Transformation: Translation, Trados, Thoughts

July 19, 2012

This blog is reinventing itself as a blog for discussing translation issues.

This week I found a wonderful manual, for helping me to understand how to use SDL Trados Studio.  This vast piece of software is I think very powerful, but only if you know how!

The manual is written by Mats Linder and can be found at:

I got to hear about it on Corinne McKay’s Thoughts on Translation Blog:

The Manual is well written by someone who understands how a translator’s mind works. So thanks, Mat.  You have made me look forward to my Studio 2011  self-tutorial session, instead of rather dreading it!

Hoping to be back with more on Translation soon.


December 3, 2010

This post is about mCloud, the Morph Cloud,  not McLoud, the noisy Scotsman!

Seriously – the mCloud On-Demand Community from Morphlabs is a cloud management platform that works with Amazon’s EC2 cloud service:

I discovered this site because MJ Dianne Camilon from Morph Labs kindly linked to my Cloud post:   This generated lots of nice traffic to my blog, and all bloggers know links like that are like gold.  So thanks Dianne!  I remember really enjoying writing my Cloud post though I know I am definitely a Beginner to Cloud Computing and classified myself as such in the mCloud community.

My introduction to the community has been very friendly with Dianne and also Ruel Masalta, both from Morph Labs, befriending me.  Ruel has a very interesting post on Cloud Terminology which I recommend readers of the IT IS ENGLISH blog to check out:   (However, to get into the community and also to this link you will have to sign up, which involves the usual divulgence of details.)

Ruel attributes much of the work on this terminology to Margaret Rouse, a technical writer and published author of    I notice she picks up the Rolling Stones theme that I featured in my original Cloud post: “Have you ever wanted to make up a word? Now’s the time. Just make sure it has something to do with a cloud. Play a little Rolling Stones and get those neurons firing (Hey, hey, hey, hey — get off of my cloud).”

A Morph Cloud could be a cloud for elastic computing, or it could be a cloud for an Avatar morph to rest on.   Look at the Avatar Neytiri Morph from the movie Avatar.  It’s absolutely amazing.  You really see how a real actress morphs into a strange hybrid creature, as wonderful as any from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

A noisy Scotsman can be demanding, especially at Hogmanay, and especially if there is whisky in his breath; he might even imagine his shortbread was elastic or morphing into a black bun!  But then I suppose his brain would be clouded too.   “Hey, hey, hey, hey — get off”, he might say, or he might just float away on cloud nine.


Cloud – see previous post

Morph is from the Greek morphe meaning shape or form

Morpheus – Ovid’s name for the God of dreams, the son of sleep (OED)


December 1, 2010

“The Web as a Dictionary”

Another step on the route towards the redundant translator, I fear.  However, I can’t avoid being impressed by the clever software behind this site.  Check it out!

It will not automate your translation, nor even a normally complex sentence, but it will give you in context translations on the web for many of the words or phrase you are interested in.  You can check out the context too by clicking on a link.

Must rush – I have a translation waiting!


Lingo – language, jargon etc.

Possibly elements of “Guess” or “gee” being implied here too.


October 25, 2010

Geo-Tracking tracks an object’s positions.  That object might be you!

It might involve shipping goods to China:

To learn about Geo-Tracking through Google Maps see this article:

This is on the day that Google hit the headlines yet again, and this time for accidentally harvesting user data as their cameras toured our streets!

As the BBC put it: “Britain’s privacy watchdog is to look again at what personal information internet giant Google gathered from private wi-fi networks.”

I actually came across the word “Geo-Tracking” in a rather lovely EFL book called “Business Grammar Builder” by Paul Emmerson, published by MacMillan:

This book integrates Business English teaching with grammar reference material and exercises.  It is full of up to date and interesting examples of texts relating to the current business world.  The item “Geo-Tracking: We Know Where You Are” gives a good description of the various ways in which we are all tracked constantly and says “this might seem like science fiction, it isn’t.  If you carry a mobile phone, there are now various ways to track your movements across the planet.  You leave a digital trail via cell phone base stations and satellites  …”

You may have guessed that one of my excuses for absence is that I’ve been doing a bit of English teaching recently, including Business English.  That and a number of other things.  I know my iPhone probably knows better than me what I have been up to as I find the more I do the less I remember.  But then I am just a poor aging creature whose memory cells are no doubt dying at some horrendous rate (speeded up by every glass of beer I comfort myself with) and yet my digital trail will last for ever.  Ah, to be immortal, as a series of binary digits!  I may even challenge Zeno and the Tortoise one day:

After all, infinity is open to all of us – at least in the imagination!

