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Translating Aotearoa

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The future is here (or TTS chooses XTM)

We recently posted about our quest for a new translation system that would make our lives – and yours – easier. After several trials and early conference calls with various sales representatives based in the US and in Europe, we’ve decided to give XTM Cloud a go.

‘Why this system over another?’ you might ask. Well, the main reasons for our decision were the user-friendliness of the translators’ and project managers’ interfaces, the ability to work offline, the amount of training material freely available online, and last but not least, the impressive level of customer support we received.

Picture of XTM's translator's workbench
XTM’s translator’s workbench is sleek and user-friendly

We’re not going to use XTM Cloud for everything we do though. For now, we will primarily use it for non-sensitive translation projects where computer-assisted translation technologies may prove useful. Think multilingual brochures, websites, large Word-based documents etc. This means that we won’t set up an account for all of you straight away – we’ll do this as we go based on our needs.

That being said, if you are curious and would like to try it out, you can create a trial account (valid for 30 days). As you’ll notice, it allows you to translate directly within your web browser in an environment that is very similar to SDL Studio and other translation software. While it is a very sleek and user-friendly interface, there are lots of webinars and tutorials available. It may be useful to watch this tutorial or this webinar (the webinar is a lot more detailed). There’s also a user manual that you can download here.

When we do create an account for you, and assign you a job, we’ll happily take you through the process step-by-step to make sure that everything goes well. There will be a few things to learn and get used to, but we think it’s worth it. Just give us a shout if you need help!

Translating in the cloud

Like many language service providers, The Translation Service uses various computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools like SDL Studio and Wordfast. While their usefulness is rather limited for a large portion of the work we do (think uneditable scanned copies of handwritten documents), they do prove very useful for large translation projects that involve Word documents, PDFs generated from Word files or publications created in InDesign.

As a matter of fact, they allow us to leverage on existing translations using translation memories, improve terminology and phraseology consistency, enhance quality control, and speed up the layout and design of translated publications. The downside is that they tend to be expensive to buy, which means that most of you don’t have your own copy of SDL Studio. Up until now, we’ve been working around the issue by sending out translations in table format, and importing the translations or revisions into SDL Studio ourselves. This time-consuming process has its own risks as we can easily miss out something and create havoc.

Thankfully nothing of the sort has happened so far, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try and find a better solution. It would be unreasonable for us to request all of you to buy SDL Studio or subscribe to its one-year, feature limited Starter edition, especially for those of you who are not full-time professional translators. Rather, we’re considering moving the whole process into the cloud – welcome into the 21st century – and give you access to a free web-based translation tool. The platforms we’ve been investigating include Memsource, Wordbee, XTM, Lingotek and Smartling. While Proz has a dedicated page to CAT tools with a number of useful reviews, we’d like to hear from you. Do any of you have experience in using any of those tools?

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