I’m sure everyone reading this is no stranger to the often completely unintelligible error messages that can be generated when software goes wrong! You can even find in the most voted for ideas in the RWS Community ideas platform that is related to just that, “Get those cryptic error messages more human“. As computers have become more and more complicated and software is relying heavily on inbuilt technologies provided with the operating system, 3rd party libraries, and add-ons that use the APIs, it’s really no surprise that things can go wrong. But do the messages really have to be so complicated and meaningless for the average user? Why don’t developers make them easier to understand?
This is a topic that probably occurred a lot more in the old days of Trados and Translators Workbench where it was relatively easy to corrupt a translation memory. In those days the translation memory consisted of five file types with the extensions .tmw, .mwf, .mtf, .mdf and .iix and when problems did occur it was probably related to the files that supported indexing and lookup speeds for example. The .tmw file itself that contained the translation units was less likely to be the source of the problem. So fixing it could often be achieved by creating a new translation memory with the same settings, and then simply replacing the .tmw in the new translation memory with the old one… finally reorganising. This didn’t always help, but if often did!
Everyone is probably familiar with a similar phrase, often mistakenly attributed with biblical origins, “the Lord helps those who help themselves”. The phrase actually originated in ancient Greece through one of Aesop’s fables called “Hercules and The Wagoner“:
The origin of Chad (if you’re British) or Kilroy (if you’re American) seems largely supposition. The most likely story I could find, or rather the one I like the most, is that it was created by the late cartoonist George Edward Chatterton ‘Chat’ in 1937 to advertise dance events at a local RAF (Royal Air Force) base. After that Chad is remembered for bringing attention to any shortages, or shortcomings, in wartime Britain with messages like Wot! No eggs!!, and Wot! No fags!!. It’s not used a lot these days, but for those of us aware of the symbolism it’s probably a fitting exclamation when you can’t save your target file after completing a translation in Trados Studio! At least that would be the polite exclamation since this is one of the most frustrating scenarios you may come across!
At the start of this article I fully intended this to be a simple description of the problems around saving the target file, but like so many things I write it hasn’t turned out that way! But I found it a useful exercise so I hope you will too. So, let’s start simple despite that introduction because the reasons for this problem usually boil down to one or more of these three things:
- Not preparing the project so it’s suitable for sharing
- Corruption of a project file
- A problem with the source file or the Studio filetype