What is a good alignment editor
Thread poster: mezzofanti

Nov 15, 2014

Hi everybody,

I am new to this forum, and actually not a translator, but a language learner. In the past, I have found parallel texts to be very useful for learning, but now I have run into a problem with the tools discussed on this site.

Usually I use LF Aligner for aligning two texts, which most of the time works great. However the results are often not correct with a language pair like English and Chinese, and therefore some additional manual alignment is still needed.

The built-in alignment editor in LF works really slowly on my computer. What I need is a software which can do the following things:

Import an excel file (that is the output of LF Aligner) or even better a single column of an excel file (so I can copy and paste from the excel document)

Have an alignment editor which allows spliting, merging, shifting up and down.

I have tried a few options, which haven't really worked out for me:
InterText is a open source software, but does only allow to import txt files, no excel.
NovaAligner is a software which does exactly what I want, but only has a trial of 14 days which sadly are already over.
MemoQ's alignment editor does not really work that well.

So if anybody has a good suggestion, I would be more than grateful to hear it!

Thank you


Mikhail Zavidin
Local time: 07:59
English to Russian
ABBYY Aligner Nov 15, 2014

I havn't seen better aligner so far. Although it imports xls files as well, it's output is only a tmx file. Still this is soluable and you will be able to convert the result into the preferable file format if need.
It also supports both chineese - simplified and traditional.
Now you can try ABBYY Aligner 2.0 trial which works only 15 days though and has some restrictions.
The version I have used is 1.0.


Local time: 06:59
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Options Nov 15, 2014

Normally LF Aligner's editor works pretty fast so there has to be something special going on in your case. The editor becomes slower if there is a lot of text in the table (5000-10000 lines or more). Therefore, one option is to chop up your files into smaller pieces that the software can manage better. Also, operations that shift a whole column are slower than local operations that only affect two rows of cells (split/merge is fast, shift up/shift down is slow). You can often avoid using the slower operations.
In your case, the slow speed may be due to some inefficiency in handling Chinese characters. Please test with some texts written in the Latin alphabet to find out.
Last, your hardware configuration may also play a role. If you have access to a computer with a more powerful processor and more RAM, give it a try. Especially if you are using some really old computer or a netbook that's a few years old.

Other sw:
You could try bitext2tmx. I think it's very poorly designed, but maybe it will work for you. I know of no other free alignment editor; the only other option short of buying a commercial aligner is excel. You can use macros to speed up the process, but it's not ideal.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:59
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
PlusTools Nov 15, 2014

mezzofanti wrote:
Have an alignment editor which allows spliting, merging, shifting up and down.

You can paste a two-column table into MS Word, and then use PlusTools to edit it.

There's a little trick to it, though -- PlusTools' shortcuts only work if PlusTools had done an alignment of two documents, so... create two dummy documents with "asdf" in them, then use PlusTools to do an alignment of those two documents, and then... simply create a new blank document (while the created alignment table is open), paste the Excel file's columns into it, and then the PlusTools shortcuts should work on that table as well. Or... paste the Excel file's columns into the alignment file that PlusTools had created.

The shortcuts are:

Alt+S (split cell... into two rows, at cursor position)
Alt+M (merge cell... with cell below it (it adds a space between the texts))
Alt+D (delete cell... and move other cells up)
Alt+I (insert cell... and move other cells down)

Since it is an MS Word table, you can also do other actions with it that you can usually do with tables in MS Word, e.g. insert multiple rows, copy text or cells from one location to another, etc. Selecting several rows of cells and using Alt+D will delete all those cells (Alt+M doesn't work that way, unfortunately... you can only merge one cell at a time). Alt+D and Alt+I also works on both rows if you select both rows. And of course Ctrl+Z works fine (although it'll undo the individual steps and not the individual actions).

If you find that a table is too large for PlusTools, you can temporarily split the table -- the shortcuts will apply to the table that your cursor is in, without affecting the rest of the table that you've split off. Remember to save the file regularly. If you don't change the column widths of a split table, and you delete the line break between the two tables, it merges the tables into a single table again, and then the PlusTools shortcuts work on the entire table again.

One thing I find particularly useful is to use find/replace to highlight certain characters that appear in both columns, which makes it easier to see if the text is aligned properly.

[Edited at 2014-11-15 21:32 GMT]


Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
Finnish to French
NOVA Text Aligner Nov 16, 2014

mezzofanti wrote:
NovaAligner is a software which does exactly what I want, but only has a trial of 14 days which sadly are already over.

I wasn't familiar with that one. Its exact name appears to be NOVA Text Aligner. Are you saying that you perform the actual alignment with LF Aligner (presumably because it's better than NOVA), and only do the editing (fixing misalignments) in NOVA? The software only costs 39.95 euros. You've probably already spent that much worth of your time looking for the best solution...


Rodolfo Raya  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:59
English to Spanish
Stingray Nov 16, 2014

You can use Stingray, http://www.maxprograms.com/products/stingray.html, to align your files and correct misalignments.

With Stingray you can spilt, merge and move segments.



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