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 »  Articles Overview  »  Technology  »  Software and the Internet  »  HOW TO MAKE EASIER A FREELANCE TRANSLATOR’S LIFE 1rst episode: BABYLON BUILDER


By Maria Antonietta Ricagno | Published  09/24/2009 | Software and the Internet | Recommendation:
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Maria Antonietta Ricagno
angielski > włoski translator
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Everybody knows how much time we waste, at times, trying to fix serious or minor technical issues hindering us to carry out our translation work the way we would like to. This is especially true if we are no IT geniuses or when we face applications we are unfamiliar with.
Time and experience enable us to store know-how and technical knowledge that make our life easier, as we frequently learn new workarounds from problems occurred and solved thanks to our efforts, our colleagues’ support and several translators’ portals, which are a real parade of the problems we come across every day. This means, therefore, we have to invest our time in problem-solving activities when we have to meet a strict deadline and time is not our best resource.
This brief article features some simple guidelines outlining a practical procedure that may prove useful to translators; it is mainly aimed to whom is not so familiar with some software programs.

How to load a personal glossary to Babylon

Those of you who never heard of Babylon may wish to know it is a real useful, valuable and cheap software program. You can buy it on-line ( and it features a series of standard glossaries already loaded, while other glossaries can be purchased and downloaded from time to time.
Besides, periodical updates and new features are available, all of which are tax-deductible costs as professional investments.
Once downloaded and installed the program, the Babylon icon appears on the desktop lower bar and each time you need to look for a term, you just have to invoke it on the screen by clicking on it or simply using a shortcut key. Just select the term in question and click and hold Shift + right-click.
The really interesting feature in Babylon is that it enables you to load your personal glossaries - that is those glossaries every translator usually compiles - simply following some format conventions.
This means saving time and having at your disposal several definitions at the same time, so that you can cross-compare terms in different languages, in addition to check their meaning and translations.

First of all, you should download a free program associated to Babylon, the Babylon Builder (, that is used to build personal glossaries. Once done, it is also possible to send them to the Babylon website so they can be published on-line and be available for download for free by other users.

Now, let us review the instructions to proceed.

If we compiled a glossary in .doc format:


The best way to format a glossary is to put it in a dictionary-style layout, i.e.:

original term

original term

and so on, leaving a blank line between the definition and the next term. That way, the Babylon Builder will correctly recognize and visualize the glossary.


If you save the glossary in html format, most of the ‘special effects’, such as bold, italics, underline, embedded images and hyperlinks, will be automatically imported. On the contrary, if you save the glossary as text (.txt), you will have to enter all the ‘special effects’ as html tags.
This is a brief list of some tags:
Once complied with these formatting rules, we can go on:

1) Saving the glossary as HTML.

Open the glossary in Microsoft Word and save it as .html file (File>Save as>html).
If the application does not support the html format, you can also save the glossary as text file, i.e. .txt ((File>Save as>txt).

2) Importing the glossary

Open the Babylon Builder, go to File>Import and select the glossary file you want to import.

3) Preview

Now, a browser window will open with the glossary preview containing the list of the terms in the left pane and the definitions in the right pane. You may also disable the preview option in the Advanced Options menu.

4) Modifying and Building

Go back to the Babylon Builder. In the ‘Edit screen’ (2nd screen) screen, you can modify the glossary or go directly to the ‘Build screen’ (3rd screen) screen to build the glossary. Once done, you can send the glossary to the Babylon website by clicking the ‘Submit screen’ button, or load it onto you application to use it.

As always, I would be pleased to get a feedback with your comments, tips and opinions.

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