Wordfast Aligner is offered to the translation community as a free service. We designed it with usability in mind: copy-paste text, download a TM. Doesn't get any simpler.
List of supported languages
We support any two-language combination of:
Arabic, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (simpl. & trad.), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese (incl. PT-BR), Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese.
If your language is not listed, we can add it if you supply us with a Translation Memory of more than 100,000 Translation Units.
What can I expect?
Aligners cannot produce a perfect alignment all the time. There are occasional mishaps in an aligned TM. In most TMs actually. Alignment is only as good as:
As a result, some sentences may be unmatched or mismatched. Translation Memories should in general be handled carefully: after all, the translator is the only creator of meaning.
Testing vs Using: Academical vs Professional
Wordfast Aligner caters to professionals first - translators that actually translate to pay the rent. We want to offer a no-hassle design with good productivity. As explained above, aligned TMs offer a boost in the translation process, they are not an end in themselves.
The academical world, and some corporate decision-makers, sometimes scrutinize TMs produced by aligners and are quick to notice a degree of inconsistency. The output of all aligners (and/or terminology extractors) looks dirty - but one should remember what aligned TMs really are for. An aligned TM is typically used as a secondary, read-only TM; on that base, whatever the translator chooses to re-use or edit is then recorded in the primary, read-write TM, sometimes called the gold TM. As such, aligned TMs are backup material, discarded after a project. When done properly, pre-project alignment offers great value, for it is generally superior to Machine Translation. With no malice: if your aim is academical perfection, we suggest that you find and use a perfect aligner - ours is productive, not perfect.
I'm not a translator. What is alignment anyway?
Alignment takes two documents in two languages -- called source and target -- as input. It matches sentences in the source document to sentences in the target document. The output is called a Translation Memory (TM). You can think of a TM as a bilingual dictionary, with sentences instead of words. TMs are used in translation tools to boost productivity. TMs do not translate, as Machine Translation pretends to; but they provide clues and propositions that are checked, corrected, and recycled by translators. TMs relieve translators of repetitive tasks, so they can focus on the creative side of their work. Thus, TMs are useful in technical and commercial translation; much less in literary translation.
Help! I cannot import my aligned TM into my existing TM.
A Translation Memory (TM) is just a text (TXT) file, whether it's a Wordfast Classic file, or a TMX file. In the zip you receive after alignment, those are two numbered files, which look like:
Both can be opened as TXT files. Please use a text editor, like Notepad or TextEdit -- not a browser or Word -- to open those files. If your translation tool fails to import one file type, try to import the other file type. There is a file type selector in WF PRO's Import TM > Select file dialog box, as in most translation tools.
If you are not using a Wordfast translation tool, the TMX file is the one you will import.
The usual problem in importing a TM is compatibility between the language codes set up in the translation tool, and those in the TM you are trying to import. It's the old problem of adding apples and pears: the Translation Units (TUs) that are imported must have language codes matching those in the tool's "receiving" TM. With some tools, those language codes must be identical, and that's often the problem. Some tools have flexibility, only taking the language into account (first two characters, like EN, or en, or FR, or fr), not the region, or locale (last two characters, like US, or GB, or FR, or CA, etc.) Some tools expect a full and strict compatibility of language codes, including locale, some only rely on language, without locale. Also note that most tools consider language codes to be case-sensitive: EN would not match en or En.
The Wordfast aligner lets you specify the language codes before alignment.
It is easy to correct a TM. Perform a search-replace action on language codes with a text editor. With a TMX file, use the surrounding quotes to avoid replacing the wrong text (for example, search for "en" and replace with "EN-US", quotes included, to change en into EN-US). With a Wordfast Classic TM, use the surrounding tabulators instead of quotes.
(c) 2020, Yves Champollion
Yves Champollion translation localization consultant consulting. en français