For anyone interested in computer-aided translation, which has become as omnipresent in the translation world as Microsoft Office has in business generally, it's always intriguing to hear when a major new release of a CAT tool appears on the market. MemoQ has become very popular among freelance translators and translation agencies in recent years and has been evolving at a very fast pace – faster than the product documentation, in fact. This week (the second week of December), a new version of the tool is going to be released called memoQ 2014 R2.
What exactly's new about it? Well, the most obvious change is that it now has a ribbon interface. This aligns it with Microsoft's Office products as well as with a number of memoQ's competitors like SDL Trados Studio 2014 and Déjà Vu X3. Although memoQ's current interface (I'm referring to memoQ 2014 "R1" and memoQ 2013 here) has been around for a while and users have got used to it and can find functions reasonably easily on it, there have been plenty of calls for a better menu bar from users.
The new menu bar is now divided into sections of related functions. This makes the interface more intuitive to use and less cluttered, which is also due to the fact that the functions that used to be available in the bottom half of the screen have now been moved up into the ribbon as well. The groups of features have been designed to reflect a typical translation workflow:
The ribbon bar can be reduced in size just like Word's menu bar to save space if you need more room to view your translation or other windows in the interface. This is also useful if your list of projects is quite long as more of them are now displayed. At the moment, the ribbon can't be customised by removing or adding any features, however (which I personally like about Word). What it does do, though, is change its contents, depending on whether or not you have opened a project to work on. Besides having a "memoQ" tab and "Project" tab, it then adds one called "Documents", another one called "Preparation" and one called "View". If you click on an icon like "Translate" in the "Documents" tab, four more tabs appear: "Translate", "Review", "Edit" and "Quick Access", all of which contain functions of particular interest for that step of the translation workflow. So this is a nifty way of putting a lot of functions at a user's disposal as and when they need them.
The ribbon toolbar displays tooltips whenever you move your mouse over specific icons, which can be instructive en passant and may even help you re-discover features you forgot about in the old interface, where many of them were hidden from view.
Another new aspect of memoQ 2014 R2 is that its translation memory editor has been pepped up and made more convenient to use. Meta-data (e.g. the name of a customer) can now be altered, for example, and tags can be handled better (e.g. they can all be removed from the segments you select just by clicking a button). It's also possible to edit an unlimited number of segments at one go, whereas that was limited to a hundred in the past. Filtering has been enhanced as well: you can now select specific groups of segments (those translated by a particular person, say) and then search for certain segments in that group (e.g. those containing a particular term). To make it easier to resume your editing work later, it's now possible to mark segments with a flag as well. A short video on these points is now available on YouTube.
Segmentation of source files has also been improved by making it easier for users to add abbreviations to the list of existing segmentation rules and even re-segment a file on the fly after doing so, giving better segmentation results in the translation grid.
Compatibility with other software formats has always been an important aspect of memoQ, which supports a large number of formats and makes working with files processed by users with different CAT tools relatively simple. In memoQ 2014 R2, Kilgray has improved compatibility with WorldServer by improving how it deals with SDL WorldServer’s file formats, XLZ and WSXZ.
To help you learn more about this new version, Kilgray is offering a number of free webinars on it in December. These are intended for both freelance translators and project managers (as each user group works with a different version). To see which webinars are being staged and register for them, go to their webinar page.
- Overview of memoQ 2014 R2 on Kilgray's website
- Kilgray's blog
- A recorded webinar on memoQ 2014 R2 by Kilgray on YouTube
- Translator Dominique Pivard explains how to create a project and translate a file in memoQ 2014 R2
- Kevin Lossner's blog post on the first project he did using memoQ 2014 R2
- A post of my own on the introduction of SDL Trados Studio 2014, which also features a ribbon interface.