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The handling of numbers and units in Studio is always something that raises questions and over the years I’ve tackled it in various articles.  But one thing I don’t believe I have specifically addressed, and I do see this rear its head from time to time, is how to handle the spaces between a number and its unit.  So it thought it might be useful to tackle it in a simple article so I have a reference point when asked this question, and perhaps it’ll be useful for you at the same time.

I have a background in Civil Engineering so when I think about this topic I naturally fall back to “The International System of Units (SI)” which has a clear definition on this topic:

There is a little more to it than this, and you can find the full specification here, but the essence is you always have a space.  I don’t think it defines how wide the space should be or whether it’s a non-breaking space or not, although in practice I think most technical writers would commonly use a non-breaking space.  There is a page here defining the rules if you’re interested.

Interestingly I started this article with an image showing numbers and a percentage symbol, and yet this is not an SI unit at all.  Rather it’s a number, normally meaning 0.01 and when used in junction with an SI unit there should be a space between the number and the percentage symbol.  So, where is this taking me?  This topic of whether you should use a space or not is quite often the source of a debate, and often confusion, between users and even though I have an engineering background I don’t really get too hung up on it.  For me the most important thing is that I have a way of dealing it with it.  So irrespective of what the source contains, or what the styleguide is asking for, I need to be able to handle it.

Handling it in SDL Trados Studio

It’s quite possible that the styleguide you are working to, or simply the verbal request you are working to, could have different rules for one language compared to another.  I occasionally come across a translator referring me to some document on the internet I’ve never heard of that sets out the rules for this kind of thing in their language pair.  Fair enough … Studio supports this by allowing you to define the way spaces are handled by language.  In fact it’s this very ability that makes it difficult for users to know about this feature at all!  Studio has this concept of All Language Pairs which looks like this:

 

I’d hazard a guess that most users, unless they are familiar with multilingual projects, only ever use the settings here under All Language Pairs.  You won’t find anything at all in here related to measurements and their spaces.  In fact you may have even looked at the specific language pairs underneath, thought they were the same and wondered why we even had them?  Well, the reason for having them is because it is possible to use different settings for each language in a multilingual project.  If you receive packages you might have wondered why the Translation Memories in the package you received are actually under the specific language pair, well this is the reason why.  If you place your Translation Memories at the All Language Pairs level then you avoid having to add them in multiple locations but it’s one setting for all.  It’s all about choice.

But hang on a minute… what about measurements?  Well this is an odd one that I don’t have a good answer for because it’s not possible to apply a setting for measurements that can apply to all languages.  I have no idea why!  But if you open up one of the specific language pairs you’ll see something like this:

Now we see a few differences:

  • we have an Auto-substitution node that expands to give us settings for Dates and Times, and also for Measurements.
  • we can add AutoSuggest Dictionaries at this level (I also have no good explanation for why here and not at All Language Pairs… surely they could be recognised in the same way a TM is?)
  • we don’t have Language Resources (I think these do make sense in All Language Pairs seeing as they relate to the specific language pairs anyway and the setting is unique to the resource template you choose)

It’s the Measurements I’m most interested in here, although I’d recommend you review the others too as you might find some interesting surprises.  If I click on this node I see this:

Aha… now everything should become clear.  There should be enough options in here to satisfy all the requirements you are likely to have.  You can match the source, you can set your own and Studio will automatically handle this for you using interactive translation when you press Ctrl+comma to pick up your placeable, or in pre-translation when the numbers and units are automatically recognised by Studio.  Also note that you can use the settings you need in a Project template which means you don’t have to keep changing the settings every time you need something different to the defaults for a new Project.

Reality bites!

So that’s all good news so far… but I do like to try and be real about the features in Studio so here’s the problem.  In the last paragraph I underlined “when the numbers and units are automatically recognised” for a reason.  If they are not recognised then none of this will apply and you have to start looking for workarounds.  The workaround you need will depend on how much, if any, of the numbers are recognised.  I have been running a test since prior to Studio 2014 SP2 (maybe around Studio 2011 I think) and even in my most recent check in Studio 2017 CU5 we still only recognise 19% of all SI units that have been correctly written.  Interestingly if I write them incorrectly by not having a space between them then Studio recognises 56% of them which gives you a better chance of handling them out of the box!  So you better break out your workaround hat if you’re a technical translator.  By a strange quirk of fate you technical translators could actually be the best group of translators to have to deal with this problem as solving these types of issues is probably in your nature!  If you’re interested in the file with these results then I have put them here as they might be helpful for two reasons:

  1. you’ll know which ones are being recognised and which are not.  This could be helpful if you think you’re the one doing something wrong.
  2. you can feedback if you get different results in your language pair.  I only tested from English to German and this might also make a difference to the results… it shouldn’t do, but it might.

