The ATA55 in Chicago and the SDL OpenExchange… which apps?

001This year at the ATA in Chicago all the tool vendors who attended the event were given the opportunity to run a little “Tool Bar” where attendees could come and ask any question they liked. This was a great initiative, and despite the first day where we were perhaps mistakenly tucked away under the arctic air conditioning in the corner where nobody could see us, I think they were very well attended. Certainly from an SDL perspective we were non-stop from the moment we started till the end of each day. It was a great experience for us as we get to meet lots of new users and many we only speak to by email, or on twitter, and I hope it was an equally great experience for anyone who attended.

This year there was a lot of interest in the SDL OpenExchange which was great to see and we even saw an independent presentation from Tuomas Kostianen called “The Wild West of Trados Studio OpenExchange Apps” where he went through what he considered some of the more useful applications in addition to providing a little background information for anyone who wasn’t aware of what the SDL OpenExchange was all about.  On the “Tool Bar”, and in the pre-conference tool workshops I delivered, I was asked which apps I thought were the most useful for translators who had never used the OpenExchange before.  (I was also asked by the SDL Trados tweeter who recorded some of the best translation tips from various attendees at the conference.)  I think which ones are best for you really depends on how you work and the type of things you wish you could do but aren’t possible out of the box.

So there are some tremendously useful and clever applications that might be useful for some but not for others, such as the “Studio TimeTracker” from Patrick Hartnett which adds a new View into Studio and allows you to track the time you spend working on projects and even put rates to the work so you can compare how much you get paid based on a wordcount with the time you spent on it! Maybe really useful if you do a lot of post-editing, but I think it’s a good sanity check in general and might even help you decide what word rates you should be charging in order to cover your hourly costs. I wrote briefly about this application in the past, and I will do something more detailed in the near future as I know the developer has some exciting improvements for a future version.

Or maybe the “Apply Studio Project Template” application which is a great plugin for anyone who regularly receives Project Packages, or works on GroupShare Projects where the settings in the Project don’t include the Translation Memories and Termbases you want to work with, or the QA settings you have spent months perfecting to ensure you can deliver quality work every time. This application allows you to simply select your preferred template and have it overwrite or merge all or part of the current settings in a couple of clicks. This can save you a lot of time if you use a lot of TMs and termbases or have customised QA settings as you won’t have to manually add them all to every package or GroupShare Project you receive. I haven’t written about this one before as it’s relatively new, but I will in the near future.

Or perhaps “MT AutoSuggest“, or the “Google Translate AutoSuggest” apps. These apps bring Machine Translation under your control by offering suggestions for the translation as you work by using the Studio AutoSuggest feature. Many translators have found this to be very productive, and if you ever speak to Jost Zetsche you’ll soon learn that he sees this kind of improving feature as the future of Machine Translation for Translators using a Translation Environment Tool. The Google Translate AutoSuggest works with Google Translate as the name suggests, but the MT AutoSuggest will work with any Machine Translation provider you are using in Studio, very flexible and a great choice for anyone using Machine Translation.

I won’t go on… well, maybe just one more as I showed a few people how useful this can be at the ATA,  The TermInjector plugin which allows you to insert corrected text into your Translation Memory results either with a simple text replacement, which is great for having correct terminology already entered into your translation, or more complex replacement operations based on regular expressions.  A very powerful and useful application which I have written about in the past.

You can also read which applications are favoured by real translators in articles such as these (let me know if you know any more and I’ll add them):

SDL OpenExchange: A rant and a rave” by Emma Goldsmith

The Glossary Addons: (almost) The Missing Terminology Link” by Shai Nave

My Top 5 OpenExchange Apps” by Tuomas Kostianen

There are over a hundred applications to choose from, but if I was to choose a couple or three essential applications for every translator then it would be these three because I think they touch the standard work routines of just about every translator I’ve ever met who uses a translation tool:

AnyTM

This plugin that integrates into Studio adds these three functions:

  1. Allows you to add any Translation Memory you like to a project, irrespective of the language.
  2. Allows you to work with your Translation Memory in both directions. So if you worked Spanish to English, the same Memory could be used for an English to Spanish project.
  3. Allows you to handle multiple source languages in one file. You could do this for a Project too, but Studio has so many automated features based on language that I think the best use of this application is where you have multiple language source segments in one file all being translated into the same target language.

You can read more on all of these features in these articles:

And of course you can download the application from here.

 Glossary Converter

This is a standalone application that can do many things to replace the need for using MultiTerm Convert, MultiTerm annd various other file exchange operations. This application alone will change the view many translators have held for years about the difficulties of working with terminology in SDL Trados products. But it’s not just about terminology… you can convert any of the files in this screenshot into a Termbase, OR into any one of these filetypes! So convert a spreadsheet in a TMX (Translation Memory eXchange file), or a spreadsheet to MultiTerm XML (via the XDT option) so you can imort the data to an existing termbase, or download a Microsoft TBX file from their terminology collections and convert to a MultiTerm Termbase with just a drag and drop… and many more things. This is a revolutionary application in terms of working with Terminology and has transformed SDL Trados from the hardest tool to use for working with glossaries (for Translators) into the easiest!

You can read more about this application in these articles or take a look at the videos:

The application itself can be found here.

 Glossary Plugin

This plugin was developed by the same developer who gave us the Glossary Converter and it introduces the concept of Project Glossaries to Studio. It adds a new group to the Projects toolbar that allows you to do the following three things in no more than a couple of clicks:

  1. Create a new termbase and have it added to your Project
  2. Convert a spreadsheet and have it added to your Project as a termbase
  3. Export the contents of your Project termbases to a spreadsheet to share with your clients who don’t have MultiTerm

You can read about this more in this article or take a look at the videos:

And last but not least, the application itself is here.

I have written about all of these in the past so I won’t repeat myself again in any more detail here. But I have created a new youtube video that shows how you use them and why they are useful without getting into too much detail. I hope you find this useful, and if you want to know more about each one take a look at the previous articles, or just ask a question in the articles.

Playing time: Approx 15 mins

If you have a favourite application why not post this into the comments and tell us why? I’m sure everyone reading will be interested to see what you’re using and why. If you’ve looked at all the applications available and can think of something else you’d like then post that here too… who knows, a developer might pick this up and turn your idea into the very application you’ve been wanting for years!

3 comments
  1. Hi Paul,

    Thank you for this interesting post with food for thought and useful links to blog posts from fellow translators.

    For my part, I have already installed 21 apps and plug-ins, including additional file filters, TMs, dictionnaries, productivity apps.

    Though I haven’t used all of them until now, I’m happy to know that they are there just in case, especially the additional file filters. And I can let my customers know that I can now handle additional file formats.

    I find TimeTracker, the Glossary Converter and the Dictionary Plugin very useful for my personal situation.

    High on my wish list are the Studio equivalents of Michael Farrell’s IntelliWebSearch and / or Rolf Keller’s Multifultor to add powerful Internet search functionality to Studio even if I have to pay for that.

    Best regards

    Eric

    Like

    • Eric,
      IntelliWebSearch works seamlessly in Studio (and in any Windows application, in fact). I perform searches in Studio using IWS every day.

      Like

      • Just to add to Emma’s comment. There is a plugin called Terminotix that does this too and it’s integrated into Studio. It has more functionality as well if you’re happy to pay for the full version.

        Like

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