Trados Studio 2009 – Migrate or Not to Migrate

My presentation last week at the ATA conference was well received and I got a lot of positive feedback and had interesting discussions with many Trados users afterwards. I wanted to summarize the main points of the presentation here for those of you who weren’t there. You can download the presentation slides from here. The presentation will also be available through the ATA eConference.

First of all, Trados Studio offers several very good new features that make translation work faster and more efficient, such as the possibility to use multiple TMs, AutoSuggest feature, improved interface with MultiTerm, display filtering, Context Match concept, almost tag-free editing environment, real-time word counter, wider selection of supported file formats, SDL Exchange program and easier project management. These are all features that in my opinion make it worth upgrading to Studio in most cases.

However, there are also some downsides that one should take into consideration when deciding whether to migrate or not. These are mainly compatibility-related issues, such as the lack of support for bilingual (uncleaned) Word files and the extra work one needs to import/export TMs between Studio and Trados Workbench, particularly if one needs to use both versions regularly. Other downsides include the learning curve, the restrictions on using TMs of different language variants in the same project, inability to edit source segments and the lack of (functioning) Finnish spell checker.

Based on the user survey (154 responses) I did, the most common reason why Trados users haven’t started using Studio yet is that their clients haven’t asked them. I find that a strange reason – you don’t need to wait for your clients (or anyone else for that matter) to tell you to start using a new, more efficient tool. How about showing some of your own initiative? I would say that the only situation where Studio doesn’t work that well is if you need to deliver uncleaned Word files to most of your clients. Sometimes I translate projects like these first in Studio and then retranslate them in Word using the same TM content, because that allows me to utilize all those Studio features I mentioned above, but I do admit that this is not always the most practical way of doing it. However, before giving up Studio because of the Word file issue, check that your client really needs those uncleaned files and wouldn’t be happy with just the translated monolingual file and TM. The upcoming SDLX Converter application (I wrote more about it in my earlier posting) will definitely be helpful in some of these scenarios where one needs to work with non-Studio users but it does not completely eliminate the need for a filter that would allow us to convert SDXLIFF files to the traditional “uncleaned” Word format and back. Hopefully, both of these options will be available soon.

If you have already upgraded but are still hesitant about using Studio, learn more about its features and start using it. Investing in learning to use it efficiently will pay itself back quickly. If you haven’t upgraded yet, find out more about Studio from other users (users that are using the latest Service Packs), SDL webinars, videos, tutorials, and testing the trial version. If you like it, review the potential incompatibility issues to see how well Studio would fit into your project flow situations and if any changes are needed. With all that information, you should be able to make a good and educated decision about whether or not to migrate to Studio now

10 Responses to “Trados Studio 2009 – Migrate or Not to Migrate”

  1. Rosalie Says:

    Speaking about non-functioning spell checker… Although you are required to choose 5 languages when installing SDL Studio, and since I only translate in the English-Spanish-English combination, I chose English and 4 Spanish sub-languages, Studio only supports spell-checking for es_ES and es_MX. I have several Workbench memories with sub-languages such as es_US, etc. which I ended up having to edit in Notepad to change to es_ES to be able to use in Studio. I tried to modify the es_ES file but cannot find the appropriate *.dic and *.affx codes for other sub-languages. So, for now, I have to stick to using es_ES or es_MX for all my memories projects if I want to be able to spell.

  2. Natalia Says:

    Rosalie, at lest you are able to use the spell checker. I have the option greyed out, and no matter what I do, it is not activating. I am hating Studio even more every time I use it.

    • Rosalie Says:

      Natalia, what is your language combination? I found that the spell checker is COMPLETELY dependent on the language combination of the memory. For instance, if you have a memory that is English – Spanish for US, the Spell Check option is grayed out because Studio does not have a Spell Checker for Spanish for US.

  3. Tuomas Says:

    Natalie, is that because you are using some other Spanish than Spanish (Spain) or Spanish (Mexico) as your target language? Those seem to be the only Spanish spell checkers available, as Rosalie mentioned. I didn’t know there’s a problem with the Spanish spell checkers as well.

    However, apart from that, what do you hate in Studio?

  4. Natalia Says:

    That’s right, I am using Spanish from Argentina.
    Other issues I hate:
    * No ttx exporting feature.
    * No “dirty” Word file export
    * It should be possible to set priorities for the translation of files within one project, instead of having to create on project for each batch to deliver.

    • Tuomas Says:

      There’s no spell checker for Argentinian Spanish. That’s the reason. Hopefully, Word spell checker will be available in the next version…

      You can export files as TTX if you bring them in as TTX files. For batch conversion of files into TTX format, try the SDL TTX It tool available from the SDL Exchange program.

      Yes, not having the “dirty” Word file export is one of the biggest — if not the biggest — downside of Studio.

  5. Carl Carter Says:

    Hi Tuomas,

    I’ve just re-read your piece on Studio 2009 and was wondering about the issue of incompatibility you mentioned: “However, there are also some downsides that one should take into consideration when deciding whether to migrate or not. These are mainly compatibility-related issues, such as the lack of support for bilingual (uncleaned) Word files […]”.

    Is Trados going to remedy this in the short term? Since many translation agencies still seem to be using Workbench and (understandably) putting off the new investment in Studio 2009 for as long as possible, it seems very odd that Trados hasn’t included support for uncleaned Word files in its latest product yet, which is proving popular among freelance translators. I personally don’t want to have to work with Workbench to translate unclean Word files – Studio 2009’s interface is much closer to my own tool’s (Déjà VuX), so I’d obviously be interested in using that rather than Workbench macros in Word.

    In your experience, how responsive is Trados to users’ calls for better compatibility with other programs? Do these fall on deaf ears?



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    • Tuomas Says:

      I would expect that the bilingual Word file filter will be available eventually. It’s one of the main reasons why people are not upgrading, so it certainly would make sense for SDL to provide it. Hopefully, sooner than later…

      I think they are quite responsive nowadays. There’s the site for user suggestions, and it looks like the tech support is also quite active on Trados user lists on Yahoo and ProZ.

  6. Fernando Says:

    Thanks for this post, Tuomas. Although I am primarily using Studio 2009, I wanted to add an additional downside, particularly for those who translate a lot of TTX files converted from FrameMaker 7.1 MIF files using S-Tagger. Although SDL claims that Studio 2009 supports these files, I’ve had file batches that did not convert back to MIF and all that SDL Support could do to help me was suggest that I retranslate them using TagEditor. This may not an issue if the source files are FrameMaker versions 8 and 9, which you can translate directly in Studio after converting them to MIF (no TTX conversion using S-Tagger necessary).

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