Trados / Word compatibility / portability
Thread poster: Yngve Roennike

Yngve Roennike  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:47
Swedish to English
+ ...
May 23, 2003

In the mid- to late nineties I worked heavy-duty with Trados albeit in a circuitous way. The files I received were in Word for Windows, and you could see the tags, and all the formatting codes. Match levels were in different colors. The files were readily exportable and reincorporated in Trados.



Navigation in Word was so much easier and quicker, especially after setting up macros, plus you could see a full screen of text, whereas back then Trados was limited to a clumsy interface that made you press X number of buttons every time you had completed translating just one sentence for the software.



I’ve mentioned this option to several individuals/agencies offering jobs not just here, when Trados seemed to be de rigeur, but it rings a bell with nobody. Just now someone wrote in German: Thanks, but without Trados it can’t be done. We are not talking Word for Windows but FrameMaker, making a detour via Trados and S-Tagger/Tag Editor necessary. I don’t even know what those buzzwords stand for.



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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 23:47
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Trados May 23, 2003

Okay, here's what I think is going on here.

When you were working with "Trados" before, what had actually happened was that your customer "pre-translated" the text in Word, which meant that you just had to go in "between the tags", sentence for sentence and translate the text - being very careful not to damage the tags in the process.

The bit with the buzzwords means:

This text is not a piece written in word, but using a desk-top publishing program called Framemaker. Trados can be used to translate texts written in Framemaker, but only using Tag Editor.

Trados really is the leading CAT tool on the market (that doesn't make it the easiest to use).

Kind regards,

Alison


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:47
English to French
Trados is the best... May 24, 2003

Alison Riddell-Kachur wrote:

...
Trados really is the leading CAT tool on the market (that doesn't make it the easiest to use).

Kind regards,

Alison

...or so says their marketing team! But then they also claim to be the only CAT to work from inside Word (Off hand I would say there is at least 2 other CATs doing that, and better)

Fact is that there is hardly anything in TWB that you can not do better with other CATs on the market.

And don't get me started about the prices, the obvious functions missing (going back up one segment with a single shortcut, for instance), the inexistant support, the gruesome cludge on your disk, the bloody dongle, the tiresome terminology handling,...

Trados has made the first steps, that's true, but hasn't improved an inch since then. Just marketing and sales.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:47
German to English
+ ...
Compatibility, portability, etc. May 24, 2003

Part of the problem is that some software vendors are determined to retain closed proprietary formats, in the hope that this will force users to buy their products. The result:

Translators buy products in order to retain compatibility with that of their customers, rather than being free to buy the tools they would prefer to use. In some cases, they may buy and use products which are totally unsuitable for the translation process, such as DTP or CAD drawing editor software;

Other software vendors, in order to be able to sell their products, find it necessary to make them compatible with these proprietary formats, which is something of an exercise in cryptography and a huge waste of programming resources which would be better spent on improving features and stability;

Both translators and customers waste an inordinate amount of time trying to convert data between formats which are not properly documented and may even be designed to prevent conversion.

The appearance of the TMX industry standard for translation memories has killed the argument that Trados is needed because its memory format is the industry standard. However, the parties to the translation process are increasingly exchanging texts in a bilingual document format, and although it was not originally intended to fulfil this role, Trados' uncleaned file format is suitable for this purpose. However, the LISA consortium has now issued a standard for a bilingual document format (XLIFF) which is designed to fulfil precisely this function. Hopefully, as and when other software vendors begin supporting this format and/or conversion tools become available, translators will once again be unrestricted in their choice of software. Some vendors (such as SDL) are already supporting XLIFF.

More information on XLIFF at:
http://www.opentag.com/xliff.htm

Marc


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:47
English to French
Xliff May 24, 2003

MarcPrior wrote:

Part of the problem is that some software vendors are determined to retain closed proprietary formats, in the hope that this will force users to buy their products. The result:

Translators buy products in order to retain compatibility with that of their customers, rather than being free to buy the tools they would prefer to use. In some cases, they may buy and use products which are totally unsuitable for the translation process, such as DTP or CAD drawing editor software;

Other software vendors, in order to be able to sell their products, find it necessary to make them compatible with these proprietary formats, which is something of an exercise in cryptography and a huge waste of programming resources which would be better spent on improving features and stability;

Both translators and customers waste an inordinate amount of time trying to convert data between formats which are not properly documented and may even be designed to prevent conversion.

The appearance of the TMX industry standard for translation memories has killed the argument that Trados is needed because its memory format is the industry standard. However, the parties to the translation process are increasingly exchanging texts in a bilingual document format, and although it was not originally intended to fulfil this role, Trados' uncleaned file format is suitable for this purpose. However, the LISA consortium has now issued a standard for a bilingual document format (XLIFF) which is designed to fulfil precisely this function. Hopefully, as and when other software vendors begin supporting this format and/or conversion tools become available, translators will once again be unrestricted in their choice of software. Some vendors (such as SDL) are already supporting XLIFF.

