New converter for SDLTM & SDLTB files
Thread poster: Dominique Pivard

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
Finnish to French
Nov 4, 2012

There's a new converter for SDLTM & SDLTB files (format of translation memories and termbases used in SDL Trados Studio):

http://wordfast.fi/blog/cat-tools/2012/11/03/convert-sdltm-and-sdltb-without-studio-and-multiterm/
http://wordfast.fi/blog/?p=522
or
http://youtu.be/L0t9n5yZaaQ?hd=1

It can be used by people who wish to translate Studio packages (SDLPPX) in tools other than Studio that support the SDLXLIFF format, eg. memoQ, CafeTran, Déjà Vu or OmegaT.

The new converter is an alternative to existing tools that have been released recently: Thomas van Nellen's Visual Basic script (see http://wordfast.fi/blog/?p=491 ) and Gerhard Kordmann's GlossaryConverter (see http://wordfast.fi/blog/?p=497 ). It's much faster than the script (but it doesn't retain tags in translation units) and, unlike GlossaryConverter, it can be used even if you don't have MultiTerm.

Like the mentioned tools, it is Windows-only.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 01:05
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Specs? Nov 4, 2012

It would be nice to know how reliable and full-featured these tools are. Did SDL release the spec of termbases and TMs, or are these tools based on reverse engineering them? Does SDL acknowledge these tools and give some sort of assurance that it won't change its file formats in a way that breaks these tools? Do we have some sort of assurance that the tool won't fail when you need it most?
Do these tools support everything in these formats or only a subset? If it's only a subset, exactly what? MT termbase structures can be fiendishly complex, and there's quite a bit of stuff in TMs too (even segmentation rules of all kinds, which will surely be lost, but how about created/used/modified dates and so on?).
I feel that the advice of "go ahead and translate SDL packages by extracting the files and converting the TM and TB with some random third party tool" is a recipe for trouble. One would need to have a full bullet-point list about what features are supported (between the sdlxliff, the sdltb and the sdltm, there should be at least 20 bullet points, including comments, segment statuses, fuzzy percentage/perfectmatch/context match, termbase text fields and picklist items, the various TM fields and metadata etc.)


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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
Finnish to French
TOPIC STARTER
Provided as is Nov 4, 2012

FarkasAndras wrote:
It would be nice to know how reliable and full-featured these tools are.

I'll ask the developer to add a disclaimer stating the converter is a freeware program provided as is, without any guarantee whatsoever, just in case it is not obvious to everyone.

FarkasAndras wrote:
Does SDL acknowledge these tools

I'm not sure what you mean with "these". If you are talking about WfConverter.exe, definitely not: the author has no link whatsoever with SDL, and it's safe to say SDL doesn't endorse the program. If you are talking about GlossaryConverter, it's an OpenExchange plugin, so there's some kind of endorsement by SDL; besides, it's written by an SDL employee, though as a private person.

FarkasAndras wrote:
I feel that the advice of "go ahead and translate SDL packages by extracting the files and converting the TM and TB with some random third party tool" is a recipe for trouble.

Again: everyone use the these tools as their own risk, there is no promise or guarantee of success.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 01:05
English to Hungarian
+ ...
OpenExchange Nov 4, 2012

Dominique Pivard wrote:

FarkasAndras wrote:
Does SDL acknowledge these tools

I'm not sure what you mean with "these". If you are talking about WfConverter.exe, definitely not: the author has no link whatsoever with SDL, and it's safe to say SDL doesn't endorse the program. If you are talking about GlossaryConverter, it's an OpenExchange plugin, so there's some kind of endorsement by SDL; besides, it's written by an SDL employee, though as a private person.

There can be various levels of "acknowledgement". Releasing the spec (and committing to not changing it later) to help develop apps of this type, offering support (consultation) for people who develop tools like this, validating existing tools, providing support for them... That's the sort of distinction that can be very important. Whether or not the WfConverter is based on a full sdltm and sdltb spec released by SDL may be relevant to its reliability.

The same applies to things like the SDL XLIFF Converter for MS Office. It looks like it would be great in certain scenarios, but what if there is some subtle bug/incompatibility and I can't import the reviewed file back into my sdlxliff? This is the last step of the workflow, so if there is trouble, the project is likely to blow the deadline. It's from "SDL Community Developers", whoever they may be. Does that mean it's an official SDL product and it's guaranteed to work correctly with all sdlxliff files? Does SDL provide support for it in case there is a problem? There seems to be a pretty large grey area here.

Dominique Pivard wrote:
it's safe to say SDL doesn't endorse [WfConverter.exe]

I would agree, but does SDL have a problem with such apps being developed? Will they attempt to break such apps by tweaking their file formats? Probably not, but do they have a published spec they will stick to? For instance, the sdlxliff files of Studio2009 and Studio2011 are different and not fully compatible. If the TM format is tweaked in a similar way later, that might unexpectedly break WfConverter.


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:05
English
No grey areas here Nov 5, 2012

FarkasAndras wrote:

The same applies to things like the SDL XLIFF Converter for MS Office. It looks like it would be great in certain scenarios, but what if there is some subtle bug/incompatibility and I can't import the reviewed file back into my sdlxliff? This is the last step of the workflow, so if there is trouble, the project is likely to blow the deadline. It's from "SDL Community Developers", whoever they may be. Does that mean it's an official SDL product and it's guaranteed to work correctly with all sdlxliff files? Does SDL provide support for it in case there is a problem? There seems to be a pretty large grey area here.



Hi Farkas,

Each app on the OX is approved by SDL and each app has a support tab on the OX pages. So whilst SDL may not support them all (if we didn't develop them for example) we do make sure there is a support contact for each one.... as long as it has been submitted with support provided of course. So perhaps the advice should be don't use an app for a critical business process if it is unsupported?

