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Software Localization


Dr. Tom's Independent Software Reviews

presents:

Short Reviews



Introduction:
Multilizer Oy (Inc.), formerly known as Innoview Data Technologies, was founded in 1992 in Espoo, Finland. The company focuses on globalization software since 1996. The breakthrough of Multilizer came with its use as a Delphi localization environment at Intel Corp, Xerox, Lucent and IBM. Offering the most divers multi-platform environment, Multilizer grew big supporting not only desktop and web applications but also the internationalization of mobil and PDA technologies. Today Multilizer has sales offices in Finland and the USA and retailers in 20 countries. It was repeatedly honored as the Delphi Informant Magazine Readers' "Best Globalization Tool of the Year".



Fig. 1: The Source Sheet of the Project Wizard is Used to Enter Type and Location (Directory) of Source Files.
Please click on the image for a slide show of some of the many supported source types!

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Features:
Multilizer specializes in globalization technology products. The workspace provides access to all of the many supported platforms and file types through the source sheet of the project wizard (Fig. 1). Platform support includes: Windows 32-bit applications developed in Borland's C++-Builder or Delphi as well as Microsoft's Visual C++ and Visual Basic. Both binary (EXE, DLL, OCX) and, if applicable, Resource files (RC) are supported. In addition, 16-bit Windows applications developed in Delphi 1 and Visual Basic can be localized if the programming environment and the source codes are available. Windows CE application can be processed both as C++ as well as Visual Basic versions. Traditionally more known are Multilizer's powerful Java globalization abilities offering full support of Borland's J-Builder, Microsoft's Visual J++ as well as resource, Java files/beans and Micro Edition property files. Other wireless and mobil platforms include Palm, Symbian and WAP. Multilizer's multi-platform edition also offers support for .NET, XML and xHTML file types as well as a massive database and forms processing ability including dBase, Paradox, BDE, My SQL and Oracle.



Fig. 2: The Database Sheet is Used to Select and Specify the Database, Tables and Fields. A Popup Menu Allows to Select Fields for the Localization.
Please click on the image for a closer look!

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Besides classical binary (e.g. EXE, DLL or OCX) and resource localization (e.g. RC, Java Properties, resX), Multilizer also offers component localization (available for Delphi, C++-Builder, Visual Basic, and Java) and binary localization with a run-time language switch (available for Delphi/C++-Builder 5 or higher). Component localization integrates Multilizer components into the application, thereby enabling multilingual applications. A single multilingual application supports multiple languages and the user can switch the language on the fly.

 

Table 1: Possible (Yes) and Recommended (Yes) Localization Techniques for Different Platforms
Source: Multilizer 5.1 - Developer’s Guide

Application type
Binary
Resource
Source
Component
.NET
-
Yes
-
-
C++Builder
Yes
-
-
Yes
Delphi
Yes
-
-
Yes
Java
-
Yes
-
Yes
J2ME
-
Yes
-
-
Palm
Yes
-
-
-
Symbian
-
Yes
-
-
Visual Basic
Yes
-
Yes
Yes
Visual C++
Yes
Yes
-
-
Visual J++
-
Yes
-
Yes

 

Multilizer also features a TMX 1.0 compatible Translation Memory which can be created or extended by importing existing TMX files, Microsoft Glossaries, Borland Translation Repositories, Text Files, localized binary or resource file pairs and other Multilizer Project Files as well as several natively or via ADO/ODBC and BDE supported Database formats.

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Fig. 3: The Multilizer Workspace consists of the Toolbar (top), the Hierarchical Project View (left side), the Translation Grid (center) and the Status Bar (bottom).
Please click on the image for a closer look!

