Webinar on Converting/Translating PDF Files

PDF seems to be one of the most popular Studio-related search terms that bring readers to my blog, and all the PDF-related articles are among the most frequently visited ones on this blog. So, obviously there’s a lot of interest (confusion?) in this topic. As I have mentioned in the earlier articles, the best approach is to convert the file to a more suitable format (such as Word or Excel) using a real PDF conversion tool rather than opening it directly in Studio, even though Studio 2011 does the conversion much better than Studio 2009. It’s also important to remember that only text-based PDF files can be converted in Studio – it does not convert graphics-based PDF files, such as faxes.

If you want to know more about this topic, you might be interested in a webinar I will be teaching on December 7, titled Working with PDF Files – Part 2: Tools, Tips and Techniques for Converting and Translating PDF Files. It’s not a Trados Studio webinar but it will discuss the problems in translating PDF files in general and what types of tools and methods there are for converting PDF files. In addition, I will also show how to use LogiTerm AlignFactory to align PDF files for creating translation memories.

And in case you are wondering what happened to the Part 1 of the webinar series, it will be on November 30th and the title is Working with PDF Files – Part 1: Using Adobe Reader/Acrobat. Good webinar if you want to know more about Adobe Reader/Acrobat but not related to the topic of converting and translating PDF files.

ATA 2011 Conference Presentation: Working with non-Trados Studio Clients/Translators

I promised last week at the ATA conference in Boston that I will post a summary of my presentation here. You can download the slides with some additional notes by clicking the image on the left. The presentation will also be available through the ATA eConference.

However, here’s a brief summary for those in a hurry:

I reviewed various incompatibility scenarios from translator (and LSP) point of view and offered solutions so that Studio-users can utilize the benefits of Studio even if their clients/translators still use Trados 2007. I have covered these methods and scenarios in various articles on this blog during the past year or so. The list below includes links to those articles for more details.

Five ways to be compatible with Trados 2007 project flow

1. Deliver translated file and matching TM

2. Translate as a TagEditor (TTX) file in Studio

3. Bilingual Word table with SDL XLIFF Converter

4. Translate as a bilingual “uncleaned” Trados Workbench file in Studio
– possible in Studio 2011

5. Translate first in Studio and then retranslate in Trados Workbench using the same TM

In addition, I also talked about how to translate documents in Studio when only parts of a document need to be translated, such as with DéjàVu export tables.

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.


What Does the New Studio 2011 Mean for Compatibility with Non-Studio Users

One of the major areas of improvement in the new 2011 version is its improved compatibility with translators/editors/agencies that don’t use Trados Studio. One of my favorite topics during the past two years has been the methods to overcome the various (in)compatibility issues between Studio 2009 and Trados 2007. With the new 2011 version, everything will be much easier, and excuses like “I can’t use Studio because my clients don’t use it” or “I can’t use Studio because my clients need uncleaned Word files” don’t have any merit anymore.

So, how is it done? For a background, you might want to take a look at my earlier articles about this topic in reference to Studio 2009. The first one is here and the second one here. All the options I mention in the first one, such as sending the monolingual translated file and a matching translation memory in TMX format, or using TagEditor files, are all still valid options. The main difference is that if your client really needs an uncleaned Word file you can provide that directly from Studio 2011. With Studio 2009, you had 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 TM from Studio). I covered these two options in the above mentioned second article. However, in Studio 2011, you can open a presegmented bilingual Word file directly in Studio and after translating the file save it in the same format. The translated file would look exactly like it was done in Trados 2007. Note, however, that the file has to be completely presegmented in Trados Workbench first before opening it in Studio.

As I had mentioned before, the SDL blog has a good explanation on how bilingual Word files can be used in the new Studio 2011. You can find the article here. It also shows some other nifty new features, such as quick TM upgrade and new display filters.

I have been using Studio 2011 (beta and RC) for almost two months now and have translated a few bilingual Word files with it. Generally speaking, the process has worked very well and my client got their “old-fashioned” Word file while I was able to use multiple TMs, Auto Suggestion and all the other helpful Studio features.  I have encountered some issues with formatting and tags but hopefully those will be fixed in the final release. There are also some unrelated Studio settings that can interfere with the conversion process, but again, I will wait for the final release before commenting on those and show how to avoid the problems.

Another thing that improves compatibility with non-Studio users, is the SDL XLIFF Converter tool that became available last fall. It’s now part of the Studio 2011 package and includes some new settings. Unfortunately, it’s still a separate application and cannot be used from within Studio. However, what’s new is that it gets installed automatically during Studio 2011 installation (together with some other OpenExchange apps) which saves you the installation hassle.

By the way, if you are interested in the other Studio 2011 improvements, you can find more info in the online Help and the SDL Trados Studio 2011 Release Notes. There’s also a Sneak Peek at Studio 2011 webinar on September 21.

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 www.finntranslations.com/downloads. 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…

How Will Bilingual Word Files Function in Studio 2011?

The SDL blog has a very good explanation on how bilingual (“uncleaned”) Word files can be used in the new Studio 2011. You can find the article here. It also shows some other nifty new features, such as quick TM upgrade and new display filters.

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.

Trados Studio 2011 Is Coming…

The SDL Webinar calendar for July includes six 30-minute Sneak peek at SDL Trados Studio 2011 presentations (in English). There’s also one presentation in German.

Here’s a copy of the event details from the SDL website:

Take a sneak peek at some of the new features in SDL Trados Studio 2011 before it’s released this Autumn.

Note: if you purchase SDL Trados Studio 2009 now, you will be automatically upgraded to SDL Trados Studio 2011 when it releases.

This 30 minute webinar will contain:

  • An overview of the exciting new features of SDL Trados Studio 2011
  • Key benefits
  • Information regarding upgrades and our pre-launch campaign
  • Questions and answers

FIT XIX World Congress in San Francisco in August 2011

How about coming to San Francisco in August? Looks like a great opportunity to meet translators and other language professionals around the world, hear some great presentations (such as Trados Studio: To Migrate or Not to Migrate), and see San Francisco. You can save some money by registering by June 30th (extended deadline). This is what the official promo says:

The FIT XIX World Congress, being held in San Francisco, California,  August 1-4, 2011, allows your members to join their fellow translators and interpreters to discuss topical issues effecting language  professionals today. With its unique focus on international and  intercultural translation and interpreting, this event provides an opportunity for language professionals to share, learn, and connect  with colleagues from all over the world. The FIT XIX World Congress offers:

  • Over 100 educational sessions in a variety of categories with unusual diversity and depth.
  • Speakers from all corners of the globe including China, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and so many  more.
  • Special events and activities allowing opportunities to network, mingle, and socialize in a city as culturally diverse as this event’s attendees.
  • Continuing Education Points: ATA-Certified Translators can earn one  point for each hour attended, up to a maximum of 10 points.

Other good reasons to come to San Francisco can be found on the Insider Tips blog by NCTA.