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URGENT: Studio v2009 SP3 refuses to export finished translation (Length cannot be less than zero)
Thread poster: Pavel Tsvetkov

Pavel Tsvetkov  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 22:04
Member (2008)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Nov 30, 2011

Dear All,

I have been translating a large file (300 pages) for the last month and today is the deadline for sending the translation back to the client. It is a .docx file, translated in Studio v2009, SP3 under Window XP PRO.

As usual Trados was crashing every hour or so, due to Multiterm problems with Java, and something must have happened with one of the segments, as result of the crash, because when I try exporting the finished translation I get these two error messages:

http://www.picbg.net/u/64315/46799/598506.png

This happened last night for the first time, and as I was not able to fix it, I started from scratch with a second copy of the source file (which I rearranged a little bit), pretranslated it, opened it, translated the rest of the file and tried exporting it again.

No luck.

Not sure what to do at this point. The deadline is today, so help is appreciated.

Kind Regards,
PTs


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Pavel Tsvetkov  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 22:04
Member (2008)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
File Verifies OK Nov 30, 2011

Dear All,

Some further info:

The file verifies OK with no error messages, and nevertheless cannot be exported:

http://www.picbg.net/u/64315/46799/598539.png

Any ideas?

Kind Regards,
Pavel Tsvetkov


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Roy OConnor
Local time: 21:04
Member (2009)
German to English
Iterative approach Nov 30, 2011

Hi, Pavel,

If all else fails you could try the following based on a suggestion by Jerzy some time ago. It is a bit daunting though with 300 pages.

Depending on its complexity, Word sometimes has characters in the source file which interfere when saving to target. Sometimes these characters are visible and sometimes not.

When this occurs, first save the bilingual file, then delete half of it and try saving to target (but without saving bilingually). If that works, then you know your problem segment is in the other half. So load the whole bilingual again and delete a quarter, i.e. half the troublesome half, and try saving to target again, w.o. saving bilingually.

In this way you can find the offending segment fairly rapidly even with a largish file. If you find the offending character, you can omit it in the target section and add it later to the Word file. Alternatively, you may have to delete the offending part in your Word source file and pretranslate, manually adding the rest in the translated Word file.

Roy


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Pavel Tsvetkov  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 22:04
Member (2008)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
. Nov 30, 2011

Dear Roy,

Thank you for your suggestion. I will try that as a last resort, as with a 300 page file and deadline that is today, this seems very time consuming.

I hope there are other options.

Kind Regards,
PTs


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septima
Local time: 21:04
doc vs docx Nov 30, 2011

Although they look similar, the structure of docx and doc are quite different. One thing I've found that works with docx problems is to save down to doc first.

So it might be worth saving your source as doc, loading that into Studio and pretranslating it, then generating your target as doc. If it is a big, complex text, it's also good to generate the target translation from the projects window rather than from the editor.

Just one idea, and good luck,

s


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Atso Puronen
Local time: 22:04
English to Finnish
Subscripts and superscripts Nov 30, 2011

Check your translation for subscripts and superscripts. You can only have them in your translation if they also appear in the source.

This usually happens when you want to display CO2 correctly in your translation.


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Jonathan Hopkins  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:04
German to English
+ ...
The formatting of ST and TT don't have to match. Dec 1, 2011

Hi Atso,

Atso Puronen wrote:

Check your translation for subscripts and superscripts. You can only have them in your translation if they also appear in the source.


You can in fact have different formatting in your target document, e.g. superscripts and subscripts in the target language doc, which don't appear in the source language doc.

Maybe you just have to check your settings:



Cheers,
Jonathan


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Pavel Tsvetkov  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 22:04
Member (2008)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
How it all ended Dec 1, 2011

Dear All,

Just wanted to tell you how it all ended.

I had to turn to Paul Filkin from SDL, who was kind enough to help. And I am very thankful indeed, not only because Paul saved the day, but also because he did it at a time personally inconvenient to him.

What he did is open the file in Studio v2011 and export it from there. It worked.

On the not-so-bright side, he was not able to find out what the problem was, except that it was not a problem with the source file, but rather sth present in the translated segments.

What bothers me personally is that if the reason remains unknown, then it could be repeated at a later stage.

I have spent the last 45 days translating 12-14 hours per day, tried to export the files several times, while working, to make sure that everything is OK, it seemed OK.

On the day of delivery (final export) Trados let me down.

This is not the first time.

Trados is very unpredictable - but maybe it is just me:

1. You never know if your files will be properly prepared (without an error message and a fail) - and especially if you are using anything earlier than Word 2007;
2. You never know at what point Trados will crash during translation (but that will probably happen once every 1-2 hours), because of Java incompatibility issues, or if you prefer at every 50 terms you try to add from inside Studio;
3. And finally, you never know if after translating for 45 days for 12-14 hours per day, you will be able to export and finish your translation.

Kind Regards,
PTs


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icylave  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 03:04
Member (2013)
Chinese to English
+ ...
For Office documents, I suggest you use Trados 2007. Trados 2009 really sucks! Dec 6, 2011

Pavel Tsvetkov wrote:

Dear All,

I have been translating a large file (300 pages) for the last month and today is the deadline for sending the translation back to the client. It is a .docx file, translated in Studio v2009, SP3 under Window XP PRO.

As usual Trados was crashing every hour or so, due to Multiterm problems with Java, and something must have happened with one of the segments, as result of the crash, because when I try exporting the finished translation I get these two error messages:

http://www.picbg.net/u/64315/46799/598506.png

This happened last night for the first time, and as I was not able to fix it, I started from scratch with a second copy of the source file (which I rearranged a little bit), pretranslated it, opened it, translated the rest of the file and tried exporting it again.

