Radical Anxiety Termination…

… Really Awful Tucker, Radically Altered Terminology, Rheumatoid Arthritis Test, Race Against Time, Recurrent Acute Tonsillitis, Real Acquisition Technology, Republicans Against Trump… the list goes on!  All with the same acronym RAT.  A comment on the SDL AppStore this week relating to a new plugin called the RAT inspired me to write this article this evening.  Everyone is loving this plugin so far but one user had an objection to the name, the acronym, because he didn’t get it.  Actually to be fair someone else on the SDL Community didn’t like it either… Rats are dirty!

Well they may well have a bad rap.  There’s a great article here explaining how useful they are in detecting landmines and detecting disease, not to mention how affectionate they can be.  According to this Harvard review they’re also smarter than your average human!  What’s more, as I was helpfully reminded in the SDL Community, 2020 is the Chinese year of the Rat!  So what better explanation for the acronym than Rapid Add Term?

Rapid Add Term

The RAT plugin has been designed to out perform the traditional methods of adding terminology to your termbase, and it does this by a long way!  Out of the box in Studio you have two basic methods for adding terminology:

  1. Add New Term (Ctrl+F2)
  2. Quick Add New Term (Ctrl+Shift+F2)

The difference between them when you’re working in the default mode in MultiTerm is actually nil.  Both methods add the terms immediately to your termbase, no questions asked (unless there are duplicates of course).  But if you’re working with any of the other layouts in MultiTerm the difference is considerable and this is why the feature of “Quick Add New Term” was introduced in the first place.  If you’re wondering what the difference between these layouts is then this might help:

You can select the layout you want by using the little drop down in the top left menu of the Termbase Viewer.  The reason the difference between “Quick Add Term” and “Add Term” is considerable compared to the default layout is that all other layouts open the terms for editing when you add them and you have to either save or cancel to be able to move on:

So the introduction of the “Quick Add Term” was an extremely welcome addition at the time as you can imagine.  However, or rather HOWEVER, even with the “Quick Add Term” the Termbase Viewer will popout and redraw the data in the termbase… and if it’s docked in place it will just redraw the data.  That is somewhat annoying for two reasons at least:

  1. the constant popping out, or redrawing of the data is an irritant, and
  2. if you have a large termbase, and it doesn’t have to be that large, the time it takes to do this completely slows down the process of quickly adding terms and getting on with your work.

So, the RAT was developed to avoid both of these things.  It simply adds the terms no questions asked (unless you have duplicates).  You don’t even get a confirmation, it just completes it’s task efficiently and fast… it’s extremely rapid!  Hence the name of course!

You can activate the RAT in three ways:

  1. Use the ribbon icon in the Add-Ins menu:
  2. Right-Click on the selected terms:
  3. Use a keyboard shortcut.  The default instalation does not set one so you need to go to your keyboard shortcuts, look for File -> Options -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> RapidAddTerm:

    You can use whatever you like here, even remove the out of the box shortcuts for adding terms to replace with this instead!  The reason there are two is that one relates to the ribbon action, the other to the right-click action.You only need a shortcut on one of them for the solution to work.

To give you some idea of how this works in practice compared to the out of the box approaches I created a short video:

So, don’t be hard on our friend the rat… he’s actually pretty helpful!

How do you eat an elephant?

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:

Continue reading “How do you eat an elephant?”

… and the winner is?

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!

Continue reading “… and the winner is?”

square pegs in round holes…

01It’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.

02So 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.

Continue reading “square pegs in round holes…”

Committing the cardinal sin…

001Strong 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?

Continue reading “Committing the cardinal sin…”

Feature rich… it’s overflowing!

01I 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!

Continue reading “Feature rich… it’s overflowing!”

It’s not all head in the clouds!!


When the developer of the Word Cloud plugin for SDL Trados Studio first showed me the application he developed I was pretty impressed… mainly because it just looked so cool, but also because I could think of a couple of useful applications for it.

  1. You could see at a glance what the content of the project was and how interesting it might be for you
  2. It looks cool… or did I say that already?

Continue reading “It’s not all head in the clouds!!”