Thread: Promising practices

How to solve terminology problems more quickly: IntelliWebSearch

Michael Farrell, Mortara (PV), Italy

Background In early 2005, Michael Farrell received several descriptions of university courses to translate from Italian into English. The descriptions boiled down to a list of topics and laws of mathematics and physics: not many complex sentences, but a lot of terminology which needed translating and double checking with great care and attention. To do this, he found himself repeatedly copying terms to the clipboard, opening his browser, opening the most appropriate on-line resources, pasting terms into search boxes, setting search parameters, clicking search buttons, analysing results, copying the best solutions to the clipboard, returning to the translation environment and pasting the solutions into the text.

Purpose He quickly realized that he needed to find a way to semi-automate the terminology search process in order to complete the translation in a reasonable time and for his own sanity. He immediately started looking around for a tool, but surprisingly there seemed to be nothing similar to what he needed available on the market.

Solution and recommendations Having already created some simple macros with a free scripting language called AutoHotkey, he set about writing something that would do the trick. The first simple macro he knocked out gradually grew and developed until it became a fully fledged software tool: IntelliWebSearch. After speaking to several colleagues about it, he was persuaded to share his creation and put together a small group of volunteer beta-testers. After a few weeks of testing on various systems, he released the tool as freeware towards the end of 2005. At the beginning of his talk Michael Farrell explains what prompted him to create the tool and how he went about it. He then goes on to describe its use and its limitations, and explains how it can save translators and terminologists a lot of time. He concludes by inviting those present to try it out: after all it is freeware.


Michael Farrell is primarily a freelance technical translator, but also an untenured lecturer in computer tools for translation and interpreting at the IULM University (Milan, Italy), Atril Certified Training Partner, and the author of -œA Tinkerer's Guide to Structured Query Language in Déjà Vu X-. He is also the developer of the freeware terminology search tool IntelliWebSearch and an ordinary member of the Italian Association of Translators and Interpreters (AITI).