Feb 29, 2012

memoQuickie: keyboard shortcuts for migrants

Sometimes I am asked what a particular keyboard shortcut is in memoQ. I usually answer, "I have no idea!" Why? Because as a former Déjà Vu user, I adapted my memoQ shortcuts to match DVX. Those who frequently switch applications to SDL Trados Studio or another tool can do the same for better productivity and ergonomics.

Select Tools > Resource Console... > Keyboard shortcuts. Select the default resource, then click Edit in the menu at the bottom of the dialog. This will allow you to create a "cloned" copy of the defaults, which may be edited to use the shortcuts you desire. Custom resources can be saved and exported for use on other computers.

Select the shortcut to change and type the alternative key combination
The alternative path to access keyboard shortcut resources is Tools > Options... > Keyboard shortcuts. Here you can select the active set of shortcuts.

Feb 28, 2012

memoQuickie: prefix matching for terms

Prefix matching is a powerful memoQ termbase feature which adds lookup flexibility for many languages. Possible settings are
  • Yes - matches any prefix occurrence
  • No - exact match only
  • 50% minimum
  • Custom - for use with wildcards (pipe character and asterisk)
Defaults can be defined when creating the termbase. Below is an example of four term entries followed and segments with various matches (displayed to the right of the segments). Note how the match patterns fit the definitions above.


Note that in Segment 7, only one match for Mann is found, the one with prefix matching set to "Yes", because Mann has fewer than 50% of the characters of Mannequin. In Segment 3, only the entry with the asterisk wildcard at the end matches. Why are there not more matches (like Mann in Segments 1, 2, 3 and 6)? memoQ looks for the longest possible match in the termbase.

Übersetzertreffen im März (Berlin-Kreuzberg)

Liebe Leute,

hier die Einladung zum nächsten Übersetzertreffen am:

                Donnerstag, 1. März 2012, ab 20.00 Uhr

Wie schon im Januar gehen wir wieder in das:

                Restaurant Z
                Friesenstraße 12
                10965 Berlin-Kreuzberg
                U-Bahn: Platz der Luftbrücke oder Gneisenaustraße
                (Zu Fuß jeweils knapp 10 min)

Griechisches Essen der modernen Art, eine gemütliche Atmosphäre und nette Kollegen erwarten euch - aber wem sage ich das.

Bis Donnerstag!
Andreas Linke

Feb 22, 2012

The Great Hungarian Dog Odyssey

I hate to drive. I especially hate to drive on roads with German drivers. They often give me the feel of being trapped in the original Mad Max movie, and the tension differential when I cross a border into a country with more civilized driving habits is palpable. So I need a good reason to cross the country twice and go farther through other lands with signage I can't read and roads with conditions I would rather forget. Dogs are reason enough to drive 3700 kilometers or more.

Most of those who know me or read my blogs or forum rants know that I have kept and trained dogs for a number of years. Fewer know that I actually prefer cats, but since I'm a bit allergic to cats, and dogs travel better, dogs are now my companions of choice. I have a particular fondness for the Hungarian pointers known as vizslas, especially for the wire-haired variety. Their gentle nature (shared by their short-haired cousins) mean that most of the work of socialization that I used to invest in a German Shepherd can be put directly into other training.

I used to criticize the people of my host country who would drag back dogs from their holidays in other European countries, and I still cannot condone the irresponsibility with which many do so. But after becoming better acquainted with the dreadful conditions faced by discarded pets and working animals in countries such as Spain or Hungary, I cannot help but say a small prayer of thanks for each animal who makes it to a new home in Germany or elsewhere. The work of organizations here such as Fantelgarten e.V., Vizsla in Not or Jagdgefährten e.V. cannot be praised enough. I was very pleased to learn last year that Kilgray, the company which produces my current favorite tool memoQ, supports a local animal shelter in the country where they are based, and I hope that when my colleagues and their friends consider their charitable contributions that animals in need are not forgotten. Sometimes things that we would discard can make a difference in life. The fifteen puppies in the place I visited who died of cold for lack of warm blankets and bedding would have lived perhaps with some discarded sweaters.

The original plans for the trip came about when I learned in December that a good vizsla bitch in Csövár had just given birth to six puppies, three of them male. I had wanted a male from this line for some time, so I planned a trip in early February. Since it's a long way to the Budapest area and transport is often difficult to arrange for the rescue organizations here in Germany, I asked if there might be a dog or two needing to make the return trip. In fact there was, and one night a few weeks before my planned departure, half a carload of donations (blankets and dog jackets mostly) were delivered to my home. The other half of the car was filled with food donations picked up as I passed through Hannover on my way to Budapest via The Hague, where there was a gathering of Stridonium members planned shortly before I was to pick up my puppy in Hungary. Some of those attending had come from rather far away (one apparently got tired of chewing the seal blubber with Inuit neighbors and needed an infusion of Continental air), so I didn't mind the detour for good company and conversation with colleagues.

