Aug 102010

Testing out GT4T

By Alex Eames

GT4T stands for Google Translate for Translators. It’s a neat little software application written by English to Chinese translator Dallas Cao. Dallas has also assisted Wenjer Leuschel with some translation of the last few tranfree editions into Chinese.

Two things are under test here.

1. How well the program itself works
2. How well Google Translate works

The download is only 741 kb from here…

It installed fine in Windows 7. I opted for the pro version, which works in all programs. It is “nagware”, which means after the first 100 uses, it will periodically ask you to register ($48 Pro version, $28 Word version) but will still continue to function if you don’t.

The only issue I had with it was that, once installed, when I tried to run it from the start menu, it was already active. What I should have done was click on the clover icon in the system tray to set up the language pair and settings. (Within a few hours of sending a preview of this review, Dallas has updated the installer to give you a choice whether or not to launch the program after installing.)

So, once I’d set it to English-Polish and unchecked the “Load on Windows Startup” box, I did a quick test.

In Firefox’s built-in search box, I keyed in “weather in lodz”, selected it and hit CTRL-J. It instantly substituted “Pogoda w Łodzi”. Good result! (Also note it corrected the capitalization smile)

Butterfly Names?

So far, so good. I’ve been photographing butterflies recently and am interested in furthering my knowledge of their Polish names. So how does it cope with “red admiral”? Not very well, as it happens. This is an issue with Google Translate, not GT4T. This time, testing from Word 2007, it instantly returned “Czerwony admiral”. It completely ignored “admiral” and left it in English. The Polish for red is “czerwony” and admiral is “admirał. Sending the word admiral on its own works correctly though.

The correct Polish term for a Red admiral butterfly is “Rusałka admirał”. In Latin it’s Vanessa atalanta. How does it cope with Latin?

Oh, it doesn’t do Latin. That’s a shame (although perhaps not as commercially valuable as living languages).

GT4T is still working perfectly and Google is highlighting the pitfalls of machine translation (MT). I’d thought common butterfly names might be in the database, but no.

So I then wondered what would happen if I punched in “Vanessa atalanta” (as if it were in English) and tried to translate that into Polish. It came back with “Rusałka admirał” whahay – it worked smile into Polish, but not into English frown.

Hmmm – so Google does have some Latin text in the database, somewhere, but just won’t admit it razz.

Now Let’s Try To Break It

Looking for trouble, I tried it in Eudora when typing an email. GT4T doesn’t work very well in Eudora – returning a bunch of HTML text (but does work properly in the email subject line).

You can redefine the hotkeys in GT4T to make them compatible with any applications you use. Since CTRL-J is used for junking an email in Eudora, I thought that might be the issue, so I changed the hotkey. It still didn’t help.

No matter. It’s doubtful I would ever want to use GT4T in Eudora anyway, I just wanted to test a few different applications to see what would happen.


Overall, I am impressed with GT4T. It’s such a simple little tool, but gives you quick and easy access to a large online multilingual dictionary, with one key press, from any application. And it works without slowing down the computer or taking up lots of system resources. I suggest you give it a try and see if it suits you.


... ...

Alex Eames is the founder of, editor of tranfree and author of the eBooks…

How to Earn $80,000+ Per Year as a
Freelance Translator

Selling Your Professional Services on the Web

... ...

Aug 102010

Fed up of staring at your screen? Listen to tranfree 72

tranfree 72 – Email Over-reliance & GT4T

You can also download this edition of tranfree 72 as a PDF


Taking advantage of the long school holiday and the “freelance factor,” we’re currently in sunny Poland.

I was in full “work flow” when we got here, but when the temperature hit 38 degrees C, I took a break for a couple of weeks. During this time, I tried to get out photographing insects, which is a particular interest of mine at the moment.

Butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies are all quite difficult to get close to, unless approached slowly and stealthily. Once you get close, as long as you make no silly sudden movements, you have a good window of opportunity to “get your shots”.

“So what?” I hear you say. “What’s this got to do with translation?”
Well, clients can be a bit like butterflies. You have to approach them on their terms. You have to earn their trust. You have to avoid sudden silly “movements” or they can beat their wings and you’ll never see them again. But if you manage all that, the results can be quite beautiful.

You can see some of the results in the photography section of my blog.

But here’s just one where I got very close to a young Red admiral

Red admiral – Vanessa atalanta
(click image for enlargement)

I hope you enjoy and benefit from tranfree smile


Are We Relying Too Much On Email

By Alex Eames

I think we might be. I bet most of you use email to send and receive work files most of the time. And most of the time, it probably works just fine.

But every once in a while an email does go missing. I used to advocate sending a quick fax over to the client to let them know when you’ve emailed a file across. But hardly anybody uses fax nowadays – we cancelled our fax line about three years ago because nobody had sent us a fax for a couple of years.

