Trados Studio 2014 – What to Expect?

The Ribbon, yes – that’s certainly the first thing all current Studio users notice, and I’m sure it’s not necessarily love at first sight for everyone. How many of us were (un)happy about the ribbon in MS Office 2007? However, it’s pretty safe to say that most of us prefer it now over the old menu structure. While the ribbon in Studio might irritate some current users for a while, it is particularly helpful for new users and others who are not aware of all the settings hidden in the old menu structure. The ribbon makes finding all these settings much easier. Take for example the editor font size. I’ve met many users who were unaware that you can change the font size. In order to do that in Studio 2011, you had to go to Tools > Options > Editor > Translation Results Window > Font Size. However, in Studio 2014 it’s easily visible and accessible directly in the View ribbon (Font Adaptation is the last group there) and you can see the effect immediately. And as far as the Options dialog box goes, it is now accessed via the File menu (or Alt+F+T) since there’s no Tools menu any more.

Unfortunately, you can’t customize the quick access toolbar yet and it has only a few functions available at this point. Hopefully, that will be possible with the next release because that’s one of the key benefits of the ribbon design.

I have been using the beta and release versions of Studio 2014 for about two months now. The ribbon hasn’t made a huge difference to me apart from having to relearn the location of some functions but I still think it’s a very useful improvement. However, the improvements and new features that I have found to be the most important and useful to me personally are the following:

  • much more accurate Concordance search results
  • new TM fields and field values are immediately available
  • QuickMerge (you can merge files easily any way you want during the project which simplifies the translation and QA process when translating a project with several files)
  • improved display filter (incl. additional filter criteria for repetitions)
  • autosave
  • speed improvements (though adding the first new term is always slow)
  • easier access to the various help resources (this is really good for new users)

In addition, there are several new OpenExchange apps, such as SDLXLIFF Toolkit, SDLXLIFFit!, Variables Manager, SDL Legit! and File type definition for memoQ XLIFF. However, probably the most useful is Menu maker for SDL Trados Studio 2014 – it allows you to organize and display all of your OpenExchange apps on the Welcome screen so that they are easily accessible from within Studio. I’ve always had a hard time remembering which apps I’ve already installed and how to access them. Now that problem is solved. For more information on setting up Menu maker, see this blog article by Emma Goldsmith (and while there, see also her other very informative articles about the new Studio features).

AutoSuggest Case Insensitivity, Source Segment Editing and Other SP2 Improvements

One of the first things I did this week after getting back from my summer vacation was that I installed the new SP2 that came out a couple of weeks ago. I was very happy to notice these two improvements that I (and probably everyone else as well) have been wanting to see since the version 2009:

1. The option to make AutoSuggest case-insensitive
With this improvement it doesn’t matter anymore whether your termbase entries start with an upper or lower case. You just need to go to Tools > Options > AutoSuggest and clear the check box next to the Case sensitive option (see the screen shot below).

2. The ability to edit source segments
This feature needs to be turned on first in Project Settings (see the screen shot below). After that you can enable source segment editing for the segment where your cursor is by pressing Alt+F2 (or right-click on the segment and select Edit Source). I’m not really planning to start correcting the numerous typos I see in source texts but I think the best use for this will be combining sentence fragments that are separated by erroneous hard returns (since these cannot be merged using the Merge Segments command). Note that you can’t actually delete the hard return character because it’s not visible in the source segment but you can cut & paste the segment fragments together after enabling the source segment editing.

The new SP2 has also plenty of other improvements. More information can be found in the Online Help and even more details in the SP2 Release Notes.

FIT, PDF and Studio 2011

I had promised in my Trados Studio presentation at the FIT Congress a couple of weeks ago that I will post a link to the presentation summary here as well. It’s on my website at You can also find there a summary of my other FIT Congress presentation about converting PDF files.

That brings us to the next topic, i.e. a webinar that I will be teaching this Thursday (8/25) as part of the ATA Webinar series. It’s titled “Working with PDF Files–Part 1: Using Adobe Reader/Acrobat”. For details and registration info, see the ATA webinar website. Part 2 will be on September 22, titled Working with PDF Files–Part 2: Converting and Translating PDF Files.