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.”

(William Blake)

Do not mock - soon the Imagination may be the only area of our lives that is free from surveillance.

I just noticed that Divergent Learner, a techno-constructivist blog, is featuring the IT IS ENGLISH blog, with a vote request, but it turns out the voting deadline has passed:

Divergent Learner  is another from Lexiophiles and looks interesting.

I’m not sure where they are physically based, though I have an idea.  Just ask my computer if you want to know!


Geo – Relating to the earth, and hence place.

To Track – to follow someone’s track or trail.

Track Changes – e.g. in Microsoft Word, this means to keep a record of all changes made to a document.

Out of Range

June 4, 2010

I was Out of Range on the Hebrides when the news came in that my blog had made it into the

Top 100 Language Blogs 2010:

So thanks to all who voted for me!  

I am very much looking forward to reading the other blogs on the list, and as soon as I get a moment I will do so.  

You may wonder how I got the news if I was Out of Range.  I was in Castlebay on the little island of Barra, having survived a week of winter camping, involving pouring rain, wind, fog and almost freezing temperatures, as we headed south from Lewis, through Harris, Uist, and Benbecula, to Barra in the south.  

In Castlebay we were basking in the luxury of having a room in a warm and welcoming Bed and Breakfast and felt that we had returned to civilization after the adventure of the wilds.  But unfortunately my iPhone was Out of Range, or at least it gave me a “No Service” message. However, in Castlebay there was not just the delights of a visit by boat to the magnificent Kismul Castle, but also a visit to the local hotel which allowed me to use their WiFi connection, which enabled my iPhone to download the email from Lexiophiles.  

My phone itself (without any help from the friendly hotel) came back to life with a little thudding sound as I travelled in a bus across the island, just as we came near to the airport on the beach at Traigh Mhor.  Then, as I read the text message,  I realized I had missed a personal phone call of a lifetime from New York, because of being out of range on this very beautiful Gaelic-speaking island, which I should call Barraidh.  

As I watched the plane take off across the silver sand, flying over the turquoise water, I meditated on the contrasts between the Hebrides and New York, and the distances that can separate us from those who we most love even in these oh so connected times.


In the sixteenth century Edmund Spenser wrote:

“For so brave beasts she loveth best to see 
In the wilde forrest raunging fresh and free.”

Fresh and free in our tent roamed a very large black beetle.  Maybe it came in to get out of the cold, as the temperature on Benbecula was way Out of Range!

The Top 100 Language Blogs 2010 competition

May 12, 2010

This blog has been nominated again this year for the Top 100 Language Blogs competition, in the ‘Language Technology’ category.  If you want to vote go to the and Lexiophiles site:

Vote the Top 100 Language Technology Blogs 2010

Last year there were lots of interesting blogs in the different categories, so well worth a look.


May 11, 2010

The New Scientist has an article entitled “Blingtronics: Diamonds are a geek’s best friend”.  There you will enter a “nano-world” where everything is reduced to a “nanoscale“.  We are told that ultrathin diamond is capable of thermionic emission, and “nano-diamonds” could offer an alternative to the silicon circuitry used in microchips.  However, it will be years before “nano-bling” will be used to build an optical computer.  In the meantime there are moves to make “blingtronics wearable”, by embedding electronics systems within clothing. We are told that “there’s a bright future for electronics made using gold, silver and diamonds”.”  

There is lots of interest in this article on the web, but most of it just links to or quotes the article.  As I was browsing these links I came across one that referred to a Chinese website called Blingblingtronics.

Wikipedia has an article on the word Bling-bling, which it says refers to flashy or elaborate jewelry etc. that may be “carried, worn or installed”.  It says that “in linguistic terms, bling is an ideophone  intended to evoke the “sound” of light hitting silver, platinum, or diamonds”.

The Urban Dictionary gives some colorful definitions of  “Bling bling“, which is seen as either a noun or a verb.  As a verb it can be ” the act of sporting jewelry of a highly extravagant gaudy nature”.  It is often associated with hip-hop artists and ghetto culture.


