Friday, 23 April 2010

TO3000 verus Excel

There's nothing I love more than using technology to save time. I just find that when I use Trados or Dejavu or whatever for my translation work, it really doens't save much time at all. The reason is that I've never done a big enough document in one go that was repetitive enough for them to really become useful. The only advantage to owning them from my perspective is that from time to time some of my clients do ask that I use those formats, so I have to be able to use it.

I've just downloaded a free trial of a program called TO3000. It's basically a piece of software which helps with invoicing, and handling payments etc from clients. My current solution is to use excel along with a few macros of my own. The question is can TO3000 actually speed up my work. I'm playing with it at the moment, but my feeling is that it won't save me much time at all.

I just think that with the rather low volumes of work that I tend to get, there isn't really any technology that will save me much time. Maybe if I was starting out from scratch the software would have been really useful. The first few invoices I created took me ages to do, but then when I'd done them I basically just cut and paste and invoices take me seconds. Maybe I could have saved a lot of time in the begining.

If the software cost around 40-50GBP maybe it would be worthwhile, but for more than 150GBP I just don't think it will pay for itself. I'm still in the process of looking through the software and I'll post a better review when I've done so.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Carbon Capture and Storage Or Sequestration

Here's an interesting thing that might come in handy. If you look at the Chinese expression for Chinese Capture and Storage you will often see it translated as "Carbon Capture and Storage" and also you will see it translated as "Carbon Capture and Sequestration". Now for quite a while I couldn't figure out why there seems to be a difference in the terms. Dictionary definitions of "storage and sequestration" are similiar.

Looking around at some websites such as the China Dialouge, I also found that they were seemingly translated randomly. Until I came across a nice rule.

Storage and Sequestration are basically the same thing. However by convention sequestration is increasingly being used for under land (as opposed to ocean) storage. So when takling about Norways big CSS projects (which take place out at sea) we should probably say "storage", but when talking about anything else we should probably say "sequestration".

However, there is another important consideration. When talking about land storage, both sequestration and storage are appropriate. The choice comes down to a more subtle distinction.

Sequestration basically means seperation. As in "the seperation of church and state", this means "the seperation of the captured carbon from the atmosphere". This is slightly different to storage which suggest you may wish to use it later for something. So when talking about EOR (enhanced oil recovery) where they use the carbon to increase the amount of oil they can mine, maybe they are not planning to use the carbon for anything, and sequestration might be better, but when they are talking about something like trapping the carbon and then using it later for industrial applications, maybe storage is better.

Another consideration is consistency. It would be strange to keep switching between storage and sequestration unless it is necessary. Although sequestration normally means on land, it can also be used for ocean storage just as well. Probably the best bet is to use "storage" unless you are certain that "sequestration" has a more appropriate meaning.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Deja Vu Free Trial

Last time I used Dejavu (a translation software package) before this week was about a year or so ago, and I remember it seemed very unstable at that time. There was also the annoying problem of having to plug in this dongle which doens't work well for my laptop because my USB cuts out from time to time for no reason.

I downloaded and used a 30 day trial of the program this week and I was actually quite impressed. It didn't seem to be as buggy as I remember it at all. It ran rather nicely with my Windows 7. I'm not sure if the fully paid version would come with a dongle or not, but I've quite enjoyed using the programme.

I still have a really serious gripe with it which is to do with the tags. In Chinese the tags are virtually never going to be in the same place as they are in English. In fact the tags will very rarely even cover the same sections of text that the English text requires. One of the major reasons for this is that Chinese doesn't have any articles (the, an, a), whereas English has them before virtually every single sentence. Having to keep moving the tags around seems like a lot of extra work just to accomdate the word "a".

I can't really think of a purely technical way to solve the tags problem though. I guess the system could look and decide whether an article is needed and try to automatically suggest the new location. It might be able to look at the form of the word. A better solution is to bear things like that in mind during the creation of the Chinese document.

I'm still not convinced that dejavu would save me any money with my own personal way of working, and it seems rather expensive, but thankfully it's cheaper than Trados.