Whilst I would definitely not claim to be an expert, writing this blog has allowed me to learn a reasonable amount about XML over the years. Most of the articles I’ve written have been about explaining how to manage the many amazing features in the filetypes that are supported by Trados Studio… and of course how to deal with the many changes over the years as the filetypes have become more and more sophisticated catering for the demands of our customers and the changes in the technologies applied to XML in general. The result of these changes has led to some… let’s say… less than user friendly interfaces and features and you’d certainly be forgiven if you thought things were becoming a little chaotic!
As I’m getting lost in my own thoughts around just what to talk about next with regard to AI technologies and in particular ChatGPT… and as I’m pondering about the effect this is going to have on our industry I recalled a couple of questions around the use of XPath in the community. One of these questions was yesterday and it related to how to use XPath to extract one of the languages in a TMX file using the XML filetype in Trados Studio. Not a particularly tricky thing to do, and I imagined the user was just editing the content or maybe changing the language pair by translating one of the languages into something else, or something like that. But what struck me was the XPath expression he used.
I was compelled to make a return to a previous theme around Marvel Comics because it’s the only way I can do justice to the amazing work the RWS AppStore team carry out on a daily basis. There are some things you just can’t wait to get up in the morning for, and for me, one of these things is being able to work with this team on a daily basis. The first meeting of every day for me is with this team and what a fantastic way to start the day it is! I started this article by mentioning Marvel, but as you’ll see, the hero of this story is probably a Honey Badger!
This year at the Spring Trados Roadshows the emphasis was firmly placed upon education. Almost all the presentations were based on providing translators, project managers, localization engineers etc. with great material to help them as they work with the Trados toolsets.
I had a few presentations at this event and decided it might be useful to post a few of them here, especially the ones that might help with some of the common filetype questions we see in the communities from time to time.
Using stylesheets to enhance the translators experience when working with XML files can be very helpful and sometimes essential. It allows you to pull details from the XML and display them in a preview pane so that the translator has more context around the translatable text. It can also provide a mechanism for displaying text that you don’t want extracted from the XML for translation at all. This is nothing new of course and localisation engineers and experienced translators have been doing this for years. In fact I’ve even written about this in the past providing a simple example of how it’s done and some reading resources for anyone who would like to learn how. So why am I bringing this up again?
If you’ve never come across Microsoft Publisher before then here’s a neat explanation from wikipedia.
“Microsoft Publisher is an entry-level desktop publishing application from Microsoft, differing from Microsoft Word in that the emphasis is placed on page layout and design rather than text composition and proofing.”
It’s actually quite a neat application for newbies to desktop publishing like me, but it’s a difficult tool to handle if you receive *.pub files (the format used by MS Publisher) and are asked to translate them. And I do see requests from translators from time to time asking how they can handle them. The file itself is a binary format and even with Office 2016 (which includes Publisher if you have the Professional version) the only export formats of PDF, XPS and HTML are not importable. So very tricky indeed if you need to be able to provide your client with a translated version of the pub format.
“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.”
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
I’m quoting Alexander Pope in 1709, rightly or wrongly, for hitting the nail on the head when it comes to the truly intoxicating mix of language and technology. A little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing and it’s something I know I’ve been guilty of all my life… I learn a little something new and now I’m an expert. That is of course until I learn a bit more, and then a little more after that, and before I know it I realise I know nothing at all! Translation technology is great for dropping us all into this trap… Trados user since Trados 5, translator for over 20-years… can handle any type of file. Falling into this trap is pretty easy in fact, especially when the tools available for translation today take a lot of the effort out of the tasks at hand. But not everything is what it seems and sometimes it takes a mistake or three to sober us up again! There’s a reason why well organised and successful translation companies, dealing in all kinds of content, have Project Managers, Translators and Localization Engineers within their midst.
I ran a beginners and an advanced workshop at the ATA56 pre-conference day in Miami this year. A really fun day for me as we start the day with no specific agenda or pre-defined course and then try to shape the session to suit the needs of the attendees. The beginner tends to be a little more prescribed, to start off with at least, and the intention is to try and cover the basics of how Studio and MultiTerm work.
The advanced is a lot different… after all, what is advanced?
My favourite conference by far is the ATA… and not just because the location changes every year and it’s always somewhere fantastic! This year was in Miami and the location was no exception… a great choice and huge numbers of translators interested in translation technology and how they can get more from it. My own involvement at these conferences is always very satisfying because I get to spend the full conference speaking to people, from the moment the doors open until they close, about technology. This year kept me particularly busy with two pre-conference sessions, mostly on Studio and MultiTerm; the “Toolbar” which is open all conference and is an area manned by technical representatives from all the tools vendors present; and a conference presentation I’ve wanted to deliver for a long time. This article is about that presentation, “XML, XPath, XSLT… the ‘X’ Files?”