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What can you actually do with the Starter version of Trados?
Thread poster: njweatherdon

njweatherdon
Canada
Member (2011)
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Jul 5, 2014

[first off, I edited "freelance" to "starter" in the title. I'm referring to the starter version geared towards freelancers who want to facilitate compatibility when exchanging files for a translation.]

I'm a bit of a dinosaur and still prefer to not use TMs or MT, and this often makes a lot of sense for the documents I'm working with. Anyways, I got the Freelance version thinking there will be some projects where software could help make things easier. Since they are only small files, I figure the 5000 TM units is no problem.

So now I've translated every translation unit in the file. I want to produce a TM or better yet get Trados to spit out a translated document.

I have no problems with having lots of restrictions on a cheaper version of the license, but I'm surprised that you can't do some basic things (or that they are so difficult for a newbie to figure out).

For example, I would have expected to be able to translate a document and click a button to produce a TM to share with a client.

Or to press a button which would produce a completed translation.

I'm wondering now whether I've just wasted $100+ dollars or whether there is anything of practical use that I can do with the Freelance version.

For example, perhaps someone could tell me specific roles on projects that can be played by someone using the Freelance version.

Can I use the freelance version to do such basic things as do a translation myself, then use the software to share a TM and/or produce a final translation for a client? I'm not looking for the software to do the heavy lifting, I'm just trying to improve compatibility.

[Edited at 2014-07-06 20:30 GMT]


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:55
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I suggest... Jul 6, 2014

... you look at the help information included with the product. These questions are far too wide and beg for you to read a little of the help information provided within the tool itself.

I think you have the Starter Edition (based on your price and the TU restriction) and not the Freelance, but all the versions work the same way.

You really need to take a little time to learn some basics. Perhaps use this thread for some guidance:

http://www.proz.com/forum/sdl_trados_support/271576-do_you_know_of_videos_for_beginners.html

Regards

Paul


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Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
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Read the manuals. Consider it to be an investment (of time and effort) that pays off handsomely Jul 6, 2014

SDL Support wrote:

You really need to take a little time to learn some basics.

Paul


It's very strange that some fellow translators fail to read the manuals (for SDL Trados Studio and MultiTerm) after forking out their hard-earned money for a relevant license. My estimate is that each hour spent reading the manual saves at least 10 hours spent googling for answers to numerous questions, and helps avoid frustration due to the failure to achieve a dramatic increase in productivity. Trust me, SDL Trados Studio (just like memoQ, Wordfast, DejaVu) can be a real asset, if and when you have a clear understanding of its capabilities.

As a general note, I have been using Trados since 2003 or 2004 (I received Trados 6.5 from the then-existing Hamburg, Germany-based Trados GmbH, together with the all-important dongle:)), and I must say that I am a very happy user. SDL Trados Studio 2009 was a real breakthrough in terms of functionality and reliability, and subsequent versions added some valuable features. Right now, I own and use SDL Trados Studio 2014 Professional. According to the exclusive Trados distributor for Russia/CIS, I was the first individual to buy a Professional license.

As a second general note, I believe memoQ may become a de facto standard in the translation industry within the next five years, judging by its acceptance rate and client satisfaction. Personally, I intend to buy either a memoQ Translator Pro or memoQ Project Manager edition within the next few months, to supplement my SDL Trados Studio 2014.


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njweatherdon
Canada
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Sorry, which practical task(s) can a freelancer accomplish with the starter version? Jul 6, 2014

Sorry, I was expecting that purchase of the lite version of the product would include sufficient instruction to do the most basic of tasks.

I know that help manuals never explain everything you can do, but I'm very surprised that you need an additional manual to figure out about the most basic of functions that a freelancer would want to do with a starter version.

I would expect this to be included in the help manual or as pdf.

Don't worry, I don't cry over spilt milk. If it's going to take me all week to figure out how to use one or two basic functions I'll just use something different.

So I have to buy a manual to find out which basic tasks I can do with the software? If so, I'm very unimpressed from the start and definitely do not want to go down this road.

Can I actually do anything useful with the starter version?


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njweatherdon
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Cubase is a good comparison Jul 6, 2014

I'm pretty good with Cubase. It's a recording software.

