Localization, Localisation

Practical and concise answers to common questions in G11N, I18N and L10N

Posts Tagged ‘PDF’

SDL TMS 2007 Service Pack 4: Love and Hate

Posted by Nick Peris on June 1, 2010

SDL TMS 2007 - Localisation workflow

I always find it challenging to get a fair idea of what Enterprise tools can do before making a purchase decision. There is so much involved in setting them up that even if a trial version is available, the efforts required to perform meaningful testing are prohibitive.

Many such applications do not come ready out-of-the-box and require extensive customisation before they can be tailored to fit a specific business model.

This is why many purchase decisions are executive decisions, based on ROI reports and presentations showing what the software does. A demo might be setup for you on a dedicated server by the sales person, and you’ll be left thinking “hum…surely it’s not that simple”. This is also why 10 times out of 10, these pieces of software come with a Support package which lets you install regular and much needed updates and bug fixes.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

If you have the opportunity, go knock on a few door and try to find a company nearby which uses the software in a production environment. Contact them, ask to visit, get an independent demo. From my experience (not based on TMS that time) most people will be more than happy to tell you how much effort it took to setup, how many features still don’t work, but also how much their productivity has really increased and perhaps even how many of their employees have done a thesis on the subject! Bottom line: get real-life advice!

SDL TMS, or Translation Management System, is one such behemoth application. Trying to find independent information about TMS on the web is a challenge. In fact, even finding official information can prove frustrating. As for Special Interest Groups… those I found were for customers-only. It seems it’s buy first, we’ll talk later.

So what’s the big deal exactly? Well I’ve been working with TMS 2007 for about a year now and I have a few things to report: some good, some not so good.

What it does well

Let’s start with positive thoughts.

TMS is a workflow tool, designed to connect a customer directly to it localisation vendors and all their armies of sub vendors. It handles big volumes and short turnarounds really well, and is reasonably good at supporting your Translation Memory and Terminology Management needs. It also offers the reporting facilities necessary for all members of your localisation ecosystem to invoice each other, and you.

TMS automates part of the role of the middle men, and is ideal for localisation consumers with a constant stream of translation, especially if they come in the shape of numerous small projects.

Multiple alternative workflows can be set up, depending on vendor selection, TMs to leverage against, TMs to update, need for Linguistic Review etc. Once the correct workflow is selected at the job creation stage, you can be sure it will go through all the steps required. There is little or no human error possible, at least not in scheduling and assigning tasks to the right participant.

TM updates are handled automatically, literally seconds after the last human input in the workflow.

Where it lacks

So are all the vendors really gathering orderly around the assembly line and localising thereafter like a happy family?

Not exactly. There are a few snags.

My main grief is around TM Maintenance or the lack of it. Because TMS automatically updates the Translation Memories at whatever stage of your workflow you told it to, manual editing of the TMs has been neglected. A user can perform a Concordance search, but it is impossible to edit the Translation Units found. One cannot use TMS to fix inherited inconsistencies or any error found in legacy TUs.

This makes implementing Global changes a very untidy task: one needs to connect to the TM Server (hosted by SDL in most cases) using SDLX 2007 Professional. This, to me is total non-sense and here is why:

  1. increasingly, the business model in Localisation is outsourcing.
  2. once localisation is outsourced to agencies, these subcontract Single Language Vendors, who themselves might only be sub-contracting to freelancers.
  3. less and less Localisation consumers employ in-house linguists.
  4. their remaining in-country staff is Sales and Marketing, and has much more pressing matters to attend than editing TMs.

Now which version are these freelancers more likely to have? SDLX 2007 Professional (€2,995) or SDLX 2007 Freelance (€760)? I think you probably guessed it. SDL’s licensing model prevents linguists from maintaining TMs in TMS and seemingly forces corporations which bought TMS to support their outsourcing setup, to fix TMs in-house!

There are some workarounds to this, but for a piece of software of this caliber, I think this is a pretty shocking limitation.

The integration with MultiTerm has similar issues: only some of the functionality are available through TMS, the rest including editing Term entries has to be done using MultiTerm Online or Desktop.

Performance issues also tend to drive a lot of linguists offline! Depending on their setup, a lot of them find it more efficient to download jobs, translate offline in SDLX and upload the finished work back into TMS. While there is technically no difference in the end result, this is a disappointing interruption of the workflow.

Service Pack 4: An End to the Suffering?

