Czytelnia / Technologie tłumaczeniowe

3.3 User interface

User interface is the means by which the user can communicate with the computer and its applications. Usually it involves such elements as menus, typed commands, function keys or mouse clicks. The first generation of interfaces had the inherent limitations e.g. hindering the simultaneous accessibility of termbase entries for editing and reference (Fontenelle&Mergen 1998). Nowadays, virtually all personal computers are equipped with the GUI consisting of windows, panes, bars, buttons, icons and menus. The same is true for the modern terminology management tools. However, there are sometimes significant differences between the applications in the way the program communicates with the user and displays data. Figure 1 represents the interface of Multiterm iX, while Figure 2 shows the interface of DVX (see: Figure 1. Multiterm iX interface - sample termbase provided with the application; Figure 2. Deja vu X interface - termbase created for the purpose of this project; Figure 3. SDLX 2004 - termbase created for the purposes of this thesis).

As  we  can  see,  even  though  the  content  of  termbases  may  be  identical, it  will  be  displayed  in  a  different  way  in  the  different applications.  Some  tools display  the  termbase  contents in the form of a grid, occupying one of the several panes e.g. DVX; while others, like Multiterm  iX  and  SDLX,  display  the  entries in  the  form  of  text  files  indicating  fields  with colors, indentations and font sizes. The interface usually allows a number of primitive  actions in order to achieve the same effect e.g. a new entry can be created either by clicking  a button, selecting the function from a menu or by striking a hotkey. Another feature is the  dialog  language,  i.e. the language in  which  all  the  menus,  commands  and  messages  are  displayed. In  most  cases several dialog  languages  are  available and can be  switched while working with the tool.

Further elements of the interface are the forms of help available to the user. In terminology management tools, usually a user manual or getting started manual are provided with the software or can be downloaded from the manufacturer's webpage. Other forms are tutorials and demos which can best illustrate the usual workflow and basic functionalities of a given tool. Sometimes, also sample files or termbases are provided along the tutorials. Unfortunately, the documentation is rarely available in many languages, thus, it is unavailable to those who do not know English. Furthermore, documentation rarely covers troubleshooting. In order to receive assistance in solving problems the users usually register in a mailing list. The listmates share the solutions and workarounds they came up with over  the years of experience with the tools. This kind of help is extremely important, even though  there is usually a possibility to contact the manufacturer and report the problems. 

It  may  also  be  significant  whether  the  information  on  the  internal  workings  of  the  tools - their architecture - is made available. In most cases the codes of a tool are protected  by  the  manufacturers  and  very  little  information  is  given  to  the  users  in  order  to  prevent  dishonest use of such information by competitors or software piracy.