Microsoft Office Goes International

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SDL International on Monday launched a translation toolbar for Microsoft's Office and Outlook software.

The toolbar, which works with Office and Outlook versions 2000, XP, and 2003, will translate text on a page without losing formatting, and without the usual small word limit of Web translation services, said Steve Westover, SDL's translation technology program manager.

The service costs $39.95 per year and offers translation for English, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Instead of having to leave Office to paste text into a translation Web site, the user can do it on the fly. The user can also choose whether translated text is pasted below the original in an e-mail, or attached as a document, Westover said.

Users to date have mainly come from the general public, Westover said. The company is not targeting any specific industry segments, he said.

Put to the Test

Using SDL's free translation on its Web site, the first sentence of this article becomes, in French, "SDL PLC International a lancé un toolbar de traduction pour le Bureau de la de Microsoft et le logiciel de Perspective lundi."

Perspective software sounds like a wonderful thing, but it doesn't necessarily translate correctly to Outlook. This translation shows why sometimes a human translator comes in handy. A link from the toolbar, and from the Web site, gives access to a price quote for professional, human translation services, Westover said. SDL, of Maidenhead, England, employs hundreds of translators internationally, he said.

SDL did not work with Microsoft in developing the software, Westover said. Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.

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