German Translation Software

There’s plenty of German translation software around to help with tasks related to German translation. (For the process of translation itself I've listed good translation programs to help you here.)

After trawling through translator forums and analysing various opinions, I’ve selected a few of the most popular software offerings for you to consider.

Sound Editing and Recording Software

Occasionally I have to translate German video text into English with the English translation then being used for voiceovers. This is a challenging task for the German translator – not only does the English translation need to be exactly the right length to fit the video, it also has to reflect the action going on on the screen (“Here you see the xxx”) at the right moment. It helps to use recording software to record your own translation, to play it repeatedly and check it all fits.

A great piece of software is the Audacity sound editor – it’s open source and therefore free, so click for more information and to download.

Transcription Software

The real time-wasting element in transcription is the need to continually rewind and replay segments of audio to check the correctness of your transcription. I often transcribe and translate German audio recordings directly into English text and this means I often need to listen to the German segments repeatedly. Solution? Install Soundscriber.

Soundscriber is open source software, i.e. free. It really cuts down the time involved by automatically replaying sections of the recording – say each 5 second stretch of audio 3 times – before going on to the next section. This is called “walking”. You configure speeds and lengths as you wish.

An alternative is Express Scribe, free transcription playback software by NCH software. You control audio playback either using a foot pedal or hotkeys on your keyboard.

Character Count and Word Count Software

Your German translation software suite needs to include word count software. However, different word count software gives different word counts, unfortunately. Why?
Some count page headers and footnotes etc. and some don’t. And there seems to be no definition of what makes a word, e.g. won’t = 2 words or 1? Is 3,000,000 one word, three words, or not a word at all?
As your income as a translator depends on word counts (see here how translation jobs are charged) it’s important to get it right!

If you trawl the translator forums and discussions, you’ll find that – if you aren’t happy with your standard Microsoft offering or the word count facility on your TM - the following word count software is most frequently recommended:

1. Anycount Word Count and Character Count Software – good for .ppt and .pdf files and relatively inexpensive.
2. FineCount – although only for “non-commercial” use, so perhaps not so good.
3. Count Anything – another free application which covers most formats you’ll come across.

Voice Translation and Speech Recognition Software

I was just about to write that, although considerable time and money is being invested into speech recognition technologies, this hasn’t translated (ha, ha) into standard translator software....yet.

However, I realise that many translators are currently using - and seem pretty happy with - voice recognition software.
Presuming you work on your own, or away from everyone else, voice translation software allows you to speak your translation out loud and it will be automatically transcribed into text on your computer. As someone who wonders what another 30+ years of typing will do to my finger and wrist joints, I can see good speech recognition and transcription software playing quite a role in my future German translation work.

In the translator forums one brand of translation software stands out - Dragon Naturally Speaking, now at version 11. It’s pretty inexpensive (under 100 Euros) and certainly does the job (I use it - here my review.

I hope you find this article on German translation software for translation-related tasks useful. Other articles in this series include:

An Overview of Translation software for German translation

How TM Translation Programs work

Popular TM Translator Software

Best Small Business Software for Organising your Work

An Electronic Handheld Dictionary - Translate German on the Move

Free Translation Software to Download

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