Jan 29, 2010

Disconcerted Trados users: stop griping and just buy DVX!

For months now I've watched with some amusement as hardcore Trados users have insisted that their productivity depends on the split vertical view during translation. Some have come to realize that for editing at least, the parallel grid view for the source and target languages that one finds in SDLX, Déjà Vu and memoQ is much more productive. But they still insist they need the accustomed split vertical view to translate.

OK. No point in arguing about it. With Déjà Vu X at least, they can have the best of both worlds: a side-by-side view of source and target text before and after the segment being translated and the desired split vertical view. The corresponding settings can be adjusted via the Options menu item under the Tools menu, which presents the following dialog (relevant settings on the Environment tab marked with a red box):

This changes the DVX working window to look something like this (relevant portion also marked with a red box, click to enlarge):

And of course as noted in a previous post (Atril's Déjà Vu as the starting point of collaboration), DVX has excellent interoperability options with Trados or other tools.

Jan 28, 2010

Still a twit

Twitter is now over three years old - an eternity in the Internet Age - and its place in the social media environment is still the subject of great dispute. There are as many opinions about The Great Twit as there are users and abusers of the platform. It's pretty much what you make of it, really.

The latter-day MLM freaks often tout Twitter as the ultimate marketing tool, citing hyperbolic cases, which even if true are of zero interest to me. I know how to make money, and I like how I do it when I have the time to do it, and Twitter just isn't part of my scheme, thank you. I use it for other things and get good value.

My partner is a harsh critic of Twitter. She has never used the tool, probably never will, but she reads about in on the BBC and elsewhere and forms an opinion. While she's at it, she copies a few hundred articles from the news, pastes them into e-mail and sends them to her brother, me (in the next room) and any number of friends, typing the recipients list out each time and wondering whom she forgot. It's interesting stuff, actually - she knows what I like to read and I appreciate the filter - but it wastes a lot of time. Even pasting the URL and writing a long and constantly varying recipient list is a productivity killer. Twitter would be so much better. In my stream of the twenty or so accounts I follow, I am supplied with a number of interesting links and short comments that give me a hint as to whether I want more information. I ignore most of it, but once in a while, something cool about publishing or children's books catches my eye or a colleague shares a hot tip or exciting news. Even the very short personal exchanges (hey Chris - what would you use for this term?) are helpful and faster than e-mail.

The key to managing the stream for me is to do just that: manage it. I love reading The Onion and I've found Guy Kawasaki an interesting fellow since the early days of the Mac, but I just can't deal with their Twitter streams. TMI. Too much information. Ditto some other comments I've seen lately, but I haven't delisted those feeds yet, because there's still a lot of useful stuff. I think some people need to remind themselves of the public nature of their feed. "No work for a week, maybe I should slash my rates" is not a smart thing to announce to the world. Nor are my comments about impending death from overwork, but the I'm used to the role of jester, and if someone thinks me a fool, I'll probably have to agree. The Tudor court & others need someone to play that role.

So how am I actually doing in living up to my own notions of how to tweet without being a twit? Here's the page of my most recent missives:
@bonnjill - I don't see how people can read about Americans banning dictionaries and NOT believe that they are descended from apes    4:42 PM Jan 26th   from Echofon  in reply to bonnjill
@germanwords Schlimmstenfalls Du benötigst 50 Seiten "Einarbeitung". Danach fließt eine sehr schöne Geschichte.... 4:40 PM Jan 26th from Echofon in reply to germanwords
@germanwords Doch. Follet schreibt für die Masse. Das Buch ist zwar groß, aber nicht komplizierter als z.B. Stein & Flöte. 4:38 PM Jan 26th from Echofon in reply to germanwords

@germanwords Säule der Erde? Auf EN hoffentlich. Gutes Buch im Original. 2:47 PM Jan 26th from Echofon in reply to germanwords

#memoQ version 4: more to it than just good looks :-) 2:17 AM Jan 26th from Echofon

Another high-pressure collaborative project successfully completed with the help of the #memoQ Server for concurrent translation & editing! 1:20 PM Jan 25th from Echofon

I will be sooo glad whe the N key on my laptop gets fixed! 12:42 PM Jan 25th from Echofon

