Mar 7, 2009

Toxic for OmegaT!

Finally, a short announcement of a little project which it has been my pleasure to support. Marc Prior and his OmegaT team have developed a new tool which enables users of the free Open Source software to take on projects involving Trados TTX files. The solution is, as Marc describes it, a bit "geeky", which means that those who don't have a firm grip on some computer arcana may not get far with it. But it represents huge progress, and it opens up significant economic possibilities for translators who use this tool. Here's some descriptive information from the "read me" file:

"Toxic" stands for Trados-OmegaT-eXchange. The purpose of the Toxic utility is to enable users of OmegaT to receive and deliver files in the Trados Tag Editor TTX format. Tradox TTX files are produced in Trados from a number of initial source-text formats. Toxic should therefore extend the range of file formats that can be handled in OmegaT. In addition, it enables OmegaT to be used in customer workflows which require Tag Editor.

Toxic is a set of tcl/tk scripts. The tox script converts Trados TTX files to an intermediate format (the TOX format). This format in turn can be handled by OmegaT's existing HTML filter. After translation, the detox script converts the TOX file back to TTX. The TOX format is unique to Toxic utility and is not designed to be read by any other application (although it is intended to follow XML conventions as far as possible).

Intended users
Toxic is intended for end users of OmegaT. It does not require any programming knowledge, but does assume more than just basic computer knowledge. Users who are familiar with using the command line should have no trouble using it.

Toxic (use of) requires:

- The toxic scripts themselves (the toxic.tcl file)
- Tcl/tk

Tcl/tk must be installed. Any current version of tcl/tk is likely to be adequate.


  1. Thanks, it's always interesting to hear about open-source tools that allow better exchange of translation projects.

    Another (commercial) tool that works great with TTX files is MemoQ. Many of our customers use Trados, and the use of the TTX format in combination with MemoQ allows us to deliver perfectly compatible Trados files while working with the tool of our choice.

  2. The use of the free version of MemoQ as a review tool for TTX was mentioned here on this blog. Of course it works for translation of a single TTX too, and the full version of MemoQ can edit or translate any number of pre-segmented Trados files. The process is really no different than the procedutres I and others have published for DVX. In its current incarnation, MemoQ simply has the disadvantage (from my perspective) of no exportable comments. In general I like the tool, and I think it has a good future.

    The reason why I wanted to highlight this "toxic" solution is that this is AFAIK the first time that a free, unrestricted tool has been available which allows effective work with TTX files. A single TTX file can be dome with MemoQ Free, but you can't import TM resources or perform other operations that you might want to do with the full version.

    OmegaT is a good entry level tool for learning CAT concepts and getting oriented with the technology. I would teach an "Intro to CAT/TeNT" seminar with it without hesitation (and probably before I would do so with commercial tools in most cases). "Toxic" is a way of allowing OmegaT users to take on extra jobs they could not touch before. But if they plan on doing a lot of this work, they would be nuts not to invest in a proper commercial tool for the work - MemoQ, DVX and Trados would be my choices for that.

  3. Pshaw...We'd be nuts to shell out major cash for a commercial tool, when the FOSS tools we have at our disposal already do everything we need.


  4. @Tony: Well, they don't actually. FOSS tools do a lot, but they cannot cover the range required for professional translation work these days, though in some cases a lot is covered. With regard to OmegaT I understand that there are some interesting issues with the handling of repetitive segments that need to differ in the target. Formats handled are limited in any case, and combined workflows with commercial tools may be required.

    My take on it is that if you are really serious about making a living as a translator, you're foolish not to invest in whatever tools you need to get the projects you want. If your ambition is to translate nothing more complex than simple text and RTF files, then by all means go for it with OO, OmegaT & the lot. It's great software, really. But don't cry to me if your volume is down and you can't deal with some juicy project to pay your bills because you don't have the right software to do the work as required.


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