The help manual that comes with the cheapest license walks you through your first recording. It also describes how to use every function (e.g., here are 10 features that you can tweak up and down by the following location on a menu selection). Of course there are a million tricks of the trade, and books and forums are useful for that.

Now that I know how to use the product, if I need more than 64 tracks, surely I will be involved in some serious projects and won't question shelling out much more money for a professional version. In the meantime, I can do home recording on a license that comes with physical products in the $100+ price range.

But if I have to buy an additional manual just to learn how to do the most basic of tasks ... well, I hate to think what it will be like once getting into more serious projects. I certainly never would have chosen Cubase as my softwarwe of choice in music recording if I had been required to purchase all manner of additional learning materials just to complete a sample project from top to bottom.

Whatever, as an understatement, I guess you could say that I am somewhat disappointed with the quality, and especially lack of comprehensiveness, of any help functions included with the software.


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njweatherdon
Canada
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Where's the "easy switch" if you just want to make your translated text more software compatible? Jul 6, 2014

Let me put it differently.

For collaboration purposes, I would like to be able to receive files and return them to a client. I don't want to have anything to do with any complicated processes or special features in project management.

For that, here are the functions I need (this will probably communicate much ignance of what's happening ni the background in the software).
- a WYSIWYG source and target frame, where I can enter translated text
- a button to create a translated output file that a project manager can use, or ideally a translated output file in the same format as the source text

If I need a manual to do things like that, the software is poorly designed, in my opinion.

Anyways, I did a sample translation, and now I have sdlxliff and sdlproj files. Is this enough? Or do I need to buy a manual to figure out which button to click to get the files that a project manager will want after I do the translation in this software-compatible format?

Sorry, I'm not looking to be a Trados lifer. I just want a simple fix to make my translation work more easily compatible with commonly used software. I'm sure this is annoying if you've spent 1000 hours learning numerous tricks. But I'm looking for the "easy switch".


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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@NJ and @Vladimir Jul 6, 2014

njweatherdon wrote:
I got the Freelance version thinking there will be some projects where software could help make things easier. Since they are only small files, I figure the 5000 TM units is no problem.


As Paul stated, you probably don't have the "Freelance" version but the "Starter" version. The three versions are compared here:

http://www.translationzone.com/products/sdl-trados-studio/

Paul also said that the three versions all work the same way. This means that the videos on Youtube etc that apply to the Freelance version also apply to the Starter version (except if the feature does not exist in the Starter version).

So now I've translated every translation unit in the file. I want to produce a TM or better yet get Trados to spit out a translated document.


I understand your frustration. Trados 2009+ has this concept of situation-specific menus, depending on which "view" you're in. Note how the menus change as you use the various options from the View menu. The problem is that if you're in the view in which you do the translation, then you're not in the right view to create the translated files. Odd, don't you think? Yet, so it is.

If you can see two columns with your translation, you're in the Editor view.

Try getting into the Files view or the Projects view. If you see buttons for those views, click them, or alternatively try using the View menu. Then, right-click the file or project, and select Batch Tasks > Generate Target Translations. You probably would have discovered this yourself, if only you were in on the secret that there is such things as "views" and that you're in the wrong "view".

For example, I would have expected to be able to translate a document and click a button to produce a TM to share with a client.


Me too, but alas, that is not how Trados works. In Trados, you must first get to the appropriate "view", and THEN you get all those options that you were expecting (by right-clicking the file or project in the list).

I'm surprised (a little dismayed, perhaps) that you were told by other posters here to "read the fine manual" when it would seem to me that you had a very simple problem that has an equally simple solution.

==

Vladimir Pochinov wrote:
It's very strange that some fellow translators fail to read the manuals ... after forking out their hard-earned money for a relevant license.


Not really. Manuals are often so comprehensive that they are unuseful to a person who just wants to know the basics. And besides, one does have the expectation that the most basic functions of a product would just "work" without having to be taught special secrets.


[Edited at 2014-07-06 19:10 GMT]


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
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Not so... Jul 6, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

I understand your frustration. Trados 2009+ has this concept of situation-specific menus, depending on which "view" you're in. Note how the menus change as you use the various options from the View menu. The problem is that if you're in the view in which you do the translation, then you're not in the right view to create the translated files. Odd, don't you think? Yet, so it is.



