Practical aspects of a translator's work

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  • October, 2013
  • Promising new features in memoQ 2013 R2

    memoQMemoQ (pronounced "memo kyu") is a CAT tool that has become very popular among translators, partly because it offers a lot of convenient features and is relatively easy to use; beginners can learn how to set up a project and translate and export texts with the tool in just 1-2 hours. Plus it can process a wide range of file formats smoothly, including Trados 2007's bilingual RTF and SDL Trados Studio 2009/2011 files in XLIFF format. Last but not least, I personally think it's good value for money, especially if you buy it as part of a promotion or group purchase!

    A new version of memoQ called memoQ 2013 was released at the end of May and includes lots of enhancements and several new features, including an integrated online dictionary search facility that you can configure yourself using as many of your favourite Web resources as you like. (This is in addition to the Eurotermbank plug-in that memoQ comes with.)

    Release 2 of memoQ 2013 is now just about to be launched, and this promises to be a great leap forward in terms of user convenience. For one thing, it has a feature called monolingual review that translators will love! It saves you a great deal of time updating translation memories (TM) when a customer or reviewer sends you the final version of a translation you've done. In most CAT tools, updating a TM to include the latest changes is a laborious manual process, but memoQ 2013 R2 has automated the step for Word® and other documents, employing a re-alignment procedure to update the segments stored in your TM.

    incorporating final edits in memoQ

    Fig. 1: When you import the final version, memoQ opens an alignment window. The green lines mark the segments that have been changed.

    Another enhancement is the ability to import term bases straight from SDL's terminology tool MultiTerm®. This is useful if a customer sends you a document to translate using specific terms they work with and have stored in that format. More specifically, memoQ 2013 now enables you to import MultiTerm XML or TBX files, extract the terms and include them in a term base of its own, which you select yourself. This gives you faster leverage of the customer's resources.

    MultiTerm XML import in memoQ

    Fig. 2: To import a MultiTerm XML file (term base), click on "Import terminology" and then select the format.

    There are a number of other improvements as well, some of which concern the DOCX filter for importing and exporting Word® documents. Exporting comments made in memoQ along with a translation has now been implemented. (This has been possible in other CAT tools such as Déjà Vu X and X2 for ages, but not in memoQ, and saves you a lot of time inserting comments into your translation manually after exporting it.)

    But to find out more about it, why not attend Kilgray's introductory webinar on the new release? It's going to be held from 5-6 pm CET (4-5 pm GMT) on Monday 28 October. It's free – all you have to do is register in advance. Click here to go to the registration page.

    Have fun trying out the program! (You'll be able to download it shortly and can try it out for free for 45 days.)



    memoQ logo: courtesy of Kilgray Translation Technologies; screen shots: my own.


    P.S. (written on 13 Nov. 2013) A free recording of the webinar is now available on the internet – click here to access it.

  • About Trados Studio 2014

    spotlightsWell, the build-up to its appearance on the translation stage was big, as you might expect from SDL Trados! Have you heard the news yet? If you're also a translator and use translation software to help you with your daily work, then you may already be aware that the largest maker of computer-assisted translation (CAT) software tools recently launched the latest version of its key product (on 30 September).

    It almost seems to have been a little early in arriving on the market, actually, as it's known as "Studio 2014" ;-) ... but then again, I expect they wanted to get a competitive edge over one of their main competitors, the Hungarian firm Kilgray (the makers of memoQ 2013 and other state-of-the-art tools for translators, translation agencies and terminologists).

    The previous version of SDL Trados's tool, Studio 2011, has been around for a while and become widely used among freelance translators and agencies alike, partly because it supports bilingual file formats created by its much earlier predecessor, Trados 2007, which many agencies once invested in and weren't prepared to drop when Studio first came out.

    SDL Trados Studio 2014Studio 2014 is based on the 2011 version, but the interface has been enhanced to make it easier to use. One of the main changes you'll notice is that a ribbon-based interface has now been adopted, organising related functions in tabs in a similar way to the programs that come with Microsoft Office 2007/2010. So if you're used to working with the latter, you ought to find it relatively easy to get to grips with Studio 2014. In addition to that, new areas have been added to the interface for training purposes – you can now access training videos directly from the program, for example – and you can access additional "apps" for Studio from here, too, by following an internal link to SDL's OpenExchange platform rather than having to call up the page separately in your web browser. So users can get information faster and more conveniently, which is great.

