21 June 2019

Switching to Mac, take #1

The Macintosh computer first came out, with a memory capacity of 128K, in 1984. I purchased my first Mac, with 512K of memory and a pinwheel-drive matrix printer, in 1985 or 86. It was powered by a large and heavy uninterruptible powersupply, or UPS, containing an iron-core transformer. In 1989 I purchased a more powerful SE30 with a 10M external hard disk and a portrait-style A4 screen. Each item represented a significant investment. Indeed the first two were made with the aid of bank loans. To protect my investment, the hardware was covered by insurance policies for theft, breakage and lightning damage, my house and office being in a rural area.

Earlier this month, after my new Asus laptop died just six months after the guarantee had expired and some serious frustration with Microsoft Windows 10 and Office 365, I decided to switch back to Mac, specifically a MacBook Pro. Fearing that it would take some time to bring my keyboard reflexes up to speed and more still to become familiar with all the new software, I would not have given the switch a moment's thought had I been working full time. But, being mostly retired, I saw the transition as a challenge.

I have now been playing around with my MacBook Pro and LibreOffice Writer for two weeks. I'm making reasonable progress but my keyboard reflexes and software skills still leave a lot to be desired. Amazingly, I have yet to work out how to select text then extend the selection one word at a time using the keyboard rather than the mouse or touchpad in Writer, Mail, or any of the other apps I use.

I suspected before making the switch that dtSearch does not work on Mac, nor anything like it and that the same is true of IWS. For further details, see dtSearch + IntelliWebSearch, take #2. In a private emails, David Thede, the author of dtSearch (hence the 'dt' in the name), and Michael Farrell, the author of IWS, confirmed that their products are not compatible with Mac, that no Mac versions and planned, and, worst news of all, that they knew of no comparable products that run under the MacOS.

Has my use of dtSearch and IWS won more admirers, others might have joined me in the quest for the best alternatives on Mac.

So far, I have found only HoudahSpot for harddisk-wide searches, but so far it appears to be a very poor second to dtSearch. To make better use of the keyboard and shortcuts, I am exploring  PhraseExpress and Keyboard maestro.

* Finally found out how to select or deselect the next word. Amazed that this was so difficult to find.
** The command I'm now looking for is how to get the cursor to return to where it was before moving it to somewhere else to, say, select some text.

dtSearch + IntelliWebSearch, take #2

Back in November 2011 I posted on this blog -- then in its third month -- under the heading Term mining pioneer. This post quoted a case study posted on the dtSearch website entitled
dtSearch Case Study — SDC

SDC Arms Itself with dtSearch for its Translation Services for European Naval Defense and Other Industries 

On 12 June 2015 I posted here under the heading dtSearch + IntelliWebSearch. This was followed, on 9 October 2015, by Glossarismo, dtSearch, IntelliWebSearch and more and, on 6 July 2016, by dtSearch + IntelliWebSearch, latest.

If memory serves, I first purchased dtSearch in 1998 and began using IWS in 2015. Between then and a couple of weeks ago when I decided to switch to a Macintosh computer, I considered myself a power user of the combination. Despite my posts here, talks at translators' conferences and one-on-one discussions with many colleagues, very few have followed my lead. One reason is that some of my most esteemed colleagues have always worked on Macs. A second, more important reason, is that I began using these tools for my particular kind of work when many others were beginning to use translation environment tools, or TenTs (aka translation memory applications).

I have never been tempted to invest much time in TenTs for three reasons:
  1. the repetition rates in my field of work are so extraordinarily low that the arguments concerning matches and fuzzy matches seem irrelevant
  2. the other supposed benefits have never seemed cost-effective to me relative to the amount of time people like me (i.e. slow to adapt to new software) have to invest in learning how to fully exploit them
  3. I have always found that dtSearch + IWS meet my particular needs very well indeed while allowing me to work with the one application that I know really well, namely Microsoft Word.

That said, I have added one trick to my armoury. After delivering a translation, I always generate and file bitext of the original French and my English adaptation. After producing these for many years using Terminotix's LogiTerm, I have switched more recently to using Terminotix's online tool know as YouAlign powered by AlignFactory. I then access my bitext files using dtSearch + IWS. Among the many search options offered by dtSearch, I find myself making intense use truncation (searchwordroot*), searchwordA within N words of searchwordB (searchwordA w/N searchwordB) and fuzzy search.

For a detailed article on this approach, see Transcreation, examples from an online newsletter, #1.

French-English glossary of naval defence, v17

Below you will find a link to v17 of my  French-English Glossary of Naval Technology  dated October 2019. This glossary or lexicon is ...