Sebastian Abbo from Lexicool.com asked me to look at the latest version of Lingo (www.lexicool.com), his terminology management tool. And so I did.
But first this: As readers of this newsletter, you know that I think the lack of terminology work we tend to do is our greatest downfall. While many of us have started to understand how translation memory can be helpful, we typically can think of many reasons why terminology work is just too tedious to really invest in.
(And if you personally think that this is not true for you, you're probably alone among the 7200 recipients of this newsletter.)
While the translation memory component of translation environment tools allows us to quickly access and research our previous work and should be an integral component to most translation projects, the terminology component guarantees the consistency and quality of our translation by presenting us not only with terms or phrases and their translation but also with information about them, including client preferences, relationships to other similar terms, general definitions, etc.
If you are using a translation environment tool with a terminology component, I would strongly urge you to make use of that. I have often said that if I had a "rock and a hard place" forced-decision moment, I would rather choose my terminology database than my translation memory.
Back to Lingo. Lingo is a stand-alone terminology management tool that is very straightforward to use, supports all Unicode-compliant languages, works alongside any Windows-based application including Windows Vista, and allows you to export and import glossary files in various formats including TMX. (I asked Sebastian why he doesn't use the terminology exchange standard TBX instead, and he felt that he would have had to sacrifice some of the flexibility of his tool. Plus this way it's also possible to add translation memory data.)
I spent a long time talking to Sebastian about the use of his tool vs. full-fledged translation environment tools, and he described three main reasons why his users like his tool: Many feel that the terminology components of existing tools are too complex and prefer a more user-friendly solution. Still others are intimidated by larger tools and see this as a stepping stone to starting with computer-assisted translation. And lastly, his tool is also used by monolingual terminologists.
What I also liked was Sebastian's eagerness to make the tool even more usable. I suggested a feature that allows you to search just by highlighting a term in any application and then pressing a key combination
-- and he immediately started to work on it. He got it done for anything pre-Vista, and once he tackles Vista compatibility he will release a new version with that functionality.
Published by The Tool Kit, February 2007. Copyright © 2007.