    Apart from this, the sales people at SDL Trados have been listening to user feedback and passing it on to the developers, who have consequently come up with a number of "new" features such as AutoSave (to save your work automatically), Track Changes, Real-time Preview, a fast alignment tool (to replace WinAlign), QuickMerge (for combining individual files to speed up translation) and a customisable editing environment with user-defined short cuts for specific functions. (These are certainly enhancements in Studio, but they have actually been around in memoQ for a while.)

    A few of the new features really are novel, however:

    • enhanced concordance search, i.e. terms are looked up automatically in your translation memory (TM) if a search at segment level fails to find anything there, and partial matches are shown, which can help you come up with an appropriate translation


    • InQuote, which is a new OpenExchange app that can be installed in Studio 2014 to generate quotations from project statistics. These stats can be output in Word or Excel or copied into another application or e-mail from your Clipboard to send to a customer, for example.

    Well, that's the rundown so far. I'll learn more about it once I've tried it out myself. Hope it's not too buggy, being a new release...

    To find out about the software suite yourself, you can watch various short videos that SDL Trados has produced. Click here, for instance: SDL Trados Product Tutorial Video. (N.B.: there's no sound in the video.)

    The presentation below is also informative and it's spoken at a reasonable speed (unlike various other videos they've made, which are too short to be of much value and are narrated much too fast for non-English speakers):


    This video is actually one of those that are accessible from the training tab in Studio 2014. Dominique Pivard has been kind enough to provide the individual links on his own blog, CATguru's vlog, so anyone can watch them in a browser and get an idea about using the CAT tool that way.

    In sum, I'd say Studio 2014 looks like a very promising, mature tool, even if many of its new features aren't pioneering ones. That said, I'm keen to see what the forthcoming version of memoQ 2013 ("R2" aka "6.8") will be like, which is due out at the end of October and is said to include several new features that will make our memoQwork more convenient – like the ability to incorporate final changes made to translations into your translation memory once the texts have been exported (e.g. customer changes). Studio can already do this to a degree if the translation is converted from SDLXLIFF to Word beforehand, but this new solution may go much further. And be a real time-saver!



    images: spotlights © Rainer Sturm/, memoQ logo © Kilgray Translation Technologies, Studio 2014 logo © SDL plc


    • Related posts: Useful extensions for Studio on SDL OpenExchange


    • multifarious, SDL's blog on its CAT products, written by Paul Filken. Click here to view a recent post on customising Studio 2014 using OpenExchange apps


    • Emma Goldsmith's blog post on features of Studio 2014 for "beginners" (she was a beta tester)


    • To sign up for a free 30-day trial of Studio 2014, go to the online form here. (Update: although the form's available online now, I've just been told by a sales rep here in Germany that the trial version hasn't come out yet [it's 15 October now!], so we'll just have to wait for it a bit longer, I guess. Maybe until 2014 after all...!)


  • September, 2013
  • Virtual conference day for translators, 30 Sept

    Proz's virtual is holding a virtual conference day for freelance translators today. The event is free – all you need to do is register as a Proz user (if you're not one already) and then log in to the Proz platform and register to attend the conference.

    The event starts at 12 noon and is due to go on until 9.15 tonight. Presentations on various topics in English will be held at specific times throughout the day (see the programme here), while other presentations in other languages are available upon demand (just click on them and then they'll start).

    Here are just a few of the subjects that are going to be covered today:

    • How to use the platform successfully

    • EU terminology for medical translators

    • Online marketing (this is actually a group discussion that you can take part in)

    • CAT, machine translation and virtual interpreting – the use of technology in translation

    • Time management (another group discussion)

    • Human and machine translation

    • Codes of ethics, standards of practice and national certification for translators

    • Internet search techniques

    • Speech-recognition software (group discussion).

    If you've got a bit of time to spare, why not drop by and watch a presentation or have a say in a group discussion? It's a good opportunity for translators to learn more about subjects that concern them. Apart from being able to watch the free presentations, you can also benefit from big discounts on software for translators thanks to Proz's special promotion.

    Have fun at the conference!