... it just depends how you wish to do it. If you have lots of files in your project then sometimes it pays to do them altogether via a different view. But in the very simple example you quote all you have to do is press Shift+F12, or go to File -> Save Target As. What's so hard, or unusual about that?

Regards

Paul


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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@Paul Jul 6, 2014

SDL Support wrote:
But in the very simple example you quote all you have to do is press Shift+F12, or go to File -> Save Target As.


Hey, you're right. I didn't even see that option, but you're right: it's there, even in the Editor view.


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:55
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Japanese to English
Minimal level of complexity increases with sophistication Jul 6, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:
Vladimir Pochinov wrote:
It's very strange that some fellow translators fail to read the manuals ... after forking out their hard-earned money for a relevant license.

Not really. Manuals are often so comprehensive that they are unuseful to a person who just wants to know the basics. And besides, one does have the expectation that the most basic functions of a product would just "work" without having to be taught special secrets.


I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. I have played with my copy enough to conclude that Trados has a broad and pretty sophisticated feature set. In most software the trade-off for higher sophistication is a higher minimal level of complexity. With something like Notepad one can just open it and start typing, but Notepad is a very simple application and typing is a concept that is familiar to us all.

Conversely, Trados is large and complex. It involves a number of concepts that people new to CAT (like myself) will probably not have encountered before, such as term bases, translation memories, concordances, packages and so on. I don't agree that it's realistic for a beginner to expect to be able to boot Trados and just start working without even referring to the basic tutorials.

As a customer who's just shelled out considerably more than the original poster for a full copy of Trados, I urge SDL not to expend valuable development resources on people who aren't ready to invest some time in learning how to use the software. You cannot make the product equally easy to use for all levels of user. I want a product that optimises the ease of use for those people who use the software intensively on a regular basis. I don't want a product that has a dumbed-down interface that panders to casual users.

TL;DR Trados is complex: sometimes you just have to do the hard yards. Treat it as an investment.


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:55
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Starting out with Studio Jul 6, 2014

njweatherdon wrote:
I would have expected to be able to translate a document and click a button to produce a TM to share with a client.


To share a TM, browse to the location where you saved your TM and attach the file to an email.


Or to press a button which would produce a completed translation.

Solved with shift+F12 as mentioned above.


- a WYSIWYG source and target frame, where I can enter translated text

Click F1 (Help) and enter WYSIWYG in the search box
Hint: Try ctrl+shift+H and also check out "format display settings" in General Options under Alt+F+T Editor



- a button to create a translated output file that a project manager can use, or ideally a translated output file in the same format as the source text

There are lots of choices here, you can send the PM the bilingual sdlxliff file (side by side Studio file), or the translated output file (in original format) or the TM, as explained above.


Cubase is a good comparison

I think Studio and Cubase are very similar. (Except in my experience, Studio was actually easier to learn than Cubase!)

For a musician who understands the basics about recording different instruments on different tracks, muting a specific track if necessary, exporting the Cubase file format into a user-friendly MP3, then Cubase is quite a logical program.

For a translator who understands what a Translation Memory is for, and that files can be exported in bilingual or target formats, then Studio is quite a logical program.

But there is a learning curve for both.


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njweatherdon
Canada
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It's their business decision + thank you Emma Jul 7, 2014

Dan doesn't want "a product that has a dumbed-down interface that panders to casual users."

I agree to a point. Maybe you don't need special buttons for stupid newbies like me. Instead, you can offer clear instructions on 1-2 basic functions of the software. For example, in the "getting started" section, it could say "here are the two most likely mini projects you would want to do, here's step by step how to do them, here are the 3-5 most likely outputs a project manager will ask for, and here's how to do it. THEN, allude to other functions which would be oh so useful and time saving and would make you the PM personal favorite because it's so much easier for them when translator's do those things ... but it's oh so sad that you can't touch those other productivity tools until you fork over another several hundreds euros. Several hundred euros is nothing when you're saving time on profitable projects or building skills using software on projects which you expect to be recurrent. In which case, it is easy to justify spending lots of time and money getting manuals to show you a million tips and tricks to do things better and faster.

In Trados, the introduction files tells you how to change some settings and introduces you to some different elements of the software, but doesn't tell you how to complete even one (1) basic task (which is available using the Starter version).

