Customizing the QuickInsert Toolbar

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In Studio, you can add your own QuickInsert buttons to the QuickInsert toolbar for easy access to any characters, character pairs, tags, etc. I discovered the feature sometime ago and have used it to create a shortcut button to insert  the Finnish quotation marks as a pair. (For those who don’t know, Finnish opening and closing quotation marks are identical and look like the English curly closing quotation mark.) I have also used it to add bullet, curly bracket pairs (useful when translating DejaVu “table files” outside DejaVu to help to insert those annoying bracketed number codes) and other special characters.

However, one day I noticed that some of my QuickInsert entries seemed to have disappeared when I started working on a new project. I really couldn’t figure it out and finally contacted the SDL Support. I’m a bit embarassed to admit this but it turned out that I had defined some of the QuickInsert entries using the Project Settings route to access the File Types > QuickInsert options. When you do that, the settings will only apply to the current project. If you want to use them for all projects, you need to access the options by selecting Tools > Options > File Types. Makes sense, but because the dialog box where the File Type settings are located looked identical to me in both cases, I didn’t think it would make any difference which way I do it. However, they are not exactly identical, and the title bar tells you which is which, i.e. it says either Options or  Project Settings. Duh! Actually, it’s very important to realize this difference because it doesn’t only affect the QuickInsert feature but all the other File Type features and some others as well.

Anyhow, I think this is a good feature and again one more factor that makes Studio very customizable.

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More About Display Filtering

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I had mentioned Display Filtering as one of my Top 5 reasons why I like Studio in one of the earlier postings. I have used it mainly for filtering segments based on the source or target content to check if I have translated a certain term consistently and correctly, or to quickly see all the non-confirmed segments. However, the Display Filter toolbar drop-down list has several other options as well, and I just recently found good use for one of them.

I had about ten very similar files to translate with about 80-90% file-to-file repetition rate. After the second file, I realized that I really don’t want to waste my time proofreading all those 100% matches with every file. Of course, I could have used the match level indicator in the center column to skip them but that’s quite time-consuming as well with large files like these. Anyhow, that’s when I turned to the Display Filter toolbar.  With the “New translated content” selection, you can hide all the 100% matches which means that only those segments are visible that might have some new content and are worth proofreading.  That certainly streamlined my translation process.

Problem with Language Variants

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Backwards compatibility is an issue that concerns many Trados Studio users. Possible scenarios range from “no problem” to “impossible” and can be almost anything in-between.  The “SDL Trados Studio Migration Guide“ and the recent white paper “TTX Compatibility Guide for SDL Trados Studio 2009 Users” have more info about various scenarios, and are worth studying.

However, I just recently encountered a related problem that I didn’t expect. I got a bunch of INX.TTX files (InDesign files in TagEditor format) and a Workbench TM from a British client. The files and the TM were UK-English/Finnish. However, my own main TMs are for US-English. I could have done the translation using TagEditor because it allows you to open non-translated UK-English TTX files using an US-English TM. However, I wanted to do this in Studio, of course…

What I found out is that TMs and files in the same project have to have the same language variant — I was not able to open the UK-English TTX files using my American English TMs nor use the client’s UK-English TM and my own US-English TMs at the same time. So, I had to convert all my main US-Eng TMs to UK-English by exporting/importing them to new UK-Eng TMs. Not really something I would like to do on a regular basis even though there were only three TMs.  This was actualy what SDL Support suggested as well… this or working in Trados 2007.

Of course, that’s not all. Now after the translation is done, I have all this new TM content but it’s in the UK-Eng TM, and I would need to get it into my main US-Eng TM. I could do that by a new round of exporting and importing, or I could import the translated material directly from the bilingual TTX files (a nice feature that Studio offers). I will use the latter one since it’s simpler to do.

From the technology point of view, there might be good reasons why Trados doesn’t include a setting to “overrule” the language variant issue. However, from the linguistic point of view, that doesn’t make much sense since having US or UK English as the source language doesn’t make any difference to me when I’m translating into Finnish.  Luckily, I don’t have many UK-English-using clients but I can see that this could get pretty old quite fast if I had to do this more frequently.

By the way, there’s an improvement suggestion on ideas.sdl.com regarding this issue. You can find it here.

Finnish Spelling Checker Is Missing

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The move away from the MS Office spelling checker might have been a good move, except for Finnish. The problem is that the Hunspell spelling checker is not available for Finnish because it does not work with the Finnish language.  The following note is on the  page that’s linked in the Trados Studio support article:

“NOTE: Hunspell is not capable of handling Finnish language properly, so these dictionaries should not be used. Instead, Voikko project should be used, either via Enchant (a recommended spell-checking library for any project, supports also hunspell) or directly in OOo via openoffice.org-voikko provided by the project also.”

I contacted the SDL Support and they told me that they will bring this to the attention of the developers but also asked me to post this on the ideas.sdl.com site, which I did. You can find it here. So, if you think that I and my Finnish colleagues deserve a functioning spellng checer for our beautiful mother tongue, please vote for the suggestion! Thanks for your support.

Translation Results Window and Fuzzy Matches

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I have noticed that I seem to have more unhappy than happy faces in my blog entries. That doesn’t mean that I would generally be more unhappy with Trados Studio — quite the contrary actually. I guess, I played most of my happy face cards during the first few hands and now I’m left reporting these relatively minor annoyances that surface every so often during my translation work. Really, I like the top 5 features I listed earlier so much that an occasional annoyance here and there isn’t really that bad. Of course, I would like to see a good program getting even better since there seems to be plenty of room for improvement.

Having said that, here’s my complaint of the day. Or there are actually two related problems. First of all, I don’t like the way fuzzy matches are indicated using the “track changes” type of markings instead of the highlighting used in Trados 2007. This has bothered me from the beginning but I was hoping that I would get used to it. Maybe I will one day, but it hasn’t happened yet. Seemingly, I’m not the only one with this problem — the “return of the highlighting” is one of the most requested features on ideas.sdl.com. Trying to figure out the fuzzy match differences, when they are marked like this, is somehow more difficult and takes more time, and I find myself often just figuring out the differences by comparing the new source segment with the fuzzy target segment without even looking at the Translation Results Window. You can modify to certain extent how these markings are applied but these customization options don’t include highlighting.

The other reason why I have started to overlook the Translation Results Window is the way fuzzy matches seem to be calculated. I have received absolutely weird fuzzy matches. Here are some examples (click the images to see them better):

When using the previous versions of Trados, I lowered my fuzzy match setting down to 50% or 60% because it often brought me good partial matches that would have otherwise been overlooked. I guess, with Studio it’s better to keep this setting closer to the default 70%.