Free Software for Translators

At Baldwin Linguas, we use 100% Free/Open Source Software, not only on our web server and file servers, but on our production machines (the computers on which we translate stuff). Especially, we use Debian GNU/Linux, possibly the most stable and secure operating system available. This allows us to spend more time translating stuff, and less time fixing computers, dealing with intrusions, crashes, viruses, spyware, malware, or other technical problems. In over 10 years, we haven't had any of those problems. Ever. Seriously. Our software just works, and doesn't break. And we like it that way. Furthermore, you can't beat the price! Without the expense for costly software licenses, our overhead stays lean, so we can afford to provide translations at very reasonable rates. Equally important, of course, we also wholeheartedaly support the principles of the Free Software Foundation. This page is here to share some of the software we use in our daily operations, some of which I, Tony Baldwin, have developed myself, even.

Much of this software is cross-platform, running not only on GNU/Linux systems, but also Windows® or MacOS®.


  • OmegaT is a Free/open source, cross-platform CAT tool, and, in all truth, one of the most used applications on my desk (only superceded by my web browser). See for support and information.
  • Anaphraseus is another Free/open source CAT tool.
  • LibreOffice is a complete office software suite, including word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, html/web page editor, drawing tools, database front end, and more. Basically, it does everything other popular office suites do, and more, and it's Free and fully cross-platform (forked from
  • - the office suite, with wordprocessing, spreadsheets, presentations, html editor, drawing tools, database front-end, etc.
  • TuxTrans - a full featured GNU/Linux LiveDVD and distribution customized for translators, based on Ubuntu Linux, with a full Gnome desktop environment, and thousands of software packages available, including OpenOffice, OmegaT, and other software useful for translators. Tuxtrans can be run as a “LiveDVD”, meaning, if you have a DVD drive, of course, you can place the DVD in the drive, reboot the computer, and run the system, experiment with the tools therein, etc., without installing it on your computer. Once you've satisfied your curiosity, you can close down the system and return to your current system, without having made any alterations thereto. The TuxTrans DVD does, of course, also offer the option to install TuxTrans on your computer, if you wish to do so. Also available in a slightly stripped-down version that can fit on a CDRom and be run, as such, from a CDRom drive (less software, but still the main components and tools relevant to our work) called TuxTrans-Essentials (available on the tuxtrans download page).
  • Bitext2TMX - text alignment software (for creating translation memories from legacy translations).
  • OmegaT+ - a fork of the OmegaT project, with a fancy, themeable, aesthetically pleasing interface, but lacking many standard CAT tool features, such as tag insertion and spellchecking.
  • USBTrans - For Windows users who would like to experiment with a variety of free software without installing linux or altering their current system, there is USBTrans, a collection of free software for translators that can be placed on a USB key and run without further installation.
  • TransTools - a suite of tools for use with MSOffice® programs. While MSOffice®, of course, is not free software, these tools, at the very least, are.
  • Open TM2 - developed by IBM, and currently only available for Windows® (a contact at IBM has assured me that a gnu/linux port is in the works), OpenTM2 provides an open platform for managing translation related activities with enterprise level scalability and quality. It serves as an open yet comprehensive localization tool that provides that integration platform. Ultimately, the goal is to create a cost-efficient and high-quality localization deliverable. OpenTM2 is released under the nonrestrictive Eclipse Public License that is suitable for use with both commercial software and with other open source or free software.
  • Virtaal - a graphical translation tool for editing .tmx and .po files, and more.
  • GnuCash - Personal and small-business financial-accounting software. Designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.
  • TransProCalc - Translation project management tool by Tony Baldwin.
  • transprocloud - free/open source, online translation project management tools, also by Tony Baldwin.
  • LJobs - lsp jobs and finance management script in bash (for the more technically minded). Also by Tony Baldwin.
  • Apertium - A free/open-source machine translation platform.

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What is Free Software? - the Free Software definition.

“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price.

To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.”

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software.

More precisely, it means that the program's users have the four essential freedoms:

  1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  2. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1).
    Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3).

By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Cross platform: functions with more than one computer platform or operating system. When I say “fully cross-platform”, in general, it means the software runs on GNU/Linux, BSD, Windows & Mac. I can't speak for OpenSolaris, Syllable and HaikuOS.

Shortlink to this page:

Have a suggestion? Feel free to leave a comment below:


check out . For some types of translations, post-editing MT is faster.

anthonybaldwin's picture

I have tried apertium, and hope to see the project grow. Sadly, it hasn't proved very useful to me, lacking resources in my language pairs.
I have added Apertium to the list, all the same. Thank you for bringing this oversight to my attention.

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