If you are a translator who uses one of SDL's computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools (e.g. Trados® 2007 or one of the newer versions of Trados® Studio (2009 or 2011), you will probably already have heard about the firm's relatively new software-development platform SDL OpenExchange.
OpenExchange is an interesting idea as it is a way of enhancing the functionality of SDL's products by harnessing the intellectual power of 3rd-party developers. In the words of SDL:
"By offering a range of plug-ins and associated applications that will extend and augment the product feature set, we aim to see our users achieve a greater return on their SDL investment, while offering developers a stage to showcase themselves before the industry’s largest translation professional community." (quoted from their website)
In addition to this, SDL is using the platform to seek suggestions from users of its products regarding further potential enhancements. In this respect, it currently seems to be ahead of the competition, although other CAT-tool manufacturers such as Kilgray in Hungary (the maker of memoQ) have also started creating user platforms that can partly be employed to exchange software resources (see Kilgray's new Language Terminal, which can be accessed directly from memoQ 6.2 and memoQ 2013).
SDL's 3rd-party development platform currently contains around 80 enhancements in the form of plug-ins and apps. Some of these cost money (quite a lot in some cases), while others are free. Among other things, they include:
- Auto-Suggest dictionaries in a variety of language pairs
- conversion software (e.g. SDLTM to XLIFF for proof-reading in a different tool)
- file-type definitions so that Studio can process further file types (such as PO files or DTP formats like Adobe Illustrator and InDesign)
- glossary converters (e.g. for converting an Excel glossary to a Studio or MultiTerm term base)
- Microsoft terminology collections in various languages (converted for use in MultiTerm)
- machine-translation plug-ins
- and even instruction manuals for Studio 2011 in various languages.
To find out more about these and the other apps, check out the OpenExchange site. I would also recommend you to read a recent blog post by another translator, Tuomas Kostiainen, a Studio user and trainer who has taken a closer look at five of the products available there.
As an aside, I noticed that some of these optional plug-ins are actually included in memoQ's functionality; they are there if you want to use them and just have to be activated by ticking a check box - there's no need to download and install them, let alone pay for them. Instruction manuals for memoQ and other CAT tools made by Kilgray are available from Kilgray's own website for free and are also in a range of languages.
Still, a number of the Studio and MultiTerm plug-ins and apps do look interesting and provide enhancements that are still lacking in memoQ. In the course of time, however, memoQ users may find that a growing number of these are being offered on the Language Terminal. Let's wait and see how it evolves...
images: Kilgray's logo and Language Terminal courtesy of Kilgray Translation Technologies. SDL OpenExchange: my own screen shot