Squeezing under the gate at the last second, like Bruce Willis in a classic movie, TMS 2007 Service Pack 4 sneaks in before the long-awaited SDL TMS 2010 and comes to the rescue.

With TMS 2010 now possibly slipping into 2011, it is a welcomed addition particularly due to the improvements it brings. Here are the most significant end-user facing features:

Browser support: IE 8 support added (IE 6 removed in future)

TM import: ITD, zipped ITDs, MDB (SDLX TMs). This is a partial solution to the lack of TM Maintenance feature I’ve talked about in this article.

Continued lack of support for TMX is attributed to the fact that this open-source format has too many proprietary specifications.

Reporting formats added: CSV, Excel 2007, PDF, RTF, Word 2007.

Branding and Fonts are customisable (by Professional Services).

TMS 2010 is expected to have end-user customisable reports.

Segment level QA Model for Reviewer grading

QA Models

This all-new feature in SP4 is crucial if your workflow includes Linguistic Review. All changes made by the Reviewers are now recorded, and the Reviewers can tag them using customisable Error Rating and Categories.

  1. Error Ratings and Categories: support for LISA model, SAE J2450, TMS classic out-of-the-box.
  2. User-specific models can be created. Number of points deducted can also be specified in the QA Model.
  3. Records can be retained at segment (for feedback to translators) or project level
  4. Scoring methods: absolute or percentage
  5. To apply a QA Model: add it to a Configuration (i.e workflow), and it will be available to Reviewers working on jobs passed through this config.
  6. Reviewer usage: click Star at segment level to open the QA model window and enter Category and Rating.Pass/Fail status does not prevent reviewer from submitting or rejecting a job.

Posted in News, SDL TMS, Translation Management Systems | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

SDL @ Guinness: Trados Studio 2009 Q&A

Posted by Nick Peris on May 15, 2009

SDL Trados Studio 2009

The SDL Roadshow was in Dublin yesterday.

The “cream” of Ireland’s Localisation community was treated to a big day of product demos and slideshows at the home of the black stuff: the Guinness Storehouse.

As I made my way through Guinness town under a refreshing morning drizzle, I wondered for a minute how the pungent aromas of the early brewing activity would agree with the power breakfast I had had not so long ago.

This was soon to be forgotten however, thanks to a flying start to the proceedings provided by SDL’s Internal Training Manager, Tracey Byrne. Her performance was followed by a few other SDL presentations, as well as a case study on TMS by LSP partner VistaTEC. By the time we reached the Gravity Bar (it must have been 17:59) for some last minute networking opportunities, I think it’s safe to say we were all satisfied by a great event and a fine venue.

There was a lot of information provided throughout the course of the day and I will be releasing separate articles on SDL Passolo 2009 and SDL MultiTerm 2009 soon. What follows below is more directly related to SDL Trados Studio 2009, and what is new or adds to my Preview article. I’m presenting it in a Q&A structure which I hope will be practical to anyone looking for information on specific features, and an easy read for anyone wishing to go through it all. Sláinte!

What is the release date for SDL Trados Suite 2009?

The development cycle has reached Release Candidate stage and SDL are working towards an end of June release target.

Have the development team taken user feedback into account?

Yes, 80 ideas for Trados and 16 for MultiTerm are a reflection of user suggestions on ideas.sdltrados.com

Are TagEditor and Workbench gone?

Yes, Trados Studio combines aspects of SDLX and Trados into a fully integrated User Interface. Even MultiTerm, which still installs separately even though it is bundled with Trados Studio, now offers full functionality from within the Studio UI. SDLX, Workbench and TagEditor simply do not exist anymore.

What are the system requirements?

Here’s what SDL Marketing are saying on the subject of System Requirements:

“SDL Trados Studio supports Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista. As minimum requirements, we recommend a Pentium IV-based computer with 1 GB RAM and a screen resolution of 1280×1024. For optimum performance, we recommend 2 GB RAM and a more recent Pentium or compatible processor with a higher screen resolution.”

Please note that this is still subject to change until closer to the launch in June.

What is RevleX™?

It is a new XML-based TM engine. SDL Trados Studio 2009 uses new file formats for bilingual files (.sdlxliff), translation memories (.sdltm) and termbases (.sdltb). It brings together a slew of new features such as Context Matches, AutoPropagation, AutoSuggest™, Multiple TM support etc.

How does AutoSuggest work?