As part of my PDF presentation at the FIT Congress, I also talked about translating PDF files with Trados Studio. This is a topic that I have covered here in one of my earlier articles, Translating PDF files in Studio. As many of you probably know, the main problems with opening PDF files directly in Studio are incorrectly placed hard returns and the overabundance of tags, and since you can’t edit the source side, this can be very problematic. And that brings us to the third item, Trados Studio 2011…

During my PDF presentation, I showed a screen shot of the PDF file settings in Studio 2011 (beta). There’s a new setting called Skip advanced font formatting (tracking, kerning, etc.). With that setting selected, it looks like you can avoid all/most/many (?) of the unnecessary tags that in Studio 2009 could have made a file practically untranslatable. I still believe that we are better off using a good conversion tool for the PDF to Word conversion and then translating the resulting Word file in Studio (after verifying first in Word that there are no incorrectly placed hard returns). However, the new Studio definitely handles PDF files much better than the current version and might actually be a functional conversion tool for those who don’t have a better one. I wanted to bring this up now because it fits the PDF theme and will probably go unnoticed by most users when they get their hands on the new version – hopefully soon. It might be difficult to notice these smaller improvements when one gets so excited about all the big ticket enhancements Studio 2011 will introduce, such as compatibility with “old-style” bilingual (uncleaned) Word files, track changes function, Microsoft Word spell checker, “translate to fuzzy” function, etc.

I have been using the Studio 2011 beta for about three weeks now for all my translation work and will share some of my experiences here soon…

More about Trados Studio 2011

I listened the Sneak Peek at Studio 2011 webinar yesterday – cut actually my kayaking trip short for that – and here are some of the highlights we can expect from the new version:

  • Possibility to open “old-style” bilingual (uncleaned) Word files in Studio and save them in the same format
  • Track changes function
  • Spell checking using Microsoft Word spell checker
  • New and improved file filters (for example, for OpenOffice, StarOffice, INX and MIFfiles)
  • More display filters (for all segment categories, segments with tracked changes, number only segments, etc.)
  • PerfectMatch available in Studio allowing pretranslation based on bilingual files (SDLXLIFF, TTX or ITD)
  • Faster opening and analysis of files
  • Improved integration with Trados 2007
  • Easier licensing

Sounds pretty promising. I don’t know about you, but this certainly solves the three main issues I have had with Studio 2009 (the three first ones in the list above).

You can find more info, including some videos, upgrade offers and a product brief, at the following SDL sites:

Oh, and when will this be available? The release is expected during the second half of September. Just in time for my birthday.

Translating Wordfast Files in Studio and Other Souvenirs from Boulder

I wanted to mention two things that came up while I was in Boulder last weekend before I forget them. First of all, somebody asked me whether it’s possible to translate Wordfast TXML files in Studio. I had checked into this when I started using Studio over a year ago and at that time nobody seemed to know. However, I vaguely remembered that I had seen something about this somewhere later on and managed to find it on the SDL blog. There’s a good article by Paul Filkin on how this can be done. Basically, you need to define a file type settings for TXML files. Paul’s example shows how this can be done with some common tags (non-translatable content). The same method can be used for other tags as well, as needed. I haven’t tried it myself, since none of my clients use Wordfast, but it certainly looks doable. You can find the instructions here.

The other was the presentation by Riccardo Schiaffino and Margherita De Togni “Trados 2007 and SDL Trados 2009:  Warts and all” about some of the shortcomings of Trados 2007 and whether those issues have been fixed in Studio. Good reading for those who still wonder whether they should upgrade or not.  One thing that Riccardo seemed to dislike quite a lot are the poor fuzzy match algorithms used in Trados. I have to say that I agree. And if anything, it’s even worse in Studio. In some of my earlier postings, I have examples of this, and Riccardo has some examples on his blog. I actually take a screen shot every time I see a really funky and weird fuzzy match result. It would make a good photo exhibition by now.