This helpful little method overcame the problem of undelivered emails. If the client knew the email had been sent, they could chase it up if it didn’t arrive within a short space of time.

But with fax technology’s fall from grace, and apparently increasingly reliable email systems, this became unnecessary…

…or so we thought.


Email is not 100% reliable.

The truth is that email has never been, and never will be, 100% reliable. Spam filters, system glitches and crashes, viruses, malware etc. all contribute towards making life increasingly difficult for emails to get through. It’s actually amazing that the systems work as well as they do.

A couple of months ago we submitted a job file by email on a Monday evening because we were going to be unavailable on Tuesday. Imagine our surprise when we returned on Tuesday afternoon to a voicemail message asking “how are you getting on with the file?” OUCH! An email delivery issue. Worse still, once the docx file was received it couldn’t be opened, so another round of communication was required. We ended up downsaving it to Word 2003/97, which could be opened by the client.

How do you get around this reliability issue? I doubt if project managers (PMs) want to be texted to their mobile phones.

Some clients use ftp based systems to get around this, but that sort of setup may not be appropriate for small clients. If it’s a regular problem for you, you might consider something like as an integrated solution.

Should we just wait for PMs to chase us if the files don’t arrive in time? Should we get the fax machine out of the attic and revert to our old confirmation method? Or do we just accept, as the client calmly did in this case, that emails are not 100% reliable and live with it?


What about email security?

We don’t really want our clients’ confidential data being shared around the internet do we? We don’t want our own email accounts being hacked into do we?

If you have set up a new email account in the last couple of years, chances are it’s using SSL or TLS as standard (but it’s worth checking).

But if you’ve been in business for a while, what about that email account that you’ve been using for the last 10 years and haven’t changed because it’s become a part of your business brand?

Is it set up to use SSL or TLS security? If not, you will be transmitting your username and password in unencrypted plain text every time you log in.
The same goes for the full contents of your emails and attachments. If you’re not using SSL, TLS or some form of encryption, it’s possible to intercept your communications.

That’s a serious potential vulnerability. It’s worth checking all your email accounts to be sure. OK there’s a certain amount of safety in numbers because of the vast bulk of email traffic – the chances of your data being intercepted illegally are slim – but they do exist.

Even these measures only protect your data between your computer and the mail server. Between mail servers, your messages and attachments are not protected from snoopers unless you encrypt them. If you are dealing with highly sensitive, confidential information, you should seriously consider strong encryption software (e.g. to protect the data.

For a full-blown essay on the subject of email security see…


... ...

Alex Eames is the founder of, editor of tranfree and author of the eBooks…

How to Earn $80,000+ Per Year as a
Freelance Translator

Selling Your Professional Services on the Web

... ...


GT4T Review next

Aug 062010

After we came back from Krakow, Tomek and I went along to a local grassland area on the edge of the forest. We went there because we knew there were loads of Burnett moths. We took a few containers with us, but one of the coolest things we saw was a teeny blue butterfly. There were actually a couple of them, but we managed to sneak up on one after a couple of attempts and catch it in a container. So we took it home, fed it some sugar water and kept it inside for a couple of days, photographed it and released it. This one behaved very much like the speckled wood back at Eastertime and each time it was released from the box it went for the window.

So here’s a few shots of it. Bear in mind that it’s tiny. Wing span is about 15mm (3/5 inch). I’ve included the reflection shot because my dad likes reflections. Would have been better without double glazing though. 😥

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus

Common blue - Polyommatus icarus

Having been unable to get a good straight-on shot of a tortosieshell here in Poland, have a look at the underside instead.

Tortoiseshell - Aglais urticae

Tortoiseshell - Aglais urticae

Aug 052010

Not been much of note because I seem to have “nabbed” half-reasonable shots of most of the local native species. Two which have proven to be fairly elusive so far this year have been the Red admiral and the Cabbage white. The local Reds seem to not allow humans within 15 feet unless they’re feeding (the Reds, not the humans that is). And Cabbage whites are just so restless that they never seem to sit still long enough even for autofocus to work, let alone manual.

Remember I did manage to nab an underneath shot of a Red admiral before we went to Krakow. That one appeared very young and small. I think it grew a bit now and I managed to get another shot of it in the rotten fruit patch.

Red admiral, Vanessa atalanta

Red admiral, Vanessa atalanta

There’s another, larger one, that likes to hang out in the sunny corners of the garden. I managed to sneak up on that one as well today.

Red admiral, Vanessa atalanta

Red admiral, Vanessa atalanta

You can see the two are not the same one because the wing damage is different on each.