If you’re interested in the workarounds, then they would probably be variants of these:

  • allow Studio to do its thing and search and replace using regular expressions afterwards (will only work if Studio still recognises the measurements but transposes it incorrectly)
  • use the Regex Match AutoSuggest Provider to interactively get the transposition you need (links to a great article from Nora Diaz on this tool)
  • use the Terminjector Translation Provider to deliver the transposition you need
  • edit the source file before you translate it so the measurements used are correctly recognised (you’ll need the application that created the source, and hope it supports some kind of regex/wildcard search & replace)
  • edit the source file after the project is created so the measurements are correctly recognised (SDLXLIFF Toolkit)

If all of this is having you nod your head then go and vote for this idea or even this one… or if you also want to see a conversion of the units which used to be “unreliably” possible in Translators Workbench then go and vote for this one.  Otherwise I hope the article was useful and that you are one of the lucky majority who are working with files that can be handled perfectly well out of the box in Studio using the settings above.

001If you’ve never come across Microsoft Publisher before then here’s a neat explanation from wikipedia.

Microsoft Publisher is an entry-level desktop publishing application from Microsoft, differing from Microsoft Word in that the emphasis is placed on page layout and design rather than text composition and proofing.”

It’s actually quite a neat application for newbies to desktop publishing like me, but it’s a difficult tool to handle if you receive *.pub files (the format used by MS Publisher) and are asked to translate them.    And I do see requests from translators from time to time asking how they can handle them.  The file itself is a binary format and even with Office 2016 (which includes Publisher if you have the Professional version) the only export formats of PDF, XPS and HTML are not importable.  So very tricky indeed if you need to be able to provide your client with a translated version of the pub format.

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01This article is all about out with the old and in with the new in more ways than one!  In the last week I have been asked three times about converting Wordfast translation memories and Wordfast glossaries into resources that could be used in Studio and MultiTerm.  Normally, for the TXT translation memories I get I would go the traditional route and use a copy of Wordfast to export as TMX.  Then it’s simple, but what if you don’t have Wordfast or don’t want to have to try and use it?  Wordfast glossaries are new territory for me as I’d never looked at these before.  But on a quick check it looked as though they are also TXT files so I decided to take a better look.

Before I get into the detail I’ll just add that I’m not very familiar with Wordfast so I’m basing my suggestions on the small number of files I have received, or created, and the process I used to convert them to formats more useful for a Studio user.  I’ll start with the glossaries as this is where I got the idea from,  I better explain my opening statement too… this is because after I did an initial conversion using the Glossary Converter from the SDL Openexchange I was asked to explain how this would work with MultiTerm Convert.  This of course made me think about the old versus the new… I wouldn’t compare Wordfast and Studio in this way at all 😉 Read More

001This week I attended the FIT XXth World Congress in Berlin hosted by the BDÜ where I got to meet many translators and technology specialists who I’ve only spoken to via email or through the community forums and twitter… that was really great!  It was my kind of event, hundreds of translators… thousands even… and lots of interesting and taxing questions about how to use Studio and MultiTerm.  In many ways it was similar to my favourite annual event which is the ATA event… the main difference between the two for me would be the lack of air conditioning which you’d never see in an American event and maybe the lack of facilities for the tools vendors as I had to resort to running my 90 minute session with my laptop balanced on my knees and displaying on a large TV screen that was really too small for this type of a workshop.  Hopefully if these sessions are repeated the preparation will be improved and perhaps the scheduling too so that more people could attend.  The ATA events are always really well attended, so I guess this was another difference between the two as the room provided wasn’t much bigger than my hotel room… in fact I’m ready to do a deal if the opportunity arises in Brisbane in 2017 😉 (Thank you Hans for correcting me about the date in the comments!)

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01If you’ve ever posted a question into a forum, particularly about XML, and found that when it was published the main part of your question where you showed the XML had disappeared then this short article will be interesting for you!  I see this all the time in ProZ.com, or when people ask me questions in the comments of this blog, and I can imagine the frustration they must be feeling as they post it again once or twice… all to no avail!

The reason for this is because many forums, and blogs, require that you handle reserved characters in HTML as HTML entities.  Of course everyone knows this, and the forums and blogs in question always make it really obvious and provide guidance on how to overcome it… not!

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01If the title and image I have used for this article reminds you a little of something you might see from Stan Lee in an episode from Marvel Comics, then you have discovered my guilty secret… beneath a “slightly” more serious exterior I have a hidden desire to be able to extend my capabilities and demonstrate super human powers!  Unfortunately I don’t think this is going to happen for me any time soon, so my dream lives on in the mind of my son and probably every imaginative child on the planet!

So I may never become a mutant superhero… but I might be able to redirect some of these latent powers in another direction.  By now, if you know me, you may have guessed it or you may simply be thinking “what is he talking about?”… so with that slightly improbable introduction I’ll elaborate!

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#01This application, free on the SDL OpenExchange, has been around for about a year and a half and is one of the most popular applications on there.  It was written by Patrick Hartnett and is incredibly useful in more ways than one.  In fact it’s so useful I have referred to it quite often and used it for working around other issues in many of the articles I have written… so why haven’t I written specifically about it here until now?  The answer is I have no idea… but I should have done!  What prompted me to write now is that Patrick hasn’t released many updates to this tool, mainly because it did what was needed from the start and has been a really reliable and useful application; but he has released an update this week.

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