118 comments & over 6500 in the German ProZ forum discussion (i DE & EN!) of unprofessional ads: http://tinyurl.com/ycyukp8 12:34 PM Jan 25th from Echofon

A failed remote server connection again this morning is a good reminder of the risks of online translation technology 9:07 AM Jan 25th from Echofon

RT: @Jeromobot: Heard a great quote this morning: "We won't change when we see the light; we change when we feel the heat." 2:37 AM Jan 25th from Echofon

Swiss legal German/English: http://www.swisslegalenglish.com/dictionary 11:56 PM Jan 24th from Echofon

Changed my ID on ProZ to "KSL Berlin". I cannot have my name associated with ads for rip-off diets and mail order brides. 6:05 PM Jan 24th from Echofon

 RT: @localization: RT @morsmal: Bilingualism:10 Myths. http://bit.ly/7BHdnL #mle #efl #esl #ece #edchat 1:55 PM Jan 24th from Echofon

Agriculture & dairy terminology dictionaries http://bit.ly/5NICF1 12:15 PM Jan 24th from Facebook

Excellent justification of machine translation on the eMpTy Pages: http://tinyurl.com/yjs5z5z 10:47 AM Jan 24th from Echofon

Any experience with #CafeTran out there? 2:25 AM Jan 24th from Echofon
Saved by the #memoQ Server: http://simmer-lossner.blogspot.com/2010/01/saved-by-server.html 1:27 PM Jan 23rd from Echofon

Phony projects continue to roll in... http://bit.ly/4z4MMz 12:15 AM Jan 23rd from Echofon

Ave, Maria! http://bit.ly/66GcyF 12:08 AM Jan 23rd from Facebook

The registration form for the professional translators' refuge Stridonium is working again: http://stridonium.com/ 10:35 PM Jan 22nd from Echofon 
Twenty tweets. As can be seen from all the notes about "Ecofon" as the source, I use a browser plug-in which allows me to monitor what's up while I do other things like look up terms or read background information on a topic I'm translation (or the news or whatever). There are two automatic notes from my Facebook page in there too. I'm not thrilled about having no control over what these look like, so I may cut off that publishing link and do it manually. Of the 20 posts, 14 (70%) are somehow directly relevant to my professional activities though tht isn't always obvious from the tweeted text. The three tweets about the Ken Follet book belong on the direct channel perhaps, but I left them public, because I happen to love the book in question (Pillars of the Earth) and thought maybe someone else might get curious ad read it. In the original English preferably. They keyboard comment is irrelevant and off the wall, but in the past few weeks a number of people have wondered what happened to my spelling/typing as my keyboard has failed bit by bit and the replacement keyboard has decided to play the sticky key game too. I'm better of throwing a snowball at the dog to blow off steam, I know. The book banning comment with indirect hints at William Jennings Bryan & Co.? Controversial, surely and destined to offend, but those who need political correctness at all times will quickly realize that I'm probably the wrong guy - the sooner, the better. We translators live by words, and I take strong personal offense at the banning of dictionaries - critical tools of our trade - from schools. So maybe that's 15 relevant posts (75%). Room for improvement, though it could be worse. I could tweet that I'm off to make a grilled cheese sandwich now!

Jan 23, 2010

Saved by the server!

For the past several weeks I have been testing the version 3.6 memoQ Server as a project manager. My previous experience with the platform as a translator in several projects with agencies and colleagues was very positive, and I wanted more "inside knowledge" of how these projects actually get set up and how they work. As usual, the team at Kilgray helpfully supplied the test licenses for a proper evaluation (as they would do for anyone else interested in the technology). Using the server environment as a project manager was far easier than I expected, and the few questions I had were quickly resolved by the support team. I quickly figured out the advantages and disadvantages of the two major options of local projects using server resources (TM, termbase) and projects with documents stored on the server. We have worked in both modes according to the specific needs of the project. As we worked in parallel in local mode on an urgent project where a lot of segmentation adjustment was needed (big document, bad format, not everything cleaned up in advance due to hurry), my partner was astonished by the power of the TM-driven segmentation as she pretranslated the sections I had done in order to proofread them. Segments were combined and split to give matches that no other tool would have found. (This is a feature of all versions of memoQ.)

