Archives pour la catégorie High Tech

No More Twitter

6 mars 2011 13 commentaires

Or should I say: why I barely use it anymore. My followers will have noticed that I haven’t tweeted for a while now (7th of December, it seems). The reason is pretty simple: the information flow is too intense.

I think this is due to the passing nature of a tweet. It stays on screen for a couple of minutes before being replaced by a new one. Twitter’s homepage, where you can read messages from the members you’re following, shows tweets in real time. And even if I follow « only » some 150 accounts, I can not possibly manage to read everything each day.

So I think Twitter is a great place to speak, but not so much to listen.

I was saying I barely use it anymore. Well, the only reason I keep my account alive is my subscription to #xl8 hashtagged messages (have I lost anyone?). To be simple, I automatically receive messages related to translation into my RSS reader (Google Reader in my case). But I still barely manage to read the fifty-ish daily tweets.

I must admit if I only use Twitter to promote my blog without listening to what others have to say, then I don’t really see the point anymore.

iDispo: Organization 2.0

3 mars 2011 2 commentaires

After Dropbox and Xmarks, let’s continue with useful tools. The one I am going to talk about today is not ready yet, but it’s already full of promises. And it’s a French who created it, Ismaël Nzouetom. This potentially big gem is named iDispo. The principle is fairly basic, but its potential is almost infinite.

Here’s a screenshot of its homepage:

So this project is all about creating a « universal service to manage availabilities » (you can read a detailed article in French here).

In other words, this service allows you to book a restaurant, a doctor and why not a week of translation! It will help making appointment between business and consumers or business to business. You will be able to link other accounts like Facebook or Google, and every event in those calendars will be automatically added to iDispo. You will then be able to share your availabilities with your friends, for example. Service providers will also share their free time slots, and you’ll be able to book an appointment with just a click.

Let’s imagine: you doodle your colleagues for a meeting. Then, the assistant just has to set a new meeting in iDispo and it’s automatically shared will all collaborators’ calendars.

What about the translation industry? It’s still hard to imagine the full extent of its implication, but we can guess that project managers would have access to all translators’ calendars and will dispatch translations more easily and quickly.

iDispo should be officially presented in the next few weeks. IMHO, all the ingredients are here to make iDispo one of the biggest innovation since Google.


File Syncing: Dropbox & Xmarks

26 janvier 2011 7 commentaires

Freelance translators are kind of geek (says My French Neighbor). And it’s true: if I can’t run dozens of softwares at the same time on my computer, I start shaking like a junkie. That was the case at the end of 2010, when my laptop started to suffer from wear and tear. I took a real pleasure buying spare parts and assemble a new computer.

But then I had to face a new problem: how could I have the same documents on both computers, so that I can work on either one of them? And I had absolutely no will to spend hours looking for the latest version of my translations or to constantly use USB sticks.

Well, I chose Dropbox, a service (free up to 2Gb) that allows to back-up your data in the cloud, as they say, that is on a web server. But this « box » also allows you to sync these files between two or more computers. I use it since some time now, and it really became a useful tool.

The other pros of Dropbox are that you can access your files online from any computer and also that « There’s an app for that », which means that you can also access your files from your smartphone. Pretty useful. IMHO, the only con is Dropbox only sync files from a « My Dropbox » folder, so you have to have all the important files in the same folder. But that should change, as it is in progress in their « Votebox ».

[Edit: There’s actually a way to sync different folders, as well as another software: you can read it all in the comments below]

Finally, Dropbox allows two or more users to share a folder. In our industry, this means that a translator and a project manager can share files without having to send heavy e-mails or using services such as YouSendIt.

I have now my most important files sync between my computers. But what about my Internet bookmarks? For this, I use a nice little add-on for Firefox, Xmarks, which save your bookmarks on a server and then sync them between registered workstation. It can even remember your tabs!

[Edit 2: I just discovered another add-on, Firefox Sync, which is Mozilla’s official sync plug-in. It should be integrated to the next versions of Firefox and allows also to sync with mobile versions f Firefox on Android phoness]

You will find additional information about online storage on Naked Translations and Musings from an Overworked Translator. Also, don’t miss out on Translate This!‘s warning about the cloud. And if you’d like to have an additional 250Mb free space on Dropbox, just leave a comment or send me an e-mail, and I’ll send you a referral email.


Ereaders & Translators

27 mai 2010 10 commentaires

If you follow NJATB on Facebook, you may know that I have been considering using an eReader – or ebook reader – for a while now. But are those reading machines, said to « offer a reading comfort close to the paper’s », really worth it?

Reading « Comfort »

First of all, let me say that paper books still have a long and happy future. Reading on an eReader is certainly more comfortable than on a PC screen, but it is still far from the real paper. Mine (Sony PRS600) doesn’t allow you to set the contrast, and the touch screen makes it less easy to read than other systems. Also, reading under a bright sun can be difficult because of the reflections.


These drawbacks apart, I admit that the thing is rather nice to look at, lightweight (less than 300 gr), small enough and easy to use. Its biggest advantage is that you can carry thousands of books at the same time, which is really neat for travelers (no need to worry about weight limitations on plane) or linguists (forget about expensive postage fees, just download your foreign-language book on the Internet!). Every book published before 1923 is now in the public domain and available for nothing. Also, news readers have 3G and wifi connexions, which can come in handy.

What about the work?

I recently realized what an enormous potential these gadgets have for my work, and especially the Sony reader. With its touch screen, you can take notes on the book and documents you’re reading… And since you can upload PDF and Word documents on it (you see it coming?)… you can proofread your texts directly on your reader, wherever you are (watch out for sand and water, though, not sure the reader’s safe on the beach). Furthermore, readers’ battery can last up to two weeks and you can change the size of the font to spot any typo. Finally, think about all the trees you will save by not printing your translations anymore!


After just a week, I am already an ebook-addict. And these machines will certainly get more sophisticated in the years to come, with a better reading comfort, more contrast, and probably the possibility to modify the text directly in the document. Tablets PC such as the iPad already allows this, but their price, battery life and reflections are real drawbacks to that kind of use.

What about you? Would you be ready to use an eReader for your translations?


High Tech

5 mars 2010 2 commentaires

New technologies are making quite some noise in the language world these days. After Google and its automatic phone translation, France24 innovates and offers an automatic live transcript of every single word on its Internet videoplayer. Its objectives are mainly to improve SEO, accessibility to deaf people and language learning. It is not perfect yet (it works only in French), but it’s still an amazing achievement.

Same idea, different website: YouTube (property of… Google) also offers an « auto-captioning » service for millions of English videos. And without a doubt, it will also translate all the content in the near future. I tried it with the latest speech of Barack Obama, and the result is pretty amazing.