Translator Toolbox

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Revision as of 11:41, 24 September 2011 by Lidiacamara (talk | contribs) (Subtitling)
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Wikipedia is a great translation resource, especially for technical terms. Come across a rare animal species in a translation? Look it up on Wikipedia in English and then switch to the page in your own language (assuming it exists). This will generally give you a state-of-the-art translation.

Unit Conversion Tools

There are lots of unit conversion tools on the internet. Found one that was particularly helpful? Mention it here!

Suggested tools:

Audiovisual translation

Even for those with an adequate command of the foreign language, every audiovisual product brings with it a range of additional obstacles to comprehension: dialectal and sociolectal variation, lack of access to explanatory feedback, external and environmental sound level, over-lapping speech, etc., making translation of the product crucial for the majority of users. Habit and custom have made dubbing and subtitling the most common modes of translation in this field, although this does not exclude other possibilities like Voice-over.


involves replacing the original soundtrack containing theactors’ dialogue with a target language (TL) recording that repro-duces the original message, while at the same time ensuring that theTL sounds and the actors’ lip movements are more or less synchronised.


involves reducing the volume of the original soundtrackcompletely, or to a minimal auditory level, in order to ensure thatthe translation, which is superimposed on the original soundtrack,can be easily heard. It is common practice to allow a few seconds ofthe original speech before reducing the volume and superimposingthe translation. The reading of the translation finishes a few secondsbefore the end of the original speech, allowing the audience to listento the voice of the person on the screen at a normal volume once again.


Subtitling involves displaying written text, usually at the bottom of the screen, giving an account of the speakers talk and other linguistic information which form part of the visual image (captions).

Subtitling keeps the original talk and the viewer can hear the original speaker’s voice.

Subtitled talks promote learning of foreign languages as the audience can hear the foreign language and at the same time reads the translation.

Transcription resources

This wiki contains a guide to transcribing talks, which may be very useful for translators working on TEDx Talks.

Language Resources

English Language Resources

Multilingual Databases

IATE incorporates all of the existing terminology databases of the EU’s translation services into one interinstitutional database containing approximately 1.4 million multilingual entries.IATE has been used in the EU institutions and agencies since summer 2004 for the collection, dissemination and shared management of EU-specific terminology. It covers a broad spectrum of disciplines, but is particularly rich in technical and specialized terminology (including agriculture, telecommunications, transport, legislation, finance, medicine and others) related to EU policy.

Dictionaries, Terminological Glossaries and Text Corpora

Language Technologies

This section is devoted to list the free language technologies which could help translators and reviewers to improve the quality of their work.

Interesting tools include:

  • office tools: spreadsheets, word processor with its related applications such as spellcheckers or dictionaries of synonyms.
  • audiovisual tools: audio and video players, sound and image editors, etc.
  • system communication protocols
  • internal networks (intranet).
  • external networks (Internet/extranet).
  • web browsers and their related tools such as an online search engine.
  • electronic messaging.
  • database management systems.
  • data security programs (antivirus, backup manager).

These tools perform different tasks, enabling the transfer and storage of information.Without using most of these tools, the possibilities of producing translations and storing them would be seriously affected. The immediate possibility of extracting translatological resources makes the translator a netizen expert. The most recent translation graduates have been trained in use of the following tools:

  • CAT tools
  • software resource localization tools
  • terminology managers
  • subtitle editors

Translation memory management systems can be linked to a machine translator through a computer program interface which defines bridges between the translation memory and machine translation application.

Google Translator Toolkit (GTT)

Google has developed GTT, an online translation tool enabling the automatic translation of both files from hard disk in .doc, .html, .odt, .rtf or .txt or .srt format, and websites, Wikipedia and Knol (Unit of Knowledge) articles. GTT is also an online translation service which supports collaborative work. If with the GoogleDocs tool, collaborative work is promoted because it is possible for several users to edit a document online inviting people to participate, GTT also offers this same possibility because translation memories generated can be shared by a user group or made public. This logically has an effect on the growth of Google's language resources and is later used for improving results in Google Translate, a machine translation Tool, or 2Lingual, the Bilingual Search Engine, both which belong to the large Google family. Google has therefore managed to merge machine translation by default with computer-aided translation based on translation memories. For this it has adopted the methodology shared by most current CAT programs (SDL Trados, STAR Transit, amongst others), using the three essential components common to all of them: translation memory manager, terminology databases and an editor for translating or editing translation units.

Here you can see an Introduction to Google Translator Toolkit, a free, online, translation application that helps translators bring content into their language faster and better.

Universal Subtitles

Learning Languages online

  • Howjsay --> Free online Talking Dictionary of English Pronunciation