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has anybody tried the new tool similis
Thread poster: xxxBrandis
Local time: 21:19
English to German
+ ...
Jan 17, 2007

Hi! it is being promoted on currently. i had downloaded and installed but it did not run at all. The website doesn´t say anything much about run-time errors or the similar. I want to gather some work experience about this tool . Thankyou for all help. Best Brandis

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Lucy-Jane Michel  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:19
French to English
+ ...
Similis is really easy to use Feb 26, 2007

The company I used to be employed by was involved in the development of Similis from the beginning; personally I really enjoy using it. It's got a clear display, nothing complicated, very easy to use. What happens is that agencies that use Similis can send translations in 'kits' to translators; to use this kit there's a free download so you don't even have to buy Similis at all. Only thing is that you can't create your own termbase with these kits - the memory only applies for that document, and all terminology is extracted by the agency and used to increase their termbase. Whatever form you use though, there's no tags, which I think is a major plus, and you don't have that immense Trados-style toolbar hanging over your work!

If I ever buy a CAT tool, I'd definitely go for this one.

Good luck!


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David Turner  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:19
French to English
+ ...
Jost Zetschke tool kit newsletter Mar 22, 2007

Brandis wrote:

Hi! it is being promoted on currently. i had downloaded and installed but it did not run at all. The website doesn´t say anything much about run-time errors or the similar. I want to gather some work experience about this tool . Thankyou for all help. Best Brandis

There was an article on Similis in a recent Jost Zetschke
Tool Kit newsletter.
David Turner

4. Similis: The Second Generation of Translation Memory?

This is a good follow-up to the previous article. Similis
( has been branding itself as a
"second-generation translation memory tool" since it was launched in 2005.
Since claims like that only make me skeptical, I finally took some time to talk to the developer and look at the tool. And to make a long story short, I was quite surprised to find that even though I found some things that were lacking, there really is something to the claim that it represents a second generation of translation environment tools!

But here is what truly is different and has not been changed: Unlike most other tools, Similis comes with a very high-level linguistic "knowledge" in 7 EU languages (English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and French) which it derives from a powerful engine that was originally developed by Xerox for its XTS tool. This engine gives Similis the analytical power to apply linguistic rules to a number of processes, including alignment and automatic extraction of terms and
phrases from translation memory content. Readers of my Tool Box book will remember that when I tested the Xerox (now Temis) XTS tool a few years ago, I was nothing short of awed by the accuracy of its terminology extraction (the ability to match up (=align) translated documents and extract matching term and phrase pairs without much user intervention). There are a number of tools that offer that, but only on statistical rather than actual linguistic processes. Because Similis is
able to use a combination of statistical and linguistic processes, the accuracy is extremely high -- so high, in fact, that I literally did not find a single error in the few tests I ran last week. Also, because of the integrated dictionaries and linguistic rules, the accuracy of alignment to create translation memories is extremely high (you can actually set the level of accuracy before you do the alignment; the only drawback at the highest level is the slow processing speed).
And while it's not perfect, it's easy to correct errors, especially
because the tool gives you a matching percentage alerting you to possibly problematic alignments. If you decide to use TMs that you have created in Similis in other tools, TMX export (and import) is supported.

Of course, all this is only good for creating translation memories and terminology databases. So what about the actual translation? Similar to Trados, it offers two different environments: a hybrid Word/Similis environment for the translation of all files directly compatible with
Word (Word, RTF, text files, etc.) and PDFs (don't get too excited -- more on that later), and a separate environment for HTML and XML files.
The latter environment is completely new and still looks sort of rough but it's quite functional (for files without too much scripting).

Both interfaces offer a split view between source and target, with the matches from the translation memory in-between and on the left matches from a set of integrated dictionaries. What makes the translation memory matches remarkable is the existence of "chunks," fragments of translation memory matches that the program was able to automatically
extract from larger matches with the help of the XTS engine. And not only are those matches displayed, but you can also have them automatically inserted in the translation.

Text-based PDFs (as opposed to graphics-based PDFs) are supported in an interesting way: Similis has an integrated PDF converter that converts the PDF to text which can then be translated in MS Word. It's clever, but of course any formatting is gone and will have to be reapplied after the translation is finished.

Also, much like tools such as SDLX, Déjà Vu, or Star Transit, the agency and corporate versions allow for the creation of translation kits that can then be translated with a free downloadable version of the program.

The general interface from where you control all different activities is very clean and intuitive (which it has to be because there is very little documentation aside from a few animated tutorials on the website and a French user guide).

Interesting, huh? Of course, there are drawbacks to this "second generation" approach. If you don't translate in and out of any of the languages above, you had better stay with one of the tools that come "without any specific language knowledge" (that would be pretty much all other tools). Otherwise, though, this may be at least interesting to take a look at.

[Edited at 2007-03-23 10:36]

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