Glueing your files…

#01Update January 2015 : Note that this is possible in Studio 2014, but now you can also merge after the project is created too!
The use of the term “glue” in describing what “Trados Glue” was used for made it very clear what it was intended to do.  In fact the term “glue” for merging files together is almost a standard!  I have no idea whether it was Trados that first coined the term in the context of CAT tools but it certainly stuck 😉
Today I see the question of how to “glue” files together to make it easier to manage them quite often… sometimes accompanied by the phrase “Trados Glue”.  So it seems appropriate to provide a quick article on how this is achieved with today’s CAT, SDL Trados Studio.  Studio has had a similar feature since it was launched back in 2009 but it is not called “Studio Glue”, although perhaps it should have been, it is simply called “Merge Files”.  It is also a big improvement over the original Trados version allowing you to merge any filetypes you like and work on them as a single file.
To to this, in the current version of Studio, you have to make the decision to merge the files before creating the Project.  The only exception to this at the moment is when you receive a package from SDL WorldServer as you are prompted when you open the package that the files are not merged and are given an opportunity to merge them.  But once the Project is created that’s it.
Once you have made the decision that you want the files to be merged and you reach the point of adding them to your Project using the Project Wizard you will see something like this:
So I have added five files to my Project, all different filetypes, and as you can see the “Merge Files” command is greyed out.  This remains greyed out until you select the files you wish to be merged.  You can select them all and merge them into a single SDLXLIFF (Studio bilingual file) or you can select groups of them as you see fit and create several merged files to work on.  I guess the biggest criteria in how you do this would be the size of the files as you don’t want to try and work with a single file that has hundreds of thousands of segments if you can help it.
For my example I’m going to select them all and merge them into a single file.
I write the name I wish to give the merged file (1.) and I can also change the order of the files in the SDLXLIFF by selecting the files (2.) and moving them up or down.  Once done I click on OK and after expanding the SDLXLIFF by clicking on the little plus symbol I see this with the files in the different order I set and all listed under the merged SDLXLIFF I created:
On completing the Project and opening the file for translation I now have all the files in one view:
In the Editing window (1.) you can see each file (only small to allow me to illustrate the point) where the name of the file is written in the orange coloured tabs that indicate the start and finish of each file.  In the navigation window (2.) you can select the files you wish to work on and quickly get to the start of each one… and in the case of the powerpoint file this expands even further to allow you to navigate by slide.
But that’s not all, even though I think this is already an improvement over “Trados Glue”, because you can also preview these files based on the capability for preview of each filetype.  I haven’t put a screenshot here as it’s hard to show a realtime preview in a screenshot… but a video will do it 😉

1 minute 21 seconds

Finally, once the translation is complete and you save the target files they will be created as separate files in their original format for returning to your client.  You cannot save one file by itself, so it’s all the files in the merged file or nothing.  If you use Shift F12, or File -> Save Target As then you are prompted for the files one at a time.  So if the one you want is at the top then you could go through them until you reach that one and then cancel the rest… but in reality I doubt this is much of a help.  Otherwise you can use the “Generate Target Translations” batch task which will take care of all of this for you without prompting for each one individually.  A quick tip from Emma, a good one too, is that when you “Finalize” a Project, or “Generate Target Translations“, the SDLXLIFF will disappear from the files view and you are left with the separate files… nothing to worry about.  You just need to either use “Revert to SDLXLIFF” or double click a file to get the SDLXLIFF back… so like this:

If you watched the video and want to know where the article on creating stylesheets for XML is… Translate with style…

0 thoughts on “Glueing your files…

  1. Hi Paul,
    Merging files is a brilliant way of making use of autopropagation across a number of files. I always use it, unless the merged file size becomes unmanageable.
    You might want to add a note about working on a merged file again after generating the target translations (as a batch task). As you know, you have to “revert to sdlxliff” by right clicking on the list of individual files in the files window. It’s not very intuitive, so perhaps worth mentioning.

    1. Hi Emma. indeed. Although I reckon you can just double click the file and it becomes available for translation. At least this is what happens for me in this example. The same as for Finalizing files… the sdlxliff does disappear, but a double click brings it right back up.

      1. Yes, you’re right, but the disappearing sdlxliff is a bit disconcerting, so people don’t always think to double click an individual file or right click to revert.

  2. So far it’s the only way to detect cross-file inconsistencies using QA Checker 3.0 in Studio.

        1. Indeed… just to clarify we are talking about being able to merge files in an existing project rather than simply being able to merge them from the start. Currently the only project that allows this is when you get a package from SDL WorldServer and even then the option appears only when you open the package at the start. Just wanted to avoid any confusion as I was starting to think the article I just wrote was something in my imagination 😉

  3. Hi Paul,
    This is a great tip!
    I only have one question, though:
    Is it possible to save the individual “unclean” xliff files once you’re done? IOW, can you “cut” the files back up after gluing them together? The agency I work with wants those as well as the translated files.
    Thank you!

    1. If you use Studio 2014 or 2015 then you can use a virtual merge instead of glueing the files. This way you have individual xliff files but can work in them glued together.

  4. Thanks Paul.
    Unfortunately I use Studio 2011, and my original files were all xliff. After looking on other message boards, I saw that what I needed to do was virtually impossible–or at least, the explanations went beyond my trados level of expertise.
    Thank you anyway!

    1. Just select the files you wish to merge in the files view, and in the order you wish them to be merged, and then Open for Translation. The files are merged while translating, but not permanently merged.

      1. Thanks! I knew that, what I’m trying to do is a way of create a master file once all the files are translated (using the Open for translation being all the xliff selected), so that I can export it into just one “glued” doc that I can spell check in MS Word. At least for Spanish, there are some mistakes that are not found by the word spell check within Studio 2014 (I guess 2015 will still be the same…)

          1. So I create a new project with the translated files. I merge them by selecting all and Opening all for translation, but how can I export that file into just one doc?

          2. No, you create a new project with the sdlxliff files and merge them when you create the project exactly as described in this article. You will now have a single sdlxliff made up of all the different sdlxliff files and you can convert that into one DOCX for review.

  5. Hi Paul!
    If I understood it correctly, once the source files have been merged into one .sdlxliff file during project creation, it is not possible to “unmerge” them into individual bilingual .sdlxliff files upon project completion?
    The reason behind my question is that for certain types of projects we have to deliver both the cleaned target files (e.g. .mif or .xml) and the bilingual .sdlxliff files, and it would be handy if the number would correspond…
    Thanks a lot in advance for any feedback!
    Kind regards,

    1. You understand correctly. So if you merged the files permanently like this to get one sdlxliff, rather than use the virtual merge feature which lets you merge and keep separate sdlxliff files, then the solution is to recreate the project without merging and pre-translate the files from your TM.

      1. Thanks Paul – that’s what I did in the end. The QuickMerge feature looks very useful.

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