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Protect Your Most Valuable Assets

December 4th, 2011 | by MiW | No Comments

Author: Michael Wahlster

While it is easy to grasp that shiny new computers or feature-loaded laptops have a tangible value and should be protected against damage and loss, it is actually the intangible data residing on those computers that are much more valuable and, in many cases, irreplaceable if the proper protective measures are lacking.


It’s always shocking to learn
how many translators give no thought to
and spend no effort on
securing their data,
even though these data are
the lifeblood of their business.

For better or for worse, most data that drive a freelance translator’s business exist in electronic form. This goes way beyond source and target documents. We all keep reference material and glossaries on our hard drives and accumulate translation memory entries. The e-mail correspondence with our clients resides on the same drives, as do our bookkeeping files where we keep track of invoices and payments. And that is probably not everything. What about software we downloaded, our fonts, or credentials for access to websites and accounts? What about browser bookmarks and other important reference material we found on the Internet?

In discussions with colleagues, it is always shocking to learn how many translators put no thought or effort into developing strategies to secure their data, even though these data are the lifeblood of their business. Where does that leave you in case something happens to your computer after a fire, flood, or theft? Hardware is easy to replace – just walk into the nearest Best Buy and you are all set. However, with your accounting, your e-mail archives, and translation memories gone, not to mention any projects you may have been working on, you will have a much harder time to recover.

Read on »

Online Tutorials For OpenOffice.org

November 16th, 2011 | by LTD | No Comments

Author: Corinne McKay

Last night I was at a Colorado Translators Association event at which the presenter (the ever-popular editing consultant Alice Levine), mentioned an online tutorial for the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word. This made me realize that there must be similar websites for OpenOffice.org. Here are a few that I’ve found:

A really comprehensive resource for OpenOffice.org users is Get OpenOffice.org, which offers all kinds of training materials, transition advice, tips on running OO.o on Vista, etc. Solveig Haugland, the founder of Get OpenOffice.org is also the author of the OpenOffice.org 2 Guidebook, so this website rates high on the reliability index! She also has a blog about OO.o, at OpenOffice.blogs.com.

Learn OpenOffice.org offers a variety of free online tutorials that focus on how to solve a particular problem using OO.o. Their tutorials look really helpful and you can choose between text-only or Flash mode (thank you!). The only drawback is that there are tutorials for Impress (OO.o’s presentation program) and Calc (spreadsheet), but not for Writer, which is the application that most translators are likely to use.

The official OO.o website has a tutorials page, with lessons written by various contributors. The topics are a bit random since they’re contributed by volunteers and most of the tutorials require you to download a file, but these are definitely worth a look.

A very helpful site is VnTutor, which has a lengthy list of tutorials for Writer, Base, Impress and Calc and allows you to view them right on the site. The tutorials also have lots of pictures to make their points clearer.

Although it’s not specifically a tutorial, my pick for online OO.o information would be Solveig Haugland’s blog, and you can use the Categories menu on the right to find the topic you’re interested in.

[First published in Corinne McKay’s blog Thoughts On Translation.]

Wordfast discount until the end of the year!

December 5th, 2008 | by Naomi de Moraes | No Comments

I have never tried Wordfast, but I know many translators swear by it. It can work with the SDL Trados segmented format and, from what I hear, is easier to use and learn than SDL Trados. It also runs on many different platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux).

The current version of Wordfast (5.5), which works inside MS Word like SDL Trados, is now being redubbed Wordfast Classic, and the company is launching a new version called Wordfast 6.0 which does not depend on the MS Word interface. If you purchase Wordfast 5.5 by the end of the year, for 250 euros, you will get a free license for Wordfast 6.0 when it is released.

And, if you live in a disadvantaged country, the price is cut in half. See the Wordfast site for more details.

Naomi de Moraes

Keeping Your Data Safe

February 28th, 2008 | by LTD | No Comments

Cafépress Fashion for Paranoia

As the old adage goes: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” When you are on the road with your laptop, chances are that the data on your hard drive is a good deal more valuable that the computer. And that does not even take into account all the dozens of NDAs and confidentiality agreements you signed. (Does “reasonable attorney fees” ring a bell?) On top of theft and leaving your laptop behind somewhere, you also have to worry about official snooping every time you enter the country.

Technology to the rescue. For paranoics like me, TrueCrypt is the ideal tool: industrial-strength encryption, partition or drive encryption, and (the cherry on top of the whipped cream) two levels of plausible deniability in case you are forced to reveal the password. Documented freeware, available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Don’t forget your password, though!

Mac & Translation Tools: TransMUG gone public

September 17th, 2006 | by mm | No Comments

The group surrounding Yves Avérous has finally taken the activities of TransMUG “publicly”. This should help to connect the Mac platform based translator community. Here is what their mission statement has to say:

“TransMUG is a Mac User Group created by members of the Northern California Translators Association and aimed at translators using the Mac platform. Articles found on this blog are intended to inform and help translators get the most of their computing environment and/or help them make a decision in their choice of hardware, including making the move from the Windows platform. TransMUG also includes a Yahoo! Groups list to which you may subscribe to become a member of the group and receive invitation to meetings and special offers.”

Visit them at http://transmug.com/ or at their mailing list home at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transmug.