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Trados 2011: TMs using different language variants
Thread poster: David Willett

David Willett
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:57
German to English
Jan 15, 2013

Hi,

After updating to Trados 2011, I'd been looking forward to making use of its ability to access and update multiple TMs during translation. However, I seem to have a problem with using TMs with different language variants.

I translate German into either UK or US English, typically depending on the customer. Ideally, I'd like to have language variant specific TMs (either UK or US English) for each customer together with a master generic TM containing all of my translation units, both UK and US English. During translation, matches would be sought first in the customer specific TM and then in the master TM. Both TMs would then be updated.

However, Trados 2011 does not seem to permit this, apparently refusing to allow language variant independent TMs. Please could somebody tell me if and how this can be done. Surely it is not an unusual expectation!

Apologies if I have missed something obvious or this question has been asked before.

Thanks,
David


[Edited at 2013-01-15 10:11 GMT]


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
English
Can't be done. Jan 16, 2013

Hi,

Studio uses the language variants as the Translation Memory requires a fully defined language direction, which means that both the source and target languages are fully qualified, i.e. include a region code (aka "sublanguage"). The region codes are critical because they control auto-localization - date, time, and number patterns, and sometimes even month names or other information differ by region, which is why the region code is so important.

There is a good argument for being able to use other variants as lookup TMs only, but this would still require you to create a TM for each flavour you work with in order to be able to update as you go. It wouldn't be too bad though as you can use multiple TMs and you'd just check the update box for the one that matched your flavour at the time, and this is something I hope we will see in a future update.

Regards

Paul


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David Willett
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:57
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Really? Jan 16, 2013

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your reply.

I must say I'm pretty disappointed that Studio 2011 seems to offer no easy way of leveraging earlier translations to a different variant of the same language. Of course I am aware that there are important differences between US and UK English and that translation units need to be identified as either one or the other. Nevertheless, US English and UK English are not terribly different, and I would find it very useful to be able to refer to, for example, UK English translations when translating into US English.

I shall certainly be checking whether any other translation memory software is able to offer this functionality!

Regards,
David


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
English
Leveraging earlier translations... Jan 16, 2013

... can still be done. You just have to tackle it another way. Create a new TM in the flavour you want and import a TMX from the one you have. Bit of a workaround, but once you have TMs for the flavours you need you can use the SDLXLIFF from every translation to quickly update the other TMs so they stay in synch.

Regards

Paul


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Grzegorz Gryc  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:57
French to Polish
+ ...
memoQ or DVX... Jan 16, 2013

David Willett wrote:

I must say I'm pretty disappointed that Studio 2011 seems to offer no easy way of leveraging earlier translations to a different variant of the same language. Of course I am aware that there are important differences between US and UK English and that translation units need to be identified as either one or the other. Nevertheless, US English and UK English are not terribly different, and I would find it very useful to be able to refer to, for example, UK English translations when translating into US English.

I shall certainly be checking whether any other translation memory software is able to offer this functionality!


Just take a look on memoQ or DVX...

Cheers
GG


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 07:57
English to Hungarian
+ ...
If Trados is screwing with you, screw it over Jan 16, 2013

Unless you ship translations as sdlxliff or TMX* and your client insists on the "correct" language codes, there is no real reason to play along with SDL's lunacy. Just label all your TMs and input files as EN-US (or EN-GB, doesn't matter which) and forget about the whole issue. The only major drawback I can see is lousy spell check if the document is the wrong language variant. If you work with MS Office formats, you can do the spell check in Office as a workaround.

* It's very easy to change the language codes in TMX files, so you only really have a problem if you need to ship sdlxliff. And actually, it's not that hard to switch language codes in sdlxliff, either.


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Grzegorz Gryc  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:57
French to Polish
+ ...
SQLiteBrowser Jan 16, 2013

FarkasAndras wrote:

(...) there is no real reason to play along with SDL's lunacy. (...)


Well said

* It's very easy to change the language codes in TMX files, so you only really have a problem if you need to ship sdlxliff. And actually, it's not that hard to switch language codes in sdlxliff, either.


You can also open the translation memory in a a tool like SQLiteBrowser or similar (e.g. the FireFox SQLite plugin) and change the language codes directly in the SDLTM file (translation_memory table).
It's far faster than than the TMX import/export/edition hassle.

