Five lesser-known reasons why translators (who use a mac) should be using Lion

There is an abundance of new features in LionMission Control, Launch Pad, and Full Screen Apps to name but a few of the more prominent ones – and although the upgrade might not suit everyone – particularly those with software that isn’t compatible and those with computers that don’t meet the upgrade requirements – we think that Lion is well worth the thirty dollars (approx) that it costs. Sadly, we don’t have the time (or the interest or the patience) to go into all 250 new features, instead, we’ve picked out just five lesser-known ones – that you might not even have noticed had we not pointed them out – that will almost undoubtedly make the upgrade that little bit more welcome.

1. Built-in voices

The new Text to Speech functionality in OS X Lion includes built-in voices that speak 22 languages: Arabic, English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Cantonese, Mandarin (China), and Mandarin (Taiwan). In addition, other languages are available for downloads including Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Romanian, Slovak, and Thai, as well as alternative voices with different dialects such as English (UK), English (Australia), English (South Africa), and Spanish (Mexico).

However, be warned that none of the one’s we’ve listened to are all that realistic – here’s hoping Apple invest a little more time and effort into this in the not-too-distant future.

2. Spotlight: Quick Look results

Thank heavens! A Spotlight menu with previews! …need we say more!?

3. Dictionary application

The Dictionary application in Lion has had a much needed revamp. A particularly handy improvement means that it now displays the definition of a word as you type, giving you instant results.

4. Streamlined Dictionary interface

Another improvement to the dictionary (every translators best friend) means that it now displays all possible matches for your search on the left and the definition on the right (in a two-column layout), so you can easily find the word you’re looking for.

5. Encrypted backups

Translators are usually extremely careful by nature – careful to get things right, careful to get things handed in on time, careful to keep regular backups of just about everything. However, due to the nature of the work, many of the documents on their computers are often sensitive (or at least in the eyes of their clients they are anyway), so not having a straightforward way to encrypt backups has been a real nuisance; thank heavens for the new ‘Encrypt backup disk’ feature in Lion’s Time Machine, which, incidentally, only appears to be available when backup disks are actually plugged in via USB.

Are you using Lion – if so, what do you think of it? Have you found any new features that you think Translators should know about?