Regards

Paul


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 01:05
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Support Nov 6, 2012

It looks like my worries about the external review functionality were not entirely academic.

Anyway, while it's nice to know that the availability of support is listed on the openexchange page of each tool, the grey area still persists regarding 3rd party tools like the ones by (?) Wordfast mentioned in this thread. Obviously, it's up to Wordfast to make things clear(er), but I wouldn't mind knowing SDL's position on tools like this.


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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
Finnish to French
TOPIC STARTER
Provided as is, works for some people Nov 6, 2012

FarkasAndras wrote:
Whether or not the WfConverter is based on a full sdltm and sdltb spec released by SDL may be relevant to its reliability.

As I said, WfConverter is provided as is. It seems it works for some people, as reported here:

http://www.proz.com/post/2045923

It's what matters, isn't it?


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 01:05
English to Hungarian
+ ...
It works... Nov 6, 2012

Dominique Pivard wrote:

FarkasAndras wrote:
Whether or not the WfConverter is based on a full sdltm and sdltb spec released by SDL may be relevant to its reliability.

As I said, WfConverter is provided as is. It seems it works for some people, as reported here:

http://www.proz.com/post/2045923

It's what matters, isn't it?



It works... until it doesn't. Even if we presume that it never fails outright, I guarantee that the functionality will not be 100% perfect for everyone in every scenario. For instance, it cannot possibly extract the segmentation rules, which in a remarkably silly turn of events SDL decided to put in TMs. If you were to use this tool without informing your client that you aren't using Studio, the segmentation would not be what the client might expect. Of course that's a minor issue but there are about a dozen other elements in sdltms that may get broken by third-party tools like this.

When using a tool in "live production", I like to know exactly what its feature set is, and how reliable it is. Obviously, WF has a stake in tools like this (they are able to say "Go ahead and buy Wordfast from us, and if a client gives you a Trados project, just convert the files with this handy tool and you can do the project in WordFast"). It seems to me that they are a bit reluctant to come clean about the inherent limitations of this approach. Honestly, I'm not even sure if this tool was written or validated by WordFast. They host it on their site but there seems to be no mention of it on wordfast.net.
Kilgray, for instance, published a reasonably thorough interoperability guide on their website, including a description of some of the limitations. WF would do well to follow suit.


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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
Finnish to French
TOPIC STARTER
WfConverter is not for everyone Nov 6, 2012

FarkasAndras wrote:
When using a tool in "live production", I like to know exactly what its feature set is, and how reliable it is.

Then it's quite clear WfConverter is not for you. So be it, but accept that other people may have less stringent requirements than you and may find it suitable for their needs.
FarkasAndras wrote:
Obviously, WF has a stake in tools like this (they are able to say "Go ahead and buy Wordfast from us, and if a client gives you a Trados project, just convert the files with this handy tool and you can do the project in WordFast").

Please show me where in the Wordfast site or in Wordfast's marketing material such a claim is being made.
FarkasAndras wrote:
It seems to me that they are a bit reluctant to come clean about the inherent limitations of this approach. Honestly, I'm not even sure if this tool was written or validated by WordFast.

The converter was neither written, not validated by Wordfast. Have a look at 'About' in the software (if you don't dare installing such an unreliable piece of software, you can see it at 02:20 in my video) and you will see it is written and copyrighted by a private person.
FarkasAndras wrote:
They host it on their site but there seems to be no mention of it on wordfast.net.

There's a good reason for that: it is neither written, not endorsed by Wordfast. As I said, it is provided as is. How many times do I need to repeat it?

Kilgray conducts their business as they see fit, and so does Wordfast.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 01:05
English to Hungarian
+ ...
endorsing Nov 6, 2012

Dominique Pivard wrote:

FarkasAndras wrote:
It seems to me that they are a bit reluctant to come clean about the inherent limitations of this approach. Honestly, I'm not even sure if this tool was written or validated by WordFast.

The converter was neither written, not validated by Wordfast. Have a look at 'About' in the software (if you don't dare installing such an unreliable piece of software, you can see it at 02:20 in my video) and you will see it is written and copyrighted by a private person.
FarkasAndras wrote:
They host it on their site but there seems to be no mention of it on wordfast.net.

There's a good reason for that: it is neither written, not endorsed by Wordfast. As I said, it is provided as is. How many times do I need to repeat it?


You don't need to repeat it at all. It would be nice if wordfast said something about it, and it would be nice if the developer shipped it with a feature list and description of some sort.
Whichever way you look at it, they are endorsing it by hosting it. If they didn't see a business benefit in people knowing about it and having access to it, they obviously wouldn't host it on their own site. And let's face it, it's a tool called WfConverter.exe on wordfast.net; of course people are bound to assume it's associated with Wordfast. And WF is hosting it, as far as I can tell, without any sort of description or disclaimer.

Dominique Pivard wrote:
Kilgray conducts their business as they see fit, and so does Wordfast.

Indeed. And I am free to point out the differences between the approaches they take.


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:05
English
SDLs position Nov 11, 2012

FarkasAndras wrote:

Anyway, while it's nice to know that the availability of support is listed on the openexchange page of each tool, the grey area still persists regarding 3rd party tools like the ones by (?) Wordfast mentioned in this thread. Obviously, it's up to Wordfast to make things clear(er), but I wouldn't mind knowing SDL's position on tools like this.


Hi Farkas,

We don't have a position on this tool. It wasn't created by us or anyone partnering with us so we really know nothing about it other than some basic testing out of interest. Certainly we would not suggest anyone use it as there would be no point... unless we were encouraging the use of other tools... which we are not. Any one of our customers needing to share resources with another tool they happen to own has ample resources at their disposal that we would recommend.

Regards

Paul


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