Web-based (online) translation memory tools - TM, aligner, alignment (Wordfast Anywhere, Memsource, XTM, Translation Workspace, Text United)

spiros · 7 · 31654


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Web-based (online) translation memory tools (Google Translator Toolkit, Wordfast Anywhere, XTM, Translation Workspace, Text United)

The move from the desktop to the web is already quite strong. Office applications have had web counterparts for quite some time (i.e. Google docs / Office Live Workspacesee a comparison of these two).

It would be surprising if TEnTs (Translation Environment Tools) did not follow suit and if they did not take advantage of integrated machine translation to complement the translation memory and glossary features. The generic descriptive name for these services is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and, when it is not free, it is charged on a monthly or yearly basis.

Just to get an idea of what is around:
MateCat was launched on December 2014 as free for all. It supports 56 different formats and export in sdlxliff/txm of your files. Read more about features, and read the manual.
Wordfast Anywhere (basically an online implementation of Wordfast resembling in functionality as well as look and feel, read a guide and a manual). Used to be free, now subscription-based ($9.90/month).
Phrase (ex MemSource) offers free trial version. Paid versions start from $29/month.
XTM Translation management system with built-in translation memory, terminology and CAT tools.
Translation Workspace by Geoworkz (Powered by Lionbridge) [free trial for freelancers and agencies]
Zanata. Zanata is a web-based system for managing localization projects. It currently supports translation of software through Gettext/PO, Java Properties and XLIFF (partial), and DocBook/Publican documentation through PO files. Projects can be uploaded to and downloaded from a Zanata server using a Maven plugin or a command-line client. A public instance of Zanata is hosted on translate.zanata.org which accepts content from open source projects for translation.
Text United Translation App with import/export features and one private project active at a time for free, Translation Workplace plan: 19 Euro per month, Translation Team plan: 49 Euro per month (see presentation)
Wordbee (offers free 30-day trial with all features enabled, Freelance license 169 Euro for 6 months and 299 Euro for a year)
memoQWeb is a suite of web-based translation products built on memoQ server. The memoQWeb suite consists memoQWebTrans and qTerm (no pricing info provided).
Transifex is a web-based translation platform, also known as Globalization Management System (GMS). It targets technical projects with frequently updated content, such as software, documentation and websites and encourages the automation of the localization workflow by integrating with the tools used by developers [Wikipedia]. Pricing starts from $19 per month.
Lilt is a web-based translation platform, quite similar to Matecat.  Lilt’s pricing model is consumption-based but you have to contact them with your needs to get a quote.

Of the options listed the first 1 is free.

No longer around
Google Translator Toolkit (Wikipedia article—shut down on December 4, 2019)

Most of the tools listed above have an alignment functionality; however, there are also dedicated online tools providing alignment services:
Web Align Toolkit.  Free online parallel texts aligner and format converter that allows to align parallel texts using various aligning engines such as LF Aligner, YASA, JAM, Alinea Lite.
Matecat Aligner Matecat Aligner supports 69 file formats.
Free online alignment with YouAlign (create tmx and html bitexts)
— Free online alignment with Aligner by Wordfast a Wordfast online implementation – a tool for aligning parallel texts and creating Translation Memory databases (You can access the same functionality  here but you need to be logged in. They support any two-language combination of: Arabic, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (simpl. & trad.), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese (incl. PT-BR), Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese.
LF Aligner helps translators create translation memories from texts and their translations. It relies on Hunalign for automatic sentence pairing. Input: txt, doc, docx, rtf, pdf, html. Output: tab delimited txt, TMX and xls. With web features.
Features: autoalign txt, doc, docx, rtf, html, pdf and other formats; output: tmx, tabbed txt and xls; supports windows, mac and linux; graphical user interface (on Windows); integrated graphical interface for alignment review/editing; capable of aligning texts in up to 100 languages simultaneously; full UTF-8 workflow; uses hunalign for accurate autoalignment; built-in dictionary data further improves autoalignment in 800+ language combinations; download and align webpages; download and align EU legislation automatically; suitable for large-scale automated corpus building with unattended batch mode; basic support for some oriental languages, enhanced support for most European languages; built-in customizable sentence segmenter borrowed from the europarl corpus project; the grab bag contains various TM, termbase and data conversion and filtering tools.
SuperAlign A parallel corpora (bitext) aligning tool. Create TMX databases and align translations for Translation Memory databases. Use multiple files in multiple formats to align them with their translations. The full workflow is built in with a GUI interface. SuperAlign-eAlign uses the hunalign algorithm.
Paralela , has a grabber (extract text from web sites) and an aligner tool that uses AI to align translation pairs in any combination of 110 languages from unstructured and unordered streams of content (apparently commercial project with no visible pricing info, requires registration). More here: Paralela online alignment tool
bitext2tmx CAT bitext aligner/converter. A free computer-aided translation / computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool to align and converter bitext into TMX translation memory format to be used in other CAT tools by translators and other language professionals.

