Something we see some users of SDL products saying, and often non-users even promoting, is that MultiTerm is a complex product and very hard to use. Is this true? Well if I’m honest there probably isn’t any smoke without fire… but perhaps this is really all down to a lack of good documentation with plenty of examples to explain how to do things? Or perhaps this is down to converting spreadsheets or other formats into MultiTerm format; so specific operations rather than simply being able to use MultiTerm itself? Certainly MultiTerm Convert, which you need to use in order to create a termbase from another format can be quite complicated if you don’t understand a little about the structure of a termbase in MultiTerm. If you only want a simple glossary the entire process is much simplified thanks to the Glossary Converter available free through the Open Exchange… but is this enough and does this represent a majority of usecases?
There are some interesting comments about the need for better documentation for MultiTerm in a blog article written this week by Corinne McKay as she reviewed a manual for Studio written by Mats Linder. I don’t think there is any doubt that MultiTerm is an extremely capable application and it’s probably the most widely used and comprehensive terminology tool on the market today both as a desktop application and for sharing work through the server version as part of SDL GroupShare. So why do we see these comments and are they correct?
I think many terminologists who work with MultiTerm understand the concepts, have spent time training as this is their core work, and they probably use a variety of other applications to supplement their job in the same way translators supplement their translation tool. So they are probably not where the majority of “how to” questions come from; more likely they are from translators who would like to improve their translation productivity. In the article reviewing Mat’s book Riccardo Schiaffino thinks a complete rewrite of the documentation would help… Mats Linder is not so sure because he doesn’t see the same demand for this as he thought there was for a manual about Studio.
What do you think?
I thought, while we wait to see whether anyone does indeed invest time and effort in writing more documentation for MultiTerm, that it would be useful to see how much information is already available from all the places I know… starting with how can you decide whether MultiTerm is the tool for you or not? I start here because whilst there is a trial version of Studio available there isn’t one for MultiTerm and this means you can’t create your own termbases to test out how they work in Studio either… unless you can use the sample termbase containing EN, FR, DE, JP. So, I have created a single termbase containing all 94 supported languages and loaded it here as a free download for anyone who would like to be able to add a termbase they can use when evaluating Studio:
I’m missing translations for the terms in the red languages in this screenshot so if anyone cares to supply them I’ll happily update the termbase accordingly… there’s only 11 terms in there and I used machine translation for the ones I have translated so any corrections are also welcome:
I have written a few articles myself that relate to using terminology and I think you’ll get them from the tag cloud on the right… but here’s a quick link. Now onto the rest.
- The online help SDL MultiTerm
- Documentation installed with the product (All Programs -> SDL -> SDL MultiTerm 2011 -> Documentation)
- SDL MultiTerm 2011 Extract Tutorial
- SDL MultiTerm 2011 Extract User Guide
- SDL MultiTerm 2011 Termbase Creation Guide
- Product briefs, whitepapers and datasheets (you’ll need to scroll through others as well)
- Webinar recordings specifically about the suite of Multiterm products
- Video tutorials relating to MultiTerm
- SDL MultiTerm playlist on youtube
- Terminologiemanagement by SDL Trados Studio Deutschland on youtube
- SDL MultiTerm by SDL Trados Studio Deutschland on youtube
- Multiterm in the SDL Knowledgebase
A few blogs by others…
- Between Translations - A blog about translation by Jayne Fox (several great articles on this link)
- Nora Díaz on Translation, Teaching, and Other Stuff
- Claudia’s Translation Blog – A blog for Hispanic Languages Translations
- Michal Cinciala – Freelance Translators Blog
I can’t end this article without listing a few applications from the OpenExchange that can help your work with terminology…
- Glossary Converter
- Kaleidoscope applications
- Microsoft Terminology Collections
I think all in all a nice collection of information relating to where to find help with MultiTerm that I hope is useful, but I would be interested to add to this and to hear your opinion generally. Do we really need to create more documentation, or improve the available documentation for the majority of users? Or do we just need to make sure people can find what’s there?