No luck.

Not sure what to do at this point. The deadline is today, so help is appreciated.

Kind Regards,
PTs


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Pavel Tsvetkov  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 22:04
Member (2008)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
A bug it is Dec 7, 2011

Paul Filkin from SDL has been able to find the culprit (hats off to Paul). As far as I understand he used the method proposed by Roy O'Connor above. There was a tag discrepancy between a source and target segment, but for some reason the quality checks of Studio v2009 were not able to find it, neither on my side, nor on his.

Paul also found out that Studio v2011 exported the files without a problem (this is what he actually used to provide me with the exported translation) - if we had to rely on v2009 we would have been cooked. v2009 simply cannot cope with this situation and even SDL wizards do not know why at this point. So, it is officially a bug.

Paul further ventured to advise me to buy v2011 to save myself the future trouble.

You can continue reading here:

http://www.proz.com/forum/sdl_trados_support/204928-studio_2009_bugs_that_were_never_fixed.html

and maybe contribute to a similar discussion.


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Pavel Tsvetkov  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 22:04
Member (2008)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Some final thoughts and conclusions Dec 7, 2011

Dear All,

Here are my final thoughts and conclusions on the matter at hand and certain SDL policies:

Here are the facts:

1. v2009 failed to export the file, reporting the problem in a typically obscure way (something that seems to puzzle all customers);

2. v2009 further failed to locate and report the position of the error. Why not report the error along the lines of "Please, check tags in segment No ..."? Then I would have fixed the problem myself. What does "Length cannot be less than zero" mean anyway? The length of what? Why zero?

3. v2009 further failed to supply a solution, to offer a course of action. This leaves the translator in a helpless situation with regards to the project and customer and raises stress levels high.

4. Yes, there are support packages one could buy, but I read less than favorable reviews about those on the forum. There is also something else, a cynical explanation maybe, but in a world where objects and services are sold for money - a realistic one. Déjà vu X (the old version) was a very stable product, far more stable than anything SDL has produced so far. Also Atril never sold support packages. On the other hand we have a software giant like SDL who simply fails, version after version, year after year, to supply software that would simply work and do what it is supposed to do. When errors happen customers get messages like "Length cannot be less than zero". SDL also happens to be selling a variety of support packages to help customers better understand those messages and save projects when failures happen. That may all be a coincidence, of course, but if someone is making money from it, then it may as well be so by design.

I apologize for ending on such a pessimistic note.

Kind Regards,
PTs


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Roy OConnor
Local time: 21:04
Member (2009)
German to English
It is an imperfect world... Dec 7, 2011

...we live in, Pavel, and cryptic error messages are part of it. They perhaps mean more to the developers and support staff than they do to us mere mortals.

On a lighter note, I think software has progressed over the years. There used to be the joke excerpt from some early software, a kind of Russian roulette:

Do not delete all files: Yes/No?

Rgds,
Roy


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septima
Local time: 21:04
agree with Roy Dec 7, 2011

Pavel Tsvetkov wrote:

Paul Filkin from SDL has been able to find the culprit (hats off to Paul).


Sounds like maybe the Paul-i Effect is involved here somewhere.

Seriously, though, if you'd posted the details of the error message, it might have been possible to trace and correct the error in the xliff. I've done that once or twice with success.

But as Roy says, it's an imperfect world, and software always has some bug or another. Seeing the new flood of Studio 2011 errors being reported, maybe it's better to "stick with the devil you know". Or just go for a different tool entirely.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 21:04
English to Hungarian
+ ...
imperfect world Dec 8, 2011

septima wrote:

But as Roy says, it's an imperfect world, and software always has some bug or another.

Indeed. The way I see it, the source files are so complex and unpredictable that there are bound to be hiccups in any CAT. Just think about it: even MS Word itself often fails to display Word documents correctly, or produces erratic behaviour while displaying them (images or other elements disappearing and reappearing, formatting going haywire, sidenotes displayed in every colour of the rainbow etc.) Doc and docx files can be "corrupted" or diverge from the "standard" in a million little ways. Then the translation can do a bunch of somewhat unexpected things like change the segmentation or add, remove or modify tags on purpose or unwittingly.
Therefore, it's no surprise that every now and then Studio fails to export a document, and I can live with that. What's unacceptable is that Studio usually also fails to produce a meaningful error report and it always fails to propose a solution. To seasoned Trados users, the precautions and workarounds are clear (regulary test if your file exports correctly, be careful with split/merged segments and superscript, and if you get an error, resave the source file in another format such as doc/rt/docx and retranslate with the TM, possibly in another version of Trados). Many of us know these techniques, but many don't. These things should be described in the help files and linked in the popup window that notifies the user about the error. As it is, SDL abandons the user who got into trouble due to a known bug or limitation of the software, usually hours or minutes before the deadline. There is no excuse for that.


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Pavel Tsvetkov  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 22:04
Member (2008)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
TOPIC STARTER
Sorry, guys... Dec 9, 2011

I think you have made a valid point, but if a software product which costs hundreds/thousands of euro cannot securely handle a format as common as Word, I mean... come on!

If need be, SDL should offer a Word add-on, a separate tool or a Studio function to "clean", "rectify", etc. Word documents, which can then me handled properly by Trados, but to complain that Word users do not know what they are doing and this is none of SDL's concern is not to understand the essence of the client-translator relationship, or not to care about it, or both.

The truth of it is that some software titles (and I must own about 70 by now, as this is my hobby, I have bought 2 new ones today) are well made and (almost) never break down, and some - like Trados - are full of bugs and everything seems to get in their way.

The tragedy is that I use Trados to make money, which I then spend on more reliable software titles to play with


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