Localization, Localisation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Wordfast’

SDL Trados Studio 2014: Sneak Peek

Posted by Nick Peris on August 12, 2013

SDL Trados Studio 2014 and SDL MultiTerm 2014 logos The first details about the next version of Trados have started trickling over the usual networks. The release is announced for late September-early October 2013 and will include both SDL Trados Studio 2014 and SDL MultiTerm 2014. Other SDL applications will get a refresh shortly afterwards including Groupshare and WorldServer in the shape of a Service Pack for WorldServer 2011 (10.3). This renewed focus on SDL’s core translation technologies coincides with difficult financial results for SDL Technologies this year. But in order to make a difference to the sales of technology licenses there will have to be significant and meaningful improvements rather than refreshes and remarketing of existing features.

Ribbons

So what can we expect on the Trados front? On first impression there is little or no look-and-feel difference. However the marketing is focusing partly on an updated design, so the beta build shown must be the translation industry’s equivalent to showing the camouflaged prototype of a new car. A few screen shots displayed during a recent presentation did provide hints regarding the direction taken with the design of the Trados User Interface (UI). They showed a somewhat familiar interface with ribbons and tabs which were reminiscent of the current Microsoft Office. It is not uncommon in the Localisation industry either, with GlobalLink Project Director for example having used ribbons for some time already. According to the description given during the preview, Trados’s ribbons can be minimised and have an auto-hide feature, but it is not possible to add/remove custom buttons or links to the ribbons.

Performance

SDL have reportedly invested a lot of efforts in improving performance with speed and stability both the target. Users feedback from the beta community confirms marked improvements compared to the previous version of Trados Studio according to SDL. It wasn’t specified whether these results were obtained with a build using the old or the new UI, so it is too early to tell how much performance improvements will be passed on to the final build, and how much will be consumed by the UI’s resource requirements.

Among the expected improvements are faster project preperation including:SDL Trados Studio 2014 ribbons

  • starting a project by dropping a file into Studio
  • faster file saving
  • more seamless connection to networked resources such as TM’s, Glossaries and Projects

Trados will apparently become smarter with:

  • an Autosave feature
  • updated file format support (including some bilingual files as source)
  • automatic Concordance search when no TM match exists
  • simpler creation of auto-suggest dictionaries.

The demo build also allowed users to open several files at once in the translator’s interface as if they were a single document. This is different from merging which is a pre-processing task rather than a translator’s productivity tool. Instead translators have the ability to open a Studio project, multiselect files, right-click and choose a Translate as one option. They will then be treated as one file, thus enabling batch Verification, Auto-Propagation etc. until translation is completed. It will be interesting to see how effective this is in a production environment.

An important topic with any software update is backward compatibility: Studio 2014 is to maintain full compatibility of Translation Memories, Termbases and Projects from previous Trados Studio versions. As should be expected, the features new to Studio 2014 will not however work in older versions. All versions of Trados and MultiTerm should be able to coexist on the same production chain, but again in reality it may limit the ability of all to use the features exclusive to the newest version.

Alignment

The retiring Trados 2007 WinalignOne of the most interesting parts for me was the announcement that Winalign is finally set to retire. This specialised and standalone tool was still distributed with the most recent version of Trados Studio, despite being a legacy tool which had received very little updates since the release of Trados 2007. With Trados Studio 2014, it seems a new Alignment tool will be integrated into the Studio interface. It is not yet known whether it will be available with all the Editions or only the Professional licenses, but it sounds promising.

The version briefly demo’ed during the recent webinar seemed to work well enough. Its integrated UI does seem to be an improvement compared to the old Winalign. The use of Studio File Types and the alignment project settings also seem to be steps in the right direction. For example, an Alignement score can be set to reflect your degree of confidence in a particular Alignment project. This is similar to an MT Fuzzy Equivalent score. The value given to the aligned Translation Unit (TU) will determine their priority over the rest of the TUs in the Translation Memory used to leverage a new project. This  score is a user setting and may be different for each Alignment project.

