SDL Trados Studio 2009: A Detailed Report
Thread poster: Neal Witkowski

Neal Witkowski  Identity Verified
Germany
German to English
+ ...
Jun 19, 2009

Warning: Long post. If you are only interested in bug reporting, jump to the end.

This is basically a detailed report of my first encounter with the new release of SDL Trados Studio 2009. I am writing with a clear Trados bias. (I used SDLX only rarely, mainly just for TM maintenance projects.) My first project with the new release was a technical instruction manual, a single file in MS Word 2003 format, about 6000 words, with moderately complex formatting and styles. Running on Windows XP with MS Office 2007.

Any experienced translator will immediately recognize the power of Studio 2009. Project managers are certain to appreciate that the Studio “forces” you to exercise good organization and workflow habits. However, many freelancers will find the Studio 2009 is top-heavy and perhaps overkill for their translation needs. Trados users will basically have to learn a new program from scratch. Familiarity with SDLX will give you an edge on learning the new software.

In general, my first project was time-consuming and frustrating. In too many cases I felt I had to navigate through a labyrinth of wizards and deeply-buried options to complete what I consider to be elementary tasks. Navigating among the various tabs, windows and panes is tiresome. Having a second monitor would be ideal.

I'm far more excited about the new version of MultiTerm. Those who were frustrated by MultiTerm 7 can breathe a sigh of relief. It is sleek, simple and elegant. During installation, a simple and well-conceived assistant helped me migrate my old termbases with no problems at all. Users who are already familiar with MultiTerm 7 will be able to jump right in. New users or those who were intimidated by version 7 won't need much time to get started with some basic tasks. The application has been streamlined, many irritating design flaws eliminated and is now much more intuitive.

Bottom Line: “C“ for Studio 2009, “A-” for MultiTerm 8. Powerful, cutting-edge application with several useful improvements and smart features. Studio is best suited for complex, highly technical projects and file formats. Otherwise too bulky for the average freelancer. Still buggy and somewhat unstable. Very steep learning curve even for the most experienced Trados user. Recommendation: Upgrade MultiTerm now; take your time with Studio 2009.

The pros and cons:

SDL Trados Studio 2009

- Overall look is busy, sheer range of features can be intimidating. Button and icons are cryptic and small.

- Running certain basic tasks is cumbersome and time-consuming. I felt too bogged down in the batch task wizards and a dizzying array of options for basic tasks.

- Tag manipulation is unnecessarily complex and frustrating (formatting drop-down, ghost tags, restore ghost tag...). These features are overkill, too smart for their own good. TagEditor's tag insertion was quick, easy and effective. Any mistakes should be caught by tag verification when closing/confirming a segment (or during the final verification), so I don't need the software holding my hand every step of the way.

++ At first I was missing the quick and easy “Insert term” command from TagEditor. After learning how to use Autosuggest with termbases, I'm a convert. The only minor flaw I see is that it appears to be strictly case-sensitive, and there is no option to change this. For example, if you begin typing a term that was found in the hit list, but use different capitalization, Autosuggest does not suggest anything at all.

- The general logic of updating documents and TMs is different from Trados and will require some rethinking and unlearning for Trados users.

+ TM maintenance functions. This was always an aspect of SDLX I liked. Much more intuitive and superior to “Maintenance” function in Workbench, which I always found obtuse.

+/- Auto-hide feature for individual panes is useful, especially when working on smaller screens. Arranging and positioning panes in the main Studio window is tedious, requiring a lot of tinkering to get it the way you like it.

+ While I haven't tried it out yet, I'm happy to see a translation filter for PDFs.

- Changing font size in Editor is cumbersome. The only way to do this is by tweaking the max and min font sizes in the options. A simple magnification factor (like in TagEditor) in the toolbar or zoom slider would be a big improvement. The user should be able to manipulate this quickly and easily and not have to go digging for it.

- Interfacing with the MS Word 2007 process still appears to be somewhat unstable. When this gets fouled up, the solution is still to end or all running Word processes. In general, it is still best to avoid opening and closing Word while using Trados.

+ In-line, real-time spell checker helpful and much smoother than in TagEditor.

+ Drag-and-drop editing. This was sorely lacking in TagEditor.

- While I (partly) understand the reasoning behind getting rid of translation directly in Word, I will miss this feature for text-only projects with simple formatting.

+/- Comments feature slightly less cumbersome than in TagEditor, but I would still like to see a more sophisticated comments feature. For example, it would be nice to have the ability to save or export the comments and/or generate a query sheet style report for clients or others who don’t have direct access to SDL Trados.

- Adding term to termbase requires an unacceptably slow and clumsy Java input mask. I miss the old Workbench and TagEditor keyboard shortcuts and new term input boxes. These were quicker and more solid.