And so Dan urges them to not spending any money to make it easy for me to "invest time" to do basic things with their products.

Let's be clear here: I don't care how much time you spent learning how to use it. I want it to be easy. I am expressing this as a potential client who knows that nothing is easy (software development takes time), and I'm saying what I want. Without people like me, there are only people like you who will always accept hundreds of hours spent as "investments". Yes, it's an investment. I do not doubt it was worth it. Now I'm saying "please find a way to turn 100s of hours into 10s of hours". That comes by pushing for easier to use products. If I can't do anything with the basic version, why would I upgrade unless I loved headaches? SPSS has far more functions than Trados, for example. If I want to run a basic regression on a dataset, I can do so easily with information provided with the software. Here's the sample dataset ... press these buttons, and poof! a linear regression. Now export it, save it as a png and attach it to a blog post, formal report, or any other use. The manuals, etc., are for more advanced applications.

What's the equivalent of a linear regression in SPSS, or a first 2-track recording in Cubase, but in Trados? Whatever it is, the on-board help files are not enough. And so I ask for better. Because my $100+ become $0 future earning potential because I won't upgrade a product that doesn't do anything useful with the basic version.

ANYWAYS - THANK YOU Emma.

I wasn't asking for abuse on how stupid I am for thinking that I can buy a low-end license for software and perform the 1-2 most basic tasks without having to buy additional training manuals.

I was looking for precisely the answer you gave, which imo should be highlighted in the "getting started" section.

For example, they could say "while there are many ways to make life easy for a project manager, at a bare minimum, having translated your text in the WYSIWYG editor and saved your file, you can send the project manager the bilingual .sdlxliff file, browse to the TM (.sdltm) and attach it to an email, or press shift-F12 to produce a translated version of the source document in its original format. I think all three uses would be acceptable to a PM who needs a translator to do the "grunt work" of translating the file and who is skilled at patching things together as part of a larger project.

I think this will work for me. And now that I see how easy it is to do those 1-2 basic things without having to go through all that training, I can see that the software upgrades and training can easily pay off if I have projects which warrant it.

In the meantime, the "art of communication" rather than "standardized translation" more accurately describes the work I do. So I'm not a very good candidate for being a high value revenue centre for SDL. But there may be a million people like me, and collectively we can be a very large revenue centre. If we can very easily do 1-2 most basic things, we will be happy about the $100+ spent to improve compatibility, and as a result enter into the market of people who MAY spend more money on more expensive licenses but never would have if they could not easily get the starter version to do ... 1-2 basic things.


Things that would make me consider upgrading? If I could create a TM based on previous works for final translations produced for each client, to use as a reference, this would help with standardizing their tone or making them aware of how their (or my) language use was changing over time or from one project to the next. Or a project that warranted use of other features of the software.

OK, I'm complaining, but how much constructive user feedback is on this page?

Rock boats as necessary in working towards well greased wheels ...

[Edited at 2014-07-07 15:59 GMT]


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njweatherdon
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Imo, put it in the getting started file next time. Jul 7, 2014

I don't want to make mountains out of molehills, which it may appear like I am.

But consider the response of Trados support (please don't take this personally, I expect it reflects a generally held perspective within the company).

"You really need to take a little time to learn some basics."

My question was "I spent money on the basic version. Can I actually do anything with it?". And the response was "go learn about it". OK, now imagine that someone it thinking of buying the starter version and reads this post. Trados support, in response to "what's the starter version good for? How do I use the most basic possible function?" says "go buy a book" ... well, this sound to me like asking for trouble to get in on that.

I know I'm small fish. But there are a lot of small fish out there. And if you make us buy manuals to learn how to do the 1-2 most basic things with your software, then these fish will be swimming in other ponds.

Put it in the getting started file next time. Flat out. Or add a file called "Your first Trados translation: Source text to output for the project manager". Then make sure that the examples also show many benefits of an upgraded version, and point to the benefit of buying manuals, training services, etc. but, here's the key, all in a framework that actually tells me how to "get started" instead of just leading me to frustrating dead ends where everyone says "buy the manual, buy the manual" when Shift-F12 to produce output and the knowledge that a PM will be happy enough with a .sdlxliff file was all I needed to know.