Relevant links
Translation Memory Tools in translatum

Google Translator Toolkit



Wordfast Anywhere
« Last Edit: 17 May, 2023, 23:43:30 by spiros »


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Recently I took some time to look into which tools offer real-time collaboration in their "freelance" editions (or whatever the "basic" or, in some cases, the only edition might be called).

The list boiled down to a small handful of tools: Wordfast Classic/Anywhere, OmegaT, Lingotek, Google Translator Toolkit, and MemSource.

Let's look into these in more detail.

•   It's not surprising to find Google Translator Toolkit on the list; after all, it's built around this very concept. Still, the vast majority of professional translators do not choose GTT for two reasons: the lack of support for commonly used file formats (no support for Word 2007/2010, Excel and PowerPoint files of any version, InDesign, or generic XML files) and, more importantly, concerns about sharing clients' data with the rest of the world.

•   I've written about Lingotek a number of times now. It's a great tool, but unfortunately it still lacks a smooth way of applying for a (free) freelance license. However, the makers have promised me repeatedly that freelancers will be issued a license if you just send them a message. Since Lingotek was the precursor to Google's tool in many ways, it's also built around the very concept of sharing data, so it's easy to set up workgroups through which you can share your TM and termbase data in real-time.

•   Wordfast Anywhere is the free web-based pendant to the previous two applications. Though I think it was built primarily for access from anywhere with an Internet connection (Wordfast Anywhere), it has become the heart of sharing for Wordfast. It's easy to share TMs and termbases through the online interface, and interestingly it's those databases that you can also connect to through Wordfast Classic, the Word-based version of Wordfast. Some of you might remember the VLTM (Very Large Translation Memory) concept that Wordfast pioneered years and years ago — an online TM that consisted of publically available and aligned resources that could be accessed from within Wordfast — and later the ability to create and share TMs with an additional little application that you had to install. All this is now accessible right in the Word interface through your Wordfast Anywhere account (your registration email just has to be the same for both —  you can find a demo right here). Very clever if you ask me.

•   Also, the tool that never stops surprising (well, I should probably say never stops surprising me) — OmegaT
also offers the real-time sharing of translation data. True to the nature of an open source tool, the setup is a little more involved, but you can find a good description right here.

•   And lastly, MemSource, the tool that I've written about a number of times in the last year or so, is offering the 1+Freelancers edition that allows you to build up projects with TMs and termbases that can be shared in real-time with colleagues. If you remember, MemSource first started off with a Word-based interface, which was quickly abandoned in favor of a platform-independent XLIFF editor that you can download for free and install. While this editor is and will still be available, it is now offered in combination with a highly usable, completely browser-based editor. In fact, you actually have to look twice to distinguish it from the desktop application.
Jost Zetzsche, 217 Toolbox newsletter


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It's not that so many new players entered this market last year, but the use of web-based translation environment tools has skyrocketed. In a recent survey by the Italian Way2Global in cooperation with translators' associations and universities (I will link to the survey once it's public), more than half of its respondents say they use web-based tools "often." I bet even a year ago that number would have been significantly lower, let alone three or five years ago.

It's important to note that there are not only positive aspects to web-based translation environment tools. There are also many different kinds of such tools. Let's start with the latter.

First are the web-based translation environment tools made to be only that, with no (or essentially no) desktop component. These include tools like Wordbee, XTM Cloud, Wordfast Anywhere, Memsource (which does have a desktop component that mimics the web-based interface), Smartcat, MateCat, Lilt, Transifex, Crowdin, Easyling, MotionPoint, Smartling, Lingotek, and even Google Translator Toolkit, as well as a number of tools owned and operated by language service providers. Some of the providers of these tools have seen the writing on the wall (or: in the cloud) for quite a while (Lingotek since 2006 and Google Translator Toolkit since 2009). While some of these providers offer options to use a private server for data storage and transfer, most of them use cloud-based servers with private partitions to separate the user's data from that of their teams (though in some cases the data can be used across users for analytical and some cross-training purposes).

A whole different kind of web-based tool are primarily desktop-based with an alternative web-based interface, including Trados, memoQ, and Across. In each case, the projected use case scenario is different. Trados, for example, seems to view their web-based tool, which is dramatically simplified in comparison to their desktop tool, more in terms of post-editing and less as a high-powered translation environment (in relation to the desktop tool). Across, on the other hand, has achieved complete feature parity between their desktop and web-based environments, while memoQ's web-based tool at least tries to play catch-up with the desktop-based older sister.

Why is this shift toward a web-based environment overall positive? For a number of reasons. First, these tools' design criteria typically differs from the desktop-based tools by being more streamlined and less overloaded with features. Clearly, people who see themselves as "power users" might not like that, but for them the desktop tools are still available. For the majority of translators, it's helpful to have a translation environment that allows them to be productive after just one or two hours of use.

Second, I think it's somewhat unrealistic to assume that the world of translation will be spared from a move to cloud-based environments. This simply matches an already existing reality.

And lastly, I'm delighted that this whole boring discussion about operating systems and devices has finally come to a close since web-based tools can clearly be used across the board.

— Jost Zetzsche, 295th Tool Box Journal


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