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Favorite tools: Firefox March 12, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tech tips, Tools.

Next to Trados and WinAlign, my favorite tool is without a doubt Firefox. I have Firefox running from the moment I wake up to the minute I go to sleep. Firefox is a free open source browser that offers a “faster, more secure, and fully customizable way to to surf the Web.” As you can see from my screenshot I have put a lot of time and effort into customizing my browser to make it work for me. My homepage is my iGoogle page, which I have talked about in detail on this blog several times. I have TwitterFox running in the bottom right-hand corner (I expanded it for the screenshot), and I can access it whenever I want to check out the Twitter tweets from the folks who I am following. I follow a variety of people, but they are primarily translators located all over the world who often offer really good information. I also have numerous tabs open at all times and toggle quickly between them as needed.


As far as organization is concerned, I now have two toolbars of my most frequently visited sites (thanks to a tip from one of my blog readers – thanks, Maxim!) such as my blog, online dictionaries, the Translator’s Home Companion portal, the Accurapid Translation Journal, Frank Dietz’ and Marita Marcano’s collection of glossaries, etc. as well as a very organized Bookmarks drop-down menu. I have the drop-down menu organized into folders and subfolders, which allow me to quickly and easily access subject-specific glossaries, dictionaries, traffic watches, Pandora Radio, Oanda (a really great currency exchange site), my bank accounts, my public library, conversion tools, etc. I have folders for blogs (from before I started using a feed reader – come to think of it I can probably delete the folder now…), client websites (for logging onto workspaces and managing translation jobs), colleague websites, translation aids (such as style guides, translation portals, payment practices sites, etc.), etc. One of my friends commented that they would love to get their hands on my Bookmarks, but this represents over 10 years of collecting and maintaining URLs. I consider it to be proprietary information just like my TMs are. 🙂

Do you have any Firefox tips you would like to share with us? Tell us about them in the Comments!



1. Benny Lewis - March 13, 2009

So here are my favourite Firefox add-ons. You can find them all in a quick google search.
Session Manager: when I start firefox, or in the middle of a session I select the “French translation” (or any other in the list) option and it instantly opens 8 tabs on all the online dictionaries, forums, wikipedia page, Google etc. pages that I like to have open when I’m translating. Just means I don’t have to click each one individually when it’s time to work

Leechblock: My favourite by far. I have added sites like facebook (and about 50+ others) to a blacklist – I really like these sites but they never help me get any work done. I activate it (for a 2 hour block usually) and cannot access any of these sites no matter what I do (no disable option, rebooting the comp makes no difference etc.). It’s forced me to be more efficient since I can get easily distracted, especially since I’ve only been freelance for 2 years and had someone breathing down my neck before to motivate me to work before… Leechblock is like my nice boss that reminds me that I should be working 🙂

Read it Later: when researching particular terms I may come across a fascinating article I’d really like to read. Instead of getting side-tracked, or dumping it in my bookmarks (which takes a few clicks if you want to categorize it), just one tick and it’s in my read-it-later list. It’s got a stumble-upon style button to press and get a random article to read (that you pre-selected) whenever you ARE free and you can download all of them at once to be read offline (useful for all my plane, train and automobile trips…), thus skipping any tedious “File –> Save As” that you might do. Thanks to this add-on, my bookmarks ceased to be a place to dump links that I would never get back to.

Search Engine toolbars. Not really an add-on, but you can add particular searches to this usually ignored (or purely Google designated) top-right-corner search-bar. I have a lot of online dictionaries inside it, searches in each Wikipedia language version I work with, as well as searches in each Google language version I work with.

I have loads of others like Greasemonkey scripts for pimping up my browsers, but these are the ones that specifically help me work better.

2. Roberto Savelli - Translator's Shack - March 13, 2009

Hi Jill,

I also use Firefox as my main browser, although Google Chrome looks quite promising and extremely stable due to the way it treats separate tabs as separate processes.

If there is one single add-on that makes Firefox indispensable for me it’s Adblock Plus, which gets rid of all the banners.