The real highlight of that weekend, however, was a magnificent tour of the Mauritshuis gallery in The Hague, where docent Nancy van Bavel shared her extensive knowledge of the Old Masters in an engaging way that by itself would have justified the long drive, the best such presentation I have ever experienced. The collection there is modest in size but of better quality than others I remember, and I look forward to an opportunity to return for another delightful afternoon of cultural education. One thing I found particularly appealing was that there is a better range of work for artists that interest me than I recall from other galleries, and Nancy carefully explained the development of the artists' techniques over the course of their careers and offered insightful comparisons with peers from the same period. If you pass through The Hague, the Mauritshuis should be high on your list if you love art, and even if you favor other periods, the sort of tour I experienced will make it a day not to be forgotten.

After a few days' inadequate rest punctuated by translation and consulting, I set off on the 1400 km leg of the journey, which took me through the southern part of Germany and Austria. In Austria I discovered to my consternation that LPG fuel is not available on major highways and that asking for it provokes a smug safety lecture from the inbred provincials at the filling stations. I was prepared on the return trip and filled up at the last station with LPG in Hungary, which got me safely through The Land of Wienerschnitzel back to Germany.

Safely arrived in Budapest, I transferred the carload of donations, looking forward to improved fuel economy and better driving safety, then afterward met Gábor Ugray, head of Kilgray's development group, to catch up on software and life. The next year should be one with pleasant surprises for memoQ users, but that's not really news, is it?

After the late dinner, I made my way up to the only dog-friendly hotel I could find near the breeder's kennels, and early the next morning I drove on summer tires over icy roads in a snowstorm to pick up my new family member, Csővárberki Jámbor, who will be trained to hunt according to the laws of the German state of Brandenburg. He was quickly adopted by my German Wire-haired Pointer, Ajax, who spent much of the rest of the day playing with him in the hotel room or in the snow.

The next day, the day planned for the return to Germany, I had to find winter tires to make the journey back through Austria safely. Although it was a Sunday, the hotel staff kindly contacted friends and acquaintances and arranged for an excellent set of slightly used Michelin winter tires to be put on the car for spare change. I had wanted similar tires in Germany but didn't want to spend the high price demanded for them, and with only one season's use these were almost a gift.

A few hours before my departure, the person running the dog rescue operations in Hatvan, which are supported by Fantelgarten e.V. in Germany, delivered the "ABC puppies" - Alpha, Billy and Chili. These wonderful little dogs had been set out on the street to starve, but Aranka and her friends rescued and cared for them until their transport to new homes could be arranged. The day before, or perhaps it was the same morning - the communication in English was a bit spotty - another dog had been rescued from the roadside where it lay dying in the snow after being hit by a car. I have met dogs who were thrown out of a car in a bag with other puppies (not all survived the landing), heard of bags of puppies hung up in trees to die and worse. The capacity for cruelty is all too human. But so is the capacity to do something about that cruelty.

With five dogs in the car, I headed off for the planned rendezvous in Regensburg, where two of the pups (A & C) were delivered, then after a night at the wonderful Hotel Bischofshof am Dom with three dogs (where young Billy munched a table - the staff were very understanding), we headed off to the last meeting point in a Regensburg forest to hand over Billy, and I made my way back to Berlin. The 3700 mile trip might have been shorter had I been able to read a map or make use of a working navigation system with Hungarian data, but not by much, really.

In the weeks since we returned, my little Hungarian import has thrived and added welcome spice to my routine. I look forward to training him and watching him develop. Some find that an animal "ties them down" and adds complications to life, but then I find most worthwhile things have some sort of complication involved. If, like me, you find that dogs have a place in translation, I hope you enjoy your canine companions for many good years. And please don't forget the ones who are not as lucky as yours.

Feb 9, 2012

BDÜ Übersetzer/Dolmetscher-Treff in Potsdam

am Donnerstag, den 16. Februar 2012 ab 19.30 Uhr

im Restaurant & Café Heider,
Friedrich-Ebert-Str. 29 (direkt am Nauener Tor)
14467 Potsdam

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen in Brandenburg und Berlin,

wie schon im Berliner BDÜ Rundbrief mitgeteilt, findet wieder ein Übersetzer/Dolmetscher-Treff in Potsdam statt, zu dem wir Sie herzlich einladen.

