Localization, Localisation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Catalyst’

Alchemy Catalyst 9.0: A Practical and Visual Guide

Posted by Nick Peris on November 15, 2010

I recently had the welcome surprise of finding an invite to a Catalyst webinar in my Inbox. It was with great anticipation and a touch of nostalgia for my Localisation Engineering days, that I clicked on the link and joined the meeting to discover what Alchemy had been up to.

I soon realised that a practical user’s guide would be the best way to cover this on Localization, Localisation. The Alchemy Software Development website already lists What’s New in this release so rather than analysing the differences between Catalyst 8, for which we did a complete Launch coverage and Catalyst 9, I’ve put together a step by step tour based on the demo.

This article can be used by Localisation Engineers and Translators alike to preview the Catalyst 9 interface using the 30 or so screen shots included (see after the slideshow for full screen versions), and also to read through some recommended processes and tips, adding to my past article on the Leverage and Update Experts.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Creating a Project

The User Interface remains the flexible and now very familiar .net window, with its various docked panels and tabs. It’s also a stable interface which will cause little or no navigation headache to even the most novice user.

The first operation when getting started with Catalyst is to create a Project file, or TTK file. This is easily done by using the File – New menu and following the basic steps.

You will notice in the screen shots that the example used includes varied sample files such as compiled help (.chm) not requiring any source or project files, and wpf executable.Locked strings

Preparing a Project

After the creation of the TTK, source files can be inserted either using the Insert Menu item or a context menu in the Navigator tab. Folder structures can also easily be used.

Once the files have been inserted into the TTK, it is time to prepare it for leveraging.Translator Tool Bar Context Menu and Keyword Lock This operation of consists mostly of locking non-translatable strings and sub strings. It can be tedious on a brand new Project but the work done can be completely leveraged to the various language TTKs as well as any future versions of the project.

The lock keywords functionality has been improved in Catalyst 9: the txt file which the project’s keywords list is now automatically generated in the background as soon as the user locks a keyword.Catalyst 9 UI Batch Keywords Locking

Once a keywords list has been created, it can in turn be used to automatically lock the listed keywords in the remainder of the project.

Another thing to note is that Maximum String Length can now be set on a batch of strings at once.

Leveraging previously translated content

Apart from Leveraging from the TTKs of previous projects, Catalyst supports leveraging from a variety of Translation Memory formats:Keywords List

  • Translation Industry Open Standard (*.tmx)
  • SDL Trados 2007 (*.tmw)
  • Wordfast Pro (*.txml)
  • Tab-delimited (*.txt)
  • Alchemy Translation Memory (*.tm)
  • Alchemy Catalyst (*.ttk)
  • Alchemy Publisher (*.ppf)

Alchemy Translation Memory is a new proprietary format used to create Master TMs from completed TTK projects. This format allows to store Catalyst-specific context information such as the context (Dialog box ID, Menu Item etc.), which can later improve the quality of leveraging by providing Perfect match. In Catalyst terms, a Perfect Match is a 100% match located in the same Dialog, Menu etc).TM Compatibility List

Alchemy Publisher, Wordfast Pro, Trados 2007 or the nonproprietary TMS are also present provide compatibility with other TM format Catalyst might have to coexist with.

Noticeably, Trados Studio 2009 TMs (.sdltm) still do not appear to be supported.

Batch processing

The process recommended by Alchemy is to create an English to English Master TTK and then to automate its duplication and pre translation for each target language in the Project.

This is an area where Catalyst 9.0 does seem to bring a good bit of novelty:Create Job Expert

  • With Catalyst 7, engineers had to manually duplicate TTKs.
  • Catalyst 8 was a bit more helpful and created Project folders for target languages and project resources.
  • In Catalyst 9.0 however, the Job file and Scheduler take care of a lot of the repetitive tasks associated with preparing a new Project.

The Create Job Expert lets you use the Master TTK as a template to create project folder structure and corresponding target language TTKs.

Meanwhile, such tasks can also be added to the Scheduler. This new queuing system allows the user to start working on the next project while it processes queued tasks in the background.Create Job Expert Batch Leverage

Automation

The Command line automation has been improved since Catalyst 8 to include Analysis. The complete Catalyst localisation process can now be automated.

Catalyst 9.0 Developer Edition also includes the Comm API which lets advanced users script TTK operations all the way down to string level, and output automation reports  in txt or xml format.

Ensuring Quality and Consistency

In addition to Translation Memories, Catalyst 9 also supports several Glossary formats:

  • Text files, used in Catalyst since the beginning (.txt)
  • Terminology Exchange Open Standard (.tbx)
  • Translation Memory Exchange can also be used for Terminology (*.tmx)
  • SDL MultiTerm and MultiTerm ServerCatalyst 9 inline Validation

Validation still takes two forms: the Expert can be run to perform global check, and inline validation can also be switched as a non-intrusive real-time quality control. If a potential error is found, a flag will be raised through the bottom pane, but Translators will not be interrupted. They can simply go back to the issue by clicking on the notification once they are ready to attend to it.

