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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!

Giveaway – Update

February 19th, 2008 | by Naomi de Moraes | No Comments

Today (Feb. 19), Giveaway of the Day has a program, Reezaa, that converts different formats of sound file into MP3. I have actually been looking for a program to do this for a while! So, keep an eye out on the free offer each day to see something interests you.

Disclaimer: I have no idea if this program works well, but it is worth a try!

Naomi de Moraes

Unicode’s Common Locale Data Repository

February 15th, 2008 | by LTD | No Comments

Arle Lommel, LISA OSCAR Standards Chair, is inviting contributions to the CLDR from people who are familar with the languages and countries for which they have identified a special interest. The goal is to provide high-quality localization-related information. (According to the OSCAR website, by the way, ATA’s own Alan Melby is a member of the steering committee chaired by Arle Lommel.)

You can read Arle Lommel’s letter and check out the list of languages/countries below the fold.

Read on »

Giveaway – Utilities

February 15th, 2008 | by Naomi de Moraes | No Comments

I was recently made aware of a site, Giveaway of the Day, that provides free copies of software that is not usually free. What’s the catch? Each giveaway lasts only one day, so you have to download the software on the day it is featured.

Appearing on the site provides publicity for the tools (usually PC utilities). Many of the utilities are what would be considered impulse purchases, but sometimes utilities turn out to be invaluable. You will have to sign up for their RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss out. (Click here to read a short explanation of how RSS feeds work, if you do not already know.)

Looking at the last few giveaways, I am sorry I missed a good text-to-speech tool, TextAloud, offered on December 20, 2007. I have also heard good things about EverNote, offered on December 27th. A few days ago a “help file authoring” tool was offered. I don’t often work with help files, but some translators do and it might be helpful.

I would be interested to hear from readers who have downloaded and used the software provided on this site. Note that the site also offers a free game every day, which could save you money if you have children (or are still a child at heart).

Naomi de Moraes

Counting words in MS Excel files?

February 13th, 2008 | by Naomi de Moraes | No Comments

A colleague wrote me today to ask me how to count words in MS Excel files. Before I started using AnyCount, I just copied the spreadsheet contents to MS Word and let it count the number of words. Does anyone have a better (free) solution?

Naomi de Moraes

Text-To-Speech (TTS) Tools for the Translator/Interpreter

February 10th, 2008 | by Naomi de Moraes | No Comments

Most translators work solely with the printed word, and some are beginning to use Speech-to-Text tools like Dragon Naturally Speaking, but few know about Text-To-Speech (TTS) Tools. In short, they convert text into audio, either on-the-go or in an audio file (mp3 or wav).

How can translators and interpreters use this kind of tool?

  • To proofread their work, by having the computer read the original or the translation. This is particularly useful for verifying numbers.
  • To record lists of terminology when preparing for an interpretation assignment.
  • To read aloud a text for interpretation, to practice simultaneous interpretation.
  • To read an original while translating (this might work if the original is read slowly and the translator uses a speech-to-text tool to capture a first draft of the translation).

How can anyone use this kind of tool?

  • To record newspaper or magazine articles for listening while away from the computer, washing dishes, jogging, etc.
  • To record study/reading material while taking courses on most subjects.
  • To avoid excessive eye strain by having program read emails or other text while listener does other tasks.

In my experience, the Microsoft voices, which are always free, are very painful to listen to for any length of time. If your objective is to simply proof a list of numbers or similar, you may be able to use a free product. Note that Dragon Naturally Speaking has a basic text-to-speech function that may be all you need, if you already have Dragon installed on your PC. The AT&T Natural Voices used by many TTS programs seem to me to be the best overall, but some of the Nuance RealSpeak voices are very good too.

The Text-to-Speech page on this site summarizes the features of the four main programs I was able to find on the Internet: NaturalReader, ReadPlease, Text2go and TextAloud.

I would be interested in hearing from readers (in the comments):

  1. Which tool you like best, and why.
  2. What you use TTS for, both when translating and otherwise.

Naomi de Moraes