Enterprise Packages

SDL Trados Studio 2014 Alignment

SDL Trados Studio 2014 Alignment

Trados is also getting Interoperability on board, although it seems to be mostly Interoperability with other SDL products. For example more metadata is to be included in new WorldServer packages. Both the latest Trados Studio and upcoming WorldServer Service Pack are required for this. Studio 2014 will also allow live connections to WorldServer TMs including for real-time TM update if permissions are granted to the user. Note that this used to be possible with Desktop Workbench, Idiom’s original and free desktop CAT tool for WorldServer which has now been retired by SDL. This is more catch-up than real technological advance: Wordfast allows such live connection to the GlobalLink TM Server, and so does SDLX Professional to SDL TMS Translation Memories etc. Still, with Trados connected to WorldServer this way, SDL promises the ability for more accurate status monitoring from WorldServer which will be useful.

SDL Trados Studio 2014 Alignment

SDL Trados Studio 2014 Alignment

Posted in SDL Trados Studio 2014 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Wordfast Pro 3.1: Solid Contender

Posted by Nick Peris on April 16, 2013

The Wordfast Editor

Wordfast 3.1.5

The translators network ProZ.com recently published an article about the use of CAT tools in the industry. It was based on a survey they ran within their community and which received over 3,000 responses.

Apart from the perennial dominance of Trados which about 75% use in some shape or form, 3 facts caught my attention.

First, the translators’ preference: while 43% said Trados is the CAT tool they use the most, only 36% cited it as their favourite tool. Compared to this Wordfast, second in line in this survey, showed the same proportion of primary users and supporters. memoQ seems even more popular with substantially more people citing it as their favourite than actually use it as their primary tool.

The second point was the real deciding factor in the choice of CAT tool: the main driver, listed by over 45% of respondents was customer requirements, with market research second at about 36%. Pricing was at the bottom of the list.

It seems fair to conclude already that translators often use the CAT tool they have to, rather than the CAT tool they choose to. There are several reasons for this:

  • Translators usually work with handoffs or translation kits which have been prepared for them by their clients. When they don’t start from the raw source documents, they have a more limited choice in the translation technology.
  • They also quite commonly download packages from Translation Management Systems, and are tied into the CAT tools supported by the workflow.
  • Finally in some cases they are forced by business requirements to the technology of the LSP they are affiliated to.

The third and last point I took away from reading the ProZ.com post was that Wordfast and memoQ are the most common CAT tools after Trados. We have talked about Trados many times in these pages, and have covered memoQ on several occasions as well. However Wordfast which is also in the Top 3 of our own never-ending Poll in the right sidebar, was never yet covered on Localization, Localisation.

This article will begin to remedy that.

EditionsWordfast 3

There are 4 separate versions in the Wordfast offering:

  1. Wordfast Anywhere: a web-based CAT tools with Translation Memory, Glossary and Machine Translation functionality. It is available free-of-charge for translators.
  2. Wordfast Classic: a well-established, Microsoft Word-based translation tool. For readers more familiar with Trados, this is the equivalent to using Workbench in Word instead of translating in TagEditor.
  3. Wordfast Server: an enterprise Translation Memory server compatible with the other 3 Wordfast applications.
  4. Wordfast Pro: the professional, full-featured CAT tool, flagship of the Wordfast family. One of its main attributes is the extensive platform compatibility: it supports Mac OS and Linux as well as the Windows.

Wordfast Pro is the application I will talk about in the rest of this post.

Wordfast Install Wizard - Component Selection

Installation

The latest version of Wordfast Pro (3.1.5 at the time of writing) is available for download from their website. The trial version has no feature limitation other than a 500 Translation Units cap in the TM.

The installation itself is very fast and requires minimal user input. There is one screen in the wizard which lets you select optional components like the Aligner or PDF Support and choose the Hunspell spell checker languages to install. Wordfast can also use the Microsoft Office spell checker dictionaries if they are installed.

On my Windows system, the whole installation process took about 2 minutes.