Terminology Verification – I had forgotten this

I have been working on a larger project that has a lot of 100 % and high fuzzy matches from the client’s TM. Unfortunately, it looks like everyone and their uncle have been translating the previous versions of the manual and consequently several key terms have been translated very inconsistently. While pulling my hair out trying to fix the terminology, I remembered Studio’s terminology verification feature. I have never really used it for my own work, so I wanted to try it out and see if it could help me with this project.

Studio offers three different types of terminology verification. One of them is under the QA Checker and the other two are part of the Terminology Verifier tool:

1. QA Checker: Word List

Here you can create a target language word list of words or phrases that should not be used. The list also needs to include the “correct form” of the word. However, the correct form is not going to be used to automatically fix the incorrect word but it’s included in the error message to remind you what the correct form should be. It’s an obligatory field but it doesn’t really matter what you type into it. In addition, there are also the “Ignore case” and “Search whole words only” options for fine-tuning the search.

2. Terminology Verifier: Check for possible non-usage of the target terms

When this is selected, source segments are checked for terms that are in the default termbase. If a term is found, then the terminology used in the target segment is compared to the terminology in the default termbase and if it doesn’t match, you get a notification (error, warning or note).

You can adjust the minimum match value (fuzziness) for the source term but unfortunately not for the target. That makes the feature much less useful for Finnish because even a slight variation in the Finnish target term makes it unrecognizable and triggers a notification. This happens very often because of the various endings used in Finnish.

This feature can also produce a lot of false notifications because every occurrence of every term that’s in the default termbase is checked, and if you haven’t used the same exact term in your translation, this discrepancy is flagged. Obviously, this works much better with a very specific terminology and in languages where words don’t change much.

3. Terminology Verifier: Check for terms which may have been set as forbidden

This takes a bit more setup work because you have to define a picklist field in the termbase and then enter the forbidden terms to that field for those terms where needed. Adding a new field to a termbase is actually very simple in MultiTerm 2009. You just go to the Catalog view, right click Definition and select Edit. This opens the Termbase Wizard where you can then add the new field. Note that the field must be a picklist field.

This produces much less false notifications than the “Check for non-usage” feature because it only checks for those terms you have specially entered as forbidden in the termbase. However, for Finnish, this has the same problem as the “Check for non-usage” feature because it doesn’t allow enough fuzziness in the target term.

Conclusions and some Finnish grammar

I found the first method to be the most useful in my case, mostly because I only had about ten terms I was concerned about – so it was easy to enter them into the list – and because the other two methods produced too many false notifications. I just entered the main part/root of the term and unselected the “Search whole words only” option, and the QA Checker was able to find the incorrect terms regardless of their conjugation. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s an example. The Finnish word ‘nappula’ (=button) can be conjugated in tens of different ways depending on its usage in a sentence, such as nappulat, nappulan, nappuloita, nappuloissakin, nappulattomille, etc. Only the nominative case ‘nappula’ and very similar conjugations (such as ‘nappulat’ and ‘nappulan’) would be recognized by the Terminology Verifier (features 2 and 3 above). Anything else would be too different. However, the QA Checker Word List function would recognize all these if I typed the root ‘nappul’ as the “wrong form” in the word list (and unselected the “whole words only” option).

Anyhow, Finnish or not, these are good features to remember. You probably don’t need them all or all the time, but in certain situations they can come in very handy.

Working with Non-Studio Clients – Part 2

So what to do, if none of the other options I described earlier in the first part of this topic works and you absolutely need to deliver an uncleaned Word file to your client? You have two options:  1) Give up and translate the file in Word using Trados Workbench, or 2) Translate the file first in Studio and then again with Workbench utilizing the project/file-specific TM from Studio. The latter option is not actually as crazy as it may sound at first. It really depends on how much more you prefer Studio and benefit from translating in Studio compared to Workbench, but it also depends on the file in question. If everything goes well, the retranslation goes very quickly and more or less automatically by using the “Translate to Fuzzy” command since every segment should be a 100% match. However, there are certain things that can slow down the retranslation, such as formatting and segmentation rule differences.

