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How to Share an OmegaT Project Using Dropbox

How to Share an OmegaT Project Using Dropbox

When two translators work together on the same project, it may be convenient to share their translations. If they are using a computer-aided translation tool, the easiest way to share their work is to use the same translation memory, which is the database that stores all translated sentences with their corresponding source text (these pairs are usually called translation units). Given that file hosting and web synchronization systems, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, are nowadays more and more widespread, we are suggesting a simple procedure to share translation memories using Dropbox.

What you need

To follow this tutorial, you would need:

  • A Dropbox account (if you do not have it, simply click on this referral link, that will give you an extra 500 MB space)
  • OmegaT installed on your computer
  • A project to share with a colleague
  • A colleague :)

OmegaT and TMX files

OmegaT stores translation in a TMX file. TMX stands for Translation Memory Exchange and is a standard format. You can find more information about the standards used in the language industry in our article titled “The role of standards in the evolution of language and translation technologies”. The idea behind the procedure outlined here is that the OmegaT loads and uses -in real time- the TMX files found in the translation memory folder of each project (which by default is the /project_name/tm/ folder), without having to reload the project every time. In this scenario, each translator will have to create his own project, setting it in such a way that the position of the translation memory folder matches the /omegat/ directory of the colleague’s project and vice versa. The project_save.tmx file is indeed located in the /omegat/ directory. Here the translation units are stored as they are translated, each time the project is automatically saved. You can set the saving frequency through the appropriate menu item in the main menu (Options > Save...) or, to save the project manually, just press Ctrl+S (Cmd+S on Mac).

Setting up the shared projects on Dropbox

This method makes use of Dropbox, but it is also applicable to other file hosting and cloud-based file synchronization systems. These are the steps to follow:

  1. Create a subfolder within your Dropbox folder (in this case: /Shared/)
  2. Go to www.dropbox.com and access the control panel
  3. Click on the Sharing tab
  4. Click on the first button on the left, “Share a folder”
  5. Select “I’d like to share an existing folder”
  6. Click Next
  7. Choose the /Shared/ folder
  8. On the next screen select “Invite collaborators to this folder” and enter the email address of the person with whom you want to share the folder. If desired, a comment can be added in the field below.
  9. The selected person will receive an email alert and from that moment he will be able to access the main project folder and its subfolders.
  10. Create two OmegaT projects within the Dropbox shared folder, for example /Dropbox/Shared/Translator1 and /Dropbox/Shared/Translator2
  11. In the OmegaT project properties, set:
  • The source file folder can be the same, as long as it is also shared, for example /Dropbox/Shared/source/
  • The translation memory folder for the project Translator1 to /Dropbox/Shared/Translator2/omegat/
  • The translation memory folder for the project Translator2 to /Dropbox/Shared/Translator1/omegat/

Please notice that the TM folder for Translator #1 is the /omegat/ folder of Translator #2 project and vice versa.

This way, any time Translator #1 translates a sentence, these changes will be reflected in the Translator #2 project, because each project uses each other’s real-time contents as translation memory.

If you don't want to experiment with this procedure, you also have the option of making use of the “team project” feature. Further information in our article “Sharing a translation project with OmegaT and Subversion”.


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