Text editing tools for translators (OS X & Win)

It is important to preserve text encodings when sending, receiving and editing files. Default text encodings differ from machine to machine, but fortunately there are a list of standard, common encodings which every good text editing tool should offer.


What is text encoding?

Text encoding is a way in which characters are built up. Think of morse code. Morse code is a series of dots and dashes which, when interpreted by a learned listener with a morse code chart, spell out words in roman characters.

Computers transmit data (including text) as a series of their own dots and dashes which need to be interpreted. A text editor is like the learned lister. If the text editor has the right comparison chart for the incoming dots and dashes then it can render the text in characters we can read. If the text editor doesn’t have the right chart, then the text appears scrambled.

Text encoding is the way the dots and dashes (raw data) is stored so it can be read by another computer.


Golden Rule #1: Never use Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is a proprietary format and, while most computers have Word installed or have software capable of editing Word files, it should never be used for app translation unless someone gives you a Word document to work on.


Golden Rule #2: Use text encoding UTF-8 / 16

All the text editors listed below have an option to convert the text you are writing to UTF-8 / 16. As they represent a standard text format, they should be used by both developers and translators for all text-only files.


List of recommend text editors:

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One Response to “Text editing tools for translators (OS X & Win)”

  1. Extracting and localising XIBs (IBTOOL) « Knowledge Base

    […] thing to remember here is file encodings and string endings. Make sure your localizer uses a good text editor and completes each line with the required quotation marks and semi-colon. You must also keep the […]


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