+ Preview feature. A bit processor-intensive, but useful and a huge improvement over TagEditor's preview feature, which I never found particularly useful.

+ Side-by-side view in Editor. I always missed this in TagEditor, especially when editing and revising.

+ Many of the new basic translation keyboard shortcuts are much easier and intuitive than the old Trados shortcuts, which were often difficult or impossible for laptop users. One exception to this: tag insertion. (see above)

+ Running basic project completion stats at the bottom right of the editor are helpful.

- - Still no auto-save option as far as I can tell. If the Studio crashes, you will lose any comments and unconfirmed segments created since the last manual save. Your safest bet if you don't want to lose work is to confirm every translation segment (even if it is actually in a “draft” state and you would not like to enter it in the TM yet) and add a comment that the segment is in draft state.

- Trados users who used the “translate” command in Workbench to update files after segments had been changed directly in the TM must now use the “pre-translate” function. This language is misleading and not entirely appropriate to this situation. Another problem I see is that you must choose from “Overwrite existing translation if better match is found.” Please define “better” (newer?). Documentation doesn't adequately explain this either. In my opinion, a much simpler solution would be individual tasks for “Update TM from document” and “Update document from TM”.

MultiTerm 8

++ Tree view of catalog in MultiTerm and elegant summary and stats overview. Nice!

++ Option to export termbase as file for import into spelling dictionaries.

+++ Overall an outstanding improvement over version 7. I like that MT still integrates into Translator's Workbench for those who do not want to switch to Studio 2009. MultiTerm 7 was a powerful application but poorly organized and unintuitive. In version 8, the physical termbase files are given the actual name you assign. This gives users more power to use their own file management strategies. (Many MultiTerm 7 users will recall the nightmare of restoring termbases if the master catalog file was lost.)

- Still requires Java for editing entries, making this task slow and clumsy.

Bugs and quirks:

In general, software is still very buggy. I encountered many unexplainable crashes. Considering the simplicity of my first project, this is disconcerting. I lost a significant amount of time re-translating draft segments that had not yet been confirmed/saved. Unless the software is stable, leaving segments with a “draft” status runs you the risk of losing work if you do not constantly save (as mentioned, still no auto save function!).

- Despite the claim in the release notes that the Studio 2009 can be installed parallel with SDL Trados 2007, I got an error and instructions that I needed to uninstall SDL Trados 2007 software. After several uninstalling and reinstalling I got it working.

– Missing command in context menu in Editor to search the selected text in the termbase.

- After merging two segments, the editor jumps all the way to the top of the document. Extremely irritating.

- Switching back and forth between the modules in SDL Trados Studio window sometimes messes up the positions of toolbars when returning to the Editor. Other times it does not. Not exactly sure why...

- After adding a file to a project and running the prepare batch task, the file is not in a “prepared” state as one expect when one opens it by double-clicking it in the “Files” window of a project. This appears to be related to the fact that pressing “Refresh” did not appear to work. The workaround is to go back and then close or open another project, then re-open the other project. All files are then displayed properly.

- While translating a Word document, I kept getting an unexplainable crash whenever I entered the same segment. After re-saving the document in several different formats and opening in the same project, I still had the same problem. When opening the original source document again in a new project I had no problems. It appears it may have been related to a corrupted project TM, but I'm not quite sure. In any case, this one was a real show-stopper that took hours and a lot of trial and error to sort out. I had the same problem later in the document but the above solution did not work. I simply had to skip the segment to keep the program from crashing. Fatal!

- On the “File” tab, the “Analysis Statistics” would not update, despite running the analysis and word count again, refreshing, opening and closing the project etc. Not sure if this is by design, and if this were the case, I don't really see how this is useful.

- After copying the source to target segment (Alt+Insert) the cursor is placed by default at the end of the segment. This is irritating and disruptive as one usually begins editing the copied segment from the beginning.

- Switching back and forth quickly between adjacent segments (to copy a snippet of text, for example) seemed to overwhelm the application and resulted in hangs and even total crashes.

- If you have selected a portion of text within a segment and added a comment, this text cannot be copied to the clipboard.

- When using MultiTerm 8 with the term recognition in 2007 Workbench, terms are displayed with the full path of the termbase and not simply the name. If the path is long, this consumes too much space. Obviously the “friendly” name should be displayed instead.

- Term recognition in Workbench works fine for the most part. But for some unexplainable reason, with one of my termbases the target term isn't displayed in the window and cannot be inserted, even though the source term has been found. I tried reorganizing, re-importing, exporting and recreating the termbase from scratch etc. Still same problem. All other termbases work fine. This one is a complete mystery to me.


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:54
Italian to English
Thanks, Neal Jun 19, 2009

I'm sure SDL will be looking closely at your excellent report.