In Studio, formatting is done with tags. Every formatted sentence fragment is surrounded by a pair of tags that define the formatting (color, bold, italics, highlighting, font, superscript, etc.). These tags will also be included in the exported TMX file, and when the TMX file is imported into a Trados Workbench TM the tags are included. However, in the Workbench TM they become “placeholder” tags of sorts and don’t apply formatting anymore (they actually appear as <span> and  </span> tags). And because of this, the source sentence isn’t a 100% match anymore and your memory match target sentence is missing all the formatting.  In other words, the fast & furious translate to fuzzy action comes to a halt and you have to manually apply the needed formatting and then use the “Translate to Fuzzy” command again to continue with the retranslation. Not really that big of a deal to have to stop a few times here and there but it’s easy to see that it can get very old very soon if you have a long document and a lot of formatting. Note, however, that this is not an issue if the whole segment has the same formatting because in those cases there are no formatting tags in the translation unit and Workbench applies the formatting automatically to the whole segment.

Segmentation differences
In addition to formatting, segmentation rule differences can also affect the “Translate to Fuzzy” process. The following three seem to be the most common differences between the default segmentation rules of Studio and Trados 2007:

  • Colon: segments in Trados 2007 but not in Studio
  • Number at the end of a sentence (such as 2007 or 7 but not 6.0): segments correctly in Studio but not in Trados 2007
  • Abbreviation with a period (such as etc.) at the end of a sentence: segments correctly in Studio but not in Trados 2007

Of course, if you see that these may cause problems, you can always change the segmentation rules either in Studio or Workbench, as needed.

I have used this retranslation method a few times, and for me it was definitely worth the extra few steps involved. However, one of those files was a manual where all software interface references were in bold which meant that in some sections every sentence had at least one word in bold and stopped the “Translate to Fuzzy” process. I admit, that sarted getting a bit annoying. Luckily it was a small file.

Of course, none of this would be necessary if we just had a conversion tool that could convert SDLXLIFF files to the Trados 2007 “unclean Word file” format…

Using Regular Expressions as a Display Filter

I discovered today that you can use regular expressions to define display filters in the Editor view.  I’m not a regular expression expert at all but I did learn something about them earlier while trying to modify some of the sample expressions included in the QA Checker verification tool (such as reversing the function of the sample “Space between number and % sign” expression to flag if the space is missing, since there needs to be a space in Finnish).  Anyhow, today I wanted to review all segments that had numbers in them just to make sure I had used them correctly in my translation. Rather than skimming through the whole file searching for numbers, I thought that it would be great if I could filter the segments so that only segments with numbers would be shown in the Editor. While wondering about this, I entered a regular expression [1-9] (= any number from 1 to 9) in the Containing box on the Display Filter toolbar.  And it worked. Reviewing all the numbers in my translation was a breeze after that.

You can also use regular expression with the Find and Replace functions in the Editor view but I was surprised to see that it doesn’t seem to be possible to use them when performing searches in the Translation Memories view. I could see plenty of use for this feature in TM management.

Working with Non-Studio Clients – Part 1

I often hear from translators that they don’t use Studio because their clients don’t have it. That can certainly be problematic but it doesn’t automatically mean that you can’t use Studio when working with non-Studio clients. I wanted to briefly review the options here because I’ve recently met several translators who seem to be unaware of how they can use Studio in situations like these. Also, the new SDL XLIFF Converter offers us an additional solution to this problem.

So here are the options for the different scenarios where the client does not use Studio:

1. Client wants back the translated target file and the TM

No problem. Translate the file in Studio and create the target file. To create the TM, requires several steps and a fair amount of clicking but it’s easy and quick after you have done it a few times: 1) Create a new TM in Studio, 2) Import the translated, finalized SDLXLIFF file to the new TM, and 3) Export the TM in TMX format. Send the translated file and the exported TMX memory file to the client.

