001This year seems to be the time our voices can be heard.  There’s been some pretty big decisions on the table already this year that have produced some very surprising results.  Brexit… who knew the majority of people in the United Kingdom would vote to leave the European Union.  Who knew it would be called Brexit… guess UKexit  was too hard to pronounce!  Who knew Donald Trump would become the Republican Presidential nominee; who knew Bernie Sanders would not fare so well for the Democrats?  If you live in these countries then these were all big decisions that you may have had a hand in even if you didn’t vote.  If you’re unhappy with the result, you should have voted; if you think now they were bad decisions then perhaps more could have been done to help ensure you were better informed?

Well the year isn’t over and there are going to be more to come, so I’m taking this opportunity to make sure you know about a voting opportunity that brings only opportunity as all the choices are positive!  Since May, SDL had been asking for ideas from their users for an app that could be developed for use in SDL Trados Studio.  The app could be anything at all that you thought you’d like to see.  There were over 200 ideas which really brings home the need for something like the SDL AppStore… it’s not just phones that benefit from this kind of flexibility!

The collection of ideas was over earlier this month and now everyone gets to vote for the idea they like the best.  But 200 ideas is too many to ask people to vote for so a panel from SDL went through them all removing any that were already a work in progress by a developer somewhere and destined for the AppStore in the near future; removing any that are in the core product already; removing any that were simply impossible to do; removing a few “interesting ones” that seemed to have nothing to do with the tools at all… and then finally picked 13 that were the most asked for by you.  I believe the intention was to pick 10, but it was just too hard as some of the ideas were really good and it seemed unfair to not expose them to a wider audience.  You now have until the 18th August to make your vote count.  You can only vote for one idea from the list of 13 but can change your mind as much as like between now and then.

The winning app, the one with the most votes, will be developed by SDL and made available for free through the app store.  So if you haven’t voted then do it now before you forget.  Click on the big green button below to find all the ideas and make your choice!

Just a quick note on getting to the vote.  The poll is actually in the SDL Community and if you’ve been there before then it holds no fears for you… if you haven’t then you’ll probably see this message:


Don’t be put off by this.  If you have a licence for any of the SDL products then you already have an account.  It’s the same credentials that you use for logging into your account to get your licenses, so you are taken to the login page (if you are not already logged into your account) where you add your details, and you’ll be taken straight to the community.  You’ll never be asked for membership again unless you join one of the other communities SDL have to offer.  Having to do this is good because it stops you seeing an endless stream of activity in the community if you use it regularly for help because you only see the stuff related to the groups you joined.

So now vote… we’re stronger together… take back control… make translation great again… or just vote to support development of the feature you like the best!

AppStore ideas competition, 2016

Click to vote!

Don’t forget, voting is allowed until the 18th August 2016.  After that date it’s too late.  So if you’re a Studio user, take a few minutes to review the ideas and vote for the one you want today!  And just as important, share the news.  If you have colleagues who use Studio and have been known to say “I wish Studio could ….” then have them take a look too, if the final choice isn’t the one you would have voted for… well, what can I say!

And a final word… there’ll be no wikileaks scandal when SDL do the final count!!  Your votes will determine the winner!

001We all know, I think, that translating a PDF should be the last resort.  PDF stands for Portable Document Format and the reason they have this name is because they were intended for sharing with users on any platform irrespective of whether they owned the software used to create the original file or not.  Used to share so they could be read.  They were not intended to be editable, in fact the format is also used to make sure that the version you are reading can’t be edited.  So how did we go from this original idea to so many translators having to find ways to translate them?

I think there are probably a couple or three reasons for this.  First, the PDF might have been created using a piece of software that is not supported by the available translation tool technology and with no export/import capability.  Secondly, some clients can be very cautious (that’s the best word I can find for this!) about sharing the original file, especially when it contains confidential information.  So perhaps they mistakenly believe the translator will be able to handle the file without compromising the confidentiality, or perhaps they have been told that only the PDF can be shared and they lack the paygrade to make any other decision.  A third reason is the client may not be able to get their hands on the original file used to create the PDF.

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001aThis time a couple of weeks ago the image on the left was me, doing something I’ve never done before… Yoga.  I’ve never seen this as anything I’d ever do but agreed to a Yoga holiday in Portugal with the family (There are no photos!).  Even though I was reasonably determined from day one that this would be something I would do on holiday and never again, I have to say I do feel better for it, and have even been caught activating my uddiyana bandha in the morning and enjoying a little meditation when I thought nobody was watching!  But now I’m back to work… so where’s the link?

Well, it’s all about flexibility and the importance of having this if you want to weather the demands of daily life.  In the weeks running up to my holiday my team, Andrea in particular, took on the challenge of updating the Number Verifier app with a couple of bug fixes and a few new bits of functionality asked for by various users.  This is a brilliant little application preferred by anyone who has problems with false positives and negatives when dealing with numbers for verification.  However, this task was not as easy as it should have been and every little change broke something else that worked before.  The original app wasn’t developed by our team so we inherited the code, and this can be quite tricky when you have to change it as unexpected things can often happen.  This app in particular has an expansive array of options and the array of possibilities in terms of number formats is even greater.  So being able to be flexible with this app in particular is very important, so this is what my team (Andrea & Romulus) did… Yoga for apps!

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001a“Tags” are something we normally like to avoid, whether it’s graffiti or documents prepared for translation in a CAT tool,  and you can find articles and forum threads all over the internet about how to avoid them.  But what if you want them… the ones in a CAT tool?  Let’s say you receive a project from your client in a package, and they didn’t prepare the files as well as you would have liked, leaving you to deal with strings you’d rather have protected as tags, or even tags you don’t want to have to tackle at all.  In a nutshell, if you’re using Studio you’re stuffed!  You can prepare the files again as you like (possibly), translate them in your own project, and then pre-translate the real project afterwards from your TM, correcting any tag differences before returning the package to your client.

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001I don’t know if you can recall these games from when you were a kid?  I used to spend hours trying to find all the differences between the image on the left and the one on the right.  I never once thought how that might become a useful skill in later life… although in some cases it’s a skill I’d rather not have to develop!

You may be wondering where I’m going with this so I’ll explain.  Last weekend the SFÖ held a conference in Umeå, Sweden… I wasn’t there, but I did get an email from one of my colleagues asking how you could see what changes had been made in your bilingual files as a result of post-editing Machine Translation.  The easy answer of course is to do the post-editing with your track changes switched on, then it’s easy to spot the difference.  That is useful, but it’s not going to help with measurement, or give you something useful to be able to discuss with your client.  It’s also not going to help if you didn’t work with tracked changes in the first place because you’d need some serious spot the difference skills to evaluate your work!

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001The SDL Appstore is growing!  At the time of writing this article there are 161 apps on the store and over 220 thousand downloads from our users.  This is quite impressive and we are still only getting started as the number of APIs available for developers increases.  At the moment, in Studio alone we have APIs that allow a developer to do these sorts of things:

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001Workflow” and “Automation“.  Terms that are normally used (in our world) when talking about a TMS (Translation Management System).  So when working with tools like SDL WorldServer and SDL TMS which are provide a high degree of customisation, both using the user interface and/or through the API (Application Programming Interface).  For example, in SDL WorldServer you could create a workflow that automated the process for things like this:

  1. watch a CMS (Content Management System) or a number of folders somewhere for updated files
  2. as soon as new files appear kick off a project management workflow (analyse, prepare quotes, determine due dates, assign work etc.)
  3. Start a translate/review workflow with automated assignments of the work as each bit of the workflow completes
  4. send final documents off for “in country” review and support a review process if changes are required
  5. update Translation Memories, Termbases with final changes
  6. create invoices and send find details to a payment/invoicing system

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