Small things make the difference, and here’s a small thing from SDL. The UK-based information management software vendor has announced a simple translation tool for the desktop that will work across 60 languages.
For anyone who works in two or more languages, this is a useful and accessible tool. In fact, it is so easy to use, that in the time it took to write this post, we were able to download it and try it out.
While Google has an easy translator that works by feeding text into one box to have the translated text pop up in another box, this also promises to enable users to correspond through instant messaging in two languages.
And while the translation of text from one language to another, like Google's, is not perfect, it does come close, at least in translating from English to French.
SDL Easy Translator
But there are a number of other elements in this that will distinguish it from the Google translator. Users are also offered the option of:
- Learning the correct pronunciation of one word or a selection of words by
- Listening to the voice of the on-screen avatar
- Learning the definition of translated words
- Seeing alternate translations of text by comparing the translation for other translation services
- Saving time with Auto-Paste -- any text you "Copy" from any application is pasted and translated
And of course the chat function will be a winner. At the moment, SDL EasyTranslator multilingual chat can be integrated in Facebook MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, GoogleTalk and VKontakte.
We routinely get requests for a consumer-grade application that enables users to get a quick translation of text, or that can be leveraged within chat applications," said Claude Walton, Director of Product Marketing for the SDL Language Technologies division.
SDL Easy Translator for the Enterprise
Always with free products -- because this is free in beta at the moment -- you always wonder where the catch is. With this, there doesn’t seem to be a catch yet, although it’s not clear whether it will continue to be free once the Premium service is released later this year.
The Premium SDL EasyTranslator Premium will allow users to translate documents into Word and Outlook and is designed for the enterprise.
While the free version has a 500-word limit, the paid version, which costs US$ 5/month or US$ 40/year, will translate documents of unlimited size, and gives a document translation history, as well as the Office and Outlook look translation features.
The Premium version is not available yet, but it might be worth trying out the free version just to see how it works.