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The Use of FTP in Translation Projects

For those who are not familiar with the term or the tool, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. Perhaps for some the subject might be quite banal by now, given that it’s a very common tool, still it won’t hurt to give a brief explanation of what can be done with an FTP server.

As indicated by the term, an FTP is very useful when it comes to transferring large files. Many translators only know how to send documents through the traditional method of the attachment, i.e., attaching the document to the e-mail. However, we can’t always send documents this way, especially when they’re bigger than 10 MB. Generally, the transferring capacity of e-mail servers does not allow for attachments bigger than 10MB. Each e-mail server (Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) has a limit that cannot be exceeded. If a person exceeds these file-size limits, the e-mail won’t reach its recipient.

Using an FTP server is very simple. You enter a user name and password, which are normally provided by the company that hosts the particular FTP server. It is accessed through traditional Internet browsers, such as Mozilla, Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. There are some features that can be incorporated to make the FTP easier to use. They are settings that are specific for each browser and that can be adjusted with just a few clicks. For example, Internet Explorer allows you to use the server just like a regular Windows Explorer, where you can copy and paste files in the same way you would on a Windows desktop.

For PMs who often have to plan large projects, the use of FTP servers is essential because it facilitates the task of assigning and receiving files, and also you don’t have to waste time downloading large attachments. If the connection is good, a 30 MB file can be downloaded in a few minutes.

It is important that the resources of a translation agency (translators, editors, designers) know how to use FTP because it is a tool that can streamline procedures, and it’s a tool that is not difficult at all. If you use the Internet and Windows often, then you’ll have no problems using an FTP. What’s more, using an FTP can act as a springboard toward using the new memory servers that are becoming more and more popular every day, such as MemSource, a tool that works similarly to an FTP server.

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