Translation software and services
Back in olden times, I made a living from software development. I really enjoyed it, and I was good at it - except for the management of customer expectations. And marketing. And time management. In short, I was good at software development, while not being at all good at running a software development business.

In the 90's, that didn't matter. In the first couple of years of the millennium, the economy changed, and it did. And so it was that in 2004, I realized that instead of being a programmer supplementing his income with translation, I was actually a full-time translator who enjoyed the occasional programming. And there I've remained for 10 years. (My résumé is here, if you're interested in my translation services.)

It turns out that the problems I had running a software development business: scope creep, poor management of customer requirements, pricing, and time management; these were all entirely absent from the translation business. Scope creep is difficult when the scope is "translate this document". Customers are never surprised that you translated the document they asked for, and very rarely say they expected you to translate something else entirely. Pricing is straightforward because the words in a document can be counted before anything else is done. And time management is simple when you can get an accurate percentage-done figure at any time (something that is simply impossible in software development).

So translation worked well for me. But technical tools have still been an important part of my translation practice. In 2005, I translated about half a million words, and that figure had risen to about 0.8 million in 2006 as I gained experience and a client list. But in 2007, I discovered AutoHotKey and its typing accelerators, and that year I managed to translate 1.25 million words.

Since then, I've been busy translating, slowly accumulating experience in the handling of translation-related data such as translation memories and glossaries, working with files, solving problems. As I transition back into writing about technical topics, I'll posting articles here about some of that knowledge.

My first article on the topic is about configuring the languages for TRADOS 2007 on the fly, without the need to reinstall the package. TRADOS 2007 is growing less relevant as time goes on and we transition to Studio, but this technique still helps me on a regular basis. And hopefully many more articles will follow.

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