Translating Bilingual Trados Workbench (Word) Files in Studio 2011

I wanted to start my Studio 2011 articles with this topic for two reasons: (1) This is an important enhancement of Studio for those who are stuck with clients who still require this old Trados file format, and (2) The process can be a bit confusing. Hopefully, the following information can make it easier and clearer.

1. Files need to be pre-segmented

It’s important to know that if you want to save your translation as a bilingual Workbench file (aka “uncleaned” Word file) in Studio, the file needs to be pre-segmented in Trados Workbench before you open it in Studio. To do this, select in Workbench Tools > Translate > Segment unknown sentences. For further details, see this SDL blog article.

Also, it’s better not to change the text colors in Workbench because that can create problems with target text formatting in Studio. For example, when you insert a bold tag to the target text, the tag can also include the color of the source text in addition to the actual bold formatting, i.e. your target text turns bold and blue if you had changed the source text color to blue in Workbench. To avoid this, select in Workbench Options > Translated Text Colours > Unchanged for source and target.

2. DOC or DOCX format

The pre-segmented file needs to be in either DOC or DOCX format. Studio doesn’t seem to accept RTF files. You get the “This file type is not supported” error message. If the original file is an RTF file, then just save the segmented file as DOC or DOCX.

3. Only monolingual files are supported – what’s up with that?

This might be the next stumbling block when you are trying to open the file for translation:

I find this error message very confusing. “This file cannot be processed because it was saved as a bilingual document in Word. Only monolingual files are supported”. Wait a minute… wasn’t the bilingual file support one of the new features of Studio 2011!? I think they could have easily made this error message more informative and less confusing.

Anyhow, if you get this error message when trying to open a segmented DOC or DOCX file, take a look at your file type settings for the file type in question (Tools > Options > File Types > Microsoft Word 2000-2003 / 2007-2010 > Common).

Make sure that the Process files with tw4winMark style option is NOT selected. By default, it shouldn’t be checked but sometimes you need to select it in order to be able to open files that have tw4winMark styles in them (even if the styles are not used in the document). Anyhow, that’s another topic (and source of error messages) altogether, and we’ll get back to that at some other time. So, now after unchecking the box, you should be able to open the file.

4. Getting rid of the source text in the target column

Since the file is pre-segmented, all the target fields are already filled in either with translations or with the source segment content, depending on the TM and the fuzzy match setting you used for the segmentation in Workbench. Having the target side filled in with source text can be annoying because fuzzy matches will not be automatically inserted to the already occupied target fields during your interactive translation and you would need to use the Apply Translation (Ctrl+T) command for every segment.

You can avoid this extra hassle by emptying the target fields before starting translation. The best way to do this depends on the fuzzy level you used in Workbench when you segmented the file. I think this works best if you use the 100% or higher match value setting during the segmentation step in Workbench.

This way it will be easy to clear all the source language text from the target side by using the Clear Draft Segments command (Translation > Clear Draft Segments). It will leave your 100% match translation untouched but clears all the other segments quickly in one go. If you want to clear the segments based on some other criteria, you can use the Display filter to display those segments, as needed, and then select the desired segments (click the number of the first one, keep Shift key down and click the number of the last one to be selected so that all the desired segments get highlighted) and use the Clear Target Segment command to clear the content (right-click menu or Translation > Clear Target Segment). If a large number of segments have been selected, this can take a while.

5. Use of TMs

For the segmentation in Workbench, you can use any TM you want to. Of course, if you have a client-provided or other project-specific Workbench TM, it’s probably the most practical one to use. You can also use the same TM during Studio translation. It’s really easy in Studio 2011 to include Workbench (and TMX, TXT and MDB) memories in a project because you don’t need to do the full TM upgrade process separately first. Studio 2011 allows you to run a Quick Upgrade as part of the TM selection process which makes it almost as easy to use these non-Studio TMs as it is to use actual Studio TMs. You can add non-Studio TMs in the Open File-based Translation Memory dialog box exactly the same way as Studio TMs, just make sure you have the right file type selected (see below).

6. Miscellaneous

Note that the Preview function does not work with Workbench files but you can view the target translation in Word using the File > View In > Bilingual Word Document as Target command.

And as an addition to the potential confusion, when you open a bilingual DOC file for translation, a DOCX file with the same name gets created in the same folder. Why? Good question.


15 Responses to “Translating Bilingual Trados Workbench (Word) Files in Studio 2011”

  1. 15 years experience Says:

    With the amount of time required just to set up the jobs, SDL software is simply not paying for itself anymore. Sorry… no upgrade for me. Not worth it.

    • Tuomas Says:

      It’s not THAT time-consuming. Three clicks and you have a document open for translation if you want to use your own default settings. I don’t know how much easier it could be without resorting to mind-reading… I admit that setting up projects is a bit more time-consuming but it can be easily streamlined using templates.

