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No more mistakes thanks to LanguageTool, the open-source checker

Published on 25 April 2016 Published in: Articles and tutorials Hits: 2200
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No more mistakes thanks to LanguageTool, the open-source checker

A few weeks ago we published a post about the most valued apps by SDL Trados Studio 2015 users and their equivalent in OmegaT. We saw that OmegaT, even though it’s a much smaller project, has many features usually available in expensive CAT tools. Moreover, sometimes OmegaT can perform these functions in an easier way. Today we will see one of the features we talked about on that post: LanguageTool.

LanguageTool is an open-source spell, grammar and style checker that supports more than 20 languages. It is based on linguistic rules: it finds errors based on a rule set. This means that the more rules there are for a language, the higher become the probabilities of finding a mistake. LanguageTool is open-source, and it’s developed by its users. If you are a translator or linguist looking for an easy way of adding some experience to your résumé, I would recommend you to contribute to the project. It would only take you a few hours to add some new rules to your language set. This will be an excellent way to show both your expertise in language technology and your familiarity with open-source projects.

As you can imagine, there are huge differences in the development of LanguageTool depending on the language. For instance, even though Spanish speakers vastly outnumber Catalan speakers, the Catalan community has added more rules to the project. This means that you get better results if you use LanguageTool with a text in Catalan, compared to one in Spanish.

LanguageTool can be used in several ways: you can use it directly from the website, you can download the stand-alone app or install it on your Firefox or Google Chrome web browser as a plug-in. You can even combine it with OpenOffice/LibreOffice in order to provide your open-source word processor with a grammar checker, the option that I personally prefer. Furthermore, LanguageTool is included in OmegaT (you just have to enable it checking the corresponding option in the menu). Finally, it can be combined with Okapi Checkmate in the quality check stage of a translation project.

As a side benefit, LanguageTool is quite useful to improve your language knowledge. It gives you detailed explanations for the detected mistakes, making the quality check a truly instructive experience. There is also a multilingual forum available where you can post your questions and doubts. I truly encourage you to take a look at LanguageTool and take part to the development of this open-source project.