Felix tips

Felix tip: Concordance searching

A concordance search in TM lingo is a kind of context search: it finds occurrences of words or phrases in translation units (TUs) in your TM, so you can see how you’ve translated the word/phrase in the past, in varying contexts.

You can do a concordance search right from the Felix memory or glossary window. Here’s an example: I’ve made some changes to the text on the English Felix website, and now it’s time to reflect those changes on the Japanese site. Looking up the sentence “The Felix automatic glossary search feature is another way to boost your productivity and consistency” in the memory, I find a partial match.

Fuzzy match in Felix memory window

The original sentence in the TM didn’t have the “and consistency” phrase. For consistency (nyuk nyuk), the translator would like to see how the term “consistency” has been translated in the past. To do this, simply select the word “consistency” in the memory window, and press Alt + C. A list of all translations in the TM with the word “consistency” will then appear:

Concordance results for word [consistency]

I’ve made the window a little bigger so you can see the results better. Here I see that the translator has translated the word “consistency” as 訳語の一貫性, 訳文の整合性, and 文中の訳語を統一して (for “ensure consistency”). Not very consistent. 🙂 Then again, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds — and the Felix J2E translator obviously has a big mind.

Incidentally, you can also do a search for translation concordance from the memory or glossary window: simply select some text, and press Ctrl + Alt + C (instead of Alt + C).

You can also get concordance from the various Felix interfaces. From Word, you would select the text in question, and either press Alt + M, C (Alt + M, then C), or from the Felix menu, select “Find Concordance.”

Find Concordance menu selection in MS Word

In Review mode, this command automatically switches to translation concordance.

There are also concordance commands from the PowerPoint and Tag Assist interfaces. There’s no concordance command in the Excel interface (yet!), because you can only select a cell or text box at a time, but you can still use concordance from the Felix memory/glossary window.

The Search Feature

Of course, the concordance feature is really just a shortcut to performing a search on the memory.

Searching for [consistency] in the search dialog

The search dialog gives you a lot more power, including regular expressions, as well as searching for the source and translation simultaneously. For example, you could use the search dialog to find all the times you translated “consistency” as 訳語の一貫性.

Nevertheless, the concordance feature is a handy way to quickly check how you’ve translated a given word/phrase in the past.


Felix Japanese blog started

I’ve just started a Japanese-language blog for Felix.

The Japanese blog will basically have the same type of content as the English blog, but geared more toward Japanese users and Japanese text handling.

Felix misc

Comparison of Felix and Trados matching algorithms

The About Translation blog posted a while ago about quirks in the matching algorithm employed by Trados.

He posts the following match results:

Trados matches for “LEAD DESIGN -“

Source Fuzzy Score
Lead Design 67%

He points out that this seems unintuitive and less than useful.

Felix seems to do a better job at assigning scores:

Felix matches for “LEAD DESIGN -“

Source Fuzzy Score
Lead Design 85%

Fuzzy match results for LEAD DESIGN

Note that the scores may differ slightly depending on your Felix search settings. For example, you can set it to ignore case, wide/narrow characters, assign penalties for formatting mismatches, and the like. The scores above are with the “ignore case” setting. The part highlighted in red is the part that Felix recognizes as differing between the two strings.

Felix tools

New tool for Felix: Xelif

I’ve just released a new utility for Felix: Xelif.

Xelif “reverses” Felix translation memories (TMs) and glossaries by switching the source and translation fields. If you have an English to Japanese TM, Xelif will convert it to a Japanese to English TM.

Quite a simple utility, but when you need it, you need it. And now you’ve got it. 🙂

The Xelif window


.BAT files to enable and disable Felix interface in MS Office

There might be times when you want to temporarily disable the Felix interface in MS Office (Word/Excel/PowerPoint). One example is if you use Felix and Trados together.

Trados is known for not playing well with others, which is why installing Trados and Felix side by side isn’t strictly supported. But if you want to do it anyway, you can disable Felix when you want to use Trados, and then enable it again when you’re done. These two .bat files will do that.

(To download these from Firefox, you might need to right-click the link and choose “Save link as”)

If you installed Felix to a non-standard location, you’ll need to edit the paths in the files. Otherwise, simply double clicking on the appropriate file will enable and disable the Felix interface.

Note that Word, Excel, and PowerPoint should be closed before using the .bat files.


Felix TM specifications

I believe in being open about Felix, because I think it lets user make informed decisions. That’s why I publish my development road map. I also recently published technical specifications for Felix, including translation memories (TMs), glossaries, and other features. Although it’s very hard to come up with a balanced comparison with other CAT tools, I also tried to do this here.


How Felix scores with five complaints about Trados

About Translation has an illuminating post about issues he has with Trados.

I’d like to examine his complaints, and note how Felix scores.

MS Word interface: fix the formatting problems

Since Felix doesn’t embed any tags or hidden text into your document, it generally does a very good job at not messing up the document’s formatting. There are still a few issues, though. For example, it doesn’t preserve font size information: translations will be inserted with the same font size as the current selection.

Note that you can retrieve translations with no formatting at all if you simply want to use the current style (e.g. “Heading 1”) — simply hold down the shift key while retrieving the translation (i.e. “Shift + Alt + Down Arrow” or “Shift + Alt + G”).

Concordance search: a translator should be able to search not only on the source language, but also on the target.

Felix can search for concordance for both the source and target languages. You can do it directly in the Felix window by selecting a string and pressing “Alt + C” (source) or “Ctrl + Alt + C” (translation), or you can do it from Word/PowerPoint/TagAssist via menu/keyboard shortcuts. Unfortunately there’s no concordance command from Excel, because you can’t search below the cell/text box level (yet!), but you can still use the Felix window when working from Excel.

And of course, Felix supports powerful traditional TM and glossary searching, including full support for regular expressions.

TagEditor: recommending the use of TagEditor for the translation of MS Word documents would be more acceptable if TagEditor were a richer text editor.

This issue is largely solved in Felix because there are interfaces for Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, so you don’t have to use external programs very often.

I do have an external editor, Tag Assist, for HTML files, which suffers from many of the faults he mentions. It’s not reasonable to expect a CAT tool to have an editor that rivals Word/Open Office/etc., but we can do a lot better in this area. (By the way, just between us here’s a secret development item: within the next version or two, I’ll be adding functionality to translate HTML files from MS Word — the actual HTML code, not the junk that MS passes off as HTML.)

MultiTerm: a more user-friendly and less counterintuitive interface and process would help.

Glossary functionality is fully integrated into Felix, and I believe that it’s user friendly. There have, however, been requests for more powerful searching, sorting, and editing, and I’m working on those features now.

Artificial limitations to the freelance edition of Trados. Two translators who acquire two different freelance licenses should be able to run them on the same home network, without the need to purchase a more expensive version of the program.

I think users balk at these types of limitations because it feels like they’re being squeezed for money. Felix allows any number of copies to run on the network. It also allows any number of users to share memories over the network using Memory Serves. Even Wordfast, which is usually more liberal than Trados, puts a cap at 20 users (although that might be a technical limitation).

In fact, Felix has only one “artificial” limitation: the trial version is limited to 500 translation units (TUs) (but has no time limit). Everything else is unlimited, including languages, number of TMs, number of glossaries, etc.


I think Felix scores fairly well against the Trados pain points noted by About Translation, although it still has room for improvement.

If you’re a discontented Trados user, I’d recommend trying out the free trial version of Felix. I also promise to be much more responsive to any issues you find than some of the big names in the industry.


New development roadmap for Felix

As I noted in my first published roadmap for Felix, my plan was to make some minor improvements, then implement networking support for Felix in July, and a translation history feature in August.

I completed the first part of the roadmap with the release of version 1.1, and the second part (network support) with the release of version 1.2. My original plan for this month was to implement translation history support in August, then do minor improvements for a month or two after that.

My queue of “minor improvements,” however, has grown pretty large: there are now 37 enhancements/fixes queued in my issue-tracking system (some of them requested/reported by users). While most of these are fairly minor and won’t even warrant mention in the list of improvements, taken together I think dealing with them has to take priority over a major new feature (translation history).

So I’m going to work on clearing my task list during the month of August, release the improvements in version 1.3 at the end of the month, and then get back to the translation-history feature in September.

Felix release

Felix version 1.2 released

I’ve just released Felix version 1.2. This is a major upgrade with several improvements:

  • Share memories over a network
  • “Translate to fuzzy” command for PowerPoint interface
  • Toolbar for Excel interface
  • Zoom function for memory and glossary windows

See below for details about each new feature.

Share memories over a network

In order to use this feature, you’ll need to install Memory Serves, a free program to share Felix memories over a local network.

Once you have Memory Serves running, copy the connection string for the desired memory/glossary, and then from Felix, select File >> Connect… (you can do the same thing from the glossary window).

Felix Connect menu

The Connection Dialog appears. Copy in the connection string, and click OK.

Felix Connection Dialog

Now you should be able to use the networked memory just like an ordinary Felix memory.

“Translate to fuzzy” command for PowerPoint interface

This command will automatically translate all segments in the current PowerPoint file until a non-perfect, or “fuzzy” match is found. This is useful when you have a document with a lot of repetitions.

To use the command, from the menu bar select Felix >> Translate to fuzzy.

Translate to fuzzy command for PowerPoint interface

Toolbar for Excel interface

Now the Excel interface has a tool bar like the Word and PowerPoint interfaces, allowing quick access to common Felix commands.

Toolbar for Excel interface

Zoom function for memory and glossary windows

Use Ctrl + Mouse Wheel to increase/decrease the size of the text in the memory and glossary windows. If the zoom doesn’t work, click the title bar of the desired window to make sure it’s in focus.

Zoom feature for Felix memories