    • Stefan Gentz Says:

      Well, when I started first with Studio a couple of years ago, I also thought that it would be just too much admin overhead. But finally it’s as Tuomas says. Studio simply put’s together all the tasks and parts of a project that you were compiling manually in “old Trados”. In one of my last trainings an experienced project manager asked me to compete with him: He sets up a multi-file format project in old Trados and I did with Studio 2011. It took me under a minute, while it took him about five minutes. I was already translating the first files, while he was still “s-taggering” files and waiting for a big doc to open in TagEditor, if you know what I mean.
      The crucial point is: Studio is much more complex and has much more features than good old Trados. It’s hard to get into it and for old birds it might be hard to get used to it. But once you got used to Studio and have customized it the way *you* need it, everything – project management and translation – really gets much faster than in the past. But you really need to dig in to this feature monster and understand the underlying concepts.

  2. Rio Says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with Trados. I’m curious about Studio 2011 – can it be used standalone or does it need the previous software (2009 and 2007)? In otherwords, if someone has never used 2007 or 2009, and is only now beginning to use Trados software, wouldn’t it be better to learn to use 2011 without worrying about what 2007 or 2009 can or cannot do? Is Workbench that important?

    • Stefan Gentz ☁ (@stefangentz) Says:

      Studio 2011 is a standalone application. You do not need to install 2009 to use it. Studio 2011 replaces 2009 completely. However, it might be useful (depeding on your clients) to also have old Trados 2007 with Workbench and TagEditor. Some LSPs try to avoid updating as long as possible (“never touch a running system”, “oh, the update is sooo expensive”, “oh, I don’t want to learn soething new” and so on.)

    • Tuomas Says:

      Trados Studio 2009 and 2011 are very similar. The 2011 version is just an upgrade (but a standalone program). Trados 2007, on the other hand, is very different from Trados Studio. There’s really no reason to spend time learning Trados 2007 (Workbench) anymore. I would just concentrate on the latest version of Studio. I hope that helps.

  3. Urs Says:

    Dear Tuomas You say: If somebody needs an old format, do the translation with studio and convert it. I say: If somebody needs a translation in studio do it unclean and convert it. Why? Studio has now the word spellchecker, but as far as I know no grammar checker, and there is an advanced spellchecker from Duden (the former official German dictionary). AFAIK studio has no long tags, you just know that you have a picture, but not whether this is the Swiss picture or the Finnish picture. so get lots of error messages. Than there is the problem that you have a protected space before the French colon and other signs. The protected space is displayed either as a superscript o or as as the tag nbsp. As you need to copy the whole sentence because of the lack of long tags, you copy also these protected space and need lots of time to cancel them. Or if you have the nbsp tag, you get an error message cancelling it. Are these really the „advantages“ you deserve for paying the update (and having days and days to install it)? Thanks a lot Urs

    • Tuomas Says:

      I guess it just depends on what’s more important for you. For me, a grammar checker would not make up all the benefits that Studio offers. I’m not sure I understand your description of the issues with tags etc. Why wouldn’t you be able to insert those tags that you want by using the Ctrl+, shortcut?

  4. Urs Says:

    And one more problem: If your translation is longer than the original text and takes one more page, you only see this in the word document, not in Studio. Urs

  5. Chun-yi Chen Says:

    I recently did a Trados bilingual file (presegmented and pretranslated by client) in Studio 2011 SP2R2 and was not able to save the file back to its orginal bilingual format for delivery. When I ran the QA in Studio, it displayed a list of 103 errors for this 1,100-segment file. I then logged this incident in SDL Support, as I have a PMSA contract with them. It turns out that there were two segments that I did not handle the formatting tags properly. After these tags were properly fixed, I was able to save this file in Trados 2007 format.

    The thing is, these two segments that caused the file export failure were not detected by Studio’s QA process. In other words, they are not among the 103 errors that were listed in the QA result. I have come to the conclusion that for Trados 2007 bilingual files, it is still safer to use Trados/Workbench rather than use Studio 2011.

    • Tuomas Says:

      I try to avoid translating Trados WB bilingual files if at all possible for the same reason. There have been too many problems with the conversion back to the bilingual format. It’s not as reliable as it should.

      I would be interested in knowing what tags caused your problem.

      • Chun-yi Chen Says:

        Hi Tuomas,

        For the two segments that caused the failure, those were from formatting tags. For the first segment, there were no formatting tags in source but there were two (a pair) in target. For the second segment, one formatting tag was placed in the wrong place on the target side, which should be placed at the start of the segment like the source segment.
        I had formatting tags toggled off, so I did not even realize the problem until SDL Support told me I need to toggle formatting tags on to make those tags visible.
        Thank you for confirming that it is not wise to use Studio to process Trados WB bilingual files. SDL Support advises me that such problems do not happen often and encourage me to continue using Studio for Trados WB files. My experience seems to have proved otherwise and I am glad an expert like you feels the same way as I do.


      • Tuomas Says:

        Personally, I would still do it in Studio. However, I would do everything I could to convince the client that some other file format (such as TTX) would work for them.

  6. Chun-yi Chen Says:

    After this unfortunate event where the two critical errors were not detected by Studio in the QA process, I will use either Trados WB or my other CAT tool, if the client does not require me to use Trados. I am still upset that Studio QA pointed me to the wrong direction by showing 103 false positive errors. If I had had time back then, I could have tried to fix all of them and at the end realized I was chasing a red herring.

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