Of course, make a backup before you proceed...

Cheers
GG

[Edited at 2013-01-16 22:58 GMT]


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
English
Always nice to see the ... Jan 17, 2013

... measured views of some in this forum

I do agree that it makes complete sense to be able to use all language variants as look up TMs in a TM cascade, but I disagree that the way Studio works is lunacy because for many users it automates a lot of work and saves the need for creating customised patterns to suit the requirements for localising things like dates, times or numeric expressions. This is particularly valuable when you consider this capability is consistent across every user of Studio.

Changing the language codes - either through TMX export/import or by hacking the data in the database - may impact TM leverage as these expressions may no longer be tokenized correctly, which impacts auto-substitution.

A prerequisite for auto-substitution to work is that, for example, a date expression is recognized in the lookup (document source) segment, in the memory (TU) source segment, and in the memory TU target segment. If the date pattern does not correspond to the language's set of known date patterns (or the "date values" differ between the TU segments), this "leverage chain" is broken, and auto-substitution won't work.

Just be aware of this potential leverage loss if you change language codes, and balance it against the benefits.

Before you say it I also think it would be useful to be able to create your own custom patterns for this sort of thing as this would of course save the need to use Search and replace with regex in Studio, or things like the Terminjector application from the OpenExchange, and I believe we will implement this possibility in a future release.

Regards

Paul


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 13:57
English to Indonesian
+ ...
In Trados only Jan 17, 2013

SDL Support wrote:
Changing the language codes - either through TMX export/import or by hacking the data in the database - may impact TM leverage as these expressions may no longer be tokenized correctly, which impacts auto-substitution.

In Trados only, I suppose. Not in other CAT tools, CafeTran in my case. I can even set TM priorities (high-medium-low), so in David's case, when he translates into AE, he can set the TM for AE to "high", and the BE TM to "low" or "medium".

Cheers,

Hans

[Edited at 2013-01-17 03:22 GMT]


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 07:57
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Editing sdlxliff Jan 17, 2013

Grzegorz Gryc wrote:

You can also open the translation memory in a a tool like SQLiteBrowser or similar (e.g. the FireFox SQLite plugin) and change the language codes directly in the SDLTM file (translation_memory table).
It's far faster than than the TMX import/export/edition hassle.

Of course, make a backup before you proceed...

Cheers
GG


I've never mucked around with sdlxliff, it's nice to know it's doable.


To Paul: I'm sorry, but not allowing EN-GB TMs in an EN-US project is lunacy. The fact that the date format is different is neither here nor there. Freelance translators are not frightened by the possibility that dates might not be autolocalized correctly if they choose the "wrong" language variant. They fully realize that they may, and they are fully equipped to handle it. What freelance translators want from their tools is not rigid rules designed to try and protect them from themselves, but convenience and flexibility.
You simply cannot argue that Studio's behaviour (you can't use your TMs unless you export them to TMX and 'mislabel' them as the other language variant) is superior to allowing the use of the TMs and throwing up a warning window that says "This TM is labeled as EN-US while the project is labeled as EN-GB. This may affect features X and Y. Proceed with caution."

In actual fact, I think it would be advisable to allow the use of any TM in any project, after displaying some very sternly worded warning windows. You never know which two African languages with 50,000 speakers each are actually one and the same, and not every user is savvy enough to find the workarounds.

[Edited at 2013-01-17 07:30 GMT]


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David Willett
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:57
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your replies Jan 17, 2013

Thanks for all the replies and comments.

I'd already been using the TMX import/export workaround described by Paul to make use of an AE TM for a BE translation, but was hoping there might be a cleaner way to solve the problem. As Paul points out, this technique, like the file hacking methods mentioned by FarkasAndras and Grzegorz Gryc, leaves you with segments that are incorrectly labelled as AE or BE and which may thus be incorrectly handled by substitution algorithms as well as causing other problems.

The ideal solution, as I see it, would be to have a multi-variant TM able to store, in my case, both AE and BE translations of a German segment. When using this TM to carry out, for example, a translation into AE , the software would seek both AE and BE matches, but would assign a penalty to the BE matches. Substitutions could perhaps be disabled for matches from the "incorrect" variant. It may be that other TM software already works this way - I'll have to take another look at memoQ and DVX (thanks GG) and CafeTran (thanks Hans).