Yesterday disaster struck. Her external hard drive with all her current projects failed catastrophically, and she had no backup. In a sense I was glad it happened, because it reinforced a point I have been making about infrastructure and necessary improvements for some time. But that's cold comfort when there are projects to be delivered on a short deadline. The real comfort came with the fact that all she had to do was check out the project from the remote server again, and all her work was restored to a different hard drive in minutes. Saved by the server.

Because we are now so close to the memoQ 4.0 release I will not be writing my full review of the memoQ server environment until the new version is out and I become thoroughly familiar with it. I have been beta testing for a little while, but I have not had time to look at new server functions. However, my experiences so far reveal that this environment is astonishingly simple to use and very powerful. Little things can make a big difference. Right now one esteemed colleague has been screwed by ProZ, where he had set up private forums to communicate with his project teams about highly confidential work. The integrated project-specific (or also general use) communication tab in memoQ server projects, though not very sophisticated, would allow him to laugh off such inconveniences as project members chat and keep a permanent record of important issues in their work.

Although we are a small office with just two translators, I think I can clearly see this technology as a permanent part of our infrastructure in some form in the future! And I see great potential benefits for all the small and medium-sized agencies it is my privilege to work with. (The server has great potential for peer collaboration too, but I'm waiting for a colleague to write about that....)

Jan 22, 2010

Much Ado About AdSense

In Ye Merrye Olde World of Translation Workhouses, there has been renewed debate lately regarding immodest and professionally unacceptable Google Advertisement in the kingdom. This was noted, along with a few examples, in my Facebook commentary "Get your mail order brides through ProZ!". After I wrote my comments, the original debate thread (in German and English) continued and has not yet been locked, though my post (see below) took more than 24 hours for vetting (yes, I'm on probation again - God only knows why), and even Ralf Lemster's posts must now be individually approved, because the management is concerned about his "tone" in the matter. I find it rich that a person who was one of the longest-serving moderators on ProZ, who helped establish the brand in Europe and handled its payments here for years, who is respected by everyone who knows him for his competence and absolute straight arrow ethics as well as his helpfulness to those who are serious about the business of translation be treated like a naughty teenager because he thinks that fraudulent diet ads and offers of mail order brides do not project an image that will help translators in their business. His calls for action and accountability - and those of others - have been brushed off with platitutes about "two ecosystems" and other irrelevancies. There is a problem, however, when sewage from one ecosystem - the advertising system that constitutes the bulk of revenue at ProZ - pollutes the ecosystem in which translators try to do business. I commented:

Durchaus bedenklich. Altogether worrisome.

Imageschaden sind bei solcher Werbung vorprogrammiert. Für uns, auch für ProZ allgemein.

Es ist klar, dass Werbung wohl einen notwendige Beitrag zum Betrieb leistet und auch leisten muß, und ich finde den angemessenen Einsatz von Werbung in Ordnung, sogar positiv. Diese muß auch nicht rein sprachdienstleistungsbezoge sein - die Reisebranche ist lukrativ und auch passend zu einem internationalen Image. GermanWings- oder EasyJet-Werbung würde sogar ich von Zeit zu Zeit anklicken. Aber der aktuelle Ansatz ist einfach nicht akzeptabel, und ich finde, es gibt akuten Handlungsbedarf.


With such advertisement, damage to image and reputation is inevitable, for us and for ProZ in general.

It is clear that ads probably make a necessary contribution to operations and that this must also be. I find the appropriate use of advertisement OK, positive even. It also need not be strictly related to language services; the travel sector is lucrative and fits an international image. Even I would click on GermanWings or EasyJet advertisement occasionally. However, the current approach is simply not acceptable. I find there is an urgent need to take action.

Time and again ProZ staff have claimed that it isn't possible to filter properly for languages other than English. However, information from other colleagues contradicts this. I won't speculate about this discrepancy, and in this case I'm not sure if all parties are really talking about the same thing. I'm not comfortable with this lack of reliable information, so I'm contemplating doing what any trained scientist would do: design and run an appropriate experiment. I have an AdSense account which I had to set up for purpose unrelated to any blog (and which I have never used, so I know next to nothing about it). I am considering immersing myself in the cesspit of Google ads and experimenting with them on this blog so that I can understand myself how these filters work, what the options are and who is giving the real story in the whole argument on ProZ.