AutoSuggest is an inline predictive text-like feature which provides suggestion from TM, Termbase or dictionaries as you type. Suggestions appear in a context menu, with an icon clearly indicating whether they come from the TM or Termbase etc.The user can customize the maximum number of entries offered. Suggestions start appearing from the first letter typed and keep updating until you select one or finish typing the word.

Can you turn AutoSuggest off?

I’ve also heard this question about Alchemy Catalyst 8.0‘s ezType™. Perhaps from the same person?. The answer is Yes (in both cases), but developers have spent brain cells trying to make these features work in a non-intrusive yet efficient manner so you should probably give it a fair go!

Are Multi-lingual XML files supported?

Bilingual xliff will be supported but there seems to be a question mark on multi-lingual, and SDL said they’d follow-up with me once it’s clarified.

What are the improvements to format filters?

Main progress has been with PDF, XML, FrameMaker and inDesign.

How does the Upgrade TM functionality work?

Trados Studio will convert your old TM into the new format. In the current implementation this requires for the version used to create these TMs to also be present on the same machine. The alternative is to extract the TM on the machine that has the old version and import the content back into a Trados 2009 TM. I was also told that this may yet change and they may be able to include the components of the old version required for TM conversion in Studio 2009. Watch this space!

How is navigating big files in Trados Studio ‘s Editor improved compared to TagEditor or even Trados-aided Word?

The left panel in UI lists the headers and lets you click them to jump to a particular area in the document.

How does the Editor’s Real-Time preview work?

You need to manually generate the preview once. It uses a built-in stylesheet to simulate the end-result. This does not work on DTP file formats.

Can I lock segments in the Editor?

Yes. Context Matches (CM) are locked by default, but the PM can also manually lock other segments.

How is XLIFF supported?

Standard XLIFF are directly supported. The new default format for Trados bilingual files is .sdlxliff which is a proprietary format developed from XLIFF with additional functionality relating to RevleX™

How does QuickPlace work?

To apply formatting, highlight the word or group of words in the target segment, press CTRL + comma. Choose the required formatting from the inline dropdown list. If there is more than one to apply in a segment, QuickPlace will try to guess which is most likely required and offer it at the top of the list. Alternatively you can also hold CTRL, highlight the formatted text in the source segment, and then highlight the text to be formatted in the target segment. Similar applies to Placeables such as figures, measurements etc.

Is there Real-Time verification in the Editor?

Yes. If an error is detected, an icon will appear in the notification area between the source and target segments. The error message can be viewed in the tooltip of this icon or in a dedicated message panel. In case of False positive, simply remove the warning.

Does Trados Studio 2009 support TTX files?

Yes for editing, no for creating.

Is cross-files AutoPropagate available?

No, not in the first release. But there is a workaround: Merge all project files into one.  Cross-file repetitions are also taken into account when creating a package if the “Recompute” option is selected.

Does the Merge feature support all file types?

Yes files of different formats can be merged together. Once merged they can still be viewed and worked on relatively independently.

What is new with Term recognition?

The Editor allows direct access to full MultiTerm functionality. Terms can be cross-reference by ID so if a term is edited, any other term previously linking to it for definition remains linked.

What is the workflow in a scenario where not all participant to a project have upgraded to Trados Studio 2009?

If the Project Manager has upgraded the translators, reviewers etc will have to upgrade in order to use the TMs, to open the bilingual files or use the Termbase. The Project Manager will be able to work with Trados 2007 files (creates a .ttx.sdlxliff) but not create them.

The only alternative is to provide TMX translation memories and not to pre-translate the deliverables.

Can the PM upload project packages through FTP using the Project panel in Trados Studio?

No. Project packages can only be email through Outlook. This is however optional, and FTP can always be done manually once Trados Studio has created said packages.

Can you import customer details?

Yes but only from Outlook.

Can multiple TMs be used in a project?

Yes multiple TMs and Termbases are supported. A priority order between TMs can be set and there is also an option to “Always use the best match”.

What’s new with fuzzy matches?

The fuzzy band values and their number are now fully customizable.

What reference material can be included into a package?

Package can contain global TM settings, Termbases, AutoSuggest dictionaries etc.

Does Perfect Match still exist?

No, it is replaced with Context Match (CM) but may be added back in a later release.

What does Create Package do?

  • creates a folder structure
  • creates a package per target language if the option is selected
  • lets the user define tasks for individual packages
  • recomputes wordcount or analysis for cross-file repetitions.

Are files locked for updates while packages are out for translation?

