3. Terminology Management Tools - Functionalities
3.1 Software and hardware requirements
Most terminology management tools are designed for use on PC computers. However, they have specific hardware requirements that need to be met for the software to be fully functional. Therefore, bearing in mind the high prices of terminology management tools, it is necessary to check whether a computer intended for installation of this software fulfills the requirements of hard disc space, RAM size and processor type. Hardware requirements additionally include such criteria as minimum screen resolution, or graphics card. Finally, terminology management tools, like most other contemporary software require such peripheral devices as mouse or trackball, CD-ROM, printer, monitor, and in the case of multi-user versions, also a network card. If the tool comes also as a client-server application, it is necessary to have a modem.
Apart from hardware concerns, it is essential to know what additional software is required so that the programs could run successfully. Before installing any of the terminology management tools the support of the operating system installed on the computer must be confirmed. It is also worth knowing if the program is multi-user enabled. In most cases terminology management tools can be bought in free-lance versions designed for a single user and network versions for translation agencies.
A very important issue is multitasking. All modern operating systems applying graphic user interface (GUI) ensure full multitasking, however it is worth checking whether the tool itself allows for a number of processes to be run simultaneously. As Feder explains: `A user might find it necessary to run two types of searches at the same time or work on translating a given segment and look for occurrence of similar phrases [...]' (Feder 2001:139).
Another question of major concern is what additional software is required for the tool to run successfully. Most terminology management applications require MS Word, MS Excel and MS PowerPoint to be installed in order to be in full working order. In some cases also MS Internet Explorer is required.
The term compatibility refers to two major issues. It denotes the compatibility of the software with the operating system and other additional applications required on the one hand, and between the different versions of the same tool on the other. Since compatibility of the tool with the operating system is probably one of the first things verified by the purchaser, in most cases it does not cause major problems. The support of the operating systems and the recommended versions are clearly indicated in the documentation. Another issue is the compatibility of the different versions of the tool. It is frequently so that the new versions do not support the format of the early versions of the same software. It is therefore an extremely important criterion in making up one's mind whether to upgrade the tool or not. However, if there is no back compatibility between the versions, the new version of a program is usually equipped with a functionality which enables converting the files created in the old format into the new one, e.g. in the case of Multiterm iX a module called MultitermConvert easily converts the files created in MultiTerm 5.x into Multiterm iX format. De'ja` vu X, in turn, has a similar functionality in the menu under Tools>Convert. Finally, if an old terminology database cannot be used in a new version of the program, it is often possible to export the contents of the termbase into an intermediary format, text or spreadsheet, and import into the native format8 of the new version of the tool.
8Native format - the file format characteristic to a given terminology management or translation memory tool (EAGLES 1995: 141).