Traditionally, it has been difficult to share data among diverse computer applications and platforms because of underlying differences in data formats. Although the meaning or purpose of the data may be similar or identical (for example, two appointments entered using separate computer applications), the differences in data formats required by the various computer applications and platforms renders such sharing difficult. A method is disclosed for the translation of dissimilarly-formatted data between disparate computer applications and platforms. The method also provides for the dynamic reconciliation of conflicts in the data (for example, two appointments scheduled at the same time) based on both the content of the data and on specific preferences indicated by the user of the translation facility. First, the data is translated to a common format based on the user-specified mapping of data fields (identifying handheld and desktop fields to be translated) and considering the characteristics of the handheld or desktop computer application. Then, if the specific data item (such as an appointment, telephone book entry, or memo entry) already exists on the desktop computer application or platform, the user is optionally notified of the conflict and given the opportunity to replace the existing data, ignore the incoming data, or modify the incoming data. The criteria for determining the existence of conflicts is disclosed for updating schedule information and keyed databases.