All that glitters is not gold…

001Years ago, when I was still in the Army, there was a saying that we used to live by for routine inspections.  “If it looks right, it is right”… or perhaps more fittingly “bullshit baffles brains”.  These were really all about making sure that you knew what had to be addressed in order to satisfy an often trivial inspection, and to a large extent this approach worked as long as nobody dug a little deeper to get at the truth.  This approach is not limited to the Army however, and today it’s easy to create a polished website, make statements with plenty of smiling users, offer something for free and then share it all over social media.  But what is different today is that there is potential to reach tens of thousands of people and not all of them will dig a little deeper… so the potential for reward is high, and the potential for disappointment is similarly high.

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COTI… chuckling on the inside

001Probably you’re all far more educated than me and when you read COTI you probably didn’t think “chuckling on the inside” did you?  I googled it and looked at four acronym websites, none of which found the correct definition… but two of them returned the title of this article so it must be right!!  Oh how I wish it was… just to bring a little levity to the ever so serious tasks of interoperability.  But no, it stands for Common Translation Interface (COTI).  This is a project pioneered by DERCOM which is the “Association Of German Manufacturers Of Authoring And Content Management Systems”… so nothing to be amused about there!

The subject of interoperability is in fact a serious one and many tools like to claim they are more interoperable than others as a unique selling point for anyone prepared to listen.  It’s also a big topic and whilst I am always going to be guilty of a little bias I do believe there isn’t a tool as interoperable as the SDL language Platform because it’s been built with support for APIs in mind.  This of course means it’s possible for developers outside of SDL to hook their products into the SDL Language Platform without even having to speak to SDL.  Now that’s interoperability!  It’s also why I probably hadn’t heard of COTI until the development was complete and I was asked to sign a plugin for SDL Trados Studio by Kaleidosope… outside of SDL I think they are the Kings of integration between other systems and the SDL language portfolio.
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Getting a filetype preview…

001One of my favourite features in Studio 2017 is the filetype preview.  The time it can save when you are creating custom filetypes comes from the fun in using it.  I can fill out all the rules and switch between the preview and the rules editor without having to continually close the options, open the file, see if it worked and then close the file and go back to the options again… then repeat from the start… again… and again…   I guess it’s the little things that keep us happy!

I decided to look at this using a YAML file as this seems to be coming up quite a bit recently.  YAML, pronounced “Camel”, stands for “YAML Ain’t Markup Language” and I believe it’s a superset of the JSON format, but with the goal of making it more human readable.  The specification for YAML is here, YAML Specification, and to do a really thorough job I guess I could try and follow the rules set out.  But in practice I’ve found that creating a simple Regular Expression Delimited Text filetype based on the sample files I’ve seen has been the key to handling this format.  Looking ahead I think it would be useful to see a filetype created either as a plugin through the SDL AppStore, or within the core product just to make it easier for users not comfortable with creating their own filetypes.  But I digress…

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Bridging the divide… merging segments

001Ever since Trados came about one of the most requested features for translators has been merging across hard returns, or paragraph breaks.  Certainly for handling the translation it makes a lot of sense to be able to merge fragments of a sentence that should clearly be in one, but despite this it’s never been possible.  Why is this?  You can be sure this question has come up every year and whilst everyone agrees it would be great to have this capability, Trados has not supported it through the product.  The reason for the reluctance is that when you merge a paragraph unit (the name given to translation units separated by a paragraph break) you probably need to be able to decide how this change to the structure of the file should be handled in the target document.  Sometimes this might be simple, other times it might not be, and the framework that Trados products use is not designed in a way that supports the ability to alter the look and feel of the target file across every filetype the product can open.  Even the release of the Studio suite of products still uses the same basic idea of being able to handle the bilingual files directly rather than importing them into a black box and whilst this does offer many advantages, this problem of merging over paragraph units remains… until now.

