The Word Matrix nominated for Proz Community Choice Awards!



The Community Choice Awards contest hosted by has moved to its voting phase and your blog The Word Matrix is listed among the finalists. Congratulations! The community choice awards are hosted by annually to provide another means for the community to publicly recognize language professionals who are active, influential or otherwise outstanding in various media throughout the industry.


Let the Fight begin

“I suppose my translation is better than yours, because mine returns 130,000 Google hits, while yours a mere 1,300”. Where have I heard this before? Anyway, if size matters, and for what it’s worth, you may want to try Google Fight:

Google Fight

Simply type in the contenders, and let the fight begin.

Studio 2014 on its way…

So today SDL announced the new iteration of their Studio product, poised for global release in mid September or thereabouts.

Among the highlights of the new product are an integrated alignment feature, a redesigned, ribbon-like interface and the possibility of merging files at any stage of the process.

1) Alignment

At last, it’s time to say goodbye and good riddance to one of the greatest technology aberrations of all time, which goes by the name of WinAlign. Those of us who spent endless hours trying to correct misaligned segments might as well be feeding the pigeons or banging our heads against the wall, as the end-result would have been exactly the same.

Studio 2014 will have an alignment feature embedded in the application (yey!), but sadly without offering you the option to edit the aligned segments (boo!), as they claim the alignment technology is so good, that obviates the need of human intervention (more on that when the product is released, of course, but we always love these half-baked solutions, don’t we?).

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Alignment will be part of the Translation Memory panel. You select your source and target files (all Studio formats supported) and then a ‘quality’ threshold (the quality being defined by the tool, of course). The aligned pairs that fall below that won’t be presented as TUs.

The system will then create an .sdltm Translation Memory which you can use immediately in the project you’re working on and apply penalties if need be. The neat thing is that the resulting .sdltm will preserve Context Match metadata, which can save you time, assuming the alignment is of any decent quality, that is.

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2) Redesigned UI

Inspired by Office 2010, the new ribbon toolbar promises to be a very welcome feature indeed, making it a lot easier to locate the tools you use the most, including Help. The toolbar won’t be customizable in the initial release.

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3) Merging files on the fly

This is great. Whereas previously you would have to decide whether or not to merge files during project preparation, Studio 2014 will retain that option but, should you decide to merge the files at a later stage, you won’t have to restart the project. Instead, you can simply select the files you want to merge from the Project panel and open them all at once.

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Good news also for WorldServer users who have Studio or Studio Express as their desktop client application. With Worldserver 10.3 release, users will now be able to (concurrently) connect directly to the server TM, perform TM edits and concordance searches in real-time and upload the return package directly from Studio.

Other minor, but useful, features have also been announced, including autosave, automatic start of concordance search when no TM match is found (why has this feature been excluded from Studio in the first place?), exclude locked segments from analysis, and faster overall performance.

All in all don’t expect to see anything that will take the world by storm in the next release, but some features are indeed very welcome, if not long overdue.

Audit your PC…for free

Ever wanted to get an overview of all the programs you’ve installed on your PC, a breakdown of the technical specs of your hardware or whether any major Windows security flaws have been patched?

Bellarc Advisor is a free and tiny (<4 MB) utility that allows you to do all this and a lot more. If nothing else, you will be surprised to find out how much uselessware you have been unwittingly accumulating on your machine over the years and how much hard drive real estate it is consuming.

Belarc Advisor 82.g - Report


The analysis is very fast considering the data being gathered and you won’t be bothered with toolbars, adware, or spyware during the installation. Results displayed in your default browser. So whether you need to free up disk space or find out what kind of RAM you’re using, give Bellarc Advisor a shot.

Inserting tags in Studio 2009/2011

Dealing with formatting tags has always left a something to be desired in CAT tools. Studio made this process slightly easier in the 2009/2011 versions, although still no hassle free.

Here’s how you can add tags to the target segments:

1) Copy source to target (Ctrl+Ins)

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In cases like this, I would rather copy the source text to the target segment with a shortcut and then translate between the tags, shifting them around (Ctrl + C/Ctrl + V) if need be. You can also copy/paste tags from the source to the target segment.

2) Use QuickPlace (Ctrl+Alt+Down)

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This will open a dropdown menu with a list of tags available in the segment. As you scroll down, the corresponding source tag will be highlighted.

3) Ctrl + Click on a tag

This method is great. Highlight the target text to be encapsulated by tags, then keep the Ctrl key pressed and click in the corresponding source tag; it will display automatically in the target segment at the right location.

Shortcut Monday!

Microsoft Outlook

  • Ctrl + N or  Ctrl + Shift + M Create a new e-mail message
  • Ctrl + 2 Switch to Calendar view
  • Ctrl + Shift + I Switch to Inbox view
  • Alt + S Save, Close and Send an e-mail message
  • Ctrl + N Reply to a message
  • Ctrl + Shift + R Reply all to a message
  • Ctrl + Q Mark message as read
  • Ctrl + M or F9  Check for new mail
  • F3 or Ctrl + E Find items
  • F4 Search for text in items

Backing up your data

Computers aren’t perfect. Files get corrupt, hard drives crash, motherboards malfunction, CPUs call it a day without notice, taking our precious localization data with them. Can you image losing your Translation and Terminology databases which took you years to perfect? Yet, you would find it quite surprising that most people don’t have a comprehensive backup solution in place.

Windows’ Backup and Restore feature (in W7: Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Backup and Restore) works to a certain extent, allowing you to create safety copies of your most important personal files or a system image, an exact copy of your system which you can use to recover your machine from a serious malfunction.

However, this process is lacking somehow since you are essentially storing your data on another hard drive which is equally subject to malfunctions. Not to mention that, in case of a fire, flood or hurricane, or if your house gets mugged, your entire computer would be gone in an instant, backup copies included.

About three years ago, I was persuaded into having my files stored off-site. I then spent a few weeks reading reviews of different suppliers and ended up settling on Crashplan. In addition to being able to back up your files to an external drive, the paid version of the software will allow you to upload them to the company’s servers in the US. This tool has a central interface with the status of your backups and how many files are queued up. By default, the software gathers up key personal files but you can manually add any file type to the backup, including system files.

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After its initial backup, CrashPlan continually looks for changes in your system’s files in the background without any disruption whatsoever to your work. By default, the system will back up every 15 minutes, but that interval can be changed.

The initial backup can be pain point. It took me around 3 months to upload around 300 GB of data but in the hindsight it was worthwhile. The beauty of it is that I can not only access different versions of my backed up files but also retrieve them anywhere in the world via the on-line interface.

Aside from a few minor technical glitches here and there (promptly addressed by their customer support), I have nothing to complain about. Pricewise, Crashplan will set you back $60.00 per year ($190 for 4 years).

There are plenty of other solutions in the market, so have a look around and see which one suits you best. The bottom-line is back up, back up, back up. Better safe than sorry.