YouAlign Tutorial, Level I


Other text alinger tutorials


I. Introduction


YouAlign (www.youalign.com) is a bitext aligner that allows you to create bitexts easily and quickly from your archived documents. This tool is available online, so you do not need to buy or install software to use it. YouAlign allows you to align a text and its translation at the sentence level, and it works with the following file formats: Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, PDF, HTML, XML, Corel WordPerfect, RTF, Lotus WordPro and plain text. YouAlign is compatible with LogiTermWeb, SDL Trados, Déjà Vu and any translation other software that supports TMX.


This tool is one of several computer-aided translation (CAT) tools developed by Terminotix Inc. To learn more about YouAlign and other Terminotix tools, visit their Web site.


Please note that, because YouAlign is a free online tool, there is a daily limit to the number of documents you can align. 

II. Signing up to YouAlign


If you have not used YouAlign before, you will first need to create a user account. (If you already have an account, skip this step and go directly to Getting Ready.

  1. Open the browser of your choice (e.g. Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) by double-clicking on the shortcut icon on your desktop or from the Start menu.
  2. In the address bar, enter www.youalign.com, and hit Enter on your keyboard to go to the YouAlign home page (or simply click on the link provided here.) If English is not already the interface language, click on English in the upper right-hand corner of the page.    
  3. Once on the YouAlign home page, click on the Create an account link, located below the Log Into YouAlign field.

  4. Enter the information required to create your account, and read the YouAlign Privacy Policy. Then click on the Create Account button at the bottom of the page.

  5. A confirmation email will be sent to you. Activate your YouAlign account by opening your email account and clicking on the link provided in this email.


III. Getting ready


  1. Locate the files you want to align.
    1. If you already have files you would like to align, be sure you know where they are.
    2. If you do not already have files to align:
      1. Create a sub-directory called YouAlign (or another name that you wish). (For instructions, see Creating a sub-directory in Windows.)
      2. Download the compressed folder YouAlign Tutorial Level I files, which contains the files WHO-obesityEN.doc and WHO-obesityFR.doc.
      3. Extract the files to the sub-directory you have just created. (For instructions see Extracting files from a compressed folder in Windows.)
  2. Log into your YouAlign account.
    1. If you have not already done so, open the browser of your choice (e.g. Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) by double-clicking on the shortcut icon on your desktop or from the Start menu. Then enter www.youalign.com in the address bar, and hit Enter on your keyboard to go to the YouAlign home page. (Or simply click on the link provided here.) If English is not already the interface language, click on English in the upper right-hand corner of the page. 
    2. Enter your email address and your password in the corresponding fields. Then click on the Login button.  


IV. Aligning your documents


YouAlign allows you to create bitexts from your archived documents. The files you use must not exceed 1 Mo in size. 

  1. The Alignment Settings page appears automatically after you log in.
  2. In the section 1. Select the files you wish to align, identify the files you would like to align and the language associated with each file.
    1. Click on the Choose File button below Source File, and find the French-language file. If you are using the files suggested in this tutorial, find WHO-obesityFR.doc.   
    2. Choose the corresponding language (in this case, FRA) from the Language dropdown menu, located to the right of the first Choose File option.
    3. Repeat these two steps to identify the target file (e.g. WHO-obesityEN.doc) and target language (e.g. ENG). 
  3. In the section 2. Select the segment filtering criteria (optional), you may select none, one, two, or all three of the checkboxes, depending on the type of segments you wish to reject from the alignment.

  4. Click on the Align Now button to align your documents. This process may take several minutes depending on the size of the files and the speed of your internet connection. 


V. Downloading the alignment results


Once the alignment has been completed, a preview of the alignment appears on the screen.  

  1. Verify that the segments have been correctly aligned. 

    1. Would you say that the alignment is perfect? Why or why not? If not, do you have an idea about what aspects of the files might have created problems for YouAlign?
    2. Did you have to go back to the previous page and set any filtering criteria in order to obtain better alignment results? If so, which of the boxes did you check? If not, try modifying these criteria to see how the alignment results are affected.
  2. Download the alignment results by clicking on either Download alignment in TMX format or Download alignment in (HTML) format (located at the top of the page), depending on the format supported by the translation memory system you are or will be using. (For more information on translation memory systems, see the list of tutorials and exercises offered by CERTT in the LinguisTech portal).















































NOTE: If you are not using the files suggested for this tutorial, be sure that the format of the files you are using is among those accepted by YouAlign (i.e. Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Adobe PDF, HTML, XML, Corel WordPerfect, RTF, Lotus WordPro, plain text).







NOTE: It is possible that the preview on this page does not provide enough detail for you to verify whether two segments correspond. For example, you may see only the first two words of the sentences, and these may not be the same in the source and target texts. In this case, you will probably still be able to adequately evaluate the quality of the alignment by examining the remaining segments.


NOTE: YouAlign does not allow you to edit aligned segments. However, you will probably be able to edit them with the tool (i.e. the translation memory system) in which you will use the bitexts you have just created. 



VI. Questions for reflection


  • As you went through this tutorial, what were your first impressions of the functions and functioning of YouAlign?  
  • How is this tool different than other alignment tools that you know? Did you find YouAlign easier or more difficult to use? In what ways? 

  • In your opinion, what are the advantages and the drawbacks of working with a free online tool, compared with a tool that you purchase and install in your computer? 

  • Do you think that a free tool like YouAlign may fulfill the needs of a certain type of users (e.g. a translation student)? Do you find it to be useful only as a demo tool?

  • What aspects of the YouAlign interface did you like? What others did you dislike? Did some of these aspects cause you any problems? Which ones and why?  

  • What type of problems did you encountered while aligning texts? How can these problems affect the usefulness of a corpus and the time and effort required to work with that corpus? Were those problems easy to solve? Why or why not? Can you think of any other problems that may be encountered when aligning pairs of texts? 


Tutorial created by Julian Zapata Rojas (2012-07-05).