A file with a view…

I started thinking about “A room with a view” by E. M Forster when I contemplated how to start this article.  But as you can see from the images on the left my mind wandered from this idea and was focused more on the “view”.  This is quite possibly because our R&D team started a “Working from home” distance challenge to cover as much distance as you can every day for a month by physically getting out of your office/home and taking some fresh air.  A great initiative in these days of working from home where it’s all too easy to never leave your desk!  Walking, running, cycling and even swimming were acceptable activities and you get the distance converted into points based on the type of exercise you are doing.  You do have to track the activity and you have to take a few pictures as evidence of your efforts… but that brings me back around to my topic for the article… the pictures, or more specifically the views.  Yes, this is a very tenuous link indeed with the actual topic which is studioViews!

What are studioViews?

A “view” in database terms is often the name given to the set of data that is returned when you run a query.  studioViews is basically the same thing… you make a query on your project files and the application can create views in the way you asked for them and then you can work on these views separately, eventually using them to update your project when ready. The main difference between studioViews and a view in a database is that Trados Studio doesn’t use a database, so studioViews is all file-based.

The views are particularly useful for these sorts of reasons:

  • you have a huge file and would like to break it into bite sized chunks for better performance while translating
  • you have a huge file and would like to translate it with colleagues
  • you have filtered on your project files so you only have the segments you need to work with and now would like to have these as a single file you can send to others
  • you have a project with hundreds of tiny files that were not merged when the project was created.  You can virtually merge them, but you can’t save a virtually merged file to share with others.

The application itself can be found in the appstore here and you can also find a useful wiki in the RWS Community (yes… I haven’t mentioned this before in my blog but in case you didn’t know RWS acquired SDL at the end of last year!)

The features…

Before I get into a little detail, even though I don’t intend to delve into each option as the wiki is very explanatory, I should mention three important reasons for creating this app:

  1. splitting files and merging them back was only possible with SDLXLIFF Split and Merge and this is quite limited in terms of its flexibility for splitting
  2. SDLXLIFF Split and Merge doesn’t have any capability for merging files at all, only for merging the ones you split to put them back together again
  3. SDLXLIFF Split and Merge was written many years ago, and it’s a very difficult application to support, and it’s quite easy to break!

Despite this, SDLXLIFF Split and Merge actually has over 13k downloads and it’s a very popular application.  So for me studioViews is a very significant development and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another application created by the brilliant appstore team that eventually finds its way in the main product.

So, back to the features…

Splitting/merging at file level…

This is straightforward enough.  You select one or more of the files in your project in the Files View like this:

Then select the option in your right-click menu to “Split the selected files” which will bring up a window, that may look a little familiar if you’ve used SDLXLIFF Split and Merge before:

Yes… it’s almost exactly the same as SDLXLIFF Split and Merge, and deliberately so!  But there are a few differences… so let’s quickly discuss these options:

  1. the split options are exactly the same as SDLXLIFF Split and Merge
  2. in this app you can set the “Split by equal parts” to “1” and the app will actually create a single file with all the files you selected.  So it basically assumes that whatever you select should be split into what you needed, which in this case would be a single merged file.  Very cool and you could not do this before in SDLXLIFF Split and Merge!
  3. the “Output” offers some new stuff… you can customise the naming convention to use.  Also very cool as previously a very long ID was generated for the files and this often caused problems with long file path names as well as having no idea what the file could be related to if it got sent by email without a proper description. Check in the wiki for details, you’ll find it’s really simple!

But by now I can hear you saying…SDLXLIFF Split and Merge also did this:

Yes… indeed it did!  BUT… and it’s a capital BUT… I have no idea what the “Check translation correspondence score (percent)” actually does and even when I asked around the users I know who regularly use this application at RWS, including the person responsible for the original development, nobody else seemed to know either!!  So, I told the studioViews developer to leave it out and we would address it if anyone ever came back and gave us a good reason for having it.  As for the wordcount… on the basis we have the excellent Reports Viewer Plus application now that is far more functional for reporting and extremely fast, we left this out as well.  So far nobody has complained!

Now… what about the merge back together?  Well, this is the really neat part of this application.  You don’t merge the files back together!  Instead you select the other option in the right-click menu to “Import into the selected files“.  This means you can do things like:

  • update your main project as you receive the translated or reviewed files back.  No need to wait until you have them all.
  • only update certain files
  • support the fact users might have split/merged segments before sending them back
  • support the use of comments, TQA or tracked changes
  • only import parts of the files you want by excluding segment properties (locked), statuses (draft, translation rejected etc.), match type (NMT, Fuzzy Match, New etc.)

It’s a very robust application and far more suitable for working collaboratively or breaking down large files to work on by yourself.  But that’s not all!!

Splitting from the Editor…

One of the best features for manipulating files in the Trados Studio Editor is the Advanced Display Filter 2.0.  It’s 2.0 because Trados Studio 2021 actually uses what used to be the Community Advanced Display Filter created by the AppStore team which is why you won’t find this on the AppStore for the current version of Trados Studio anymore.  It’s excellent being able to filter on almost anything you like, but there wasn’t a very good way to save the data you filtered on as an SDLXLIFF.  There is a “Generate” feature that allows you to export the SDLXLIFF but it isn’t foolproof and there are things that will fail depending on how you have filtered and what type of files you had open in the Editor.  Fixing this is a major piece of work and the Advanced Display Filter isn’t an app anymore which means we can’t do anything quickly to improve it.  So instead we have added the improved functionality to the studioViews app.

