Thursday, March 22, 2007

ApSIC’s XBench: New QA Functions Help Providing Consistent Translations

Many translators have been using XBench, a free utility created by ApSIC (a Spanish localization company) as a handy program to check glossaries or exported translation memories. Its main use was probably as a convenient and simple tool to search the Microsoft Glossaries.

ApSIC has recently released an upgrade to the program; though it looks like a minor upgrade (from version number 2.6 to 2.7), it is in fact a major improvement, which adds many more file formats (including Trados and SDLX bilingual files), and, above all, powerful quality assurance tools.

The new functionality permit to define files as “key terms” or as “ongoing translation”; the two things are linked: the ongoing translations files are checked against the key terms glossaries, and any discrepancy is noted in the QA screen. In addition to that, the new QA functions warn of various other potential problems, including numeric or tag mismatches, and permit to run checklists against the translated files (I believe this could be useful, for example, to check against specific types of problems).

The new features make the program more complicated (though the basic glossary search functionality remains as simple as before), but they are clearly explained in the thorough help file.

All in all, XBench is now a program that should prove very useful to almost all translators, and at a price that is impossible to beat.