Getting started

Once that’s done, you can immediately get started with your first translation by following these steps:

  1. Create a Project (File – Create Project…)
  2. Set the source and target language (only 1 language pair per Project)Wordfast Preferences - Create TM
  3. Click OK
  4. The Preferences dialog opens
  5. Under General – Translation Memory – TM List
  6. Click Create TM
  7. Enter a location, file name, language pair and click OK
  8. To add a Glossary, go to General – Terminology – Glossary List
  9. Click Create Glossary
  10. Enter a location, file name, language pair and click OK
  11. In the Active column of the TM and Glossary lists, select the TM or TM’s to use. The language pair of the TM and Glossary must match those of the Project.
  12. If you have multiple Active TM’s and/or Glossary set the order of priority in the corresponding Priority tableWordfast Preferences - Glossary Language Match
  13. When ready, click OK to close the Preferences dialog. You can access and edit these options and others (see details later in this article) at any point by clicking Edit – Preferences
  14. Open the document to translate by pressing CTRL + O and browsing to its location.
  15. The document is immediately converted to a bilingual format (.txml) and displayed in a familiar segmented, 2-columns table

You are now ready to start translating. Type your translations in the target column for each of the segments. If your TM already contains matches, the best way to proceed is to use the Translate until Fuzzy button (CTRL + Alt + F) to move from segment to segment.

Wordfast - Translate Until Fuzzy

With the translation completed, save your Project (CTRL + S) and generate your translated file (CTRL + ALT + S).

To add your translations to the primary TM, select Commit all segments to TM (CTRL + ALT + END) from the Translation Memory menu.

Advanced Options

Wordfast offers a wide choice of features to enhance translators productivity and improve translation quality and consistency.

Wordfast - Filtered Preferences

Most of these options can be accessed by clicking one of the icons in the Tool bar and can be configured from the Preferences dialog (Edit > Preferences). This dialog box and some of its views have a very practical filter text box which lets you hide any feature setting you are not currently interested in.

For example, to see the quality control settings, simply type Transcheck in the type filter text field and press Enter. All other Preferences will be hidden from view and you will be able to access the Transcheck options without having browse to them (see Screencap).

Some of the most useful UI options available are the configurable keyboard shortcuts found under General > Keys. The optional software Automatic updates are also a neat, non-intrusive way of making those available.

But the real powerful stuff can be found in the Translation folder of the Preferences:

  1. Auto-propagation copies your new translation to any duplicates within the project. This can be fine-tuned to apply only to certain segment types.
  2. Auto-suggest, not to be confused with the previous feature, works much like predictive text in mobile phones. Some like to use it, some don’t. Of course it can be switched on or off.
  3. Filters list all supported file types. File filters can be duplicated to contain variations of their settings. This works fine, but the way to add support for new file types is not as easy as in other systems.

    Wordfast - Auto-propagation

    Auto-propagation settings

  4. Machine Translation is one of the highlights. Wordfast can be connected to an existing Google Translate account, Microsoft Translate account, to Worldlingo or to all at once. MT can then be used to provide suggestions when no TM match is found.
  5. Terminology supports sequencing, blacklists and even automatic fuzzy term recognition. The supported Glossary formats are Tab-delimited (.txt) and TBX.
  6. Transcheck is Wordfast’s automatic quality control tool. It comes with an array of options shown in the screencap above.
  7. Translation Memories also has a vast amount of settings relating to Sequencing Priority, Penalties, TM Update behaviors etc. By default Wordfast does not pre-populate fuzzy matches, but it can be configured to by editing the minimum threshold. Wordfast TM’s can be exported to a simple txt format or to TMX.
Wordfast - Auto-suggest
Auto-suggest settings

Overall the features available and the amount of flexibility in their configuration is on par with the most modern CAT tools around. The only significant limitation in my opinion is the lack of real-time preview. In order to preview your work  you will need to generate the translated file (CTRL + ALT + S) and open it in its native application. This may not sound like a big deal, but if you’ve been using a CAT tool which does have real-time preview you won’t want to give it up.

A Different Perspective

Apart from the TXML Editor we’ve been looking at until now, Wordfast a different has view called the PM perspective.

This can be opened by clicking the PM perspective icon below the File menu, and gives access to a number of batch activities useful for pre and post-production.

