Keyboard shortcuts to display translated terms and formatting tags

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While studying for the Trados Studio Certification exams this week, I was reminded of a couple of features that I had forgotten, and I thought to share them here.

The Show Translated Terms (Shift+Ctrl+L) command opens a QuickPlace list that includes only the suggested term translations from the active termbases (without showing any AutoSuggestion entries). Note that this is a different QuickPlace list than the one you would use for inserting tags and other placeables. I find this useful when the termbase entry doesn’t get inserted normally through the AutoSuggest feature because of the case sensitivity. This happens, for example, when the termbase match is in upper case in the termbase but I’m typing it in lower case into the target field. This AutoSuggest case sensitivity affects both termbase and AutoSuggest dictionary entries, and is quite annoying. Anyhow, with the Shift+Ctrl+L command I can get the termbase suggestions easily inserted regardless of the case. Another alternative is the Insert Term Translation button in the Term Recognition window if you prefer using a mouse. Of course, the best alternative would be to be able to turn off this case sensitivity. If you agree, go to ideas.sdl.com and vote for the “Case sensitivity in AutoSuggest feature” suggestion by Wladyslaw Janowski.

Another feature that I rediscovered is the “Toggles display of formatting tags” button in the Translation and Review toolbar. Most of the time you don’t actually want to see these tags at all but sometimes it’s really helpful to see them in order to make sure they have been applied correctly into the target segment. I have found this to be helpful when tag verification indicates that there’s a problem with tags even though everything looks fine. Often the problem is easy to spot when you toggle the formatting tag display on. This button is actually a shortcut to the settings in the “Formatting Display Style” drop-down list in Tools > Options > Editor.

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User suggestions on ideas.sdl.com

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The other day, I took a look at the ideas.sdl.com site where Trados users can suggest new features and vote on suggestions made by others.  I was happy to see that many of the Studio features that I have been missing are among the most popular suggestions, such as the possibility to modify source text, use of background colors for indicating match differences, and improved substitution localization options. It’s also interesting to see what other kinds of features people are suggesting.

Anyhow, I encourage you to visit the site and vote for your (and my) favorite features so that we can hopefully get them into the next service pack or version. In addition to the above mentioned popular ideas, I would like to see more votes for the “Case sensitivity in AutoSuggest feature” suggestion.

AutoSuggest dictionary sources

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As I mentioned earlier, the AutoSuggest (AS) feature is one of the best things in Trados Studio.  You can use it with AutoSuggest dictionaries, MultiTerm glossaries and AutoText entries. To be able to use it with AutoSuggest dictionaries, I created AS dictionaries from my main Eng>Fin TM and two other large TMs (that I had not incorporated into my main TM). These two others were the EU Law TM (about 400,000 TUs) and the old Microsoft  glossaries TM (about 300,000 TUs; from the time the glossaries were available free as csv files). All three TMs were much larger than the required 25,000 TU minimum limit and bring good matches constantly.

I’m sure the AutoSuggest dictionary feature works even better with most other languages. The problem with Finnish is that it uses a lot of various types of endings which means that the word/fragment  might not end up on the auto suggestion list at all, or several forms of the same word/fragment end up on the list which makes it slower to use the list.

If  you don’t have large enough TMs, take a look at the few AS dictionaries that are available from TranslationZone.com or download  the EU “Acquis Communautaire” TM from http://langtech.jrc.it/DGT-TM.html and convert that.

Another potential  source of bilingual files for AutoSuggest dictionaries and other TM use is OPUS.  Jost Zetsche mentioned this in the December 11, 2009 issue of his excellent Tool Kit newsletter.  OPUS includes bilingual files in many language directions from various sources, such as the European Medicines Agency, the European constitution, the  European Parliament Proceedings, and the OpenOffice.org corpus.  However, turning this material to a TM takes a bit work. Even the EMEA corpus that is in TMX format needs to be prepped before it can be imported to Trados.  Actually, I had to import the prepped TMX file first into a Trados 2007 TM, then export it as an TMX file which I then was able to import to Studio. I’m not sure why Studio refused to read the prepped  TMX file but it did, so I had to cycle it through Workbench.

I’m sure there are other sources out there as well…

Problem with the “non-translatable text” feature

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I recently got an RTF file to translate that included several non-translatable strings within angle brackets, for example {<storyname=zzz_xxx_security_instrucs_3>}.  I wanted to try Studio’s “Non-translatable text” feature for this so that all strings like this would automatically be excluded from translation. You can do this by going to Project Settings > File Types > RTF > Non-translatable texts — or you should be able to do it that way. No matter what I tried, I wasn’t able to get it to work, and it actually refused to save anything to the “end text” field.  After 10 minutes I gave up and just jumped over the strings in the source text.

I did, however, contact the SDL Support and got this reply:

This is actually a bug in the software.  It is a known issue and should be resolved in SP2 of Studio 2009.

So, we’ll wait for the SP2 then…

Unable to convert completed translation back to original file format

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Now it happened… I was not able to convert my file back to the original format (doc) from the SDLXLIFF file. I finished translating the file and was previewing it. Surprisingly, only about the first third of the file was displayed in Finnish in the preview and the rest was still in English even though everything was translated in the SDLXLIFF file.

OK… that’s just a preview. Who cares… I tried to stay calm. Then I converted the bilingual SDLXLIFF file back to DOC format hoping that this would work out fine. No such luck; most of the document was still in English. At this point, I started getting slightly worried. I made sure I was dealing with the correct version of the file since it’s easy to accidentally store project files in various places. OK, what’s next? I renamed the original file and opened it in Studio and  translated it again. With the TM it went very fast, of course. However, the same problem again. I even copied the file to another computer but all in vain.  Even though the XLIFF file was completely translated, I got only a partial translation out of it.

Since the deadline was pressing, I didn’t have time to try to solve the problem, so I converted the original DOC file to TTX format in TagEditor and then retranslated it in Studio. That worked and I got my translated Word file out of it.

What was the problem? I had some extra time today to look at the file and was going to send it to the Trados support when I noticed something peculiar at the point where the problem was (i.e. where the English text started in my translated target file). There were two ghost tags. I deleted them and the problem was gone.

Here’s also the response I got from SDL Support:

This project has tag protection turned off.  When tag protection is turned off, you can delete inline tags. If you delete a tag that is part of a tag pair, a ghost tag is placed in your document to remind you that your tag pair is not complete.  In this case, the tag that it generated completed the wrong tag pair, which led to the document displaying correctly when generated.  Normally, this does not happen but it is possible.  To avoid this, you can turn tag protection on by going to Format > Protect Tags and selecting Tag Protection.  Alternately, you can do what you did here and delete the ghost tags if you are sure the rest of the formatting is correct.

Easy to split and join segments except when there’s a hard return

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Studio makes it easy to split segments. You can split basically any segment — just right-click the desired split location and select Split Segment. Similarly, you can join segments by selecting the segments by clicking the segment numbers while keeping Ctrl button pressed and then selecting Merge Segments from the right-click menu. Nice and easy.

However, what’s not nice at all is the fact that you can’t join segments that are separated by a hard return in the original file. So, if there’s a hard return in the middle of a sentence (because of poor formatting) you are stuck with it and have to translate the sentence as segmented (or fix it in the source file and then retranslate the file from the beginning). Very frustrating.  In Trados 2007, you can  easily delete the erroneous hard return symbol from the text and then open the segment again for translation. This is definitely an item for my Trados Wish List!