The Setup

Curious about what hardware and software translators use? Here is my work configuration, The Setup-style.

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Anthony Teixeira. I am a professional French translator and proofreader working from both English and Japanese. Most of the texts I translated are related to IT, software or video games, although I am also comfortable with more general topics.

On the side, I blog about localization best practices and tips for aspiring translators.

What hardware are you using?

I have 3 laptops that I use at different times. All of them are running Windows 10. Nothing against Mac and Linux – I actually used to work on a Mac when I was still a dev, but many of the tools I need are only available on Windows and the idea of constantly working in a virtual environment isn’t too exciting!

  • My main machine one is a custom Windows laptop with a 17.3″ screen, an i7-6700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM and a SAMSUNG SM951-NVMe M.2 SSD (+ 1TB HDD which I use for archives). As a translator, working on big projects can involve large read/write operations and heave processing tasks, so I would set the priority on the processor and SSD (possibly with a HDD for backup and storage purposes). It generally sits on my work desk.
  • My second laptop follows me when I’m on the move. Its 11.6″ screen makes it easy to carry around, and it’s got enough horsepower for most of the tasks I handle. Quick specs: i3 processor, 8GB RAM, hybrid SSD.
  • My third laptop is a little older but stands between the above two in terms of power (i7 processor, 8GB RAM, SSD). I keep it as a backup solution if my main hardware fails, or when I need to use a laptop with a larger screen size (15.6″)/ a little extra speed outside.

In terms of peripherals, I back up the most important files and software on an external 1TB HDD and a bunch of memory sticks. I also have a Canon printer/scanner for all the paperwork.

And what software?

As a former IT guy, I love working with all sorts of tools and tweaking my own.

  • For my translation work, I mostly use a CAT (Computer-aided translation) tool called Trados Studio 2017. While it’s got its flaws, it is the most exhaustive solution on the market, handling most file types and offering all functions a translator needs to work efficiently.
    Other CAT tools I work with include MemoQ and Wordfast.
  • When my translation drafts are ready, I check them with two tools. The first one is called Antidote, an advance spell and grammar checker. It goes way beyond what traditional tools offer, looking for things such homonyms, pleonasms and so on.
    The other one is XBench. This one analysis the translated text against in source and reports anything that seems off: missing tags or numbers, repeated words, inconsistent translations, etc.
  • For productivity, I am a very happy user of AutoHotkey, it’s truly amazing how much you can automate with a couple of simple scripts.
  • I’m a big fan of Notepad++. I use it for a lot of things, from data processing to fixing broken files my buggy software sometimes generate.
  • I use Dropbox for backups. What can I add? It works as advertised, and the possibility to go through the change history has saved my life multiple times. As a satisfied user, I never thought about looking elsewhere, but I’m sure there are great alternatives.
  • I occasionally use VirtualBox when I need to check something in a specific OS. Here again the solution covers my needs perfectly.
  • I use MS Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint mostly) for basic office tasks, although I also have LibreOffice installed.
  • TeamViewer is a nice little software when I’m outside and need to run something on my main computer, or when I forgot to put something in Dropbox. Not using it every day, but I’m happy it’s here when I need it.
  • And finally I run CCleaner every once in a while to keep things clean on my computers.

I guess that’s about it for the software I need to keep my translation and proofreading running!

What would be your dream setup?

For the most part I’m pretty happy with my current setup. In a perfect world, I would have a bigger screen and a good mechanical keyboard. All the software I need for my work would run on Linux. And I could carry my ideal hardware around freely. But I guess I’ll need to get in touch with Capsule Corp to make that happen!

Besides that, a more elaborate home office wouldn’t be a luxury. This is actually one of my mid-term projects, having a professional-looking office with ample space to keep everything clean and organized.

In terms of business, it would be interesting for me to be located closer to a big city, without losing the advantages of countryside life.

What about you?

Are you a translator too? I’d love to know about your favorite tools. So many good ones out there and so little time to try them all!