I use the “Smart Keywords” feature a lot in FireFox. This allows me to type, for instance “iate torque” or “proz torque” in the location bar (AKA URL field or AwsomeBar) and display the relevant English-Italian glossary page on IATE or ProZ for the term I have entered. No useless mouse clicks involved.

Similar but unrelated to this is the “tag” feature that you can use for every single bookmark you have. Rather than relying on a complex structure of subdirectories for bookmarks, which tends to grow in an uncontrollable way and become very difficult to navigate because of the amount of bookmarks, I can attach specific tags to my bookmarks, so for instance instead of scratching my head asking “where’s that wine glossary page I bookmarked four years ago?”, I just type “wine glossary” in the location bar and the wine glossary will appear as the first option, since tagged bookmarks have priority over other types of content.

One recent post I saw recently is the Guide to Most Useful Bookmarklets for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.. Bookmarklets are links to online services that allow you to replace your browser’s addons, thereby making your browser less memory and resource-hungry and more responsive.

3. jamonicious - March 13, 2009

You can save space with “Hide Menubar” and autohide your bookmarks toolbar:


I don’t use any search box or toolbar, search keywords are a great time saver, for example g for Google, k for Kudoz, w for Wordreference and so on.

Other extensions I use: Adblock Plus, All-in-one Sidebar, Autocopy, AutoPager, Cookie Whitelist With Button, Double Click to Reload Tabs, Download Statusbar, FEBE, Flashblock, Google Enhancer, Personal Menu, QuickDrag, Search Cloudlet, Tab History, Taboo and quite a few more…

My 2 cents.

4. Fabio - March 13, 2009

I love Firefox, but keep IE only for (very few) FF-unfriendly web sites.

Here are some tips:

1) Dictionaries for spell-checking (a must!):

2) Ad Block (self-explaining feature):

3) Smart Bookmarks bar, which allows me the have very small icons of my favorite/useful websites on my toolbar, without using too much of the available space: for example, PayPal, ProZ, Google Reader, Amazon etc. Very, very useful! You should try it, Jill, since I noticed on your FF window that you have many bookmarks occupying a space of a few centimeters (web sites’ icons AND their names). See how my own FF looks like here (dozens of bookmarks arranged very tightly, only showing their icons, not their names):

Here’s Smart Bookmarks’ page:

4) Forecastfox, for weather forecasts:

5) TwitterFox. Perfect, and you know it!

6) As far as searching and translating is concerned, my absolute favorite Firefox feature is the ability to add many pre-configured search engines. I’ve blogged about this feature here:

7) I also use Context Search, an add-on that allows me to add almost any website’s search box to the search engine (it doesn’t have to be pre-configured by a software developer/hacker) installed on mt Firefox window (you can put almost anything there: the Proz.com’s Blue Board search, the Twitter “Find People” search engine, the IATE dictionaries, the YouTube video search engine etc.):

I try to keep my add-ons as minimal as possible, since the more add-ons you install on FF, the slower FF becomes.

And to prevent FF from consuming too many computer resources, I restart it from time to time and also use CCleaner, a program that literally cleans your computer (cookies, unwanted and difficult-to-remove applications, temporary files, shortcuts, Windows registry entries etc.

Enjoy your FF experience!

5. Effie - March 13, 2009

My favorite add-ons are:

1) Easy DragToGo – Allows you to open links in new tabs, search texts, save images and do more with drag and drop gestures. I used to be a fan of Maxthon for this specific reason. I could open new links without losing the tab I was on or having to do right-click, open new tab, etc.

2) Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer – It synchronizes my bookmarks on my PC and laptop and I can also access them from any computer, just by login in to my.foxmarks.com.

3) IE tab – It embeds Internet Explorer in tabs of Mozilla/Firefox. I find it useful for a few sites of my banks that require IE.

Have a lovely weekend everybody!

6. Maxim - March 13, 2009

I would recommend the Add to Search Bar add-on:

It allows you to add the search functionality from any page to the Firefox Search Bar. I have added AcronymFinder, Proz.com term search and Multitran (an English-Russian dictionary) — it really helps in looking up terms.

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