Finally, as a former software developer myself, I realise that implementation difficulties or possible inconsistencies are often not obviously apparent to outside observers and that SDL must have already put a lot of thought into their software. Nevertheless, the ability to easily make use of translations into other variants of a language is, for me and probably others, a critical requirement and, I think, deserves more consideration from SDL.


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
English
Of course... Jan 17, 2013

Meta Arkadia wrote:

In Trados only, I suppose.

...



... other tools (as far as I know) don't have the advantage of the ready made information in Windows based on the National Language Support API (NLS) for your operating system. But as I said, and as others have mentioned this does have its downside, so adding two capabilities would be great for me:

  1. The ability to use any flavour in a TM cascade. You could create templates with all your TMs and only the appropriate one would be updated
  2. The ability to create custom patterns for anything not covered by the NLS.

Both things are on the Studio roadmap for a future release.

Regards

Paul


[Edited at 2013-01-17 09:40 GMT]


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:57
French to English
+ ...
Agree wholeheartedly Jan 17, 2013

FarkasAndras wrote:

To Paul: I'm sorry, but not allowing EN-GB TMs in an EN-US project is lunacy. The fact that the date format is different is neither here nor there. Freelance translators are not frightened by the possibility that dates might not be autolocalized correctly if they choose the "wrong" language variant. They fully realize that they may, and they are fully equipped to handle it. What freelance translators want from their tools is not rigid rules designed to try and protect them from themselves, but convenience and flexibility.
You simply cannot argue that Studio's behaviour (you can't use your TMs unless you export them to TMX and 'mislabel' them as the other language variant) is superior to allowing the use of the TMs and throwing up a warning window that says "This TM is labeled as EN-US while the project is labeled as EN-GB. This may affect features X and Y. Proceed with caution."

In actual fact, I think it would be advisable to allow the use of any TM in any project, after displaying some very sternly worded warning windows. You never know which two African languages with 50,000 speakers each are actually one and the same, and not every user is savvy enough to find the workarounds.

[Edited at 2013-01-17 07:30 GMT]


I have to say I agree entirely. I have only been using Trados for a few years for certain clients, as I have always used Wordfast before, so I have built up a great many TMs in Wordfast. These are language-specific but I can use them for other language variants within Wordfast as long as I'm aware that I need to change the language and check for date formats etc at the end - not a problem.

Recently, I've been asked to do a big translation in Trados Studio 2009 but in a field in which I have a number of very extensive TMs in Wordfast, some in French > US English, some in French > UK English. The new job was from Belgian French to UK English and came with a small TM from the client in those languages, so converting my existing TMs to tmx and changing all the language codes, plus doing the same with the glossaries was a complete pain - and would have been equally as painful had I had the TMs and termbases in Trados in the first place because of the language variants. I frequently have to switch from UK English to US English for jobs from the same multinational client, likewise between German, Swiss German and Austrian German, or Belgian, Canadian and French French. In my very specialist field, the terminology tends to be the same whether it's being used by an American or an English engineer and if it's not, I'm probably going to be able to pick that up for myself!

It would in my view be immensely useful to be able to overlook these variants and use different sub-sets within the same English TM set - with warnings that you can opt in or out of if that's possible. It would certainly make my life a lot easier!


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:57
English
@Farkas and @Claire Jan 17, 2013

Agree wholeheartedly... me too.

SDL Support wrote:

.... adding two capabilities would be great for me:

  1. The ability to use any flavour in a TM cascade. You could create templates with all your TMs and only the appropriate one would be updated
  2. The ability to create custom patterns for anything not covered by the NLS.

Both things are on the Studio roadmap for a future release.

Regards

Paul


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Grzegorz Gryc  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:57
French to Polish
+ ...
Indeed, Multiterm is a good example :) Jan 17, 2013

SDL Support wrote:

Meta Arkadia wrote:

In Trados only, I suppose.


... other tools (as far as I know) don't have the advantage of the ready made information in Windows based on the National Language Support API (NLS) for your operating system.


Well, you're right, e.g. Multiterm is not compatible

BTW
If I understand you well, DVX also works in this way i.e. inheritates the language list and some related features directly from Windows.

Cheers
GG


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