Open Language Tools
Sun’s Open Language Tools is a fantastic Translation Memory-based application that can run on any computer system.
Translation professionals spend a lot of their time sitting in front of a computer. It’s not the healthiest lifestyle, of course, but one thing you learn very quickly from it is that the right software can make your day and the wrong software can break it.
For a very, very long time in the translation world there was no ‘right’ software at all. The early applications designed for Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) were, in a word, horrible. But we’ve come a long way since those dark days, and not only are translation pros everywhere now happily using CAT in their daily lives instead of opining darkly about how machines were going to take all of our jobs away, but we’re working in a sort-of paradise for software tools in translation work. Case in point: The Open Language Tools from Sun Microsystems.
Translation Memory and More
Released in 2006, Open Language Tools is fundamentally a small Translation Memory (TM) database that takes coded files and presents the user with a split screen: On one side the original, on the other the target language. Colour-coding marks off segments of language that have been automatically translated and indicates whether the translation is a 100% match or a bit fuzzier (fuzzy matching is an incredible step forward in TM technology, if you ask me).
The Open Language Tools suite has several advantages. It is platform agnostic, because it’s written in Sun’s Java language, which is designed to run on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems (and others). Second, it’s based on an XML format standard called XLIFF. Open standards are great, and no one appreciates them more than translation pros, believe me. Finally, Sun made the tool Open Source, which means anyone with programming knowledge can download the source code, make changes, and upload the results – or create whole new tools from the code, as long as they release their code back into the community. This means it’s incredibly easy to augment the software in any number of ways. Sun’s thinking when it released the tool was that they aren’t in the translation software business, they built the tool to share – and, of course, to create one more reason for people to use Java.
Of course, no tool is perfect, and Open Language Tools does have some downside. For one, the XLIFF file format is complex and not easy to use. It takes a lot of work to get up to speed on it, which means your first few weeks or months with the software won’t be very productive. Second, Java itself has a lot of problems, including recent security concerns that have left people’s private data exposed to the Internet – in fact, some larger software projects like the Mozilla Foundation (makers of Firefox) have totally deprecated Java and turned it off by default. Still, Open Language Tools remains a must-install for any translator.
Image courtesy alietsmba.wordpress.com
You might also like:
We are proud to announce that our agency has been awarded with not one, but two of the prestigious FinancesOnline awards. One Hour Translation scored
International Translation Day is held in celebration of the feast of St Jerome, the Bible translator widely considered the patron saint of translators. The International Federation of Translators is the promoter of International Translation Day, and has been since it was first held in 1953.
The translation industry is a relatively small one but it’s also a highly competitive one. Basically, do your research on a translation agency prior to making initial contact and it will certainly pay off; perhaps not immediately because there may not be any work available at the time, so just be patient. Your application must stand out above the rest, and by following these simple steps you should have no problem whatsoever in achieving your translation goals.