Full disclosure: I have no financial interest or gain to be made form promoting Snowball, however I am good friends with it’s creator, Erich Hegenberger. With that in mind take the following post as you will….
I’ve raved about Snowball before on this blog, on Twitter and to anyone that I know who is interested in or has a need for excellent translation software.
The final beta release of Snowball has is now available to download from the Trmem.com website and I would highly recommend that language professionals everywhere head over and get a glimpse of how translation tool should work.
The following is take from their release information:
While many still scoff at computer translation, which is based on the assumption that computers can grasp complex concepts in one language and present them coherently in another, professional translators have been using a concept called translation memory for many years. A translation memory program lets the user do the brainwork, storing previously translated "segments" for reuse. Every day, millions of professional translators around the world lose time looking for translations for things they’ve seen before. The potential savings is huge if only a small fraction of these segments can be reused. Unfortunately, though, current translation memory tools are based on decades-old, cumbersome interfaces. These tools can actually slow users down by distracting them from their creative work.
Snowball, a new translation memory program from Total Recall, automates as much of that drudgery as possible, protecting the user from unnecessary interaction with the computer. This approach is based on the fact that, currently, computers are good at effortlessly doing routine tasks but are not so good at creative work, while for most humans the situation is reversed. In just one such improvement, Snowball can actually "look over the user’s shoulder" and store translation memory segments automatically in the background without the user even knowing it. Similarly, the program can also be configured to only prompt the user when it recognizes a previously translated word, phrase or sentence that can be reused, otherwise remaining hidden in the background. This is the way many people imagine a computer should work, and is certainly the concept of the near future for interactive translation memory.
On a side note, I did a 4 hour session with Erich on Blog TV last week talking about start-up companies, but there was also a lot of talk about Snowball as we answered questions from people in the chat room.
The following 3 videos make up about an hour and a half of footage (less than half of the total time we were on air) but were all we could record due to space limitations on the service.
Warning: They are long and unedited but do contain some good tips for people thinking about building a startup and there is plenty of Snowball pimping done by me. I wasn’t paid to do the pimping, I just genuinely believe in the product that much.