Im Café Heider ist ein Nebenraum reserviert, in dem wir uns in lockerer Runde austauschen können.
Informationen zu Speisen und Getränken entnehmen Sie bitte der oben genannten Homepage.
Eingeladen sind Übersetzer und Dolmetscher aller Sprachen und Fachgebiete, die Mitglied im BDÜ sind.
Gerne berichten wir von der JMV im Januar in Berlin oder von anderen Aktivitäten unseres Landesverbandes. 

Für Rückfragen erreichen Sie mich unter: Schloemer-Kaerger (at) bdue.de.

Mit kollegialen Grüßen

Bärbel Schlömer-Kaerger
Dipl.-Übers. Spanisch & Englisch
Mitglied des Vorstands BDÜ LV Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.

Feb 8, 2012

memoQ support & info: where to go

I recently had a conversation with a new memoQ user regarding a minor settings issue, but after a long return trip from Hungary, where I picked up my new dog Csővárberki Jámbor, I was too tired to remember even the most basic information about TM settings for fuzzy matches. (That's about on par with trying to pour milk directly onto a saucer, having forgotten the coffee cup and coffee, which is how the day started.) I made a few suggestions for alternative sources of information until my laggard brain return to function, and I was surprised to find that many free and excellent sources of help were unknown. So I would like to list a few of these here, with comments, and I encourage you to add any others of which you are aware. Preferably ones which are not contaminated with advertising.

There is, of course, the legendary Support department of Kilgray, which can be reached at support@kilgray.com by e-mail or via a web contact form even late in the evenings. Most correspondence is in English, but quite a number of staff are reasonably competent in German, at least more competent in German than many German customers writing to them in English can handle the other language. I presume correspondence can also ensue in Hungarian.

Some are reluctant to contact Support for fear of looking "stupid". If there are any stupid questions possible, I've probably already asked them in some state of mental torpor, so take consolation, timid colleagues, in that you won't look any dumber than I do much of the time. I believe it is important for Kilgray to see where the "obvious" is being missed by its users or where real projects diverge from the ideal scenarios of their development concepts, because this provides important clues for future improvements. The support department is a vital source of such information.

Users should not only contact support when things are not going right, but also to ask guidance for best practice. From its humble beginnings as a simple, free tool with just a few features, memoQ has developed in a very short time to become a leader in translation environment innovation, with the unfortunate side-effect that the many options it now includes sometimes obscure the software's essential simplicity and make the best approach less than obvious. (This was the original reason for the workshops I now design and teach.) The Kilgray team have years of experience with many different areas of application, and in relaxed, friendly exchanges with the support team many useful new approaches arise.

Nonetheless, "RTFM" isn't such a bad principle with Kilgray. Time and again, I am surprised by the high quality of the program's help files, though sometimes I can't always understand how to get to the points described. The latest changes to the help files are also online, where comments on the quality of the help information can also be submitted.

PDF user manuals for various translator and server versions are available in different languages here on the Kilgray site.

There is an FAQ from Kilgray here.

On its home page, Kilgray has a sign-up form for the e-mail newsletter, which often has useful information. There are regular, free webinars on a wide variety of beginning and advanced topics, and many of these are recorded and available for viewing and/or download later. There are also free training videos online.

So much for the resources from Kilgray. There are a lot, and I do find it a little confusing to navigate them at times, but there is a wealth of high-quality information available there. I think this information could benefit from a little consolidation of its presentation on the web site, but they get an A for effort and information quality.

The independent Yahoogroups forum for memoQ is an excellent source of advice and support in the larger user community. Just like in the groups for Trados and Déjà Vu, many experienced users share practical experience and solve problems that even the best support department might have a tough time sorting out.

I do not recommend the ProZ memoQ forum as a place to turn. The bad atmosphere on Ze Zite and censorship, including posting restrictions on many of the best CAT tool experts, make the it fairly worthless for timely, reliable information these days. The Yahoogroups forums for all the tools are generally more active, with more good information and an excellent database to search. While ProZ is useful for its periodic group buys, these days it cannot be taken seriously as a source of much of anything else. There are better places to go like those described above.

Other possible sources of information include this blog and a number of others, and in various regions, there are good trainers available for paid training, consulting and coaching sessions. Some of these are listed on the Kilgray web site.

Anything up to date that I've missed?

Feb 4, 2012

The Post-editor's Prayer

Our Future, which art eMpTy,
hallowed be the game!
Thy profits come,
Jaap's Will be done,
not that of Miguel or Kevin.
Give us this day
our Daily Crust
and forgive us our grumblings, 
as we forgive stomachs which grumble against us.
And lead us not into transcreation,
but deliver us from freedom,
for thine is the Kingdom
of Imagined Glory,
forever and ever.