Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Introduction to XML for translators ... better late than never! Back in September 2006, Iwan Davies and I ran a seminar on XML for translators for the Institute of Translation and Interpreting's Scottish Network (or ITI Scottish Network, if you prefer). The report that I wrote afterwards has not yet appeared in the ITI Bulletin, so I will post it here.

A report on the Scottish Network's "Introduction to XML for translators" day

On a lovely sunny Saturday in Edinburgh, around twenty Scottish Network members gathered at Heriot Watt University for a seminar on "XML for translators". The presenters were Nick Rosenthal, Managing Director of localisation specialists Salford Translations Ltd, and Iwan Davies, a translator with considerable localisation expertise.

Nick set the scene, explaining why XML is becoming more widespread. We looked at XML subsets such as DocBook and DITA, used for writing technical manuals, and such as XLIFF, which is used for localising software resource files. We discussed the roles played by XML files, DTD files and schemas. We looked at the component parts of an XML file, at elements, and attributes, and entities. Nick explained about metadata, and data tagging and granularity. And we discussed issues such as single-sourcing, publishing from one data source to different target formats.

Iwan then covered XML from the translator's perspective, demonstrating the use of translation memory tools when working on XML files, explaining different approaches and showing which elements and attributes needed translating, and which ones did not. He demystified Trados INI files, and showed us some clever tricks with xslt files. His use of "Swedish chef" language as a demonstration tool will remain with us for a long while, as will the sample file of "Nick's Bacon Butty.XML"

After the two-hour seminar, the Scottish Network kindly invited the presenters to join them for lunch at a local pub, which was a very enjoyable way to round off the day.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Where have the Microsoft Glossaries gone to? Microsoft always used to take a very responsible attitude to making the glossaries that reflect how their core software products are translated available to the localisation community. And the translation community in return respected this and supported Microsoft ... my own company has an MSDN subscription precisely so that we can access the Microsoft Glossaries when we need to check how an obscure string in the Windows interface is translated in Czech or Dutch. This week, a job we are working on led me to want to check how various bits of the new Windows Vista have been translated..... and I'm blowed if I can find the glossaries, even on the Subscriber MSDN area that we pay for. For many years, they lived at, but now there is just a sad TXT file there that explains they have all been replaced by a single CSV file (believe me when I tell you it contains but a fraction of the old information!) If anyone knows where I can find multilingual glossaries in the European langauges for Windows Vista, please contact me. In the meantime, at least I can take cold comfort knowing that others are also experiencing the same difficulties.

Update Jan 2007: My company, Salford Translations Ltd, has an MSDN subscription, and I have been able to track down the Microsoft Glossaries in their new "MSDN subscribers only" location. Alas, looking at the file dates, most of them were last updated in 2004. So no Vista terminology. And this also short-changes me on my MSDN subscription -- I am happy to pay for an MSDN subscription, but I would like to think it would give me access to current information. For what it is worth, here's how to find the Microsoft Glossaries if you have an MSDN subscription:
  • Go to
  • Use the Sign In button to sign in to your MSDN account.
  • Click the "Subscriber Downloads and Product Keys" link.
  • Navigate to Tools, SDKs, and DDKs, then scoot down the list until you see Microsoft Glossaries. Just be aware that most of them are dated 2004.

So, over to Microsoft: Can anyone on the Vista localization team tell us where the multilingual user interface terminology might be available for Windows Vista?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Twenty years - that's how long I've been a member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, the UK professional body for translators. And in 2007, the ITI is organising a series of events to celebrate their 21st birthday. Quite right too! On Saturday 24th February, one of these events will focus on marketing issues for freelance translators - click here for more details in PDF format, or check out the West Midlands Regional Group's informative website, which has full information. I'll be one of the speakers, and it promises to be a fun, lively event.

I am delighted to learn that my co-speaker for the day will be Vernon Blackmore, who will be talking about web design for translators. Vernon is an excellent speaker on this issue, so the Birmingham ITI workshop on marketing issues promises to be a fun and informative event!