Blingtronics = Bling plus (elec) tronics.

Electric bling, as in flash electronic jewelry.


April 12, 2010

Intertubes is a slang term for the Internet.  

The way in which this term came into existence is described in the Wikipedia item on Series of Tubes.  

I came across the term because I discovered that a site called TubeTrove was linking to my blog in its English language section.  I thought the name TubeTrove was rather clever, as it reminded me of Treasure Trove,  and I looked at the description of the site, which describes it as “A collection of good content from the intertubes.”  (Moreover, my blog is placed next to an item on “Scott Thornbury on grammar”, which for me is to have truly arrived, as I think he is the most interesting writer on grammar that I have ever read.)

Having put Intertubes into Google I discovered that I had been missing lots of tech buzz around this word, and in fact it prompted my rather weary memory cells to recall something about the notorious “The Internet is a Series of Tubes” speech from an American Senator.

Wordnik,  which “is projected to be the largest online dictionary ever”, gives Intertubes its due place, with some fantastic examples of  usage.  Wordnik was “launched by Erin McKean, former editor in chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary”. We are told it  “is a refuge for linguistic underdogs and etymological rejects alike.”  It looks to me like a site for word lovers to keep watching.


Internet – a worldwide network of interlinked computers.

Tube – a tube is like a pipe, and the term pipe can mean a connection to the internet, with a bigger pipe referring to higher bandwidth and consequently greater speed.

Tube – I seem to remember that we used to call television “the tube”.

YouTube – a video sharing website.  A good way of putting yourself on the Intertubes.

Data exhaust

March 16, 2010

“The trail of clicks that internet users leave behind from which value can be extracted”, according to the Economist, in “Data, data everywhere“.  The amounts of data being left everywhere nowadays has lead to the use of the term “big data“.  This data is analysed by data scientists and aggregated by big business to show up trends.

Data exhaust” is sometimes called “digital exhaust“.

The Double-Tonged Dictionary is a “lexicon of fringe English”.  It covers the term Data exhaust, giving it the Gloss: “the incidental statistics and information that accumulate when people interact with a system, process, or event, such as when tracking visitor interaction on a web site.”

Reading the Economist article left me feeling exhausted by the Big Brother type way in which so much of what we do nowadays is recorded and aggregated into statistics for the use of marketing men or goverments or whoever has access to our data.  

When I was browsing recently in a book shop I came across a book about “digital memory” and about the fact that the internet never forgets.  It is called “Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age” by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger.  The Times Higher Education Supplement reviews it and says “his case against digital memory is humanist. He worries that it will not only change the way we organise society, but it will damage our identities.”

I worry also that the data exhaust that we leave behind us may not disperse and be forgotten, to be replaced by fresh air or a blank sheet, but may lurk around, reappearing from day to day, or from year to year, long after we ourselves have forgotten the original event.


Exaust is waste gas left behind as you speed along in your car.  

Data exhaust is the trail you leave, showing where you have been, on the internet.


February 7, 2010

A Tablet PC is a mobile computer shaped like a slate.

Many tablets use multi-touch technology,  which allow the user to interact with the device using their fingers.  I have an iPhone, which I love, and one of its amazing features is that I can tap it to zoom in and pinch it to zoom out.  This is a “gesture user interface” or a “multi-touch user interface“.  

Apple’s iPad, which uses much of the same technology, is a tablet computer placed “somewhere between a laptop and a smartphone”. (The New York Times)

The Economist thinks that “the iPad and other tablets could shake up the computing scene” by for instance competing with netbooks, cheap mini-laptops.  See “Steve Jobs and the tablet of hope“.

Some people think that the Apple Tablet will take over as the leader in the eReader and digital publishing industry, competing with Amazon’s Kindle and other devices.  See Mashable’s “Why Apple’s Tablet will eat Kindle’s lunch”.

Soon we may all be reading on our tablets, and I don’t just mean the ten commandments!  I, for one, would love to borrow my neighbour’s iPad.  But remember:  Thou shalt not covet …

See also:




A small flat piece of stone or metal.

God’s Ten Commandments given to Moses, and recorded in the Book of Exodus, were inscribed on Tablets of Stone.  

See Wikipedia: Tablets of Stone

“Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.”  Net Bible


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