|Article Title: Is it possible to translate on a Mac?|
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While the vast majority of translators use Windows PCs, a growing number of users have moved, or are contemplating buying a Mac. In the past, the tools and software available were a limiting factor, however with the growing popularity of the Mac, this is no longer an issue. All the tools needed by a professional translator, writer or editor, are available for the Mac OS.
Let’s start with the basics. Most corporations use MS Office and send Word files to translators on a regular basis. MS Office is and has been available on the Mac for years. There are also many alternatives available, starting with Apple’s own iWork, as well as Open Office and NeoOffice. For our accounting needs, programs like Quickbooks are also available for the Mac.
What about some of the more esoteric tools sometimes used by translators? While SDL Trados is not available, a variety of similar tools are. OmegaT is a simple, free and open source alternative. Wordfast, a well-known name in translation, is also available for the Mac, along with Heartsome’s Translation Suite and the Swordfish Translation Editor. The latter three are not free, but all offer free trials so you can see which suits you best.
Perhaps you want to switch, but there’s that lingering program, which is not available for the Mac OS yet. There are still options that do not require having a spare PC or a very high end Mac. Since the PC and Mac platform now share the same Intel processor, virtual PCs are a viable option. Simply put, a virtual PC allows you to run Windows (XP/Vista, etc.) in a window on your Mac desktop. Three options are VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop and VirtualBox (currently a free option). If you prefer not to run a virtual PC, Apple has provided another option called Bootcamp. It allows you to install Windows on a part of your Mac’s hard drive, this is known as dual booting. The disadvantage to this approach is that you can’t run both the Mac OS and Windows at the same time; it’s one or the other.
Does that mean you should switch? That is entirely up to you. All the formats we routinely come across can be opened in the Mac OS. This means that if you do decide to switch, you won’t have to give up any of your essential tools as a translator.