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RE: Translation packages for Frame -- summary

Thanks to Dmitri Yunov, Susan Sackett-Wilk, Dick Gaskill, Phil Buxton and,
especially, Steve Schwedland for their info and advice. 

There is a range of products available apart from the TRADOS/S-Tagger set,
although Trados prompted the most correspondence. Known also to be available
are STAR Transit and SDLX. There are also others, but their Frame
compatibility is unknown.

I've had time to look only at TRADOS in any detail (and then very briefly),
so most of the following applies only to it.

None are "cheap", but getting final prices from Trados has not been easy
(negotiate, negotiate).

Trados and Transit both use a suite of tools: a MIF translator; an alignment
tool (to match your source language phrases to the translated phrases for
existing translations); and finally a translation tool using "Translation

Translation Memory is the new TM for those of us who still remember the 60s.
Once the translator accepts a translated word, phrase or sentence as being
an accurate translation of your source language, it is stored in a database.
If the same or similar string is later to be translated, TM suggests the
stored translation and gives it a probability percentage. The translator can
accept as is, accept with corrections, or reject it. And if the translator
decides that the offered translation is actually wrong, s/he can correct it
on the fly. As each sentence  is translated/accepted, it is added to the TM

When the document is translated, you use S-Tagger to verify that all Frame
tags are correct and convert if back to MIF.

Good shit, man.

Getting to this stage, however, is not so happy. S-Tagger received some rave
notices, but there are still difficulties with double-byte languages
(although Japanese seems to be getting there). Bit of a problem for those of
us who also use two Chinese and Korean. It will be interesting to see how
good Star Transit is in this area.

Incidentally, while Trados provides downloadable self-running demos and demo
software of all products, the file size limitations prevent real testing (a
180 kb .MIF file is only two FrameMaker pages with nearly all para tags

If you have existing translated matter, you will want to re-use it. This
will require you to use Trados WinAlign to map each sentence against the
corresponding translated sentence so that it can be added to TM. Again, this
is not a simple matter and it caused extreme anguish for at least one bloke.
Once this is done accurately, however, you export the mapped sentences to
the TM database -- and Yippee! All of the new translations will be
immediately available to translators next time they encounter the same or
similar words, phrases, sentences.

In theory, you will no longer need to maintain a separate manual for each
language. Instead, you update your original language Frame book and pass
these files to each translator. They then re-translate the entire text --
but using TM to automagically add the "correct" translations, this is mostly
button pushing except where they encounter  a change or added matter or
incorrect translations in TM. You then translate back to MIF and open as a
new Frame manual with all formatting, graphics, etc., identical to the
original language manual.

And, if you pay your translators by the word, a full reporting system
provides you with the statistics you need.

I am obviously smitten with this technology, but we still have to do
full-blown testing -- and then get management to pay for it. Ho-hum.


> John Pitt, Technical Writer
> Wilcom Pty Ltd
> (02) 9578 5176
> mailto:jpitt@wilcom.com.au
> or
> mailto:johnpitt@zeta.org.au
> -----Original Message-----
> We are becoming very interested in alternatives to our in-house MIF-based
> multi-language translation tool for 13 European and Asian (double-byte)
> languages.
> The S-Tagger/TRADOS suite looks extremely promising (although the size
> restriction on the demo versions disallows serious testing). We're
> awaiting price information from TRADOS, but I suspect it will not be cheap
> if their impressive self-running demos reflect the products accurately.
> Has anyone used this suite in anger? Or know of any Australia-based
> companies which use it seriously?
> What about other packages?

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