  • Analyze can be used to calculate the leveraging of file sets against Translation Memories and output reports.
  • Clean-up generates target files, updates TMs, passes on Attributes and reports on the results.
  • Pseudotranslation is a good pre-production tool used to test the  content exposed to translation before a project goes to translation.
  • Split/merge divides big projects into smaller, more manageable pieces according to the number of Translation Units or words found in TXMLs.
  • Bilingual export lets you export and reimport the bilingual file into a Word document (with optional track changes), so linguistic review can be performed by Subject Matter Experts in MS Word and automatically incorporated back into the TXML by the language team.
  • Show/Hide 100% lets the pre-production team exclude 100% matches from the handoff.
  • Transcheck creates QA reports based on the same options available in the TXML Editor.
  • Swap Source/Target does just that.

The user interface here is easy to get used but maybe a bit outdated. The shortcuts to Preferences in each screen are a good idea and the Bilingual Export sounds very practical.

Wordfast - PM perspective

Posted in Beginner's Guide, Surveys, Wordfast | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Cheap Translation Tech: Who does What…and for How Much?

Posted by Nick Peris on August 24, 2010

Rolling out old tools

Recession-buster CAT tool prices? Low-cost TM Tech? Scrappage scheme on Translation tools older than 2 years?

Subscription-based software rental or money-mental discount on SaaS?

No, the marketing slogans in the Translation Software industry haven’t been quite that exuberant. Yet the cash flow worries experienced by all the Translation Technology providers, have generated a certain amount of creativity especially when it comes to pricing. So if you’re on the market for a new CAT Tool, you should probably ask yourself: “Where is the best value for my discount?”

Clichés about the dark days we live in abound (including in this article…), and it is clear that no one would part lightly with hard-earned cash to buy a Translation Memory technology license. The truth is one can get such technology for as little as €0 and about as much as one has to spend. This may always have been the case, but what I think has changed is that market leaders can no longer rely on reputation, exposure and existing market penetration to comfortably roll-out the next generation of expensive technology.

Differentiating by offering compelling technological advances is no longer a bullet-proof strategy either. There are plenty of talented tool developers around who are ready to offer imaginative solutions for a modest fee. Features such as mobile phone-like predictive text will not prompt anyone to spend thousands, or even hundreds of Euro.

In fact, mainstream TM technology with all its bells and whistles is facing a problem similar to that of the automobile industry: the multitude of options and gadgets inflating the price of applications with constant update and patch requirements has left the market wide open for a good value yet sturdy alternative.

Though it is not a complete answer, a low-cost market for TM tech is developing as a consequence. Freelancers, Agencies and Corporations alike are no longer willing to spend on expensive licenses to buy software which will be outdated within a year or two. So offers started appearing where the license itself has an expiry date. Pay for a year and then decide what to do: renew, upgrade or move on.

The concept of software rental was set to run further of course: complete with the advances in software hosting, Cloud-computing, where the users connect to the application over the internet and does not need to install or setup anything on their own machine, it became SaaS: Software-as-a-Service. This is a trend much bigger than the Translation software industry alone, which offers many advantages such as seemless updates and crucially regular cash-flow for the provider. It also requires an important shift in the mentalities where ownership of the tool isn’t transferred to the Translator, while the ownership of the translation produced with it must remain with them.

All this put together means that we may have reached a fork in the road after which licensing models will be transformed: but which way will they go?

    Starter Edition, Translation Workspace, MemoQ, Deja Vu, Across, Wordfast

  • the unglamorous route of feature-reduced time-limited ownership
  • or the controversial path of rental, or Software-as-a-Service.

Both options at this point show serious limitations. The reaction of Professional Translators could be described as luke-warm at best. On one hand entry-level traditional licenses are too limiting to users who already own a fully-fledged copy of a previous version. On the other software rental has not yet earned the trust of the user-base, concerned with intellectual property questions and confusing price structures.

The table on the right-hand side (click to expand) highlights the strengths and weaknesses of some of these subscription-based low-cost CAT tools:

One thing I hope is sure: the days of paying hundreds of Euro for entry-level licenses are over in our industry, and that has to be a good thing.

If you are due an upgrade, it is most likely that there are good deals to be had on your favorite software provider’s site. If you are looking to invest in your first entry-level CAT tool however, spend some time analyzing your needs against what is on offer. Entry prices may be low, but the value and limitations varies widely from one tool to the next.

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