Felix release

Felix version 1.3.1 released

Version 1.3.1 of Felix has been released. This is a bug-fix release, and is recommended for anyone using version 1.2 or later.

Download the latest version of Felix here.

The two biggest bugs fixed were a bug deleting records from the Felix window, and a bug editing records in the glossary window. You can see a full list of improvements here.


My thoughts on paid upgrades

Charging for software upgrades is a bit of a touchy subject. The Successful Software blog makes a case for when you should charge for upgrades from the software developer’s perspective.

Charging for upgrades makes a certain amount of sense. It can be a way to fund new development that your users truly want and need. My problem with paid upgrades is when companies start looking at them as a “revenue stream” rather than funding development in the product.

You know what I’m talking about — the company is no longer doing any real innovation on the product, but switches things around a bit and slaps on a new UI every couple of years in order to justify bleeding some more money out of its users. Meanwhile, they keep your data in a binary format or use other tricks to lock you in and keep you from defecting.

In the end, users notice this and start to rebel. In the CAT tool world, people are starting to balk at paying for upgrades, especially just to get bug-fixes (that often aren’t even fixed).

That’s why you can’t make the decision to charge for upgrades purely based on a revenue chart. That’ll work for a while, until your users catch on and defect en masse.

As usual, Seth Godin has something interesting and relevant to say, talking about how his insurance company kept raising his rates by a little bit every year:

I’d get the bill, sigh about the fee, consider the hassle of switching, pay the bill and move on.

Until last week. Last week the number was too high. Something in my relationship with the insurance company shattered. After all, it’s not like they had done anything for me, not like I knew anyone there. It was just momentum. And the number was suddenly enough to make me take action.

In the end, it comes down to a matter of philosophy. Do you want to maximize revenue per user — essentially strong-arming your oldest and most loyal customers into forking over more and more cash — or do you want to continue to innovate, creating loyal customers who will gladly pay for major improvements, and winning you more customers through word of mouth? I love it when I can make a business case for avoiding scumbaggery. 🙂

For the record, I won’t be charging for Felix upgrades until at least version 4.0. Here’s a very tentative release schedule:

  • Version 1.0 – May 2008
  • Version 2.0 – August 2009
  • Version 3.0 – August 2010
  • Version 4.0 – August 2011

So there’ll be no charges for Felix upgrades for at least three years. I’ll make the decision for version 4.0 based on how much true innovation has gone into the product, and whether Felix users feel like a charge is justified.

Felix tips

Felix tip: Review mode

Often after you’ve translated a Word document using Felix, you’ll need to make changes to your translation. You might have noticed a mistake as you reviewed your translation, or your client may have sent back edits. Ideally, any changes you make to your translation should be reflected in your Felix TM.

That’s what Review mode is for. Review mode is just like ordinary translation mode, except that you look up translations instead of source segments; and when you register a segment, instead of adding a new translation unit (TU), the existing one is modified with your corrections.

To get to Review mode, click the “Switch mode” button on the toolbar.

Switch to review mode button

You can also select Switch to Review Mode from the menu.

Switch to review mode menu item

When you’re in review mode, the colors of the buttons are reversed, and an asterisk in brackets ([*]) is shown next to the Felix menu.

Review mode in Word

You look up sentences just like in translation mode (see the quick-start tutorial for a brief overview), but instead of source segments, you’re looking up translations already in your TM.

Lookup from review mode

Make any corrections to the translation, then correct your translation just like registering a translation in Translation mode. Any edits will be reflected in your TM.

Review mode is also a handy way to check your translation, because you can see the source and translation side by side in the Felix window as you go.

To switch back to translation mode, click the “Switch” button again.

Switch back to translation mode button

Felix tools

Align Assist version 0.1 released

I’ve released a completely new version of Align Assist. This is an initial release, so while it’s functional I’d appreciate you let me know of any bugs you find or missing features.

Align Assist main window

What is Align Assist?

Align Assist is a free tool to create Felix translation memories (TMs) from legacy translations. You select a source file and translation file, then align them in a grid window. Once the source and translation segments are aligned, select File >> Save to save them as a Felix TM.

Align window

Align Assist can align many different file types, including Microsoft® Word (.doc, .rtf), PowerPoint (.ppt), and Excel (.xls, .csv), as well as HTML, XML, text, and PDF files.

Click here to go to the Align Assist page

Felix release

Felix version 1.3 released

Version 1.3 of Felix has been released. This release contains a large number of bug fixes and usability enhancements. Two of the main enhancements in this new version are Properties dialogs for the PowerPoint and Excel interfaces. I also took the opportunity to squash a bunch of small bugs that have been building up over the past few months.

You can see a full list of improvements here.

You can download the latest version of Felix here.

I’m planning the next release (version 1.4) for around mid-October. This will be the release that includes translation history files (similar to “bilingual files” in Trados-speak, but saved as separate files in a transparent format).

In between that time, I’m planning on adding improvements to three existing tools: Analyze Assist (analyzing files against TMs), Count Anything (which provides word and character counts for many different file types), and Align Assist (which is currently retired), as well as a first stab at a macro interface for Open Office Writer.


Quick start tutorial added to manual

Today I got an email from a Felix user who was having trouble getting started with the program. His company’s firewall blocks Flash, so he couldn’t watch the demo video.

I’ve been planning to write some quick-start tutorials for a while, but this was the extra spur I needed. I wrote him an email with some simple instructions for getting started with Felix from MS Word, and then wrote a quick-start tutorial based on that.

I’m planning to write similar tutorials for PowerPoint, Excel, and Tag Assist in the near future. If there are any tutorials you’d particularly like to see, or you’d like something explained better in the existing manual, please let me know!