To what degree is TMX-export and TMX-import to/from other CAT-tools compatible with SDL Trados-TMs?
Thread poster: Fredrik Pettersson

Fredrik Pettersson  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Member (2009)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Oct 21, 2012

To what degree is TMX-export and TMX-import to/from other CAT-tools compatible with SDL Trados-TMs?

For example, how well will it work to use a Trados-TM (from Translator's Workbench 2007 or from SDL Trados Studio 2011) in OmegaT? Will all the translation units get imported to the translation memory in OmegaT? Without distortions or missing translation units? And when finished translating in OmegaT, will everything get exported to TMX and nothing missing when importing to the Trados-TM again?

Will it work better with some files than with others?


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Jens Kaestel  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 05:03
Member (2006)
English to Danish
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Translation units should be transferred, but some field data may not Oct 21, 2012

My experience is limited and only relates to transfer of TMX data between Trados Studio 2011 and MemoQ 5, where I found the translation units / segments are being transferred but fields to classify the text (custom fields in Trados and apparently "locked" fields in MemoQ) don't get transferred.
At the moment I'm working at a way to edit the TMX files so the field details can be transferred.
As I understand it, the TMX standard only specifies how to handle the TU's and basic fields, but many of the individual CAT-software vendors then add their own ideas and customized data, which are not compatible with the standard, so it's a bit of a gamble whether the details are interchangeable or not; or some data may interchange with some CAT-tools and not others.


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:03
English to Dutch
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And here was me thinking that TMX was supposed to be an industry standard... Oct 21, 2012

Jens Kaestel wrote:
...
As I understand it, the TMX standard only specifies how to handle the TU's and basic fields, but many of the individual CAT-software vendors then add their own ideas and customized data, which are not compatible with the standard, so it's a bit of a gamble whether the details are interchangeable or not; or some data may interchange with some CAT-tools and not others.


Which seems to indicate that CAT-tool producers aren't really interested in a more or less universal standard for translation memories.

I can't comment on the comparison involving Trados, but out of curiosity I once took a completed translation from Across and ran the .tmx file through Wordfast Anywhere. It required a lot of work to get the same translation back from WFA. The other way around was the same. It makes me wonder why some agencies demand a TM in the format, because the more I think about it, the more it feels like jumping through another unnecessary hoop. They might as well run the source and target texts through the aligner of their CAT-tool, so that they have a consistent TM in the format they want. Unless, of course, a PM doesn't know how the aligner function in their own CAT-tool works ...


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Steven Segaert  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 20:03
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
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Segmentation Oct 22, 2012

Another aspect of TM compatibility is segmentation. A CAT tool takes a text and breaks it up in pieces. Usually these pieces are sentences, but not always, and every tool handles this differently.

If you then start translating, you create a TM. This TM basically saves the concordance between a source piece and a target piece.

If you stay in the same CAT tool, this all works fine. New texts will get segmented in the same way as before, and there will be matches between what is in your Translation Memory and the newly segmented text.

But if you move TM's between CAT tools, you need to remember that the segmentation is not necessarily the same. What is more, as the rules which Trados uses for segmentation are (as I understand it) not published, other companies can't create compatibility at that level.

So, where the tmx format handles the link between source and target just fine (and, logically, does not transfer software-specific "specials" that are not in the standard), it doesn't solve the original segmentation question.

There seem to be two solutions to that. Either all texts need to get segmented in Trados first (which is not difficult to do), or - and I personally prefer that option wherever possible - you create a project TM based on aligned reference documents.

I personally prefer that option for two reasons. The most important one is that, for most projects, TM's are rather useless (as opposed to term bases). Second, I work with MemoQ. MemoQ has an option where paired documents can be attached to a project and can be used for concordance, without having to align them first. This is a great solution for projects where TM's do matter, and for projects where you're not sure if they will.


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 01:03
English to Indonesian
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Segmentation not a big deal Oct 22, 2012

Steven Segaert wrote:
Another aspect of TM compatibility is segmentation. A CAT tool takes a text and breaks it up in pieces. Usually these pieces are sentences, but not always, and every tool handles this differently.

To me, that problem is minor, Steven, because the two CAT tools I used the last 15 years or so - DejaVu and CafeTran also search the TM for subsegment matches. Trados memories never gave me problems. Segmentation does play a role in TTX files, however.
Cheers,

Hans


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