More information on XLIFF at:
http://www.opentag.com/xliff.htm

Marc


Interesting article, thanks for posting. I still prefer a simple text document. Content over form. Nothing more confortable then a document that everyone can understand and change within minutes. Right now, with a bit of brainwork, standard Trados segmented files can be imported with most CATs on the market.

However, the alternate translation part in XLIFF can be the basis of interesting developments in terms of quality checking. I wonder if that format will evolve and be adopted the same way as TMX.


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Yngve Roennike  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:47
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
input alignment task separation May 25, 2003

I take it then from the above comments that it is true that you do not need Trados per se for doing input, as I had suggested. The alignment is done after porting the Word file back into Trados, and the translator need no longer be concerned with it. I am aware that Trados has other features than alignment, such as glossary management, but again, you don’t necessarily need Trados for that, as there are other tools available, a simple database such as Excel will do it, as will some electronic dictionaries that I have, e.g., Wordfinder.

The codes should not be messed up, I do remember that. It’s like working in a RTF file; you should not tamper with codes there, either. A simple macro will ensure you don’t, by positioning the cursor precisely where input is to start. Another macro would delete the English in the input field, and off you go.

The problem is explaining to agencies that this is all possible, i.e., simply input (and not alignment operations) does not have to occur in Trados, it can be done in any word processing program or independent platform, and then reinserted in Trados (and hopefully in other similar software, such as WordFast). The agencies I have mentioned this to simply (choose to) ignore this basic fact, and I wonder why.

Thanks for the interesting feedback, some of which is a bit above my head and current level of knowledge.


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:47
English to French
Look into Wordfast May 29, 2003

Yngve Roennike wrote:

I take it then from the above comments that it is true that you do not need Trados per se for doing input, as I had suggested. The alignment is done after porting the Word file back into Trados, and the translator need no longer be concerned with it. I am aware that Trados has other features than alignment, such as glossary management, but again, you don’t necessarily need Trados for that, as there are other tools available, a simple database such as Excel will do it, as will some electronic dictionaries that I have, e.g., Wordfinder.

The codes should not be messed up, I do remember that. It’s like working in a RTF file; you should not tamper with codes there, either. A simple macro will ensure you don’t, by positioning the cursor precisely where input is to start. Another macro would delete the English in the input field, and off you go.

The problem is explaining to agencies that this is all possible, i.e., simply input (and not alignment operations) does not have to occur in Trados, it can be done in any word processing program or independent platform, and then reinserted in Trados (and hopefully in other similar software, such as WordFast). The agencies I have mentioned this to simply (choose to) ignore this basic fact, and I wonder why.

Thanks for the interesting feedback, some of which is a bit above my head and current level of knowledge.

Wordfast is your solution. The demo version will let you do pretty much all you are looking for, including quality check, segmentation (or use a trados segmented file), terminology look up, concordance, context search and a lot more.

It will be easier convincing agencies that Wordfast can do the job then saying that a small macro of yours does.

The limitation is that you can not have a normal TM of more then 500 units or 110 kb (roughly 5000 words). Then you can just change TM. There are many work around, but the software is worth every bit of the cheap price it sells for, so if you get to use it a lot - and you probably will - better you buy it.


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Yngve Roennike  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:47
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Still easy as pie. May 29, 2003

I take it, I will find this at Wordfast.com (?). I already downloaded something called Transit (Satellite) PE, which was free of charge, from another site, as suggested by one job lister, here. I’ve frankly lost patience with it, being too busy to try and noodle these things out.

If I my go on a bit about the original matter at hand, the Word-compatible file was easy as pie to work with, no mystery, no frills, no kidding; and you could even hide the codes (as in not “display hidden text”), allowing you to see the full text, not chopped up as was wont in Trados. Trados would actually sometimes make you lose all sense of context, and could lead to disjointed, malapropos insertions in the final, aligned text. Plusentry speed was perhaps twice as high in Word, and you could spell check and combine or delete sentences across tags, something especially useful in German, where sentences simply don't always break the way they do in English.

[Edited at 2003-05-30 06:42]

Thanks to Marc, et al.
Yngve

[Edited at 2003-06-02 01:21]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:47
German to English
+ ...
Wordfast, Trados May 30, 2003

Yngve Roennike wrote:
I take it, I will find this at Wordfast.com (?).

No - try www.champollion.net


the Word-compatible file was easy as pie to work with ... and you could even hide the codes (as in not “display hidden text”), allowing you to see the full text, not chopped up as was wont in Trados.


Yes, but you can do the same when using Trados or Wordfast. Hiding the "hidden" text, hides both the codes and the source, leaving you with a target-language document to read through. With a little care (so as not to delete the segment boundaries), you can then simply change that document. Changes are incorporated into your TM at clean-up. This how I used to check my final drafts when I used Trados, and later Wordfast, and I believe it is standard procedure.

This benefit is increased further still by the fact that a second party can edit the text in the same way. In fact, that other party need not even have Trados/Wordfast. These are fantastic advantages and there is no denying them. (As administrator of another TM project, I hardly have an interest in promoting Trados/Wordfast!)

Marc


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