Some of my favorite user-inspired new features in Felix

I’m a professional translator, and I use Felix in my work. Actually using the software you make is called “eating one’s own dog food” (or “dogfooding”), and it’s a great way to improve the quality and usability of software (you might also be surprised to find out how rare it is — or not surprised, depending on your cynical bent).

While dogfooding does help make software a lot better, it also has two main weaknesses/blind spots:

  1. You get used to doing things certain ways, so tend not to notice other ways of doing things that are buggy or inconvenient
  2. You get so used to doing things one way that you don’t think of better ways of doing them

This is why user feedback is so important. I actually love it when users tell me things that they don’t like about Felix, or things that need improving. Firstly, I know that if one person takes the trouble to send me feedback, there are at least 10 other users feeling the same pain. Secondly, getting a new perspective on my “baby” can help me see new opportunities for improvement.

I just got finished doing a fairly large (200-page) translation, and I noticed that three new Felix features inspired by users were really convenient and made my work easier. I’ll list them below.

F6 to toggle between match and concordance views
Inspired by: Charles Aschmann
This is such a simple feature, that I’m amazed at how much time it saves me. When a translation match is displayed in the Felix window, you can select some arbitrary text in the query or translation, and press ALT + C (for source) or CTRL + ALT + C (for translation) to get the concordance for it — basically, find out how that string is used in context in other translation memory entries. That’s easy, but before it was cumbersome to get back to the match view. Being able to press F6 to quickly toggle between the match and concordance views made this feature a lot easier to use — and thus I find myself using it more and more often.
Saving profiles
Inspired by: Sako Eaton
This is great when I’m working on two jobs in parallel. I can save all my currently loaded TMs, glossaries, and settings in a profile, and then when I switch jobs, I can load the profile for that job to close all my current TMs/glossaries, and open the ones for that profile.
CTRL + Up to correct translations
Inspired by: Charles Aschmann
This feature also saved me some time. Before, when working in Word and I needed to correct a translation in the TM, I would have to either do it directly in the Felix window, or switch to Review mode in Word. Now, I can just correct the translation, and press CTRL + Up Arrow to correct the translation in the TM.

To Felix users: keep that feedback coming, it’s very much appreciated!


Align Assist version 0.4 released

I’ve released a new version of Align Assist. The main improvement in this version is the ability to specify URLs as the source/translation. Now, you can enter the URLs of any two web pages, and align their text.

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

Other tools website

Find broken links on your website

I’ve been revamping the Felix manual, and I was worried about creating broken links in the process.

I was able to use a very cool tool called Xenu to find all the broken links on my site and quickly fix them. Xenu has a minimalistic interface, but it does what you need it to do, and very simply. First you feed it a URL or the path to a file on your computer. Xenu then spiders your site, and pops up a web page with all the broken links and the pages containing them. This is a great touch, because you can then jump right to the offending page and see where the broken link is.

The Google webmaster tools also give you a report on broken links, but it’s usually outdated (since they last spidered your site) and it doesn’t tell you where the broken links were. Xenu is thus a valuable addition to the webmaster’s toolkit.


New tool: Jamming2Felix

I’ve just released a new free tool: Jamming2Felix.

Jamming2Felix is a simple utility that converts glossaries from jamming format into Felix format.

I originally developed this application at the request of a jamming user, and am now releasing it to the general community. Enjoy, and let me know if you run into any problems.