2. Client wants back a bilingual TagEditor file

No problem. You can open TagEditor (TTX) files directly in Studio and then save your translation as a TTX file after the translation is done. If the client didn’t send you the source file in TTX format, open it in TagEditor and save it as a bilingual TTX file, and then open the TTX file in Studio. You can also save the translation in the original file format (such as Excel or PowerPoint) if you have the original file available. There’s usually no need to send the TM to the client because they can create it from the translated TTX file. More details about working with TTX files can be found here (online Help) and in the TTX Compatibility Guide for SDL Trados Studio 2009 Users white paper by SDL.

By the way, all the above also applies to SDLX ITD files.

3. Client wants back an “uncleaned” bilingual Word file

This can be a problem because Studio can not create bilingual Word files, as we all should know by now. Hopefully, this will change in future but for now we don’t have that option.

a. Uncleaned file not needed after all

Ask the client first whether they really need the uncleaned file and wouldn’t be happy with just the translated file and the TM. I’ve actually started asking this, and some clients have said that it’s OK, they don’t actually need it. If so, problem solved and proceed with scenario 1 above.

b. Maybe a TagEditor file would be OK

Your client might also be OK with a TagEditor file. Again, problem solved — just create a TTX file in TagEditor and translate that in Studio (scenario 2 above).

c. Creating a bilingual Word file with SDLXLIFF Converter

If the client needs the uncleaned Word file for editing/review purposes, for example to provide editor feedback (tracked changes) to the translator, maybe they are willing to use the bilingual Word table that you can create with the new SDLXLIFF Converter. The editor can mark the changes to the bilingual table using track changes and comments functions in Word, and you can then easily accept or reject the changes in Word, update your SDLXLIFF file by importing the updated Word table to Studio, and then create the final target translation and TM for the client. More info about SDLXLIFF Converter can be found in this posting.

d. Client absolutely and definitely needs/wants the uncleaned Word file

Even if you have tried to convince your client to accept one of the above solutions, they might still see the uncleaned Word file as the only acceptable file format for them, and can certainly have valid reasons for that. So, what to do? You have two options: 1) Give up and translate the file in Word using Trados Workbench, or 2) Translate the file first in Studio and then again with Workbench utilizing the project/file-specific TM from Studio. The latter option is not actually as crazy as it may sound at first. It really depends on how much more you prefer Studio and benefit from translating in Studio compared to Workbench, but it also depends on the file in question. If everything goes well, the retranslation goes very quickly and more or less automatically since every segment should be a 100% match. However, there are certain things that can slow down the retranslation, such as formatting and segmentation rule differences. Anyhow, that’s a good topic by itself, and I will talk more about it next time.

SDL XLIFF Converter Finally Available

Excellent… I have been touting this tool in a couple of my earlier postings and I think it’s one of the best new features in Studio. It allows you to export a translated bilingual SDLXLIFF file as a bilingual DOCX file (in a table format), edit (incl. spell check) the file in Word, and then import the file back to the original SDLXLIFF file. This will then update the SDLXLIFF  file so that it reflects all the changes made in Word (incl. added comments). Now the tool is finally available through the SDL OpenExchange program together with some other new applications. You can download it free from here.

I certainly recommend trying it out. It will make it much easier to work with editors who don’t have Studio and to use Studio in projects that require the use of Word’s tracked changes function. In addition, it will help those of us who don’t have a functioning spell checker in Studio for their languages, such as Finnish and many Spanish variants.

Anyhow, I have one improvement suggestion. It would great if it updated the segment status selectively so that all changed segments would have a different status (such as Draft) after the file has been imported back to Studio. Now it either changes the status of all imported segments (if you select the Update segment status option) or none of them.  That would make it easy to locate the changed segments in the SDLXLIFF file after reimporting, if needed. It’s possible to manually select which segments to import, but that’s not very feasible solution if you have a big file or you are using Word’s spell checker, because you would have to stop at every changed segment to select it.

By the way, if you wonder where it ended up after installation, look under All Programs > SDL > OpenExchange Apps.