You can enable this feature by clicking on studioViews in the View ribbon when you have your files open in the Editor, then position the window wherever you like.  I dropped it in with the Terminology windows as it doesn’t need much space and I can just bring it into play when I need it:

Full instructions in the wiki as before but essentially there are two tabs, “Export” and “Import”. The “Import” options are exactly the same as they are for the Files View so I won’t address these again, but the “Export” options are interesting.  Just two choices…

  • Selected segments
  • Visible segments

The “Selected segments” allows you to manually select any number of segments you like in the Editor and then export the selected segments as an SDLXLIFF to work on elsewhere.  Very cool, and if you’re struggling with a very complicated filter to get what you want you may be able to get close, and then select all segments, and just deselect the ones you didn’t want.  Very cool indeed!

The “Visible segments” option will export whatever you have filtered on.  So when you scroll down, whatever segments are visible after filtering will be used to create the SDLXLIFF and export to a location of your choice.

And that’s about it… very simple and short, but a lot of ingenuity has gone into developing this plugin and I’m pretty sure that once more users become aware of the capability it offers we’ll see the number of downloads for this one going up.  So if you haven’t already I recommend you take a look at the wiki and then download and install studioViews to have a play.  And a quick reminder that since this is for Trados Studio 2021 you can get this through the integrated AppStore, so no need to actually go and get it from the AppStore in a web browser.  Just open the AppStore in Studio and start typing studioViews into the search field:

Then click on the “Install” button, restart Studio and you’re done!

The end…

And finally… back to the beginning, the “WFH Distance Challenge”.  It ended this week and I’m feeling quite satisfied with myself because whilst I didn’t do the most, I did exceed my target from day one which was 400 km… all walking.  So a great way to keep fit, and sane, and enjoy the views… which you can now do in, and out, of the office!

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Short term memories…

“Not only is my short-term memory horrible, but so is my short-term memory.”  I have no idea who this quote can be attributed to, and its certainly not original, but it is quite appropriate when I start to think about the evolution of Trados.  Ever since Trados Studio was launched you can be sure to find many “experts” in places like ProZ and even the SDL Community recommending you don’t upgrade because there is no difference compared to the last version.  To be fair, if you only use a fraction of the features despite having used the software for a decade, then it probably is like this.  The alternative being these “experts” have very short-term memories.

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Psst… wanna know a few more things about file types?

I wrote under this title back in 2013 and provided a bit of information about the Word filetypes in Studio.  It was a pretty popular article and I always meant to circle back and do some more.  Seven is a lucky number so now we’re in 2020, seven years later, I thought I’d do it again… and it’s also just as long, so grab a coffee first!

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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!

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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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Not your usual stuff!

Time seems to be going faster as I’m getting older as it doesn’t seem that long ago since we saw the release of the 2019 version of SDL Trados Studio.  But here we are, it is that time again and many users will already have noticed they have a shiny new version in their account… SDL Trados Studio 2021.  Fast as it is, we don’t want to do these product launches too often because I can tell you it’s a major undertaking requiring no small amount of coordination between the product management teams, core development teams, AppStore team, support teams, customer success teams, marketing teams, sales teams, back office teams, IT teams, 3rd party developers who provide plugins and more.  In addition to this we often have other projects on the go and many of the teams worked on the new sdl.com website which also went live this week, AND everyone did all of this while having to work isolated from their colleagues while working from home.  Quite an achievement and I certainly feel proud to be part of this SDL team, and not just because of how well they all work together.

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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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Voice or Machine Translation?

Post Survey Note: Thank you to all those who completed the survey. It’s no longer live, but you can see the final results in the article.

For the last couple of years I’ve been enjoying the TCLoc Masters degree at the University of Strasbourg.  It’s been a really interesting time for me helping to fill in a lot of gaps and widen my technical knowledge around localization, and introducing me to the world of Technical Communication in general.  This latter part was particularly interesting because half of our business at SDL relates to this; so having spent my time since 2006 working with our localization products it’s been an eye opener in many ways.  I have done this in my own time and not as part of my job, but TCLoc does look like a course that’s tailor made for SDL employees!

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“The badass is an uncommon man of supreme style. He does what he wants, when he wants, where he wants.” (Urban Dictionary by dougdougdoug).  There are in fact many definitions of what a badass is, but I like this part of one of the definitions  because it really reflects what this article is about and why it’s needed.  No clues so far… but let’s think anonymization!

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The versatile regex based text filter in Trados Studio…

After attending the xl8cluj conference in Romania a few weeks ago, which was an excellent, and very technical conference for translators, I thought it was about time I wrote an article around the things you can do with the Regular Expression Delimited Text filter since it is so useful for solving all kinds of tasks related to text based files that don’t fit any of the out of the box formats available in the product.  Files such as software string files and csv files are common examples of where understanding how to work with this customisable file type can yield many benefits.  So this article is food for thought and a few things that might be helpful to you in the future.  It’s also pretty long (I’m not kidding!), so maybe grab a cup of coffee before you start to go through it!

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