Synchronizing data on my computers

Keeping the data updated on several computers is not an easy task, particularly when it comes to maintaining a number of my translation memories and archives of projects that I completed in more than 15 years of my career. Here is what I use to make sure I have all necessary data available when I really need them.

The important point for me is that I do not want to rely solely upon one centralized storage space for all of my data. Reasons are simple and there is no need to dig further into this area (who wants to lose all data due to HDD failure or theft?). I prefer to keep my resources distributed.

Translation memories

I keep a separate translation memory for each of my (larger) customers – I call these “master TMs”. As an ordinary freelance translator, I work in my office, at home, as well as when on the go. Unfortunately, I have not developed any “hi-tech” way to achieve a centralized storage point for these memories. I simply keep the main copy in my office desktop and laptop, and whenever I work with any of these TMs, I simply copy the updated files to the other computer. Of course, I consider my office desktop a primary source and use FileZilla FTP server to enable the access to these resources via the Internet. But basically, both of these computers contain the same data. This also serves as a backup facility. This is also beneficial in case there is no Internet access available.

Translation history – access to the archive

In this area, the situation is much easier. I have 2 separate internal backup HDDs in my office desktop and another 2 external USB HDDs. All the these contain virtually the same data, but the external USB HDDs get their updates with some delay (typically a few months – yes, I am a bit lazy). Access to all of my translation history is ensured via FTP, which is, however, not so convenient when transferring larger projects (that may represent tens or even hundreds of MB).

Transferring project data between computers

Until recently, I relied mainly on the USB Flash Disk that I carried together with my keys. Unfortunately, these small devices are not so sturdy to withstand harsh handling, so I got two of these disks broken in just a few months. Thus, I decided to get rid of these and currently I rely on my Android phone and Dropbox/web-based file sharing services.

Android phone

Despite I am not so big mobile phone enthusiast as in the past, I still carry my mobile with me most of the time.

I have a dock for my Motorola Milestone Android OS-powered smartphone in the office and upload/download the data over the cable. At home, I use the Samba Network Fileshare software to connect the phone wirelessly (via Wi-Fi), since I am too lazy to connect the cable every time. I simply mount my phone’s SD memory card as a network drive and work with the data using the Windows Explorer. This is an easy and really convenient way.

In addition, Samba allows setting up the smartphone as a media and data server (with 32 GB SD card, this is not a bad option for keeping some of the valuable media and data resources readily available).

Dropbox/web-based file sharing services

I used to rely upon Dropbox to make my files accessible anywhere I need them. However, long waiting for downloading and especially uploading the data kept me frustrated, so currently, I use Dropbox only occasionally.

When I need to distribute large files to all of my computers (or to my clients’ or partners’ computers), I use the popular web-based file sharing services, such as Rapidshare, Megaupload,, and so on.


Keeping the data safe and at hand is a complex task. After some experience, I have not come to a clear decision whether to rely upon the centralized or distributed approach, so I currently use both of them. Maybe, this is more time consuming, but my data are safe and available.

Do you know any better solution? Please share your thoughts…

This entry was posted in General discussion, Software-related. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Synchronizing data on my computers

  1. Gina says:

    When you say you use Filezilla… Did you buy some storage space somewhere and use it as some kind of online backup to replace the DropBox you don’t use anymore? I’ll confess I’m lazy and only save a few files onto my Google Drive, but I should be looking for a better/safer solution than that…

    • admin says:

      I have a web server including FTP server installed on my office computer, which is running nonstop. I can access necessary resources whenever necessary and from any location. Thus, I do not need to buy any space anywhere. I like to have the things under control, so I am running my own servers (web, FTP, mail). Installing this kind of infrastructure may be a bit difficult at the beginning, but if your internet connection is reliable, it brings you obvious advantages.

  2. Gina says:

    Oh, interesting! But I’m afraid that’s beyond my proficiency level for now. Thanks for taking the time to answer! I added your blog to my RSS feeds, you have some great articles. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *