Problem with Language Variants

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Backwards compatibility is an issue that concerns many Trados Studio users. Possible scenarios range from “no problem” to “impossible” and can be almost anything in-between.  The “SDL Trados Studio Migration Guide“ and the recent white paper “TTX Compatibility Guide for SDL Trados Studio 2009 Users” have more info about various scenarios, and are worth studying.

However, I just recently encountered a related problem that I didn’t expect. I got a bunch of INX.TTX files (InDesign files in TagEditor format) and a Workbench TM from a British client. The files and the TM were UK-English/Finnish. However, my own main TMs are for US-English. I could have done the translation using TagEditor because it allows you to open non-translated UK-English TTX files using an US-English TM. However, I wanted to do this in Studio, of course…

What I found out is that TMs and files in the same project have to have the same language variant — I was not able to open the UK-English TTX files using my American English TMs nor use the client’s UK-English TM and my own US-English TMs at the same time. So, I had to convert all my main US-Eng TMs to UK-English by exporting/importing them to new UK-Eng TMs. Not really something I would like to do on a regular basis even though there were only three TMs.  This was actualy what SDL Support suggested as well… this or working in Trados 2007.

Of course, that’s not all. Now after the translation is done, I have all this new TM content but it’s in the UK-Eng TM, and I would need to get it into my main US-Eng TM. I could do that by a new round of exporting and importing, or I could import the translated material directly from the bilingual TTX files (a nice feature that Studio offers). I will use the latter one since it’s simpler to do.

From the technology point of view, there might be good reasons why Trados doesn’t include a setting to “overrule” the language variant issue. However, from the linguistic point of view, that doesn’t make much sense since having US or UK English as the source language doesn’t make any difference to me when I’m translating into Finnish.  Luckily, I don’t have many UK-English-using clients but I can see that this could get pretty old quite fast if I had to do this more frequently.

By the way, there’s an improvement suggestion on ideas.sdl.com regarding this issue. You can find it here.

Finnish Spelling Checker Is Missing

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The move away from the MS Office spelling checker might have been a good move, except for Finnish. The problem is that the Hunspell spelling checker is not available for Finnish because it does not work with the Finnish language.  The following note is on the  page that’s linked in the Trados Studio support article:

“NOTE: Hunspell is not capable of handling Finnish language properly, so these dictionaries should not be used. Instead, Voikko project should be used, either via Enchant (a recommended spell-checking library for any project, supports also hunspell) or directly in OOo via openoffice.org-voikko provided by the project also.”

I contacted the SDL Support and they told me that they will bring this to the attention of the developers but also asked me to post this on the ideas.sdl.com site, which I did. You can find it here. So, if you think that I and my Finnish colleagues deserve a functioning spellng checer for our beautiful mother tongue, please vote for the suggestion! Thanks for your support.

Problem with the “non-translatable text” feature

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I recently got an RTF file to translate that included several non-translatable strings within angle brackets, for example {<storyname=zzz_xxx_security_instrucs_3>}.  I wanted to try Studio’s “Non-translatable text” feature for this so that all strings like this would automatically be excluded from translation. You can do this by going to Project Settings > File Types > RTF > Non-translatable texts — or you should be able to do it that way. No matter what I tried, I wasn’t able to get it to work, and it actually refused to save anything to the “end text” field.  After 10 minutes I gave up and just jumped over the strings in the source text.

I did, however, contact the SDL Support and got this reply:

This is actually a bug in the software.  It is a known issue and should be resolved in SP2 of Studio 2009.

So, we’ll wait for the SP2 then…

Unable to convert completed translation back to original file format

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Now it happened… I was not able to convert my file back to the original format (doc) from the SDLXLIFF file. I finished translating the file and was previewing it. Surprisingly, only about the first third of the file was displayed in Finnish in the preview and the rest was still in English even though everything was translated in the SDLXLIFF file.

OK… that’s just a preview. Who cares… I tried to stay calm. Then I converted the bilingual SDLXLIFF file back to DOC format hoping that this would work out fine. No such luck; most of the document was still in English. At this point, I started getting slightly worried. I made sure I was dealing with the correct version of the file since it’s easy to accidentally store project files in various places. OK, what’s next? I renamed the original file and opened it in Studio and  translated it again. With the TM it went very fast, of course. However, the same problem again. I even copied the file to another computer but all in vain.  Even though the XLIFF file was completely translated, I got only a partial translation out of it.

Since the deadline was pressing, I didn’t have time to try to solve the problem, so I converted the original DOC file to TTX format in TagEditor and then retranslated it in Studio. That worked and I got my translated Word file out of it.

What was the problem? I had some extra time today to look at the file and was going to send it to the Trados support when I noticed something peculiar at the point where the problem was (i.e. where the English text started in my translated target file). There were two ghost tags. I deleted them and the problem was gone.

Here’s also the response I got from SDL Support:

This project has tag protection turned off.  When tag protection is turned off, you can delete inline tags. If you delete a tag that is part of a tag pair, a ghost tag is placed in your document to remind you that your tag pair is not complete.  In this case, the tag that it generated completed the wrong tag pair, which led to the document displaying correctly when generated.  Normally, this does not happen but it is possible.  To avoid this, you can turn tag protection on by going to Format > Protect Tags and selecting Tag Protection.  Alternately, you can do what you did here and delete the ghost tags if you are sure the rest of the formatting is correct.