The Thumbnail view seems to be a great tool for engineers regressing bug. It gives a preview of all dialogs in a TTK and lets you click the one which matches for example the screen shot in a QA report and brings you automatically to the location of this dialog in the ttk file.Catalyst 9 Thumbnails

Translating in Catalyst

The Concordance search and Translator toolbar do not appear to have been changed. Both were introduced with Catalyst 8 where there was strong focus on improving the user experience from the Translator’s point of view, and they seem to have delivered.

The new Re-cycle button is a result of the same ambition. New translations can be propagated to entire project by using the current project as an inline TM in the background. Layouts are not recycled but fuzzies are supported.

Clean up Expert

Finally the Clean up Expert has also receive some improvements. Like for all Experts, it is recommended to close the Project file before running it, and then select the file(s) to process from the Expert’s General tab.

Clean up now creates a postproject.tm Translation Memory and generate supplied assemblies for .net.

Conclusion

in my opinion, this new generation of Catalyst still offers a great solution for visual localisation. Although the differences with Catalyst 8 may not may not make a bullet proof case for immediate upgrade, the 25% discount currently on offer does represent decent value.

Posted in Beginner's Guide, Catalyst, News, Software Localisation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Alchemy Catalyst 8.0: Official Launch

Posted by Nick Peris on May 4, 2009

Alchemy Catalyst 8.0

On Friday, May 1st 2009, Alchemy Software Development officially launched a new iteration of their visual localisation tool and flag-ship product: Catalyst 8.0.

The event was held in Dublin (Ireland)’s Alexander Hotel, minutes away from Alchemy’s HQ. On offer were a feature highlights demo by Director of Engineering and Chief Architect Enda McDonnell, an informal meet-the-developers opportunity and client case studies by representatives of Citrix, Creative and Symantec.

This article reports and comments on some of what was said and shown.

A Total Visual Localization™ solution

Created mostly as a software localisation tool, Catalyst has now clearly outgrown this limiting description. The trademark visual editing capabilities now cover most aspects of localised content publishing:

  • Help
  • Web sites
  • Software applications

Reaching out to translators

But Catalyst is sometimes still seen as an engineer’s tool. Alchemy are aware of this and have been listening to feedback from professional translators. The result is a translating environment which undeniably seems more linguist-friendly. There is a convergence with the interactive translation environment in Trados, which is only a part of a general strategy to increase translators productivity by lowering the time needed to get accustomed to various tools.The New Translator Toolbar

  • Translator tool bar:
    • live validation: flagged with non-intrusive warning symbols
    • keywords: locking and validation for in-segment non translatables
    • internal tag management
    • multiple matches displayed
  • Switch to the industry-standard terminology exchange format (TBX)
  • Supplementary Glossary for translators to populate their own reference material
  • Unlimited number of TM’s and web-based Machine Translation (MT) service ensure there is always a match

Changes to ezParse

In order to keep up with the long-served ambition of providing support for the latest file formats, changes have been made to Catalyst’s parsing tool.

  • WPF (baml): full compatibility including visual editing of WPF forms and parsing out of.NET 3.0 objectsA WPF Form in Catalyst 8.0
  • Conditional XML: can now set the value of an element (or one of its attributes) to be localisable only if the value of another of its attributes indicates it should be treated as such (similar to functionality added to the settings file in Trados 2007).
    Conditional XML
  • Multilingual XML: supported by reading the source segment in one element but storing the translation entered into another. While this is a very up-to-date feature, there seems to be some limitations in term of process. The translators will only deal with one language pair, so post-translation engineering will involve leveraging from multiple partially translated TTK’s back into the “Master” TTK before a fully multilingual file can be extracted. This should however be made easier by the updates made to Experts such as Leverage.Multilingual XML

Updates to the ExpertsThe Leverage/Update Expert

  • Programmable API’s (Com and Event) are provided to encourage client-developed automation. This was a strong theme across both the Alchemy presentation and most of the guest speakers’. It has been a feature of Catalyst for some time but is now emerging as the area where Catalyst gets ahead of the CAT pack.
  • Multiple TTK’s, multiple languages and multiple TM’s to leverage from, all at once: this sounds like great news and is the feature I personally look forward to the most.
  • Target folders can be set and original TTK’s preserved (necessary to achieve previous point).
  • Leverage algorithm improved to search for 100% match in all TM’s provided before searching for fuzzy matches.

Cutting-edge Technology Thumbnails

  • Improved navigation: thumbnails for Forms, Dialogs, WPF, HTML, graphics…are the latest addition to the visual features.
  • Improved validation: live and programmable (API). Catalyst 8.0 comes with an updated list of validation tests and also offers the ability to create your own: custom .NET objects can be called by Catalyst during Validation but also file insertion, extraction etc.
  • Underlying technology upgrades make Catalyst future-ready: compiler upgraded to Visual Studio 8 which is relevant both to Windows 7 compatibility and a future 64-bit Catalyst)

Screen caps courtesy of Alchemy

Posted in Catalyst, News, Software Localisation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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)

Posted in Beginner's Guide, Catalyst, Software Localisation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »