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Dec 26, 2011

OmegaT: Best practice for translating content from memoQ

OmegaT is popular in some circles because it is Java-based and thus cross-platform, and it is free. Although rather limited in many respects compared with full-featured commercial tools such as SDL Trados Studio or memoQ, this Open Source tool can handle quite a number of formats well, offers interoperability pathways with the leading commercial tools and there are a good number of excellent professional translators who are satisfied with its features. Thus outsourcers using memoQ should understand the best procedures to follow if working with translators using OmegaT in order to avoid difficulties.

In the past, I have recommended using the bilingual XLIFF exports from memoQ for compatibility with memoQ. In theory, it's a nice approach, but I am encountering difficulties with memoQ-generated XLIFF files (possibly a Kilgray problem or a problem specific to my installation, not one having to do with OmegaT, which handled XLIFF from other sources properly in my tests). So for now I would say that a workflow involving memoQ's bilingual RTF tables is the best approach. Do the following to prepare the content for the translator:
  1. Create a bilingual RTF table export from memoQ of the content to be translated. Use the "mqInternal" option for tags in order to change their color and facilitate proofreading of the final result.
  2. Copy the source content cells into an empty DOCX or ODT file. OmegaT cannot read RTF and requires one of these two formats to be used in this case. The translator will be able to read these directly and translate.
  3. Other resources such as TMs and glossaries:
  • OmegaT uses TMX for its translation memory. If you have a TM, provide it to the translator in this format.
  • The OmegaT glossary format is:
    source term        target term        additional information
    Provide terminology to the translator in this format if possible.
    OmegaT is also capable of reading TBX, the industry-standard for glossary files.
The table cell content from the prepared file will look something like this in OmegaT:


Note that the memoQ tags are surrounded by additional OmegaT tags. Since OmegaT does not actually protect tags in its working environment, it is important that the translator verify the tags and proofread carefully, checking that all tags are present and applied correctly.

Once the translation is ready in the target DOCX or ODT file, open it in Microsoft Word, copy the translated table cells and paste into the target column of the bilingual RTF file, add any comments necessary to the Comments column of the table (if present). After the bilingual RTF is re-imported to memoQ, run a QA check to verify the tags again. After that the work can be proofread for content in memoQ or a bilingual export of an appropriate kind and the target file generated and delivered afterward.

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