AIT (Applied Information Technologies)
was founded in 1991 and transferred into an AG (corporation - with
the speciality that all shares belong to the staff) in 2000. AIT is
a pioneer in the development of
applications under MS
in the field
automation engineering and robotics. Besides the development of complex
applications for large international groups and medium-sized enterprises
(customized eBusiness Solutions based on the AIT eBusiness Engines as
well as on the Microsoft Commerce Server 2000 and Biztalk platform)
has developed reusable software components to solve various challenges
Fig. 1: The Main User Interface of
Visual Localize consists of several windows.
Visual Localize is a specialized Software tool for the
Localization of Software, .NET applications, XML Data and Web Sites as
well as Microsoft databases (Microsoft SQL-Server + Access Databases).
The application supports many languages including Arabic, Chinese and
Japanese as well as French, German and English. The support of bidirectional
languages such as Arabic and Hebrew and languages using vertical typesets
and a large number of characters like Chinese and Japanese is achieved
by a complete support of Unicode- and Multi byte-character sets.
Fig. 2: Translation of XML Files using
Visual Localize offers automated translation of previously localized terms and phrases. Existing translations are automatically adapted for close matches. A similar approach is used for automatic Translation Version Control. Whenever you update your application, the "reload" function aligns your existing project to the new version. Your previous translations are adopted - you only have to translate new strings or dialog controls. A third semi-automated translation option enables you to re-use existing translations in any of the supported formats, from other Visual Localize projects, dictionaries and application pairs or as delimited text files created by other localization tools. If more than one translation of a term or phrase exists, conflicting translations can be selected or excluded automatically using predefined parameters or manually by the user (Fig. 3a). All these functions help you to avoid unnecessary repetitions and ensure a higher level of consistency in your terminology.
Fig. 3: Translation of a Dialog Box
using Visual Localize
nice little feature of Visual Localize allows you to add comments
to every line of text. This is especially helpful if more than one person
work at the same project or whenever a user is not sure about a translation
and wants to get back to it at a later time. Various filters
can be used to enable and display or disable and hide parts of the text
strings (Fig. 3b). You can for example decide whether you want all entries
to be displayed or only those which still need translation.
.NET-Versions for the localization of .NET assemblies (EXE, DLL) & creation of satellite assemblies: Visual Localize 4.1 - basic license Euro 995; - premium license (incl. DB + XML): Euro 1395.
for the localization of Windows standard binaries (EXE, DLL, OCX): Visual
Localize 3.04 -
DB (Microsoft SQL-Server + Access Databases) and XML Translation Engine (Add-On, basic license needed!): Euro 399 each.
Fig. 4: Translation of a MS Access
Database using Visual Localize
After a smooth and painless installation, Visual Localize features a straight forward user interface in the familiar Microsoft Explorer "Look & Feel" which makes it easy to learn and use the tool. The learning curve is also enhanced by an exceptionally detailed and fairly illustrated PDF manual, which still has to be updated to include the new .NET features in the upcoming version 4.2. For most windows, Visual Localize allows you to choose between the free positioning or docking within the main interface. This way you can effectively use the available screen space.
establishment of projects containing any amount and combination of
the supported file formats (windows binaries, .NET assembies, XML
files and MS databases) is fast and efficient. Translation procedures
of text strings are clearly organized in a table-like view and allow
second meaning translations and the assignment of read-only strings.
Visual Localize assists you to prepare accurate translations taking context
into account by displaying where
a certain string was used before. Linking of this display also allows
for fast navigation to the selected phrases.
A further advantage of Visual Localize is the SoftLock licence protection instead of a dongle. You can easily save and even export your license temporarily or permanently to any other machine - even by email. This way it is possible to export your license temporarily and send it to a translator in another country for processing one of your projects. After finishing up, your associate can easily export your license back to you by E-mail. The only drawback to this excellent idea is that you will face additional costs for the reissuing of your license by AIT, if your license was not saved and exported properly. In some cases the SoftLock license protection might cause problems if there is an earlier demo installation on your system installed. In addition, every system crash or intended change of the operation system, requires a new SoftLock license which will be send to you by AIT’s support for a small handling fee.
there is no support to import / export in TMX, TBX, XLIFF or important
3rd party tool formats besides a basic support of TRADOS to export
Visual Localize dictionaries. The only connection into the other
world is established through ASCII text format. However, AIT communicated,
that they have scheduled linking to TRADOS Translator’s Workbench
as well as TMX export for a later version of Visual Localize .NET.
Visual Localize’s strength and main development focus is the localization of Windows binaries. It is therefore no surprise that its optional XML translation engine lacks some functionality which are common in other products. The module does not read or list used tags nor does it allow you to specify which tags are translatable or not. Instead of that, Visual Localize uses String ID’s where every string has to be defined as read-only if you do not want it to be translated. This is a by far less effective and very time consuming procedure. Another shortcoming is that in order to exclude tags from translation, your XML file has to be pre-edited using an external text or XML editor. Although this was intentionally designed to avoid accidential translations, this function could also easily be implemented into the internal XML-Editor. Administrators should be able to lock and hide certain tags for translators without administrator rights just from within the localization tool. A third drawback is the lack of support of DTDs or XML schemas and any filter building component such as it is found in most other XML processing localization tools. AIT is currently running test to include DTD support. If you need to translate XML files, you are by far better of using Alchemy CATALYST, MULTILIZER, TransSuite2000, Déjà Vu or SDLX.
Minor shortcomings are some interface problems such as blocked views when importing conflicting translations. There is no automatic recognition of source languages and many interfaces are not properly localized into English. This will not be obviously for most users of the English version as these dialogs are adopted from Microsoft Windows and if you run an English version, these dialogs will be in English. In General, there should also be some improvement in the English translation of the Software, documentation and web pages. As Visual Localize gets more popular internationally, these are already planned activities for the upcomming versions of this amazing localization tool. Another minor drawback is Visual Localize's directory selection without support of windows system directories such as "Desktop" and "My Files".
In conclusion, Visual Localize is a sound and effective tool for the localization of Windows binaries, .NET assemblies and Microsoft databases offering a good value in terms of price-performance ratio, especially if you do not need the database module. In contrast to this, I can not recommend VisLoc's XML engine in the current state.
Dr. Thomas Wassmer, fax: +49 (6204) 9868263, e-mail: tom at infotom.com