And just after doing that, I saw a couple of flashes of white on the apple tree. Two Cabbage whites courting, by the look of it. Well I managed three shots before I scared them off. 😀

Cabbage white, Pieris brassicae

Cabbage white, Pieris brassicae

I’ve also got a Common blue and a couple of interesting views of a small tortoiseshell to come. These were shote a few days ago but I’ve been trying to focus on other things this week. (Pun intended).

Jul 232010

I’m still after a good topside photo of the European Map, but a sharp, close, open-winged, straight on shot so far eludes me. 😥 Although I’ve got plenty of shots, they are all slightly lacking in some way. But in my pursuit of this today, I happened across my first Painted Lady of the year (in Zgierz).

Painted lady - Vanessa cardui

Rather battered (looks as if it has escaped being eaten by a bird – or maybe the result of migration?) But even with a significant chunk of wing missing, this one appeared to be in total control of its flight ability.

Painted lady - Vanessa cardui

As is normal for painted ladies, this one was quite tricky to get close to, but fortunately was very keen to feed on these flowers, so didn’t go far away when spooked. And when it realised I wasn’t after a butterfly sandwich for breakfast, it let me get quite close. :yes:

Painted lady - Vanessa cardui

Painted lady - Vanessa cardui

Jul 222010

Having seen endless peacocks, speckled woods, ringlets, cabbage whites, and meadow browns in the garden in Zgierz (I even saw what looked like a swallowtail fying quite high up one day 😎 ), today marked the first sighting of a Red Admiral. They like cherries. This one was first seen heading for the cherry tree, where I soon scared it by getting too close. After that (s)he headed over to the compost area to find some rotting apples which fell off the tree. But the closest shot I got was after eating some apple, it headed into a tree to roost at about a foot above my head height and upside down. Light was bad, so I used the pop-up onboard flash. Unusual angle, but good facial and outside wing detail – and we’ve all seen Red Admirals before anyway. 😉

Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta

And this moth was seen in the woods on the way back from a session at the lake yesterday evening. No idea what it is.

No idea what this moth is

Jul 212010

I popped to my “target rich environment” for an hour this morning and got a better shot of the topside of the European Map (Araschnia levana, prorsa). Still not brilliantly sharp, but again it was rather windy, so a bit hard to focus. At least you can see the markings.

European Map (Araschnia levana, prorsa)

Also caught another species I hadn’t got before. This one is a Ringlet – Aphantophus hyperantus.

Ringlet - Aphantophus hyperantus

And there was also a kind of hoverfly on a flower that didn’t object too strongly to having its portrait done.

A kind of hoverfly

Jul 202010

Just popped my head out the door this morning to be confronted with this on the wall. So I ran back in for the camera and clicked off a few “rounds”. Quite laid back, allowed me close enough so that this was full frame with Sigma 105mm.
Call me boring, but I prefer my butterflies the right way up. But beggars can’t be choosers. 😀

Peacock - Inachis io

Not expecting much of anything else today as we spent most of the day in the car to Kepno and back.

Jul 192010

One of the areas I scouted out last week has thousands of Burnet moths. I went through there today and took loads of shots, but it was too dark and too windy to get much of anything really good. So I will have to go back on a brighter day. This one is included just for fun, not for photographic merit…

Burnet moths (5 or 6 spot)

Then I went down to the lake and it was dismal there too, but I found the damselflies and one male in particular let me get really close. These were with on-camera flash though so not as natural looking as I like…

Calopterix splendens

Calopterix splendens

Jul 182010

Banded Demoiselle – Calopteryx splendens. These live up to their latin name – they are indeed splendid to look at. 😎 First place I ever noticed one was at “the Willows” a few weeks ago. Then I saw them again on a riverside walk in Bicester. And they are quite abundant here in Zgierz by the local boating lake. I love the way they fly. Very fluttery and butterfly like. Quite skittish (as I found out both times I tried to get anywhere near them in the UK). Yesterday I just sat down on the bank in a place where there were 3 or 4 fluttering about and waited for them to land near me (ish). Then you stick the camera to your face and approach gradually, taking shots along the way, never knowing which one will be the closest – because they will flutter away if you close in too quickly – or once their comfort zone has been invaded. As usual, click any image for an enlarged version (1000px – they do look a bit soft when shrunk to 600px to fit in the blog 😥 The high res versions 3008 px wide aren’t – but I’m not publishing those freely on the web 😛 ).

Banded Demoiselle - Calopteryx splendens. Male

Banded Demoiselle - Calopteryx splendens. Female

A pair of, what I think is White-legged Damselfly – Platycnemis pennipes. The blue one is the male and the white is the female. (I assumed it was the other way round, but apparently not). If you get too close to these when they are “busy” they will happily relocate by flying to another blade of grass or reed. They also posit their fertilised eggs in the water while flying together. Pretty amazing really.

White-legged Damselfly - Platycnemis pennipes.