    P.S. This event is actually the first of a series of educational events to be held by this week: from Mon. 30 Sept. to Fri. 4 October. Click on this page for more details. Wednesday's event on working with CAT tools looks particularly interesting.

    image: ©

  • Scammers and identity theft

    it's a scamFor a while now, I've been receiving some rather odd applications for freelance work by e-mail. This prompted me to write a post about the do's and don'ts of applying for freelance work this way a little while back, which some readers will hopefully find of help for their own marketing activities. However, what I've now discovered is that most of the odd-looking applications were actually scams produced by people wanting to get assignments – and ultimately money – from gullible customers around the world.


    How did I find that out? Well, simply by looking up some of the applicants' names on the Net. Many of the names that have been used seem a little strange and are actually fictitious, so it turns out. (Not all of them are, though, which makes investigation trickier.) The intriguing thing about applications of this kind is that they apparently contain lots of background information about the person that is true. Because it's been stolen from existing translators who once made their CVs available to the wrong readership by mistake!


    A long directory of scammers who claim to be translators has been created by João Roque Dias, a Portuguese translator. Click here to access the page. It lists the name of the "applicant", the e-mail address they have used and the original translator whose personal details were stolen (the victims of identity theft, in other words). If you receive scam mails of this kind, but can't find the person's details on this list, then please contact the people now running the site [as of 15 Feb. 2014] and forward the messages to them so the data can be checked. Any new scammers found will then be added.


    To find out more about this issue, which seems to be a big one affecting the translation industry (and many other fields as well), you might want to read the section that has created on scammers and identity protection; click here to go to it.


    There are also plenty of other sources of helpful information you can refer to, many of which are on the internet. Marta Stelmaszak, for example, has written a detailed blog post on how translators can protect the CVs they send out to prospective customers from abuse; click here to read her advice. (Among other things, she refers to an article on the BBC's website on what information you shouldn't put in a CV in the first place.)

    One easy step you can take is to save your CV as a PDF file, which makes it harder for people to extract the information quickly (unless they know how). You can also write-protect the file and prevent any content from being copied by using a program like Adobe Acrobat®, say – pick the appropriate security settings before you generate the PDF file (this short video from Adobe will show you how).


    If you haven't done so already, take a look at the CV you've prepared for new customers (and the personal details you've included in any internet profiles you've created on platforms such as, Xing, LinkedIn or Facebook) and think about steps you could take to protect your own identity. This is something that's becoming increasingly necessary as the amount of networking and self-marketing we do via the internet is growing. It can be as easy as leaving out your date and place of birth and adding the words "Further details upon request" for anyone who is really interested in working with you.

    And in addition to that, please think twice about sending detailed personal data to agencies en masse. Hand-pick the agencies you want to contact after checking out their websites and seeing if they are likely to be interested in receiving your application; the more you personalise your covering letter and match the requirements they specify on their website, the better your chances are of being accepted as a potential supplier of translations. By increasing the quality of the contacts you pick, you ought to find your applications become more effective and you can keep track of the agencies that have your personal details much more easily. Protect your identity – and your reputation as a translator.







  • August, 2013
  • Professional associations for translators

    Why should a translator want to join a professional association for linguists? What are the advantages of being a member? Is it really worth all the time and money?

    an international communityWell, having been a member of a German association for translators and interpreters for a number of years now, I'd say it can definitely help a professionally minded translator in several ways. It's an opportunity to

    • become part of an organised and officially recognised body that represents its members' interests at various levels, both nationally and internationally

    • network with other translators who have joined the organisation and interact with them via a range of channels (e.g. at national AGMs, regional meetings, regular informal get-togethers of local interest groups, training events and online forums for all members)

    • attend formal training events arranged by the association especially for its members, which are held by experts and count towards your continuous professional development ("CPD")

    • obtain professional advice about your own work situation such as legal advice or advice on accounting and tax issues

    • benefit from special group discounts on insurance policies (e.g. indemnity insurance) and software that many members are likely to want to use (e.g. CAT tools), which the association may have negotiated

    • make yourself known to many more potential customers by allowing the association to publish your contact details in its public list of members and to include the details in its searchable online database, which customers can access for free

    • benefit from additional marketing opportunities for members such as brochures for the public, which list members who have specialised in certain fields (e.g. engineering, law or economics) and which get sent to business associations, for example.

