How to wash a multilingual sw translation without a cat tool?
Thread poster: Nina Rose (X)

Nina Rose (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:04
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Oct 18, 2010

I manage a lot of multilingual sw translations. But I send them to an external translation agency.

Everything is in excel.

Before I send them away, I want to wash out previously translated strings, so I don't have to pay/get it translated again.

How can I best do that?

Now I have a file of app. 2 500 lines (per language), so it's not a quick fix to "just look it over"...

I can download free software, but I'm not able to buy anything yet...

Best regards,



Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:04
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
You don't have to "wash" anything Oct 18, 2010

In my opinion, you cannot completely forget about the previously translated strings since you need to make sure their translation is correct in the new context where they appear. Depending on the source language, the source text can be very polysemic, and paying the translators to check the old translation in the new place is absolutely critical.

Now, what I think you need is to reach a new arrangement with your translation agency, in the sense that you only pay part of the rate (anything from 10% to 25% of the rate is usually normal, but it varies a lot depending on the translator) for the words contained in the previously translated strings.

If you don't own a CAT tool and don't want to own one for now, ask your agency to do analysis of the new files with the accumulated translation memories and tell you how much of the new Excel files was already translated in the past. That way you will know how many words will be paid at the full rate (the words in the new strings) and how many will be paid at the "100% match" rate (i.e. a fraction of the full rate, for in-context checking).

In the long run, I strongly encourage you to ask your agency what CAT tool they use with their translators and see whether you can purchase a low-cost version for you to be able to analyse the files yourself. Please note however that, depending on the number of languages involved, maintaining the memories and doing the analyses can be a daunting task if you don't get adequate training on the tool. You might want to let the agency do this analysis and reporting work, since they are best suited for that kind of activity.

Good luck!


FarkasAndras  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:04
English to Hungarian
+ ...
CAT Oct 18, 2010

Nina Rose wrote:

I manage a lot of multilingual sw translations.


I can download free software, but I'm not able to buy anything yet...

Those two things don't really mix. Get a CAT, do analysis with a CAT, require its use to ensure consistency and reasonable payment on repetitions.

Stripping repetitions out of sw strings is not an acceptable practice. Just consider the various different ways "From:" and "To:" will be translated depending on whether they mean the start and end of a time period, the sender and addressee of an email or, say, postal adresses.

[Edited at 2010-10-18 19:31 GMT]


Achim Herrmann
Local time: 00:04
English to German
Why using Excel? Oct 19, 2010

Hello Nina,

I don’t think that Excel is the native software resource format, so my provoking question is why you or your developers are doing the extra work of converting the software strings into Excel and back into the native file format after translation?

Most of the existing software localization tools are able to directly translate and process a wide range of software resource formats including executable files.

Working with a software localization tool will also solve the initial problem. Most of the software localization tools are working project based (and not job based like standard CAT tools) and are offering an Update features. The Update feature will allow you to compare the content of the old project with your new files and is incorporating changes and new text entries into the project. All old translations are kept. The translator only has to work on new and changed strings using the old strings as a TM and as reference. So you only pay for the new work. In addition software specific feature like dialog visualization and resizing is offered.

Even if you decide not to purchase a software localization tool I would expect that your external translation agency is using one if offering professional software localization services.

Achim Herrmann
SDL Passolo Business Consultant


Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:04
English to Czech
+ ...
Agree Oct 19, 2010

I absolutely agree with Achim, but OTOH, localizing SW strings in Excel is - unfortunately enough - common practice.


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