How do you eat an elephant? Well, of course we don’t really want to eat an elephant, we love elephants! But if we did want to eat something that large we’d do it in bite sized chunks! This is something that is particularly relevant when working with large resources such as translation memories or terminology that is freely available from a number of places on the internet. I’ve addressed this before in various articles… these two are particularly relevant to the topic I’m addressing today:
Every now and then I see an application and I think… this one is going to be a game changer for Studio users. There have been a few, but the top two for me have been the “SDLXLIFF to Legacy Converter” which really helped users working with mixed workflows between the old Trados tools and the new Studio 2009, and the “Glossary Converter” which has totally changed the way translators view working with terminology and in my opinion has also been responsible for some of the improvements we see in the Studio/MultiTerm products today. There are many more, and AnyTM is a contender, but if I were to only pick my top three where I instantly thought WOW!, then the first two would feature. So what about the third? You could say I have the benefit of hindsight with the first two although I’m not joking about my reaction when I first saw them, but the third is brand new and I’m already predicting success!
It’s all about the termbase definition when you want to merge termbases, or import data into MultiTerm termbases. The XDT… otherwise known as the MultiTerm Termbase Definition file is the key to being able to ensure you are not trying to knock square pegs into round holes! I’ve written in the past about the flexibility of MultiTerm and it’s this flexibility that can make it tricky for new users when they try to merge their collections of termbases together, or add to their data by importing a file from a colleague.
So what do we mean by definition? Let’s think about keys as I think this is quite a good analogy… the four keys in the image on the right will all open a lock, but they won’t all open the same lock. If you want one of these keys to open another lock then you need to change its shape, or it’s “definition”, to be able to open the lock. A termbase definition works in a similar way because MultiTerm is flexible enough to support you creating your own lock. That lock might be the same as someone else’s, but theirs could also have a different number of pins and tumblers which means your key won’t fit.
Strong words… “Committing the Cardinal Sin“!
I can remember from my early days with SDL many interesting, and often frustrating conversations with the then Product Manager for MultiTerm. The almost religious use of phrases like “You can’t use spreadsheets for terminology”… “It only takes a few steps to be able to create a simple glossary with MultiTerm”… “You can’t properly export a MultiTerm termbase to Excel”… and many more discussions along these lines. Well, over the last year or so mainly thanks to the SDL OpenExchange which removes the shackles of being tied to “the way it’s always done” we have seen one tool in particular that has proven this traditional way of thinking wrong. But not because our friendly product manager was wrong… he was mostly right. When you think about Terminology Management in the traditional sense then Excel is not really suited to managing concept oriented databases that are designed for the terminology professional. It has its place, but is definitely prone to error and difficult to manage as the database grows. But what if you only want a glossary?
If you regularly read the articles I write you may have noticed that I like to talk about the SDL OpenExchange a lot. I write articles about some of the cool applications that are available to users of the SDL Language Platform (Studio, MultiTerm, GroupShare, Passolo etc.) I see this platform in a similar way (albeit a smaller scale) to an I-Phone or an Android phone… the core features are already there in the products and the APIs support the ability for any developer to create more features and capabilities to do anything they like! Things that might only be useful for a small group of users, or they might be interesting for many… or they might support the breaking of long standing traditions!
I first wrote about the Glossary Converter on September 17, 2012… over three years ago. Not only is it a surprisingly long time ago, but I still meet people at every conference I attend who have never heard of this marvelous little tool, and in some cases never heard of the OpenExchange either. So when I toyed with the idea of writing an article about Xmas coming early and talking about the OpenExchange and all the goodies inside, part of me couldn’t resist writing about this tool again. In the three years since it was first released it’s morphed beyond all recognition and today it’s awash with features that belie it’s appearance.
I like to take a little credit for the emergence of this tool because back in 2012 I asked around trying to get someone to create one so that it was straightforward for anyone to create a MultiTerm Glossary from a simple two column spreadsheet… the sort of glossary that most translators use for their day to day needs. I was over the moon when Gerhard (the developer) was interested and created the tool I wrote about back then. But I can take no credit whatsoever for what the tool has become today and it’s well worth revisiting!
This 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 😉 Continue reading “Converting Wordfast resources… out with the old!”