They've already started sorting out some of the more glaring problems with Studio 2009:

http://www.proz.com/forum/sdl_trados_support/137998-studio_2009:_list_of_issues_experienced.html#1152190

and I'm sure they will continue to improve their ambitious new program.

I'm not yet convinced that installing Studio 2009, which I have already purchased, will improve my productivity but it won't be long (SP1?) before I do decide to try it out on one of my computers.

Thanks again,

Giles
PS I have always used Olifant for TM maintenance and ApSIC XBench for thorough concordance searches in Trados TMs. I sincerely hope that Studio 2009 will make this unnecessary.


 

Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 02:54
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
It explains why there is no demo version Jun 19, 2009

Neal Witkowski wrote:

Warning: Long post. If you are only interested in bug reporting, jump to the end.



Great work Neal, thanks. But the bugs section was long as wellicon_smile.gif

IMO, it is not acceptable for the final version of a software to have so many bugs. Well, it is normal for the beta, even alpha versions but this is the final version! I wonder, if there was a demo version available, who would buy it after so many bugs/crashes?

What about MultiTerm Convert, any bugs?


 

Stefan de Boeck (X)  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 00:54
English to Dutch
+ ...
disable implicit row activation for: Jun 20, 2009

Neal Witkowski wrote:
- Switching back and forth quickly between adjacent segments (to copy a snippet of text, for example) seemed to overwhelm the application and resulted in hangs and even total crashes.


By disabling Options/Editor/Enable implicit row activation this should be dealt with.

(In this case a row is activated (opened for translation; TMs and TBs are searched) by confirming the previous segment, or by Translate/Activate row. So, basically, after you've copied/pasted you can simply continue. [Unconfirmed segments aren't saved to the TM --use a once only TM for backup purposes])


 

Francoise Perigaut
Germany
Local time: 00:54
German to French
+ ...
Problems with MultiTerm upgrade Jun 20, 2009

Thanks a lot for the great report.

Since I had some trouble with MultiTerm 7 (when I add terms in Word, the window to enter the terms doesn't show, I have to enter them "blindly"), I decided after having read your report to finally install today the 2009 upgrade, hoping it would solve the problem with MultiTerm. I haven't even tried Studio 2009 yet.

Unfortunately, I still have the same problem with MultiTerm 8 in Word and loads, loads of new problems I hadn't before, so I would be very careful with recommending to already upgrade MultiTerm. I've lost so many hours today and it's still not working properly, I sure regret this move right now.

It was much hassle to convert/import the termbases, I can't it get to work for my main termbase, I have to work with an old backup and I've lost all my recent entries in the process, I had to reinstall the Word template manually, I find it much more complicated now each time I want to select a new termbase in Word or in Workbench, the fact that the whole path of the termbase is displayed in Workbench also is a real annoyance in my opinion, etc. etc. etc. So far I really don't think it's worth upgrading just for MultiTerm if you want to keep working with Trados 2007 for the time being like me.

My main problem right now is that I can't add any term anymore when I work in TagEditor. This is extremely annoying for me, I use this feature a lot.
Is something wrong with my installation? Or is MultiTerm 8 just not compatible with the MultiTerm toolbar in TagEditor?
If so, it means I'll have to uninstall everything again, what a waste of time...

[Edited at 2009-06-20 21:50 GMT]


 

Claudio Porcellana (X)  Identity Verified
Italy
buggy SDL Jun 20, 2009

amazing!

I put a post here
http://www.proz.com/forum/sdl_trados_support/137333-studio_2009_how_to_recover_translation_after_a_crash-page2.html
and suddendly some SDL "devotee" criticized me saing that I was still in the kindergarten ....
thank you to have confirmed my opinion: is ominous that a commercial release is so buggy

anyway, in SDL partial defence, I must say that I fighted for a whole day against SmemoQ bugs, loosing the challenge by exhaustion, and fighted hardly 2 days to fix (by myself) an iper-buggy A-crash installer that didn't allow me to install SQL Express

So I think that many CATs are in the same (holed) boat ....
;-D

Claudio

[Modificato alle 2009-06-20 23:05 GMT]


 

Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:54
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
I'm afraid you will need to go back... Jun 21, 2009

Françoise Périgaut wrote:

Thanks a lot for the great report.

Since I had some trouble with MultiTerm 7 (when I add terms in Word, the window to enter the terms doesn't show, I have to enter them "blindly"), I decided after having read your report to finally install today the 2009 upgrade, hoping it would solve the problem with MultiTerm. I haven't even tried Studio 2009 yet.

Unfortunately, I still have the same problem with MultiTerm 8 in Word and loads, loads of new problems I hadn't before, so I would be very careful with recommending to already upgrade MultiTerm. I've lost so many hours today and it's still not working properly, I sure regret this move right now.

It was much hassle to convert/import the termbases, I can't it get to work for my main termbase, I have to work with an old backup and I've lost all my recent entries in the process, I had to reinstall the Word template manually, I find it much more complicated now each time I want to select a new termbase in Word or in Workbench, the fact that the whole path of the termbase is displayed in Workbench also is a real annoyance in my opinion, etc. etc. etc. So far I really don't think it's worth upgrading just for MultiTerm if you want to keep working with Trados 2007 for the time being like me.

My main problem right now is that I can't add any term anymore when I work in TagEditor. This is extremely annoying for me, I use this feature a lot.
Is something wrong with my installation? Or is MultiTerm 8 just not compatible with the MultiTerm toolbar in TagEditor?
If so, it means I'll have to uninstall everything again, what a waste of time...


Multiterm 8 seems really not to support adding terms on the fly from Tageditor. I have 3 PCs with Studio and this is so on each of them.
Nevertheless, I would not resign from MT 8 just because I can't add terms on the fly. Mainly because I do not use this feature, I always add terms in Multiterm itself.
As for your problem in Word - did you try to switch applications when you add term? Quite often the mask for adding term is simply hidden in the background and you can bring it to the front with ALT+TAB. After doing so for the first time it starts to appear as it should next time. You can also select the target term first, press CTRL+C to have it in the clipboard, then select the source term and activate the quick entry form. It contains the source term and you are in the source window. Press the tab once and you are in the target window. Press CTRL+V to insert the copied term and you're done.
I also do not quite understand why do you have installation and other issues with MT. In my case I installed it 3 times and use it on 3 machines without any problems. Maybe some other small programs are guilty...

@Claudio: regarding your post in the other thread I really do not have the impression, that kindergarten post was targeting you post. In my opiniony it was the answer to a very different post... Maybe you reread that thread again...


 

Francoise Perigaut
Germany
Local time: 00:54
German to French
+ ...
Compatibility Multiterm 2009/Trados 2007 Jun 21, 2009

Thanks a lot for your help, I've been fighting with MultiTerm for hours again this morning and adding terms on the fly from Trados 2007 is simply not working properly.

The problem with the mask for adding terms not appearing in Word might very well be a problem with my system, I could live with it, I've been working like that for months already. ALT+TAB isn't helping either in my case.
I can still add terms "blindly" like I used to with MultiTerm 2007 - BUT I see now that the terms I added on the fly are not displayed in Workbench properly then! I can see I added the term, I see the German term in Workbench when it appears in another sentence, but Workbench isn't displaying the French term. The entry is displayed normally in MultiTerm, but Workbench just tells me that the term is in my termbase. Totally useless. ^^

This version of MultiTerm simply does not seem to be really compatible with Trados 2007, which is a MAJOR problem imo since we have to uninstall MultiTerm 2007 to install the upgrade.
Adding terms directly in MultiTerm is not a solution for me since it is awfully slow (MultiTerm 2009 is not better in that regard than the older version).

So my advice for everybody:
DO NOT upgrade MultiTerm if you're not going to work with Studio immediately!

Now I hope that I will just have to uninstall Studio 2009 and MultiTerm 2009 and reinstall MultiTerm 2007 and that I won't have to also uninstall Trados 2007 again since we were supposed to install MultiTerm before the suite with the 2007 version? This "upgrade" is a nightmare.

Maybe I should start a thread about that specific problem, I posted about it here since the first post recommended to upgrade MultiTerm even for people who want to take their time with Studio, but it is going slightly off topic now.

[Edited at 2009-06-21 09:47 GMT]


 

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 18:54
Member
Spanish
+ ...
Multiterm 2009 still doesn't recognize certain terms Jun 22, 2009

I haven't had as many problems with Multiterm 2009 compared to Multiterm 2007, but I'm not working with Workbench anymore. What still remains in Multiterm 2009 is that nasty, irreproducible ghost-bug that seems to hate certain terms for no apparent reason. That is regardless of how it was entered, using Multiterm or using Studio. That was an on-going problem with Multiterm 2007 and was never fixed.

About Studio's easy-of-use, I wouldn't recommend switching from Trados to Studio in the middle of a tight deadline. Some of the features can take some time to learn, particularly to those not so familiar with SDLX. But once you've use it for a while, it feels much better than Trados. Even with the bugs!


Jerzy Czopik wrote:

@Claudio: regarding your post in the other thread I really do not have the impression, that kindergarten post was targeting you post. In my opiniony it was the answer to a very different post... Maybe you reread that thread again...


I think that the kindergarten comment was about all those posts by very annoying users that didn't have Trados/Studio and were trying to promote their CAT tool. Mine was anyway.


 


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SDL Trados Studio 2009: A Detailed Report

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