    Other services may be available to members in addition to these. My own association, the Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer (BDÜ), for example, has arranged for a dictionary publisher (Langenscheidt) to make some of its most popular bilingual dictionaries accessible to members online.

    An annual fee is charged for membership, which varies in size among associations, but ought to cover many of the services mentioned above. If you wish to take advantage of any supplementary offerings above and beyond the standard ones in your association, you will have to sign up for them and pay an extra charge to offset the extra costs the association incurs.

    One significant aspect of membership is that it entitles you to participate in the association's annual general meeting and vote on issues that affect the organisation and its members. You are also entitled to propose changes to current organisational policy or suggest new points that ought to be adopted in your opinion, which everyone present at the AGM will vote on if they are accepted as legitimate points on the agenda. So as a member, you have the opportunity to shape the association to a degree. (You can, of course, even stand for office if you feel you would like to play a direct role.)

    Why not contact a translators' association in your own country or a country where your source language is spoken and find out how it could help you further your career as a translator? You'll find some links to websites and some more background information below.



    image: S. Hofschlaeger  /

    Some useful links

    There are several associations in Germany specifically for translators and interpreters. Here are three of the better-known ones:

    BDÜ e.V.

    ADÜ Nord e.V.

    ATICOM e.V.

    Many other associations are also listed on the Web. See Kevin Lossner's blog post on Translation Tribulations for a relatively up-to-date list of their websites. Other lists are available at Lexicool and

    For a more critical view of translators' associations, see Kevin's post "Are professional organizations worth the bother?". (The quality of professional associations varies considerably, depending on how they are run and what funds they have at their disposal.)

  • The Tool Box Newsletter

    If you are the kind of translator who likes reading about the latest news from the translation industry, picking up tips about using your computer, learning about programs that can help you in your work and hearing an expert's opinions on new product developments, then you ought to have a look at Jost Zetzsche's "Tool Box" newsletter.

    It comes in two editions: a basic one that contains several short articles and a teaser from a longer one, which is free of charge, and a "premium" version, which features all the articles in their entirety and a few more to boot, plus access to the archives, and is available at an annual subscription fee of $25. To get a copy, all you need to do is sign up for it, pick the edition you want and say which e-mail address it should be sent to, then it will land in your inbox on a regular basis.

    The basic version of the current issue, no. 225, contains a piece on SDL Trados Studio 2014 and MultiTerm 2014, which are due out around the end of September this year. Jost discusses the revamped interface of Studio 2014, which like Microsoft Office 2007 and later versions includes a ribbon instead of drop-down menus. He also mentions Studio's new alignment tool, which has been integrated into the program for the first time and replaces the separate WinAlign application that was needed in earlier versions.

    Apart from taking a look at SDL Trados's latest innovations, Jost also addresses the topic of machine translation (MT), looking at what offerings are currently available to freelance translators rather than large translation companies and corporate users, which have tended to be the focus of MT service providers up until now (the full version of that interesting article is in the premium edition).

    What else is in the newsletter? Well, the basic version starts with a lengthy, descriptive piece on João Rodrigues, a Portuguese interpreter who lived in Japan in the 16th century, then it jumps to the fate of QuarkXPress, the DTP software that lost much of its market share to Adobe's InDesign, and goes on to mention CopyFlow, a tool that enables you to work on such DTP files. It ends with an announcement about an event to be held by an American translators' and interpreters' association in September where Peter Schmitt (University of Leipzig, Germany) will be talking about "new trends and risks at the translator's workbench".

    One of the advantages of getting the premium edition is that Jost also discusses features of personal computers that can help you get more out of your own PC. So as you can see, the newsletter's a mixed bag of subjects with something of interest for everyone.

    Hope you enjoy the read and find it helpful as well.



    image: courtesy of Jost Zetzsche, International Writers' Group

  • July, 2013
  • Reminder: webinar on Language Terminal

    Language Terminal is just a brief reminder that there's a free webinar on Kilgray's new Language Terminal today (see my earlier post on the user platform here). The webinar will be in English and take place between 5 and 6 p.m. CEST.

    Here are some of the points that are going to be covered in it (taken almost straight from an official description of the contents):

    • Profile listing: publish a list of your services online and allow customers to find it, or search for profiles of other memoQ users.