Editions & Prices:

  • MULTILIZER Developer Products:
    • MULTILIZER 5.1 Enterprise (everything but Oracle): Single-user: $/€ 3,295; 5-users: $/€ 4,450.
    • MULTILIZER 5.1 for Windows: 32-bit Windows applications: Single-user: $/€ 1,990.
    • MULTILIZER 5.1 for Oracle: Single-user: $/€ 3,295; 5-users: $/€ 4,450.
    • MULTILIZER 5.1 for .NET and Visual Basic: Single-user: Special until 11/15/02: $/€ 990 normally: $/€ 1,290.
    • MULTILIZER 5.1 for VCL: Single-user: $/€ 1,290.
    • MULTILIZER 5.1 for Java: Single-user: $/€ 690.
  • MULTILIZER Translator Products:
    • MULTILIZER Translator Edition Pro 5.1: Single-user: $/€ 950; 5-users: $/€ 2,215.
    • MULTILIZER 5.1 Translator Edition: Translates software or content prepared by Multilizer Developer products. Included for-free in All MULTILIZER developer products

      Above 5-users, request information from the company's sales offices (see below!)



    Fig. 4: The XML sheet is used to select or exclude tags from localization.
    Please click on the image for a closer look!

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Usage & Evaluation:

Within the group of specialized Software localizers, MULTILIZER is leading in the number of supported platforms and OS. The tool was obviously designed by programmers and engineers for programmers and engineers as it comes with a quite spartanic GUI. This interface does not only disappoint by esthetic and ergonomic measures. It also lacks any WYSIWYG interface which would show you whether and how your translation fits into menu bars and dialog boxes. The application is very powerful - especially if combined with the supported programming and development environments. This, however, requires in most cases that you will need the 3rd party tool for component translation.
Multilizer's grid based editor allows the translation of multilingual projects. It still suffers from Insufficient project management and QA as there is no version control and no project history is maintained. Some improvements were made in the validation of translations: for example, it does check for ampersands (&) and underlined characters (accelerators). In addition, Multilizer now assigns flags to new or deleted strings and allows to filter a projects according to those strings, resource type (dialog, menus, etc.) or by target (EXE-file, VB Project,
etc.). There are still no spell-checking mechanisms. Multilizer also added some statistics functions but it still lacks effective project management options. Multilizer plans to implement further project management features as optional plug-ins created either by Multilizer (this is under work) or third-parties.

Multilizer's editor correctly and conveniently recognizes, masks and protects all or just selected tags. This provides a better overview of the file content and protects vital information within the tags. I faced some crashes when trying to translate malformed xHTML. Multilizer does not offer support of HTML and pseudo-xHTML. xHTML is only supported if it complies with W3C standards and is valid XML. A recent patch (Multilizer 5.1.40) prevents these crashes. As no specific alignment tools are implemented, localization of larger corpora is not recommended.

The product's documentation provided as Windows Help, PDF and a printed manual is well written, clear and concise. It includes helpful examples and tutorials which give you a good jump-start into the localization of all supported file types. The only drawback was the lack of an index which made the navigation unnecessarily difficult. In the same way, the company's web site is not well enough organized and lacks a full-text search search which is really a shame as this buries a lot of useful information. The printed manual did not contain the newest additions to Multilizer. This is understandable as this tools goes through a very fast development with almost hourly additions. Multilizer also offers an impressive support system including free evaluation version support for 30 days, newsgroups, an upgrade center and FAQ's. Its licensing scheme is serials based and the most user-friendly in this second comprehensive test.

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System Requirements:
Multilizer runs under Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and XP.

Company Information:
Multilizer Oy; Sinikalliontie 12, FIN-02630, Espoo Finland; Phone: +358-9-251-5100,
Fax: +358-9-2515-1200; E-mail: sales@multilizer.com; URL: http://www.multilizer.com.
Multilizer USA, Multilizer, PMB # 019, 303 Almaden Blvd., Suite 600, San Jose, CA 95110; Phone: +1-408-998- 7879, Fax: +1-408-918-3001; E-mail: us-sales@multilizer.com; URL: http://www.multilizer.com.

Alternatives:

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Dr. Thomas Wassmer, fax: +49 (6204) 9868263, e-mail: tom at infotom.com