A Private AppStore…

All the apps come in these places
And the apps are not the same
You don’t look at their faces
And you don’t ask their names
You don’t think of them as human
You don’t think of them at all
You keep your mind on the money
Keeping your eyes on the wall
I’m your private AppStore, I don’t cost no money
I’ll do what you want me to do…

Every time I think the words “Private AppStore” that song comes into my head and leaves me with an earworm for a while.  Funny, but true!

What is a Private AppStore?

Hopefully all Trados Studio users are familiar with the SDL AppStore by now?  [wpdiscuz-feedback id=”1bwd1k38uj” question=”I expect everyone knows about the SDL AppStore by now?” opened=”0″]Let me know[/wpdiscuz-feedback] in the comments if you weren’t!  Certainly that AppStore link is to the very first article I wrote for my blog back in 2012 and set the scene for much of the focus of my ramblings eight years ago.

As the concept of an AppStore for Studio has grown a couple or three things have remained pretty much unresolved until now.  The first relates to licensing because if you work with Trados Studio using a network licence, or an activation code provided to you by someone else, then you don’t have a licence of your own in your account.  This means you can’t download the apps from the AppStore.  This is something that can affect University students, Government organisations, companies that purchase many licences for their users etc.

The second unresolved issue is applications that are developed for private use and don’t go on the public AppStore at all.  Whilst we have several hundred apps in the AppStore we have even more that are created by companies building solutions to help improve their own workflows and productivity.  Managing the roll-out and update process for these applications is quite complicated and requires some administrative effort.

The third thing is that some companies want to manage which of the apps in the AppStore have been approved for use within their own organisation.  Managing that list of apps and providing updates is just as much a problem for them as if they’d developed them.

The Private AppStore can solve all three of these problems by enabling a company, or an individual, to host their own AppStore and plug it into the AppStore integration in Trados Studio 2021.

How does it work?

Configuring Trados Studio 2021

The Trados Studio 2021 AppStore integration will show you all the apps that are available for Trados Studio 2021 in this handy little view:

If you go into the Settings for this feature, in the bottom left corner, you’ll see something like this:

By default the SDL AppStore will be activated (checked) and you won’t have any URL(s) for a Private AppStore.  I have two (you can have as many as you like), one for beta testing apps and one I’m using configured on my local computer just to play with it for this article.  To activate them I just check the box for the ones I want to use.  For this little process I’ll disable the public AppStore and only enable my local AppStore, like this (I can have them all checked if I like):

Doing this I now see something new in my AppStore view:

Something completely different… three apps that aren’t on the AppStore at all, and one app that is.  All four of these are in my Private AppStore and will only be available to users who configure Studio with the URL I provide and have access rights to that location.

Installing and using the PA Admin tool

The PA Admin tool, which is available in the public SDL AppStore is the key to this.  This small tool makes it easy for an administrator to set up and maintain the store.  There are detailed instructions in the SDL AppStore wiki in the SDL Community on how to use the installed tool, and deployment instructions on the SDL AppStore github pages for the service itself so I’m not going to go over these here, but the basic process is this:

  1. download PA Admin from the SDL AppStore
  2. unzip the contents of the file to a folder on the server that will host the AppStore service
  3. make a few small changes to reflect your environment and network paths
  4. run the AppStoreIntegrationService.exe that you copied from the zip (so you will require administrative rights to do this… you won’t be able to run this on dropbox or googledrive for example)

That’s it.. you now have the service running and are ready to go:

To use the Admin tool is similarly straightforward.  I’m running it locally for this article hence the localhost but it looks like this:

Just a simple webpage where you can add a new app, or edit existing apps really easily.  It looks a little similar to the admin pages for app developers who submit their apps to the SDL AppStore so will be quite familiar to this group.  For example:

I can add the app name, a link to the app image, a description of what it does using simple html, control the version numbers, link to the app itself etc.  All of these things allow Trados Studio 2021 to interact with the apps you put in here, ensuring users configured to access your private AppStore will see the apps, be able to download and install them, and also receive automatic updates whenever you update them.

All in all this is further advancement of the many features supporting customisation in Trados Studio 2021.  It’s also a much needed one for all the users who were unable to access the appstore in the past based on any of the reasons I mentioned at the start.

There is no doubt in my mind that Trados Studio is the most extensible CAT tool in the market and this is surely one of the reasons it’s the tool of choice for the majority of localization professionals today.

The earworm!

But after all of that let me leave you with a little classic Tina Turner… and an earworm too 😉

Some you win… some you lose

When we released the new Trados 2021 last week I fully intended to make my first article, after the summary of the release notes, to be something based around the new appstore integration.  The number of issues we are seeing with this release are very low which is a good thing, but nonetheless I feel compelled to tackle one thing first that has come up a little in the forums.  It relates to some changes made to improve the product for the many.

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The last few years have seen some chatter around the topic of “lights-out project management” which is an idea referring to the automation of tasks, particularly through the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence), so that human intervention is not required.  Ideally, of course, allowing project managers to concentrate their efforts on other, more productive and value-added activities.  The goal of reducing the time spent on administrative tasks is nothing new and some attempts to achieve this can be more of a false economy because of the “hidden” technical restrictions under the hood of the tools used.

