I now work exclusively using free and open source software, mostly running on the Debian/GNU Linux distribution. This means I have to spend less time – and money – fixing computers and securing systems from intrusion, fighting malware, viruses and the like. Furthermore, it means I can therefore turn around your translation more quickly.
Although I work on Linux boxes, all the software mentioned below is also available for other platforms, such as Mac OSX and Windows.
Naturally, the first requirement is an office suite as a replacement for the ubiquitous MS Office.
My preference is LibreOffice that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation), Draw, Math and Base (database). LibreOffice’s native file format is ODF (Open Document Format), although it can read and write MS Office formats.
Another alternative: Apache OpenOffice, whose native file format is likewise ODF; it can also read and write MS Office formats. However, it is not updated as frequently as LibreOffice
Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice can have their functionality increased by third party plug-ins known as extensions. Although both Libre and Open are from a common root, their extensions are not always mutually compatible: follow the links for LibreOffice extensions and OpenOffice extensions.
Occasionally some simple graphics work is required (e.g. translating the text in images, diagrams, etc.) and for this GIMP is ideal. GIMP is an acronym of GNU Image Manipulation Program.
Essential for consulting search engines, databases, etc., one’s spoilt for choice with free/open source web browsers. My favourites are:
although plenty of others are available.
Although I don’t use an email client myself (preferring to use webmail and story my correspondence remotely on someone else’s machine), Thunderbird – from the same stable as Firefox – is a good reliable bet.
OmegaT is a free translation memory application written in Java that’s intended for professional translators.