Just wanted to say how much I love OmegaT’s concept of handling source files. Unlike most other CAT tools, OmegaT doesn’t convert source files into an intermediary bilingual format like SDLXLIFF in SDL Trados 2011. When I first started using OmegaT, I wasn’t excited about this concept because after years of working with other tools, the idea of not having a bilingual file seemed disturbing. It was only after a while that I figured out how cool this approach was.
OmegaT’s Translation Memory Concept
Again, there is no process of converting source files into any sort of bilingual format. All you do is put your source files in the source subfolder of your project. As you translate, the program saves all translations to a translation memory file. When you decide to create target files, OmegaT essentially makes a copy of your source files and replaces the source text in them with the respective text from your TM.
Key Advantages to This Concept
- Since you essentially work directly with a TM, not with bilingual files, OmegaT virtually reduces the hassle of having to switch between the files. We had a project with about 300 small files recently. Imagine opening and closing all these files one-by-one as we translated and revised them. A nightmare, right? OmegaT saves you time and energy by letting you access all files in your project as if it’s just one file. You do see the borderlines between the files, technically speaking, but that doesn’t prevent you from moving between them effortlessly.
- This feature comes in especially handy when you need to make global changes across several files. You simply find your search term using the search feature and then navigate to each segment by clicking it in the search window. And you see absolutely all occurrences of your search term in the search window, which allows you to get a good idea of the context for that term. In contrast, other tools usually let you find only what’s in the current file, and the way they present the search results is not as convenient as with OmegaT.
- With other tools, each time you make a change to bilingual files without connecting to a TM, you need to take a separate step of updating the TM, which is sometimes time-consuming. Moreover, at times, you might find yourself wondering which version of translation is the most recent one—the one in the bilingual files or in the TM. With OmegaT, you don’t need to worry about things like that at all.
- With other tools, when you make a change to a source file along the way, you need to recreate a respective bilingual file. With OmegaT, changing a source file is enough.
If you’re tired of opening and closing bilingual files or the idea of having bilingual files in the first place, you might really enjoy OmegaT’s approach to translation memory. If you’re still not motivated enough to try it, check out this post about how I realized my first impression of OmegaT was a snap judgment.