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Radical Anxiety Termination…

… Really Awful Tucker, Radically Altered Terminology, Rheumatoid Arthritis Test, Race Against Time, Recurrent Acute Tonsillitis, Real Acquisition Technology, Republicans Against Trump… the list goes on!  All with the same acronym RAT.  A comment on the SDL AppStore this week relating to a new plugin called the RAT inspired me to write this article this evening.  Everyone is loving this plugin so far but one user had an objection to the name, the acronym, because he didn’t get it.  Actually to be fair someone else on the SDL Community didn’t like it either… Rats are dirty! Continue reading

The Story of “Studio” Colours…

Once upon a time, of course, the translation environment was just black and white with gray in between.  Black and white and gray?  The AppStore gods were understandably bored and angry, so they went looking for other colours to brighten the world for their users.  The resulting colours emerged from the Microsoft Word palette resulting in fifteen colours to choose from.  The AppStore gods were so happy with these colours they decided to paint the translation environment from the AppStore.  They opened Visual Studio and flung the colours around, resulting in a brand new app. they called “Wordlight” and a new colourful feature for the “Community Advanced Display Filter”.

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A business resolution for 2019…

There are three things that have stood out for me this year.  The first is how much support SDL have provided to their users to make sure they are able to work successfully with their investment.  The second is how little many users are aware of this, and the third is just how many users have used Trados for a decade or more and were not aware of what a support & maintenance contract can bring you.  This last one has been the biggest surprise to me as I’ve spoken to people who thought a support contract was more than the cost of the software; to people who thought it was support only and to people who didn’t know SDL provided any support at all!  So, one of my resolutions for 2019 will be to try and make sure that all our users are more aware of how to get help, even if they don’t want to purchase a support & maintenance contract.  So, I’ll cover these things:

  • Support & Maintenance Contract
  • SDL Community
  • The Customer Experience Team
  • The SDL AppStore Team
  • The SDL Marketing Team
  • Training
  • Customer Experience Program

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Hunspell dictionaries in Studio

When I write these articles I always start with thinking about the image at the top.  I do this for two reasons, the first is because it usually helps me think of some bizarre introduction (like this!) that helps me start writing, and the second is because every now and again I like to play around with Gimp which is the free image software I occassionally use.  It’s always nice to spend a little time doing something frivolous because it’s good thinking time without being distracted by the job!  I don’t really know how to use this software at all, but it’s fun seeing what turns out… and I confess I often use a combination of powerpoint and Gimp simply because some things are just easier in powerpoint!  Eventually I might actually learn how to use it properly… I’ll keep practicing anyway.

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Upgrading apps in the SDLAppstore…

Studio 2019 has arrived and it brings with it some nice features on the surface, and some important improvements under the hood… but it also brings with it a lot more upgrades than just Studio, and I don’t just mean MultiTerm!  The SDL AppStore is one of the unique benefits you get when you work on the SDL technology stack and there are hundreds of apps available that can provide additional resources, custom filetypes, file converters, productivity enhancements, manuals, etc.  When you upgrade your version of Studio you are also going to have to upgrade your apps.  Many of the apps are maintained by the SDL Community team and these have all been upgraded ready for use in Studio 2019, but the majority have been created and maintained by others.  I’ve written this article to explain what you need to look out for as a user of SDL Trados Studio or MultiTerm, and also as a reference guide for the developers who might have missed the important information that was sent out to help them with the process. Continue reading

It’s all about the money!

It could be said that translators come into the industry for the love of language, and the creative nature of the work, writing beautiful translations that at least do justice to the original texts.  It might even be true for many… but let’s face it, very few people can afford to do this for a full career without thinking about the money!  So it’s all the more surprising to me that translation vendors don’t provide a mechanism for dealing with the money in their toolsets.  Sure, you can have an analysis that can be used as the basis of a quote or an invoice, but you don’t see anywhere that deals with the money!  The larger Translation Management Systems have features for doing this, or they integrate with larger Enterprise systems for accounting and project management, but what about the translators?  How do they manage their business?

Well… there are applications on the SDL AppStore that can help with this in some ways.  For example:

  • SDL InQuote – an interesting, sometimes problematic application, that can allow you to create quotes and invoices based on the analysis files in your Studio projects
  • Post-Edit Compare – a wonderful application that in addition to carrying out a post-edit analysis of the work you are doing can put a value to it based on your rates.  But it doesn’t create quotes or invoices.
  • Qualitivity – another wonderful application that in addition to tracking just about everything you do in Studio can put a value to it based on the post-edit analysis or on a time basis.  But it doesn’t create quotes or invoices either.

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Data Protection…

There’s always been the occasional question appearing on the forums about data protection, particularly in relation to the use of machine translation, but as of the 25th May 2018 this topic has a more serious implication for anyone dealing with data in Europe.  I’ve no intention of making this post about the GDPR regulations which come into force in May 2016 and now apply, you’ll have plenty of informed resources for this and probably plenty of opinion in less informed places too, but just in case you don’t know where to find reliable information on this here’s a few places to get you started:

With the exception of working under specific requirements from your client, Europe has (as far as I’m aware) set out the only legal requirements for dealing with personal data.  They are comprehensive however and deciphering what this means for you as a translator, project manager or client in the translation supply chain is going to lead to many discussions around what you do, and don’t have to do, in order to ensure compliance.  I do have faith in an excellent publication from SDL on this subject since I’m aware of the work that gone into it, so you can do worse than to look at this for a good understanding of what the new regulations mean for you.

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