Tablet Interpreting – USB Files

I recently decided to replace the netbook I had been using in the booth with a tablet computer. Actually, this was long overdue, as the netbook – not the fastest to begin with – had been getting slower and slower, taking somewhere around 5 minutes just to start up and deciding to freeze up at the most inopportune moments because its little RAM was simply not up to the task of processing four (or more) programs and a browser simultaneously. When the notice pooped up that I should replace the battery or it could just shut down without warning, I took that as a sign and switched to a tablet.

It just so happened that this was shortly before September 30 – Translator Day – when there was a virtual conference over on ProZ. Now, you can say what you like about that platform, but some offers really are good, and the conferences, both virtual and in the flesh, are of that group.
One of the sessions this year was a webinar on tablet interpreting! Yeah! Naturally, I signed up. Although I was unable to watch it live, the recording is still online, so I could watch it at my leisure later. And it really was so worth it! Loads and loads of excellent information and tips by Alexander Drechsel and Josh Goldsmith!

One of the things they talked about was a little device that lets you share files from a USB drive via wifi, turns LAN into WLAN, and is also a backup battery. I was immediately convinced and bought one, and I wanted to share how it works with you. However, someone else has already done so, so rather than raving myself, I will share the post by Sebastiano Gigliobianco originally published on the tablet interpreter blog:

USB drives and tablets? Solved! 

Recently, I was contacted by a
student interpreter from Munich, Sebastiano Gigliobianco. He, too, is an
enthusiastic tablet interpreter, and I am happy to say he has cracked
the USB-drive-and-tablet issue. I publish his text here, slightly
edited, in the hope that you find it just as informative and useful as I

freelance interpreters in particular, the lack of a USB port remains a
big problem when it comes to tablets. Although WiFi-enabled thumb drives
have been widely available on the market, they do not solve the problem
that many of us face when being handed a thumb drive with documents,
files or the latest version of a PowerPoint presentation.

In this article, I will show you how to access a thumb drive, an external USB hard drive or an SD storage card from your tablet.

only thing that you need, aside from your tablet and your drive, is a
file hub. Again, there are several products on the market, and it is not
my intention to advertise one or the other. I will just talk about the
one that I bought: the RavPower.

RavPower is a portable router which is able to create a WiFi network
that shares a wired internet connection or hooks up to an existing WiFi
as a repeater of sorts. It also doubles as a power bank that can charge
your phone or tablet while you’re out and about. Without a doubt the
most interesting feature, however, is the ability to share the contents
of a USB drive, SD card or USB hard drive over a secure WiFi network.
This can be done by either entering the address into the
address bar of your browser or by using the official FileHub Plus app.
FileHub Plus lets you open and manage most file formats (PDF, Office,
video, audio etc.) which can then be opened in other applications as
well such as Mail, iBooks, Readdle Documents, VLC and so on.

it is possible to open the files with one application and then export
them into another, the constant back-and-forth is cumbersome and
time-consuming. Apps such as Readdle Documents
(my standard file manager on the iPad) usually have a built-in
capability to access remote servers either through a local network or
the internet. After having spent quite some time trying out different
settings, I was finally able to find the correct ones that allow you to
access the RavPower directly from Documents without having to open
another app first.

Settings for Readdle Documents

  • Services/Network > Add Account > Windows SMB
  • Title: <customisable>

the official app will recognise the RavPower as a single unit having
two devices plugged in (USB and SD card), Documents will see them as two
different servers and have to be saved as such:

  • URL for USB: smb://
  • URL for SD card: smb://
  • (In older versions of Documents, the shared folder – USBDisk/SDCard – has to be entered separately.)
  • Domain: <empty>
  • Login: default is admin and no password

Settings for GoodReader

  • Go to the “Connect” tab
  • “Connect to Server” > Add > SMB Server
  • Readable title: <customisable>
  • Network
    address: (GoodReader then lets you navigate to all
    connected storage devices. Alternatively, you can enter the direct URL
    for USB and/or SD – see above under Readdle Documents.)
  • User:  <default: admin>
  • Password: <empty by default> 
  • Workstation: <empty>

Please note:
The settings with other versions of the RavPower or with other apps may
vary. To find out if the shared folder has changed,  download the
official FileHub Plus app and click on “File/Folder” to see the devices
currently plugged in. Simply copy the names and paste them in the shared
folder fields.

By saving these settings, you can access
either the USB stick or the SD card plugged into the RavPower with your
tablet or smartphone. Moreover, you can also connect the RavPower to the
internet either with an Ethernet cable or over WiFi using it as a
repeater, for example while being at home or in a hotel.
I suggest
using an SD card instead of a USB drive for permanent storage, since
the RavPower has only one USB port for charging and data transfer. This
may cause the thumb drive to get warm, and it drains the battery
I have been happily using this solution to access files
on my thumb drive, SD card or external hard drive, using nothing but my
iPad. I believe it to be a very practical solution if we are handed a
pen drive (maybe in the booth, 5 minutes before the conference begins)
and only have a tablet. It is also very useful on long journeys when we
want to bring our favorite podcasts, videos or other big files without
clogging up the internal memory of our device.


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