If I knew then what I know now!

Just learningPeople often tell me that using Studio is complicated.  Other people, who have been working with Studio tell me it’s actually quite logical once you get your mind around it.  I clearly lean towards the latter and whilst I always try hard to see the difficulties the conclusion I always come back to, rightly or wrongly, is that many users who used Trados in the past expect Studio to be similar and then struggle when they discover it’s not.
So now that I think know how Studio works, what would I do if I was just getting started and had never used this software before?  Well there are probably two parts to this because Studio offers two ways to work.  Firstly if you generally only get single documents then you may find the single document translation workflow works well for you.  If you get many files then adopting a Project based workflow could be the way to go.  The difference is explained quite nicely by Emma Goldsmith in her blog “Signs & Symptons of Translation” and I think I’d tend to agree with her that Projects is the way to go for many reasons.
But as I also know many translators looking at Studio for the first time often favour the single document approach because it seems like something more familiar to Trados I think I’ll start with the single document translation workflow.  So this is what I’d do based on what I know today.


First, I could translate and work without any Translation Memory or Termbase at all, but this would really defeat the object of using a tool like this at all, so before I start I’d want to make sure I was ready with my Translation Memories and Termbases.  So I will assume that for this exercise I’m really upgrading from an older version.  This is a piece of cake with Studio because the work is done for you.  The Translation Memory is upgraded using the upgrade Translation Memory wizard and if the Termbase was MultiTerm you simply open it in the later version and this upgrades it for you.  If you are using resources from another CAT tool then you might have existing Translation Memories in TMX format and glossaries in a spreadsheet… also usually simple to handle in Studio.  So I have created a few videos below, the first showing how to upgrade your Translation Memories from a previous Trados incarnation:

Upgrading from Trados


2 minutes 57 seconds


Creating a new TM and importing from another tool

Of course I may not have any resources at all yet, so in this case I will just create a new Translation Memory to get me started.  This is easy to do but I have created a quick video below to show how and I also imported a TMX file that comes from another tool:


3 minutes 20 seconds

What about a termbase?

A termbase can be many things to different people ranging from a complex structure containing terms, synonyms, descriptions, images, links to other pages or websites etc. to a simple glossary of terms. To get started and learn how a termbase can be useful for you at a basic level I’m going to start with the simple glossary.  Creating one is not hard.  You can do this through the wizard in MultiTerm, or by using the Glossary Converter.  I’ve shown both methods in the video below.  And just to finish the video I added the process of how to upgrade a termbase from Trados 2007… wasn’t too hard you just open it!

4 minutes 50 seconds


Now I’m ready to start translating.  To do this let’s look at a few basics:

  1. Opening your file
  2. Understanding the screen
  3. Translating and confirming your segments to the memory
  4. Using Concordance
  5. Inserting terms/adding terms
  6. Saving the target translation

That should be enough to get started.  So to try and demonstrate this I’m using a text that was first put together by Life Jenson, “Trados for Idiots by an Idiot“, in explaining how to use Trados 2.3 Build 89!  Many users said this guide really helped them to use Trados, and many of these same users wish Studio today was as straightforward… well when I read through this I can well see why the guide was needed and I think when you approach Studio in the same way you’ll see the difference and perhaps realise how much you’d forgotten about how hard it was to get started with that… probably because you too know a lot more now than you did then!
So I’m using the text from Life, the new TM with nothing in it that we created earlier and the termbase we created with the legacy converter.

14 minutes 7 seconds

So that’s it… in some ways writing all this down is more complicated than it is to actually do it!  If you think it would be useful to have something like this for handling Project workflows instead then add it in the comments and I’ll have a go in a future article.

Useful links to help this article:

3 thoughts on “If I knew then what I know now!

  1. Is there a one-keystroke command for copying highlighted text into the translation unit you’re working on at the current cursor position? If not, there should be, as move cursor, Control-C, move cursor, Control-V is very time consuming…

    1. Hi Paul. I suppose it depends where you are copying from? If it’s the concordance window then use Ctrl+Alt+F3 (Insert into document) should do the trick. If it’s elsewhere then probably not as you’re probably changing focus. Where did you mean?

  2. Primarily copying from another translation unit; since autosuggest is not dynamic, it doesn’t really capture material from the document you’re working on…

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