E.g.: "Your first Trados translation: Source text to output for the project manager."
1) Find source text to translate (provide url to location with many example between languages, which ideally are constructed to show the benefits of upgraded licenses).
2) Put them into a word file or excel file (for example).
3) Call up the word file to start translating (now you have to specify the TM).
4) Translate it
5) Output options i) ii) and iii) on how to share your work with the PM (TM, sdlxliff or translated output, but replace with best options according to the experience that you have, but the newbie doesn't).
6) If you have version second-lowest or above, you could have used other features which save lots of time in projects like (typical projects). But we just wanted to show you what you can do with the starter version. Now hopefully you will buy the manual to learn about other features and upgrade the license if and when it meets your needs.

Check the numbers. How many people buy the starter version and then disappear from the face of the planet as far as Trados is concerned? How do you find how many people you lost because the on-board help file is insufficient to perform the most basic possible tasks.

Stupid newbies like me, for sure, but at some point so were all owners of the 5000 EUR + versions of the software. I don't want to have to invest as much time as they did to achieve the same results. That's progress.


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
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Spanish to English
No need to buy a manual Jul 7, 2014

njweatherdon wrote:

And if you make us buy manuals to learn how to do the 1-2 most basic things with your software, then these fish will be swimming in other ponds.


There's no need to buy a manual (I don't think anyone has suggested that in this thread, but I'm not sure). Matts Linder (a freelance translator) has written a big fat PDF format manual http://tradosstudiomanual.com/ but no one is making you buy it. He decided that it would be helpful and, of course, he sells it as a business initiative.

But I wouldn't advise it for anyone taking their very first steps with Studio. Complete newbies will find quick answers in the "Getting started" videos and short PDFs in the Welcome view of Studio. Have a look at "Translating a single document". It has everything you need to know.

You might also like to follow the steps I wrote on "Translating your very first file in Studio"
http://signsandsymptomsoftranslation.com/2014/01/01/first_file/

You may think that I wrote my blog post because Studio Help is inadequate, but actually I wrote it because new users often don't take time to read the help that comes with a program and instead ask basic questions on forums or Google their questions. That takes them to my blog post!

It's a method I use for other programs too. If I get stuck on something that is probably obvious to a seasoned user, I just Google my issue and will probably find an answer.

So I'm not criticising your method for solving newbie problems. We've all been there and done the same.


Things that would make me consider upgrading? If I could create a TM based on previous works

You don't need to upgrade to do that. When you open a single document for translation, simply click "add" instead of "create" TM in the Open Document wizard (see 2nd screenshot in my blog post).

HTH,
Emma


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Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
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German to English
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enough to keep clients happy Jul 7, 2014

I use the starter version and I have it solely for the purpose of keeping clients who like Trados happy.
There are other highly efficient CAT tools with the same function range and/or even better functionality for my purposes. I use these other tools for all clients that don't specify Trados (about 95% of my work). As MemoQ also lets me export my TMs in a Trados compatible format, I can zoom them across whenever I need to work in Trados and I can work on Trados hand-off packages there.
So, since I can satisfy the vast majority of my clients in my preferred tool, buying the full version would be somewhat silly and I make do with the starter one.
I also need to work in Trados on a remote server for some clients, but that is their system and I work with 4 different tools for one of these clients depending on the project - I am by no means technophobic.

The only real limitations of the starter version are the size limit for the TM and the fact that you can only create single file projects. You can still work on multi-file projects, if the client sends a hand-off package. You can also only use 1 TM, but you can import various TMs into the one you want to use. This ***can*** be an issue if you want to leverage your larger TM but need to provide a project TM to the client! Everything else really works as normal.

To start:
open document - select document - set source and target language - select or create TM. Here you can also import a TM.

If the client sends a hand-off package, go to file - open - package. You can work on the package.

If you like reviewing in a word file, go to project - batch task - export for external review. Then project - batch task - update from external review to update.

When you are finished, go to file - batch task - finalize - select what you want to add to the TM (gives a few options)
You will have both the target file in the original format and the sdlxliff in the same folder as the source file.

Since the starter version does not have the TM view, I use a little work around to export the TM. Open a new document... get to the TM selection, select TM - export. Then cancel the pretend project.

Hope that helps.


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