Localization, Localisation

Practical and concise answers to common questions in G11N, I18N and L10N

Alchemy Catalyst Experts: Leverage vs. Update

Posted by Nick Peris on March 30, 2009

Leverage and Update Expert buttons

When I started using Catalyst, I felt Leverage Expert was more of a batch tool and Update Expert was only for small updates.

A little bit more planning taught me how this apparently simple choice can increase efficiency. According to Alchemy, Leverage allows to maximise the reuse of existing translations, while Update is used to replace a small number of files, using Leverage in the background. The choice of course depends on the type of handoff you are dealing with:

  • is it a new project or an update?
  • are there many files to update within each TTK?
  • are these files Win 32 executables?
  • are the changes functional or do they impact a lot of localisable strings?

Let’s look into typical workflows to see how they best respond to our needs.

Leverage Expert

  • Create a TTK.
  • Import all the localisable source files.
  • Duplicate it to the number of target languages.
  • Rename them using language codes.
  • Set each file’s target language.
  • Leverage from all the relevant repositories of previous translations.
  • Update the status of every string in the TTK to Signoff or For Review as required.

Update Expert

  • Copy previous version of each localised TTK.
  • Update name by incrementing version number (e.g. from__.ttk to__.ttk).
  • Update the application file(s) which have been changed in each localised TTK.
  • Use Leverage Expert if required to reuse translations from sources other than the previous TTK.
  • Update the status of the strings marked for review only.

When working with several target languages, each TTK containing a number of files, with regular updates, and if you keep you string status tidy, I think Update Expert turns out to be more efficient in the majority of cases. I would estimate that if less than 10% of the files in a TTK need to be updated there is a lot to gain in ensuring that every string which was signed off in the previous version does not have to be signed off, or even reviewed, again. It is much easier to differentiate which have been updated when using the Update Expert.

To be specific, by favouring the Update Expert you will save on:

  • Importing application files into the English TTK.
  • Setting target language in TTK and each application file.
  • Signing off untouched strings.

The icing on the cake would be, if anyone from Alchemy is reading me, to add 1 or more TM Source to the leveraging that goes on in the background when running Update Expert:

Update Expert with TM Source (mockup)


2 Responses to “Alchemy Catalyst Experts: Leverage vs. Update”

  1. I would like to add some comments from the perspective of a Catalyst competitor. SDL Passolo also has features that are called Leverage and Update and the functionality is similar to Catalyst. During the training of some of our large customers that moved from Catalyst to Passolo I have learned that these customers have used the Leverage method when localizing their next software release. I also think this is true for the majority of the Catalyst users.

    Some conceptual differences between Catalyst and Passolo makes the Update feature in Passolo even more productive than everything you have described in your post.

    Passolo is supporting multilingual project files (LPU)
    So there is no need to create and maintain i.e. 30+ new TTKs and to leverage data from previous versions in all target languages. With only one single project file a lot of unnecessary and cumbersome work can be omitted.

    Passolo doesn’t embed the source files into the project file (LPU)
    So there is no need to update the application files in the LPU or to update the status of strings. This turns the Update process into a task that can be done with a few mouse clicks. A process step that re-uses translations from various internal and external sources can be added and will automatically process all target languages. Not embedding the files into the project file has additional advantages. Passolo project files are significantly smaller. In large projects I have seen TTKs with approx. 1 GB in size. Imagine to send them around to your vendors or translators all over the world. The issue is also very important for your legal department. Not embedding the source files into the project file will protect your IP as you will not send around your latest software all over the world before it is released.

    The SDL Passolo Update function is comparing the project file with all the new software files and is incorporating all the new strings and changes into the project. Reports and status flags will help to easily identify and filter the changes.

    So as a conclusion I would recommend to all users of a software localization tool to use the Update feature as it’s the most efficient and reliable process to move with your localization projects to the next software version.

  2. […] and also to read through some recommended processes and tips, adding to my past article on the Leverage and Update Experts. WP_SLIDESHOW_IMAGES = { load: […]

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