If I do this, I will tweak the filters in various ways, then sit back and watch the results. I'm sure that not all of them will be good, so I apologize in advance for anything offensive. And then I'll take those ads off, because I don't want this space polluted with them for the long term. I have nothing against stuff like the AIT partner program, because I like their products for the most part and feel that they play a useful role in a freelance translator's business, and if SDL wants to sponsor a square centimeter of space at the bottom for fifty million euros a year, I might not say no, but I can't imagine allowing Google to determine what is relevant and helpful for someone who takes the time to read what I have to say. And *if* I do this, I will report the results, of course.


Jan 14, 2010

"Advanced" MemoQ webinar

Despite a horrible workload today and constant telephone harassment from Switzerland (literally dozens of calls from Guess Who), I managed to find a little time (i.e. took a necessary break) to join one of the many free seminars Kilgray offers. Today's topic was "Advanced MemoQ"; the material presented wasn't necessarily for power users, but there was a presumption that participants were familiar with basic functions.

Gábor Ugray, Kilgray's head of development was the presenter. I like his style: simple, clear and honest. When I made a comment praising MemoQ's handling of TTX files, he volunteered information about cases where everything might not work perfectly with unsegmented content. It takes integrity and confidence to share information like that, though I actually think he misunderstood the question and there is no issue for what I was talking about (numbers and dates). Anyway, any time I have the pleasure to hear or read information from him I learn a lot, and today was no exception.

He started off the hour by showing us important tricks for configuring an RTF import, including how to sort out footnotes properly. Other topics covered included the frequent questions about how to migrate term data from Excel (CSV works but can be a disaster with some languages, so he recommends saving as Unicode text from Excel to avoid code page issues - this also avoids the "guess the code page" game), custom settings for the termbase at the term level (very, very powerful for complex matching of multi-word terms, etc. - use to learn the pipe character!), cool shortcuts for using the text filters in the translation window, fixing segmentation issues by defining brand names with goofy capitalization like "iPhone" and "memoQ" as capital letters, other segmentation tweaks, creating special views for frequently occurring segments and a lot more. This is the first "advanced" webinar I have attended for MQ, but I have the impression that the content is different every time. At the end there was about 20 minutes of Q&A in which participants had a chance to ask their ow questions, which Gábor handled very competently.

Although I use the memoQ software a lot, I learned a lot today. I really appreciate a well-organized presetation with good information and no hard sell, and I especially appreciate Gábor taking the time to show special techniques of the "old" 3.6 version as he prepares for the release of version 4.0 in a few weeks. Thank you.

There are five more free memoQ webinars currently scheduled for this month; information on these can be found on Kilgray's calendar page.

Jan 10, 2010

The experience of a new MemoQ user

I have been testing MemoQ for about two years and working actively with it since the breakthrough version 3.5 release. Shortly after I purchased my license, Kilgray offered a great group buy opportunity through ProZ (for far less than I had paid), so we bought a second license for my partner, who had developed a certain fascination with MemoQ or at least the effect that working with it had on me. For weeks she heard such strange squeals of delight from my adjacent office that she began to suspect that my mistress was hiding under the desk. Much to her disappointment, I was simply enjoying the clean design and innovative features of the software.

Although I installed the software on her laptop, it wasn't until many months (and quite a few updates) later that she got around to using it. There's simply too much going on in this office on many days with a heavy work schedule and three hunting dogs who demand their share of attention. Then about two weeks ago, we had a high volume rush project that pushed our capacity to a scary limit and demanded great efficiency in collaboration. Since we don't currently have a good TM server running, I decided to set up the master project on my machine and export bilingual exchange files for parts of the files we worked on. In addition to that, regular exports of TMs and terminologies were exchanged. We also reviewed each other's work by exchanging views in "MemoQ bilingual" format (as this also permitted the exchange of written comments). In the course of several very hard days of work I answered a number of beginner's questions and was occasionally greeting with a "Wow!" or a "This is soooooo much better than...", so I thought that perhaps a little "in-house interview" on Monique's new software experience might be in order.

Translation Tribulations: Ms. Simmer, could you give us some background on your previous experience with translation environment tools?

Monique Simmer: You mean CAT tools? I started using Trados in the 1990s and continue to process files with it [editor's note: Trados Classic] today. I've been using Déjà Vu since 2000. I tried SDLX at some point but didn't like it. And now MemoQ.

TT: What did you like about Trados [Classic]?

MS: Nothing.

TT: What's not to like?

MS: I'm not a sheep and don't fall for sleazy marketing tactics. It doesn't handle numbers and dates. It's full of bugs. Often the target files won't save from TagEditor or there are cleaning problems. Do you really want the whole list? Its creators ought to be tarred and feathered!

TT: How would you compare Déjà Vu with MemoQ?

MS: I don't have enough experience with MemoQ to make a comprehensive comparison. The filters seem to be better. I find that the labeling of menus on the MemoQ screens is not very intuitive sometimes. I got confused between importing and exporting the bilingual exchange files and "ordinary" files. 
On the positive side, it's an easy program to use overall. It's übersichtlich as we say in German. I like the fact that the keyboard shortcuts could be customized so the ergonomics are basically the same as when I use Déjà Vu. And the QA window was very, very useful for checking my work at the end. It caught a few places where I had mistyped numbers.
I also like the fact that I can use more than the two databases, which is the limit for my Déjà Vu Pro license. We've been talking about spending over 1000 euros to upgrade my DV license so I can do this, and now I can do it - and generate uncleaned Trados Word files for some of our customers - without spending all that money on DVX Workgroup.
Oh, yes... one thing that drives me up the wall about the MemoQ editor is that I can't reposition words by dragging and dropping, and the leftmost character is often dropped in selections.

TT: I'm told that version 4 of MemoQ, scheduled to be released next month, will feature a new editor without those problems.

MS: Let's hope so! So far I understand why you like the program. And the kind of support that Kilgray provides is really important.

Jan 8, 2010

Upcoming MemoQ webinars

The Kilgray webinar calendar is worth a look. Right now there are seven free one hour presentations listed covering topics such as MemoQ Basics, Advanced MemoQ and features of the MemoQ 4.0 version, which is scheduled for release before Valentine's Day (and which beats flowers, a box of chocolates and a kiss any time). The presentations are mostly in English, with one basics webinar currently scheduled in Hungarian and German.

Although currently not my first choice for every task, overall the combination of innovative momentum, ergonomic superiority (a fancy way of saying "ease of use", really), legendary support, affordability (leaving plenty of cash on hand to maintain stocks of Unicum for work), great central server technology and other darned useful features make this software the leader that SDL Trados now follows in the LSP and freelance market segments and my recommendation to most users and LSPs in search of a great, versatile and interoperable translation environment tool. Mind you, SDL is probably writing the script now for a remake of The Empire Strikes Back after the agile team at Kilgray scored the critical bullseye up the poop chute of the Death Star with the release of MemoQ version 3.5 last spring. But MemoQ 4.0 promises to deliver even more, so the Trados developers (those guys who gave the world wonders like Trados Workbench) may have to start mainlining energy drinks to keep up.

Jan 5, 2010

Keep your team or client up to date!

A few minutes ago I received one of the automatic notices from ProZ that I mostly ignore for lack of time. This one turned out not to be a project RFP but rather an update thanking the masses who had responded and expressed interest in the project. What the details of the original job notice are I don't know, nor do they interest me. I thought the courtesy expressed by Mr. Duck of ICON Linguistics, LLC was rather nice and out of the ordinary, but what really caught my attention was his novel approach to keeping the interested parties informed.

The company set up a temporary mail address with an autoresponder. When someone sends an e-mail to this address, an automated mail gets sent back with current details of the product status. What a nice idea!

I have used an autoresponder on one of my business group mail addresses (translation à simmer-lossner.com) for the clients who want confirmation that a message has arrived at our mail server. On rare occasions, that server at our hosting company has swallowed the mail, but in general it's a reliable indication that the communication has succeeded. Many of us also use autoresponders to indicate planned holidays or absence from the workplace. But these messages are all attached to regular mail accounts used for correspondence. Although the idea of an e-mail address used strictly for information is surely not original (similar arrangements have been around for faxes for ages), this is the first time I've encountered it

Some possible applications relevant to my way of working might be
  • Project update for a customer or team (seldom)
  • Quick advice for particular procedures (like the old fax info centers). For example, my up-to-date advice on converting PDFs for translation work might be sent as an autoresponse via PDF@information-now.com or whatever.
  • Availability. It's a nuisance to keep things like my ProZ calendar updated, and we get frequent calls just to find out if we might be available at some particular time. Although I'm generally pleased to talk to the callers, often we're both quite busy, and if a quick e-mail to capacity@supertranslator.com tells them what they want to know and saves everyone time, all the better. In our office we work as a team, and customers often want to know Monique's availability for certain things and mine for others, so for us it would make sense to have information for both of us on that autoresponder.
I'm sure there are other good uses of this idea. Somewhere in my endless folders of information I even have an eBook from some marketing guru that focused entirely on the value of autoresponders for business. I read it a few years ago with some interest, but I don't recall seeing anything like what the outsourcer did here, and I finished the eBook thinking that I was pretty much covered for what I could really use. Now I have a few new ideas, so thank you once again, Mr. Duck :-)

Jan 1, 2010

Atril's Déjà Vu as the starting point of collaboration

In the past, I have written extensively about how Déjà Vu X users can take on projects derived from what I have dubbed "Trados Classic" (versions 8.3 & earlier), and a lot more information on interoperability topics with DVX can be gleaned from online forums and mailing lists. Some useful information can be found on this blog via the keyword cloud which might not be published anywhere else (like the post about re-doing TTX segmentation in a DVX project), but most of what I know I have learned from reading the contributions of others and testing their suggestions in everyday practice. Literally. There are many weeks where every single day I perform procedures that allow me to work on client projects that demand Trados. Here is a quick summary of some of the techiques which are most relevant to the average DVX user who wants to take on classic Trados projects:
  • Editing and proofreading Trados jobs with DVX (written for my partner, who goes nuts if she has to proof a bilingual Word file or a TTX in the actual Trados environment)
  • Translating Trados Workbench RTF & MS Word jobs with DVX - the old Trados format from the days before it was possible to do MS Word files in TagEditor and avoid the disasters that occur with cross-references, etc. This guide is probably also relevant for Wordfast Classic, Anaphraseus and similar tools, though I've never been inclined to test this.
  • Translating Trados Tageditor TTX files with DVX. The TTX format is - or was - the SDL Trados way of dealing with everything that couldn't be opened up in MS Word. That means XML, HTML (which can be opened in Word, but the tags get screwed up!), Excel, PowerPoint, InDesign tagged exports, Quark XPress tagged exports, FrameMaker MIF files and a lot more. Sometimes the Trados filters are better than Atril's filters, so I occasionally follow this route for purely technical reasons.
As noted in the recent announcement of  the DVX update Build 316, there is also a new filter for XLIFF files, which also works with SDLXLIFF for those receiving projects which originate in SDL Trados Studio 2009. MemoQ can also export to XLIFF, so DVX users with Build 316 can receive and work on these files. (The filter for exporting DVX projects to that format is not yet available.)

But this post isn't about how to work successfully on somebody else's project files :-) This post is about how a Déjà Vu user can outsource translation content or present translation content to others for editing and review using various tools.

In my experience so far, there are very few agencies that use DVX for project management. That's a shame, really, because there is a lot to recommend the tool as an integrated interface for managing multi-lingual projects. For years I recommended it to small agencies and direct clients, but most were too intimidated by the SDL Trados marketing machine or caught up in other nets like STAR's to act in their own interest. Now, with Kilgray offering better support and first-rate server capabilities for modern, online project management, I no longer make this recommendation. With some regret. Maybe this will change again in the future.

Really, DVX is still a good tool for a small agency or an individual translator who needs to outsource on a modest scale or with limited scope. And it is - at the present time - still the best tool available for effective collaboration with individuals who do not use TEnT tools. You'll see why below.

I want to present three (somewhat overlapping) scenarios for understanding outsourcing or collaboration from DVX:
  • Receiving translators/editors using no translation environment tools
  • Receiving translators/editors using Atril's tools (various DVX versions)
  • Receiving translators/editors using other tools (Trados, MemoQ, OmegaT, anything else you can think of)
All of my explanations here presume that the outsourcer/content exporter is using at least the Déjà Vu X Professional version (which, like all Atril products, is currently available at a 25% discount until January 15th - if you have that castrated "Standard" version, this is the time to upgrade and save some money, ditto if you've been thinking about a Workgroup version upgrade). Some procedures are possible or convenient only with the Déjà Vu X Workgroup version. Where this is relevant, the designations [Pro] and [WG] will be used respectively.

No translation environment tools needed

I suspect that most end customers think a TEnT is something for camping. A lot of older or technophobic translators think this way too, even if they know that this sort of technology exists. I only need to think of the ever-cantankerous Bernie, who proudly describes himself as a dinosaur while battling the infidels in the ATA and at SDL, to remember that many of our colleagues who should know better don't. Or don't want to. All quite understandable and forgivable, really, when you consider all the nonsense and misinformation regarding TEnT/CAT and how it is often used as an excuse to abuse professionals.

"External views" in DVX provide a means of working effectively with translators or editors who use no translation environment tools whatsoever. An option available in both the Pro & WG versions of DVX is to export the material as an RTF table. The dialog for doing this has quite a few options. The most important one to select is to export the ID numbers. This will ensure that the finished translation can be re-imported into the project. If you don't remember this, you will have a problem! (Which can be solved by re-exporting the view and copying/pasting the target column, but save yourself the bother by doing this right the first time.)

The settings I usually use (visible under File > Export > External View... - I have the DVX WG version) are shown here ("Natural" is selected under Sorting and "Include row ID" under Miscellaneous, which are visible if you scroll down in the dialog):

If there is more than one file in the project, and I want to export just a single table for translation or review, I select "All files" under Files and usually also select the "Include filename" under Miscellaneous to make it easier for the other person to look up the context. Here's an example of the output the way I usually like to set it up (click to enlarge):

There is space for the translation in the Target column, a Comments column for relevant notes, and a column on the right indicating the source file name. I did tweak the appearance of the output in the Page Setup dialog of Word to switch to landscape view, and I resized the columns to suit my taste, but otherwise what you see here is out-of-the-box output for a multiple source file project distilled into a single RTF file.

If your translators/reviewers are not comfortable with segmentation at the sentence level (which you might, BTW, want to check and adjust as necessary before exporting!), consider using the "Prevent segmentation" option when you import your file into the DVX project. This will cause segmentation to occur at the paragraph level (for a typical word processing file) rather than the sentence level. This can lead to a loss of reusability at the sentence level, but on the whole I suspect it encourages better writing. It is, of course, out of the question for the insanely long paragraphs I see in patents, and it does not address the legitimate objections of a good translator who likes to restructure texts completely beyond the paragraph level, but life consists of compromises, and someone will have to consider some here. Work it out.

I use this output format very frequently as a "proofreading file" for my customers to enable them to read source and target texts in parallel, compare, comment and correct them. Any changes made are automatically reimported to my DVX project (I can opt out of accepting individual ones or edit the RTF file before re-importing), and then I can update my TM in seconds using the Project > Send Project to Translation Memory... command. This saves me a huge amount of work.

Codes ("tags" for users of other tools) are vulnerable in this format, but the QA features of DV can catch any problems and enable you to correct them. (Filter for "Wrong Codes Rows" for a start when you get the translation back.) Basically, you should tell translators/reviewers to place those curly-bracketed numbers where the corresponding formatting belongs (if they are able to cope with such abstractions).

This output format is also valuable for sending comments to clients (filter selection in the dialog above), sections of a project to colleagues (I usually mark these "pending" and choose the option in the dialog) or trading bits of a file with my partner (who does not have DVX WG but uses Pro instead) when we collaborate on an urgent project. You can delete rows of the RTF table file with impunity. Copying and pasting sections of the table is an easy, quick way to divide it up among multiple persons or select only parts to send. You can also delete columns as long as the ID, Source and Target columns are left intact.

This "external view" (RTF table) is for me one of the most valuable features of DVX in my personal workflows, and this is the reason why I regularly harass the developers at Kilgray to include something like this with MemoQ (promised, but delayed until sometime in 2010). The inability to export my comments and other content from other working environments in a format that can be read and handled by anybody is a major argument in favor of DVX!

It must be noted here that RTF table exports in DVX are currently restricted to finished or commented rows in DVX Pro. This is often inconvenient, and it's a major reason why I upgraded to DVX WG. The old DV3 program did not have this restriction, and in view of moves by the competition in recent years, I hope the Atril team re-thinks this one.

Recipients using Atril's tools (some version of DVX)

To create satellite projects for work by others, you must invest in the DVX Workgroup version, which costs about 2000 euros. It's a good product, and since I upgraded my Pro version over a year ago, I have gotten a lot of value for it, though not for this procedure (because I almost never outsource). Even persons without a DVX license (using the unlicensed or "Editor" version) can work with projects prepared this way. There are adequate instructions for this in Atril's documentation, as well as short manuals available for persons working with the ulicensed version of DVX available on the documentation pages of Atril's web site.

Recipients using 3rd party tools (Trados, MemoQ, etc.)

There are two basic options here: the RTF tables described above and, for DVX WG users, the "Trados RTF" external view (look at the dialog screenshot above to see this option in the top section).

With the RTF tables, the source column is typically copied over to the target column, parts to be ignored are blocked in some way (untranslatable styles, hidden text, etc. depending on the tool used - or just create a second file with only the text to translate and paste the column back in afterward). Not much to explain here that wasn't covered in the section above for working without TEnT tools. If there is a tool on any platform with any modern computer operating system which cannot handle translatable content in this format, I am unaware of it. DVX has a clear advantage over every competitor on the market here AFAIK.

Trados RTF

The Workgroup version of DVX offers output in Trados RTF format. I typically use this to provide more "digestible" TM content to some of my customers (when I haven't used the presegmentation workflow using a real Trados copy). This is far better than exporting "Trados" format from a DVX TM, which produces seriously flawed results where codes are involved. However, for outsourcers, this is a good way to create a file that any translator using the Trados macros in Word, Wordfast Classic, Anaphraseus, etc. can translate reliably, and afterward you can re-import the results to DVX. It is also worth noting that any file format which DVX can import can be output as Trados RTF. This would, for example, make it easy for a Wordfast Classic user to translate a file which would otherwise be impossible. This Trados RTF format could (if the target cells are all populated) be exported to MemoQ as well (MemoQ will work with presegmented Trados content), but generally I think it's better to go the RTF table route when collaborating with a MQ user.

It is also worth noting that because DVX reads numbers and dates in a file, these will be included in the segments of the Trados RTF external view, enabling the translator to make any necessary changes conveniently (won't be skipped automatically).


TM content is usually best shared as TMX 1.4 format. Due to an irregularity in the way Trados used to implement TMX, these exports cannot be read by Trados Workbench without modification of the first line or two, so it's more convenient to use the Trados  TXT format (called "Trados WB Database" in the DVX export wizard for TMs) in cases where you are dealing with Trados users. Be aware that segments with codes will be messy, but for concordance purposes and fuzzy matches, you'll generally be OK.

If the translator does not use TM-capable tools, DVX allows you to export TM content in other readable formats such as plain tab-delimited text or MS Excel worksheets. Thus you can provide a sort of "concordance" even to more technologically limited users.

Terminology can also be exported to delimited text files or Excel; the latter option provides a convenient pathway to SDL Trados MultiTerm via MultiTerm Convert.


The preceding exposition does not cover every option for collaboration for DVX users, but it should provide a general overview of what is possible and, I hope, facilitate working together with less risk and stress. The DVX user community is blessed with an extraordinary number of very knowledgeable, helpful users whose experience and expertise far exceed mine. If you are a DVX users who wants to get the most out of your tool, I encourage you to go to the best source of information o the product: the free Yahoogroups dejavu-l group. The answers to almost any question can be found in the archives there, and new challenges are met with insight and creativity by a truly helpful bunch of people there.