Running Wordfast Pro on 64-bit Linux

Wordfast Pro isn’t supported on 64-bit Linux, but that can be solved.

Recently I’ve got a small pretranslated project from a client who strongly requested to complete it in Wordfast Pro. Since the project was small (only over a thousand words), and I had almost no previous experience with Wordfast files in OmegaT, and the client suggested that I could complete the project even in the Demo mode of Wordfast Pro, I decided to give it a spin.

So, first of all I went to the Wordfast site to download the software. I run Debian GNU/Linux, so I got Wordfast_Pro_3.4.0a.tar.gz.

I unpacked the downloaded archive on my computer and got a folder named Wordfast. Inside that folder there was an executable file with the same name, Wordfast. Running the program should have been as easy as double-clicking the executable, but it turned out that 64-bit Linux isn’t really supported (yeah, I should have read the known issues section on the site).

Well, a quick Google search revealed that one could install 32-bit JRE on his/her machine and make it a default JRE. Since I use quite a few other Java programs, that wasn’t really what I wanted, even though I did try that just to make sure that Wordfast Pro will really work:
sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre:i386
sudo update-alternatives --config java (here I selected the freshly installed 32-bit JRE as default)

That enabled Wordfast to start. Great! I quickly finished the project (it could have been quicker if I knew the program a bit better), and even though there was no real need to dig the problem any further, I was really curious to find a nicer solution.

I have found two ways that enable Wordfast Pro to run on 64-bit Linux without making 32-bit JRE a default Java for the system.
For both of them you need to make sure that multiarch is enabled (dpkg --add-architecture i386), and libgtk2.0-0:i386 (with dependancies) and libxtst6:i386 are installed (sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-0:i386 libxtst6:i386). They might have already been there if you run other 32-bit applications.

  1. Make a wrapper script that makes Wordfast find 32-bit Java executable before any other JRE.
    You do that by changing $PATH variable. Here’s a simple bash script that starts Wordfast with 32-bit OpenJDK 7 installed system-wide, even if other version of JRE is set as default. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the system OpenJDK, it can be any 32-bit Java on your machine, for example the one that is used for OmegaT, in which case the path has to be specified accordingly.

    `dirname $(readlink -nf $0)`/Wordfast

    I named it, made it executable and put into the same folder where Wordfast executable is.

  2. Put 32-bit JRE inside Wordfast folder and name it jre. It can be OpenJDK (for instance, you can symlink /usr/lib/jvm/java-7-openjdk-i386 into Wordfast folder naming the link jre) or 32-bit Oracle Java (unpacked into Wordfast folder and stripped of the version number in its own folder name). In this case there’s no need for the wrapper, Wordfast Pro finds the local JRE and uses it no matter what other Java versions might be installed on your system.

Disclaimer: I have successfully tried it on my Debian Sid machine that I use daily and on a fresh minimal Ubuntu 14.04 install (core system, xorg, lxde) on a virtual box. I can’t guarantee this is going to work on other Linux distros.

Update: For Fedora you need to run this:
yum install libstdc++.i686 gtk2.i686 libXtst.i686
It’ll enable 32-bit apps execution and install stuff needed to run 32-bit JRE. Then you can use either of the two ways to run Wordfast Pro.

Good luck!


Starting with WFP 3.4.1 there’s no need to do anything extra with Java to run Wordfast Pro on a 64-bit Linux, as WFP is now fully compatible with it.

10 thoughts on “Running Wordfast Pro on 64-bit Linux

  1. Thanks a stack! You must’ve put a fair amount of time into working all this out.
    I’m going to try it on an rpm distro (Mageia 4), with due adaptations. Will let you know if it pans out.

      • Dunno … I’ve just downloaded the tarball. It’s got a binary called wordfast but, it seems to have dependency problems. It throws up an unhelpful error message about WordFast not finding a “companion library”.

        • I’ve just tried 3.4.1, it runs OK without any additional Java tweakings. Of course, all the compatibility libraries are installed on my system. Make sure you have libstdc++.i686, gtk2.i686, and libXtst.i686 installed, and try to start Wordfast from command line (open terminal window, cd to the directory where you extracted it, and run ./Wordfast). Its output is rather verbose, but you may be able to spot what is missing.

        • You’re absolutely right: I’m missing all these i686 libraries. They’re not in the Mageia repositories so, I’m going to hunt them down now. Thanks for the help

  2. Mmm … all three libraries installed eventually. After that, starting the binary from the shell produced a libcanberra-gtk3-module not found message. Installed the libcanberra modlule and it went back to “companion library not found”! 🙂🙂 I’ll follow it up tomorrow. Thanks for all the help all the same

    • I installed 64-bit version of Mageia 4.1 on a virtual box. It was a rather stripped down install from a netinstall iso with manual package selection, LXDE with Openbox for UI, and Java provided by the default OpenJDK 7. No extra packages installed (not even the ones I suggested above). Wordfast Pro 3.4.1 for 64-bit Linux started in that configuration without any fuss. I didn’t test how well it works though.

      • Thanks, Kos. Yep, this was going to be my next ploy so that I could also run a Word2013 for when the LibreOffice filters don’t work well. Thanks

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