means a stress test: perhaps many simultaneous users on the same page could damage a document and lose data. But for two people working far away at the same time on the same project it is a useful tool: data sharing in real time without the need to set up any server or other network application or hardware.

Best of all, it is free, and the data is frequently saved by Google.

In a later post I'll give a more detailed description of how to set up such a shared Google Docs spreadsheet.
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  1. We have also successfully used Google spreadsheets for real-time collaborative proofreading. We use a script to convert from tmx to tab delimited format, upload to spreadsheets, proofread, export csv, convert csv back to tmx, and create final documents using CAT tool. The chat feature is definitively a plus.

  2. Perhaps this is not the case, but have you tried PDF Password Remover? Mainly, there are two type of PDF files: text and image. Both can be converted into editable text with an OCR, unless the file is protect by a password. The software mentioned solves this problem. Good luck!


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