With all the excitement and interest around ChatGPT these days, and with the numerous interesting projects we’re working on at RWS that involve the use of AI, its hard not to allow the lure of the technology to pull you in. Last month I wrote an article on corrupt translation memories, and in doing this I dabbled a little with SQLite queries… an SDLTM is a SQLite database. They are pretty much new to me as I’ve only used very simple statements… one liner lookups for example… in the past. So I had to read some basics and learn a little when I did that. Nothing new, I like to read this sort of material and learn a little something new anyway. So when I was asked this evening how do you remove translation units from a translation memory that have the same source and same target I immediately started to think SQLite.
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!
An interesting thing about Trados Studio is how easy it makes it for new users to save all their projects in one place, all their translation memories and all their termbases. In fact it’s so easy that I’m absolutely certain many users never give these things a second thought as they start to get to grips with using the software itself. But then, one day, these users upgrade… in some cases even the upgrade seems to happen automagically… and then the problems start. After becoming a competent Trados Studio user, excited to try the latest version, all of a sudden the translation memories, termbases and projects are all gone! Lost inside the black box otherwise known as Trados Studio!
“Not only is my short-term memory horrible, but so is my short-term memory.” I have no idea who this quote can be attributed to, and its certainly not original, but it is quite appropriate when I start to think about the evolution of Trados. Ever since Trados Studio was launched you can be sure to find many “experts” in places like ProZ and even the SDL Community recommending you don’t upgrade because there is no difference compared to the last version. To be fair, if you only use a fraction of the features despite having used the software for a decade, then it probably is like this. The alternative being these “experts” have very short-term memories.
When we released the new Trados 2021 last week I fully intended to make my first article, after the summary of the release notes, to be something based around the new appstore integration. The number of issues we are seeing with this release are very low which is a good thing, but nonetheless I feel compelled to tackle one thing first that has come up a little in the forums. It relates to some changes made to improve the product for the many.
“The badass is an uncommon man of supreme style. He does what he wants, when he wants, where he wants.” (Urban Dictionary by dougdougdoug). There are in fact many definitions of what a badass is, but I like this part of one of the definitions because it really reflects what this article is about and why it’s needed. No clues so far… but let’s think anonymization!
The Old Farts Language Code Club! This is a new club, inspired by a comment in the SDL Community from a prospective member. I’m not sure yet of the age at which you can qualify for membership, but in addition to the age requirements, which may have stringent rules to prevent any young whippersnappers from joining, it’s essential that prospective members have a good grasp of the language codes used in Trados Studio. I’m also not sure of the demand, so I may open a waiting list that could include anyone who already makes good use of the language codes in Trados Studio but isn’t an old fart yet!
Ever since the release of Studio 2009 we have had the concept of Language Resource Templates, and ever since the release of Studio 2009 I’d risk a bet that most users don’t know what they’re for or how to use them. To be fair this is hardly a surprise since their use is actually quite limited out of the box and access to the goodies inside is pretty hard to get at. It’s been something I used to see users complain about a long time ago but for some years now I rarely see them mentioned anymore. This article, I hope, might change that.
If there’s one thing I firmly believe it’s that I think all translators should learn a little bit of regex, or regular expressions. In fact it probably wouldn’t hurt anyone to know how to use them a little bit simply because they are so useful for manipulating text, especially when it comes to working in and out of spreadsheets. When I started to think about this article today I was thinking about how to slice up text so that it’s better segmented for translation; and I was thinking about what data to use. I settled on lists of data as this sort of question comes up quite often in the community and to create some sample files I used this wikipedia page. It’s a good list, so I copied it as plain text straight into Excel which got me a column of fruit formatted exactly as I would like to see it if I was translating it, one fruit per segment. But as I wanted to replcate the sort of lists we see translators getting from their customers I copied the list into a text editor and used regex to replace the hard returns (
) with a comma and a space, then broke the file up alphabetically… took me around a minute to do. I’m pretty sure that kind of simple manipulation would be useful for many people in all walks of life. But I digress….
Is English (Europe) the new language on the other side of the Channel that we’ll all have to learn if Brexit actually happens… will Microsoft ever create a spellchecker for it now they added it to Windows 10? Why are there 94 different variants of English in Studio coming from the Microsoft operating system and only two Microsoft Word English spellcheckers? Why don’t we have English (Scouse), English (Geordie) or English (Brummie)… probably more distinct than the differences between English (United States) and English (United Kingdom) which are the two variants Microsoft can spellcheck. These questions, and similar ones for other language variants are all questions I can’t answer and this article isn’t going to address! But I am going to address a few of the problems that having so many variants can create for users of SDL Trados Studio.