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More power to the elbow… upLIFT

001“More power to the elbow”… this is all about getting more from the resources you have already got, and in this case I’m talking about your Translation Memories.  In particular I’m talking about enabling them for upLIFT.  upLIFT, in case you have not heard about this yet despite all the marketing activity and forum discussions since August this year, is a technology that is being used in SDL Trados Studio 2017 to enable some pretty neat things.  I’m not going to devote this article to what upLIFT is all about as Emma Goldsmith has written a really useful article today that does a far better job than I could have done.  You can find Emma’s article here, called “SDL Trados studio 2017 : fragment recall and repair“.  But a quick summary to get us started is that upLIFT enables things like this:

  • fragment matching
    • whole Translation Units
    • partial Translation Units
  • fuzzy match repair
    • from fragment matching
    • from your termbase
    • from Machine Translation

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Read this and I may have to shoot you!

01Chapter One

“Gabriela descended from the train, cautiously looking around for signs that she may have been followed. Earlier in the week she’d left arrangements to meet László at the Hannover end of Platform 7, and after three hours travelling in a crowded train to get there was in no mood to find he hadn’t got her message. She walked up the platform and as she got closer could recognise his silhouette even though he was facing the opposite direction. It looked safe, so she continued to make her way towards him, close enough to slip a document into the open bag by his side. She whispered ‘Read this and I may have to shoot you!’ László left without even a glance in her direction, only a quick look down to make sure there was no BOM.”

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SDLmocha…

01I was playing around with livemocha.com which is a free language learning website I came across this weekend… I really like the concept where people with an interest in learning a language, or an interest in helping others learn a language, can come together in an environment where they are provided with the tools to help them satisfy their interest.  I even boosted my own score spending a little time correcting the English lessons completed by others… this also made me feel pretty good and I hope the comments were helpful; now I just need to try out the learning part myself which requires more discipline than I have been able to muster to date!!

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With a little help from my friends…

01Updated to support Studio 2017, also it’s now an sdlplugin rather than a standalone tool, September 2016

… is a theme I’ve used before to describe how easy it is to share resources in the desktop version of Studio because of the open and friendly technology platform used.  It’s easy because Studio allows you to take good advantage of the sort of things (maybe even more than a 100 😉) you may already use on a daily basis, like dropbox, or google drive for example.  I was talking about what users could do before, so this time I’m really excited to see how we can perhaps extend this idea of sharing and pool the expertise that only a developer can bring to the table so that developers can gain from each others work, and users of the software see what this can achieve as well.  Romulus Crisan started this off when he began moving many of the OpenExchange applications he had developed, and some of the older ones as well, into Github as OpenSource projects.

This is a new concept for SDL Language Technologies that was started earlier this year, and whilst we have only seen a few contributions from developers adding their own improvements and paying them back for others to use, I do know that this idea of sharing examples of real applications is starting to pay off, and many developers have been able to progress their own ideas after getting a little inspiration from the work of others. Continue reading

Studio 2015, first things first!

01In my world you’d have to be on another planet not to know that Studio 2015 was released this week.  The release is very good and contains lot’s of new features, many of them translators and project managers have wanted for a long time.  In fact even if you did know it was released you might be one of the users who’s still wondering what’s in it, how do you get it and install it, how it affects previous versions, how you migrate your data, how you use your Studio 2014 OpenExchange Apps. etc.  Lot’s of practical questions that you might not be able to readily find the answer to.  So, first things first! Continue reading

Maybe it’s buried where you put it!!

01Projects, packages, segmented SDLXLIFF files, unsegmented SDLXLIFF files, source files, target files, Translation Memories, Termbases, AutoSuggest Dictionaries… are they buried deep in your computer by Studio without you knowing?  Are you really subjected to a message like the one on the left?  Sometimes the posts in the technical forums make it seem that way, but I think it might not really be like this, so in this post I want to take a look and see how all these things work.  I have discused many of these things in the past here and there, but now seems a good time to consolidate all this into one article and try to explain the workings of Studio with regards to file locations.  Let’s start with Projects. Continue reading