Feb 26

Change Tracker: translation review report in just several clicks

Recently my work focus moves slowly from translation to review. And after you perform a review, you often have to document the changes, especially when there is a lot of them. Although the newer CAT tools offer track changes function (available, for example, in memoQ or Trados Studio), the creation of a report readable outside that particular software might require some time-consuming work. Fortunately, there are tools designed just for illustrating changes between two versions of bilingual documents. I know of two such programs, and both are free: ApSIC Comparator and Change Tracker. The former is a tool available for years and I don’t consider it my favorite. First of all, it works only with Trados-style bilingual DOC files, secondly, it’s not even true, because you can safely work only with RTF files (despite claims to the contrary in the software manual) and thirdly, you have to put your files for comparison in a strict folder structure. When I tried to use Comparator for the first time several years ago, it took me at least an hour to get to an actual report with changes. What’s more, the Comparator generates only HTML report – it looks good, but I know from experience that a lot of translators does not know how to edit the file to add comments (you can open the file in Word). Fortunately for over a year there is a much more convenient and more universal software available: Change Trackerfrom Technolex Software. The tools supports following file formats:

  • TTX (TagEditor),
  • TMX (translation memories),
  • TXML (WordFast Pro),
  • SDLXliff (Trados Studio),
  • mqXliff (memoQ),
  • XLZ (compressed XLIFF),
  • bilingual MS Word (Trados).

Change Tracker has a very minimalistic interface, almost without any menus or commands. When you start the program all you have to do is to drag and drop in the relevant window panes translated and reviewed file, link them manually or automatically (if the names are the same, you can use “Autolink by Names” command) and generate the report. As can be seen, the report consist of four columns: file name, source text, original translation and reviewed text, both with clearly marked changes. And you don’t really need anything more. In the options you can switch between report containing only changed segments or all segments. When you click “Make report” the software will generate an XML report which will be opened in Excel in the next step (IMO this should be simplified). You can send such report to all parties involved and be sure, that it will be opened without any problems, with the ability to add comments. Or you can copy the content to some LQI sheet for easier scoring. Simply brilliant. I definitely recommend the software and I would express my thanks to (unfortunately nameless now) person, who shared the information about Change Tracker on Twitter several months ago. And, by the way, if the minimalistic interface in English is still too much for you, you can go to Change Tracker wiki for a localization into one of 14 available languages.

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