Open Translation Tools

Image Tools

There are some very good Free Software image manipulation tools that you may find useful in preparing images for translation or translating tools.


GIMP (which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program) or 'The GIMP' as it is sometimes called, is a very powerful image processing tool. You may already be familiar with software like Adobe Photoshop; Gimp is similar to Photoshop in its features and functionality and it can open Photoshop documents. Gimp can also export to Photoshop file formats so you can exchange images and working files with your colleagues and friends.

Gimp allows you to modify and adapt your images in many ways; you can resize images, crop them, or change the contrast and brightness amongst other things. You can also apply text to images, apply many different effects, or optimize images for print or for the web. Gimp can be used at home but it is also a tool for professional designers and image manipulators. You might find it has more features than you need if you just want to crop your holiday images, but you won't find it lacking if you are designing print or web material.

You can install Gimp on Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux. The Mac OS X install is a bit tricky and, it has to be said, a bit clunky to work with. This is shame as it deters many Mac users from trying this very fine tool. However installation on Windows is quite straightforward, and if you run Ubuntu (a type of Linux) then you are in luck - its already installed!


Inkscape is an open source drawing tool for creating and editing SVG graphics.  More than just a text vector editor, Inkscape provides a WYSIWYG interface for manipulation of vector images, allowing the artist to express himself freely. While other free and proprietary software with similar capabilities exists, Inkscape provides an interface to directly manipulate the underlying SVG code. This allows one to be certain that the code complies to W3C standards. Since the beginning of its development, the Inkscape project has been very active, providing stability for the current software and the capacity for future growth.

Like other drawing programs, Inkscape offers creation of basic shapes (such as ellipses, rectangles, stars, polygons, and spirals) as well as the ability to transform and manipulate these basic shapes by rotation, stretching, and skewing.

Inkscape also allows users to manipulate objects precisely by adjusting node points and curves.  Advanced artists find these functions indispensable in drawing software to freely create what they imagine.

A user can either manipulate the properties of objects individually and precisely through the XML editor or, in a more general and intuitive fashion, with input devices such as mice, pen tablets, and even touch screens.

In addition, Inkscape allows one to insert text and bitmaps (such as PNG—another W3C recommended bitmap image format) into an image, as well as perform some basic editing functions on them.  If an artist requires further bitmap editing, he may use other tools (such as the GIMP) on images before or after importing them . If one does edit a linked bitmap in another program, Inkscape will reflect these changes once the SVG file is reloaded.

All of these characteristics make Inkscape a model drawing application, especially considering its flexibility and many other capabilities. Its strict compliance with the W3C SVG standards allows excellent portability of images to many applications and the varying platforms on which these applications run.

For more information, check out the FLOSS Manual on Inkscape: