Booth-friendly terminology management programs for interpreters – a market snapshot

– This one comes in English, as many non-German-speaking colleagues have asked for it. –

This article is meant to give you a very brief overview of the terminology management programs that I am aware of (in alphabetical order), made for simultaneous interpreters. I have tried to highlight the merits and downsides that in my experience are the most relevant when it comes to making a decision. For detailed descriptions of the respective systems, just follow the links, or post your questions here so that we can sort them out together, with the help of the respective proprietors.

Interplex (Peter Sand, Geneva)

Very much appreciated by those colleagues who have accumulated tons of valuable thematic glossaries in Word or Excel files. You can import them into Interplex and search them all at once (or in selected glossaries), and edit them as well. It has a great search function ignoring all the accents and special characters I tried. It is very straightforward so you can start working with it in no time. It does not, however, allow for classifying/filtering your terms by customers, subject fields, conferences, date etc.

Available for Windows, iPhone and iPad.
Cost: 75 $, free demo (I think there is a student discount, but it doesn’t say so on the website – just ask Peter).

InterpretBank (Claudio Fantinuoli, Germersheim)

Very user-friendly, many nice functions; organised by glossaries (which, technically speaking, are subject areas tagged to each entry), has all the essential data categories (customer, project etc.) and a very nice flashcard-like memorising function. Quick-search function which ignores accents. It is limited to five languages and you cannot add endless numbers of individual data fields.

Available for Windows, Mac and Android.
Free trial, full license: 59 €, student license: 39 €, free demo license for university teachers (and their students).

Also see my more recent review of InterpretBank 4.

LookUp (Christoph Stoll, Heidelberg)

Very sophisticated and has a great quick-search function which literally allows you to blind-type the first few letters of a word and the hit list appears without you even having to hit the enter button. It is limited to four languages, of which only three can be displayed at a time.  The search function does not ignore accents and other special characters. It has many data fields (customer, subject, project etc. and even semantic relations)  and corresponding filtering and sorting functions; to my knowledge, it is the interpreter-specific terminology management tool which comes closest to the „real“ terminology systems (SDL Trados and the like).

Available for Windows. Free download.

TERMINUS (Nils Wintringham, Zürich)

Quick-search function, classification by glossaries and „groups“ (customer, subject group etc.) using descriptors, a concept which I find quite enticing as it is both easy to use and allows for differentiated classification of your terms. Don’t use the default installation folder under Windows 8 or 10.

Available for Windows.
CHF 148 plus VAT, 50 % off for academia, free demo.

For those of you who still just can’t decide, I suggest you start with a plain table in MS-Excel, MS-Access (my favourite), Filemaker and the like. It enables you to keep all your terminology in one place and you have the basic sorting, filtering and searching functions. Those simple table structures can be imported into virtually any terminology management system once you have decided on one.

When working in a team and preparing for a very technical conference, I very much like to share a Google spreadsheet (i.e. share the terminology work). It can save huge amounts of time. But you must really make sure not to enter your customer’s confidential data there, so I would not recommend it as a general terminology management tool.

And last but not least: If there are any other terminology management systems for conference interpreters, please let me know. Also, if the proprietors of the above mentioned programs want to add or correct anything of the above, feel free to use the comments! And anyone who just wants to share their experience, please do so as well.

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Addendum: Immediately after publication of this blog, I was made aware of two more very recent (and indeed very modern) programs, GlossaryAssistant and InterpretersHelp. Here’s more about them: http://blog.sprachmanagement.net/?p=305.

In addition, there is a summary table which gives you an overview of all the terminology tools for interpreters I am aware of, which I try to keep up to date.

9 Gedanken zu „Booth-friendly terminology management programs for interpreters – a market snapshot“

  1. Thank you for this overview.

    In my own experience, Interplex was the best and most user-friendly software for booth purposes. Unfortunately I had to give up using it when I migrated to Mac as I do not use a tablet (iPad) but a MacBook Air (much quicker and convenient in my opinion, but that is another debate). For three years, I have used an App called Bento, which is OK but not perfect, and unfortunately no longer supported by their developers.

    While I was still working under Windows, I had tried TERMINUS. Not bad but much too complicated for my purpose. As I am not a terminologist, I am not prepared to spend several minutes entering one term and its equivalents into my glossary; the software requires several details and parameters that are irrelevant to me.

    As for InterpretBank, it does not exist as a Mac version, only as a Windows version that can be used with another software that allows the running of Windows software (Crossover) on a Mac. No use in my case as I have also tried this option when I first migrated to Mac and experienced many problems (as many as one usually encounters with Windows). Besides, Crossover actually splits your hard disk into two distinct parts, one running under Mac, the other able to work as a Windows computer. It is like having two operating systems/computers on one device. However one cannot navigate freely from one part to the other. I am still waiting and dreaming of an Interplex version for Mac.

  2. Thank you for the infos. Never heard about Terminus before!

    I used Excel for years, and I was quite happy about it. I switched for half a year to Interplex, as I was eager to have a quick search option when working in the booth. The software is easy, but it is nothing more than an excel file + a search option. A couple of months ago I started playing around with InterpretBank, as I was hoping to find some more functions than what I had in Excel. As you wrote, this piece of software has some nice functionalities. I’ve never used the memorizing function (maybe I should), but I find very practical to have some more fields to store a couple of information. The lookup function in the booth is amazing. What I like most: I generally search in a single glossary (my conference terms), if no terms is found, the software looks up the entire database. This has saved me a couple of times! Ok, it is a bit more complex than Interplex, but to my humble opinion, it offers something more to play with. Last week I used for the first time the automatic translation (EN-FR) to get a first draft for a new glossary and, well, even if I was skeptical, I must admit that it was really useful (some terms were not translated + I had to change other translations in order to meet my expectations).

    I’ll stick on InterpretBank now. Let’s see if in a couple of years there will be some new tools to play with.

  3. If ever you have problems installing TERMINUS under Windows 8, the very simple solution Nils Wintringham suggests is to install the application in a different directory, like for example C:\Usr\Terminus. It worked fine with me, thanks, Nils!

  4. Just a short notice to inform you that the new version on InterpretBank 3 has been published a few weeks ago. As John said, we have added some new features such as the automatic translation of terms (to be used in the preparation phase), the automatic search for definitions and the possibility to integrate in your glossary the texts you received from the conference organizers (beta version). You can find more feature on http://www.interpretbank.de We are still working on the software: if you have any ideas or suggestions, they are as always welcome!

  5. Great overview. I would add that fellow interpreter Dan Kenig currently has his (Mac-only!) IntraGloss software in a beta phase. The website is here: https://intragloss.com/. After very preliminary testing I must say I quite like it.
    As far as general-purpose database apps go, I would like to mention Tap Forms (www.tapforms.com). It’s very easy to use, can be customized to fit our needs and syncs via Dropbox or iCloud with a very good iPad app (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tap-forms-hd-organizer-secure/id410500116?mt=8).

  6. All these tools may be nice and dandy, but I have gone for Google Docs spreadsheets and I’m not going anywhere else anytime soon. First of all, because of their ubiquity – if I have nothing else, at least I always have my smartphone with me, where I can browse my glossaries online, or even offline. Second, it’s great for working on glossaries together with others in a team and for sharing your glossaries if needed.

  7. Just a little update re InterpretBank: Full license is now 99€, student license is 49€ and university license is free upon agreement. Thanks for the useful overview! 🙂

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