The beginning of a new year is always notorious for being a period where we feel we have to improve and better ourselves. I think most of us can agree that although our intentions are positive, the practice of New Year resolutions often involves being rather tough on ourselves, so instead of setting yourself difficult challenges, why not find ways to make your work life a little easier?
Being part of the team that runs the App Store, I am pleased to say that 2014 was a brilliant year – as we published 42 new apps, including some of the most popular and in many people’s opinion, the most useful ones yet.
I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 apps of the year which I believe could benefit any translator, whether it boosts productivity, saves you time or simply makes your translation work more gratifying!
#1 MSWord Grammar Checker for Studio 2014
Although this app wasn’t released until September, it ended up as the no.1 downloaded new app of 2014! The ability to check your grammar within the Studio 2014 editor view, segment by segment, as you work is simple yet really useful functionality that saves you having to go elsewhere to perform this task. Also, depending on how you like to work you can also run the grammar check as a batch task.
#2 SDL Trados Studio AnyTM Translation Provider
Here is another app that could really save you a lot of hassle with certain translation jobs. This gives you the freedom to use any translation memory (TM), regardless of whether its source and target languages match the languages of your translation project. This is especially useful for people that translate in languages that have many different flavours, like Spanish and Arabic to name but a few. So if the language pair of my project is English (UK) into Spanish (Spain), using this app I could also use TMs that were English (UK) into Spanish (Mexico) or Spanish (Chile) for example. Another great feature of this app is the ability to reverse TMs so that if you wish to swap the source and target languages, you’ll be able to use the TM and get matches even when you haven’t translated in this direction before.
#3 SDL Trados Studio MT Autosuggest
This app provides AutoSuggest functionality using whichever machine translation provider you’d like to use as well as SDL Language Cloud. To put it simply, as you type within each segment, autosuggestions (similar to the predictive text you see when you type on your mobile phone) from the MT provider you choose will appear and you can then select the option you’d prefer. I consider this to be a great new way to work with MTs as it creates less need for post-editing entire segments. Also, with MT Autosuggest, it’s easier to reword segments as you go.
#4 Dictionary Plugin
In the summer of 2014, we held a competition which gave developers the opportunity to develop new apps with the new Studio 2014 API. This was the winner with the most downloads! The ability to look up word definitions in both your source and target languages is so useful. Instead of having to click out of Studio 2014 to find a word definition online or in a paper dictionary, I simply right click on any word in the editor view and a small pop-up box will appear with the definition. It’s incredibly easy and you’ll see that just saving a few clicks here and there in the duration of your projects can be a real time saver.
#5 Studio Time Tracker
The last app that I want to talk about is an app that tracks the time you’re working in Studio 2014 so that you don’t have to! This is a fantastic solution if you charge clients for your time not words or when trying to decipher the time you spent on each project when working on several at a time. Once downloaded, you’ll find it in the navigation menu and you can quickly get started by adjusting the settings. Here you’ll be able to edit project properties such as activity and client rates (where you can allocate different rates on different customers). After having used it a few times, you’ll soon see how tracking your work can help you keep organised and provide your clients with accurate estimates of how long a job will take.
If you haven’t already downloaded these free apps, I recommend that you give them a try as a quick and easy 2015 objective and see if you agree.