Trados Studio 2015 Workshop for Beginners in San Francisco

I will be teaching a full-day, beginner level Trados Studio 2015 workshop in San Francisco on November 14th. For registration and additional info, see the NCTA website. If you have any questions about the content of the workshop, feel free to contact me directly. We don’t organize these workshops that often anymore, so if you want to learn the basics of Trados Studio in an encouraging and friendly workshop environment, this is your chance. Don’t miss it.

I will also give a presentation at the ATA Conference in Miami on November 6th. The topic is Termbases and Term Recognition: The Next Best Thing in Trados Studio. For details, click here.

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My Top 5 OpenExchange Apps

I downloaded the new improved version of Glossary Converter the other day and took a closer look at the available OpenExchange apps just to make sure I haven’t missed any other recent updates or additions. While updating my own list of useful or potentially useful apps, I thought to share some of that info here as well. It’s good to know what kind of apps are available because you never know when you might need them.

1. Glossary Converter

This is my favorite app right now because the new version can also handle additional fields, such as client names and notes. Converting existing glossaries from Excel format takes only a few seconds. It’s incredible if you compare it to the convoluted, multi-step process that’s needed if the conversion is done with Multiterm Convert. Or it’s actually incredible that we had to put up with Multiterm Convert for all those years. However, I have to admit that I’ll miss those little rotating sprocket wheels in Multiterm Convert!

Note that if you include additional fields in the Excel glossary file, they need to be placed on the right side of the language under which you want them to appear. For example, if you have two languages and one additional field in your glossary, organize them this way if you want the additional field to appear under Language 1:

Column A: Language 1
Column B: Additional field
Column C: Language 2

And this way if you want the additional field to appear under Language 2:

Column A: Language 1
Column B: Language 2
Column C: Additional field

2. AnyTM Translation Provider

One thing that I really dislike in Studio is the fact that you can’t mix resources that have different sublanguages, such as US English and UK English memories. This app is handy for situations like that because it allows you to use TMs as reference TMs regardless of their sublanguages (or main languages for that matter). Note that this is a paid app (£9.99).

3. SDLTmConvert

Trados Studio has a really powerful set of quality assurance (QA) functions. Unfortunately, they are only for translated SDLXLIFF files and cannot be used for translation memories. This app allows you to convert a TM to SDLXLIFF format so that you can run the QA checks on the TM content and then convert the edited SDLXLIFF file back to a TM. In addition, it can covert Studio TMs to many other formats, such as CSV, TXT and even to monolingual source and target text files.

4. SDLXliff2Tmx

When working with non-Studio clients, it’s sometimes necessary to send them the new TM content as a TMX export file. You can easily do that in Studio but it does take several steps (create a new TM, import the translated SDLXLIFF files to the TM and then export the TM as a TMX file). This app gives you a faster method to accomplish the same thing, i.e. it exports SDLXLIFF files directly to a TMX file (or optionally to a tab-delimited text file).

5. SDLXLIFF Compare

I don’t know about you but I’m less than happy when I get an edited Studio file back without tracked changes and then I have to go through the whole file and figure out what was changed. This app makes life much simpler in those cases. It displays the comparison results of the two SDLXLIFF file versions in an easy-to-read XML/HTML report. It can also be very useful for project management purposes.

In addition to the above Top 5 apps, I also wanted to mention a few others that are worth remembering in case you need those functions one day.

TM management related apps

SDLTmReverseLangs

  • for reversing the languages of a TM

SDL Trados 2007 Translation Memory Plug-in

  • direct access to file-based Translator’s Workbench translation memories (TMW) without having to convert them

SDL Translation Memory Management Utility

  • includes several TM management tasks, such as TM export, duplicate removal and reversing language pairs

SDLXLIFF file management related apps

SDL XLIFF Split/Merge

  • splitting large SDLXLIFF files and merging split files into a single SDLXLIFF file

SDL Batch Find/Replace

  • for batch find and replace operations in multiple SDLXLIFF files

Miscellaneous apps

PackageReader

  • previewing Studio packages directly from an e-mail or Windows Explorer without opening Studio

TAUS Search

  • gives access to the terms and phrases in the TAUS translation corpora by allowing the corpora to be used as an external reference TM

Trados Studio Manual

  • Mats Linder’s highly rated Trados Studio manual is also available from here. I have planned to review Mats’ manual but unfortunately haven’t had time to do it. Anyhow, while waiting for my review (might be a long wait), you could take a look at what other users and reviewers have to say about it.

In addition, the OpenExchange selection also includes several AutoSuggest dictionaries, Multiterm termbases and various file type definitions (such as for Wordfast TXML files).

Where are SDL TTX It! and MS Office converter?

You might wonder why I didn’t mention these two very useful apps. The MS Office converter functionality is now built into Trados Studio 2011 (File > Export for External Review), so there’s really no need for the app anymore. And the TTX It! app that’s used for batch conversion of multiple source files into TTX format gets installed automatically and can be accessed via the All Programs > SDL > SDL Trados Studio 2011 > OpenExchange Apps folder. By the way, this is the place where many of the other apps get installed as well.

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.

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