    • Project register: turn Language Terminal into your own project register. Turn your analyses into project quotes, send quotes to customers, deliver your work and track the status of your projects – directly from memoQ 2013.

    • Back up your translation projects: store your translation projects in the cloud (at work) and restore them from wherever you happen to be running memoQ (at home, for example).

    • Import Adobe® InDesign™ documents with a preview: produce XLIFF files that have a live preview in memoQ. Import native INDD files, not just IDMLs and INXs.

    • Light resource marketplace: share your memoQ light resources with other Language Terminal members and gain access to theirs. Save others the effort of putting together a complex filter configuration or segmentation rule and in return save yourself time by using resources that others have made available. [end of quote]

    A number of other points are also on the agenda as well.

    If you're interested in finding out more about this promising server resource for translators (and not just memoQ users), then you should register for the webinar by filling in the online form available here. By attending, you'll be able to ask questions and get answers straightaway. N.B. This event is primarily intended for freelance users rather than LSPs, although they will be keen to know more about the way you can use Language Terminal to look for translators who work with memoQ).

    SDL OpenExchangeThose of you who are already familiar with SDL's OpenExchange platform will see that Kilgray's platform is only similar in terms of its "light resource marketplace". Even then, it's actual users who mainly upload light resources to share with other memoQ users, while OpenExchange really is a marketplace where third-party enhancements for Studio 2011 are either sold or distributed free of charge.

    This promises to be an interesting event.



    images: my own screen shots

  • A basic e-learning course on memoQ

    e-learningThe good thing about e-learning is that it is generally done at your own pace rather than the speed set by a teacher, it's done at a time of day and a location that you can generally choose yourself, and in some cases, you can even tackle the subjects that are covered in the order that suits you best. So it's a very flexible form of instruction, which helps to make it effective.

    memoQIf you're new to memoQ or already have some experience with it, but feel it would be good to get a structured overview of Kilgray's CAT tool, then why not consider taking the introductory e-learning course offered by the firm behind the translation tool? This course consists of 10 lessons:

    • Lesson 1: Setting up a project


    • Lesson 2: Translation 1 (opening a document, translating, saving it)


    • Lesson 3: Translation 2 (adding a doc to a project, analysis, tags/nos./non-translatables)


    • Lesson 4: Terminology


    • Lesson 5: Quality assurance


    • Lesson 6: LiveDocs (document corpus, text alignment, add to TM)


    • Lesson 7: Understanding memoQ (projects, resource console, etc.)


    • Lesson 8: Tracking changes and exporting files


    • Lesson 9: Working with packages


    • Lesson 10: Working on online projects.


    Kilgray recommends participants to do two lessons a week, so it would take you five weeks to do the whole course. (You might want to do more than two a week and get through it faster, which is doable.) The lessons vary in length, but are all around half an hour long with a brief Kilgray's logosummary at the end of each one in the form of short questions with three possible answers. The style of them is like a webinar in which the tutor talks as you watch their presentation (some user interaction would make the lessons more dynamic in my opinion, even if it's just physically ticking the right answers to questions).

    Once you've worked through all the lessons, you can then do a final multiple-choice test with 30 questions to see what you've learnt. Kilgray will give you a certificate on completing the course and passing the test (to do that, you'll need to get at least half of the answers right).

    More e-learning courses to do with memoQ are currently being developed by Kilgray's training partner Loctimize GmbH, which is a German company specialising in (international) CAT-tool training. The memoQ course they are working on right now is intended for project managers working with translators in a memoQ Server environment.

    The 10-part introductory ("level 1") course outlined above is free for anyone who already has a valid memoQ licence (you'll be asked to key in your licence number when you register). Otherwise it will cost you 90 euros + VAT (which is a very reasonable nine euros per lesson).

    To sign up for access to the course, just click here: registration

    If you have any questions about it, please contact Kilgray by writing to their sales department (sales [at] kilgray [dot] com).

    Have fun! I'm quite an experienced user, but still found the course interesting and I picked up a number of new things, so it was certainly worth doing.



    images: e-learning /, Kilgray logo & memoQ: courtesy of Kilgray Translation Technologies

    Related links

    Kilgray's blog post announcing the first course in January 2013

    My review of Kevin Lossner's e-book on memoQ 6.0


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