No. It would be a good suggestion for ideas.sdltrados.com, to mirror a functionality in SDL Passolo 2009.

What is the LSP partner program?

52 Language Service Providers have entered various levels of partnership with SDL. The objective is to create value for translation buyers, help LSP’s become experts at translation technology, and promote training and support.

When will training for Trados Studio 2009 be available?

Training for SDL Passolo 2009 is available now. Courses (including upgrade courses) for Trados Studio 2009 will be available at launch. There will be a split between a Translators and a PM path. There will also be a separate SDL MultiTerm 2009 course.

When will certification exams for Trados Studio 2009 be available?

End of September 2009.

Which training and certification path will be on offer?

For Translators:

  • Getting Started
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • MultiTerm

For Project Managers:

  • SDL Trados Studio 2009 for Project Managers
  • SDL MultiTerm 2009 for Project Managers

Posted in SDL Trados, SDL Trados Studio 2009 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

SDL Trados Studio 2009: Preview

Posted by Nick Peris on April 22, 2009

Start ViewHave you, like me, been slow to adopt Synergy? Do you maybe find it a little cumbersome or incomplete? Would you rather just open Workbench and TagEditor and get on with it? Or perhaps do you (or your clients) still find it easier to use Trados in conjunction with Microsoft Words?

Well, this may be about to change!

Earlier today, SDL conducted one of their very informative Webex meetings to announce a new version of Trados: SDL Trados Studio 2009. The release is due in June 2009, although “Trados 2009″ is still in the last stages of development, so some of the features might yet change slightly.

The 1-hour short webinar comprised of 2 parts: a features highlight and a rapid but enlightening desktop-sharing software demo. Here is what I thought was worth bringing up to your attention: 
 

Feature highlights

Integration

This is actually quiet attractive and the reason why I brought up Synergy above. SDL seem to have come up with a truly integrated environment for editing, reviewing, terminology management, project management and all the aspects of Trados related work. No need to open a TM in Workbench, load a TermBase, open a TTX in TagEditor, a document in Word, or turn the coffee machine on.

Productivity

  • New TM engine: the xml-based RevleX™. Among other things, it revives contextual match by liberating it from comparing old and new TTX files. Context Match works live, within any new document, and between files within a project.
  • AutoPropagation™ immediately translates repeated strings within a document once you have translated the first occurrence.
  • AutoPropagate

  • Searches can easily be run on both source and target segments.
  • Multiple TMs lookup is available.
  • AutoSuggest™: predictive text which leverages phrases rather than only segments from your TM as you type.
  • AutoSuggest

  • Real-Time Preview: check final look as you translate, without navigating to a different tab. This seems very good news for those translators who find Trados tends to disconnect sentences from the whole document and lead translated documents to become a collection of sentences rather than a wholesome piece of work.
  • QuickPlace™: improves text formatting, tags, placeables, variables management by providing it in-line.
  • DTP application support has been updated and PDF can now be edited directly.

Open platform

  • New XLIFF-based default format for bilingual files (.sdlxliff). Yes, this does mean the end of TTX files!
  • Improved TMX and TBX support.
  • Easy access to API for 3rd party applications.
  • Customisable User Interface (UI).

 

Software Demo

As I mentioned before, SDL Trados Studio 2009 builds on Synergy. The interface has the now familiar Visual Studio .net feel which we’ve seen in Synergy as well as other CAT tools.

From the point of view of a Trados user, as in a Workbench + TagEditor user, the integrated aspect really becomes more prominent and inevitable, but in a good way!

Tab views

Task History
As expected in a Visual Studio.net application, a number of tabs are available at the bottom left of the UI. Some are familiar, some not:

Project Status

  • Start: provides the general overview.
  • Projects: has new project status and Task History panels.
  • Files: navigation pane has My Tasks and Sent Tasks folders to promote standardised filing.
  • Reports: segment status.
  • Editor: contains the entire interactive translation environment (more in the dedicated section below).
  • TMs: preview, maintenance, update string, search from within the Trados Studio UI.

Editor

Editor

  • A document can be opened from the main UI by simply clicking Open Document. But there is also a Windows Explorer context menu shortcut, which seems very efficient compared to opening Workbench, then TagEditor like you would most likely do with your current version of Trados.
  • The Editor panel now has TM + Bilingual file+ TermBase + Previews all open at once.
  • Source and target segments appear in a very clear and tag-free left-right panel view. This immediately seemed much more welcoming than TagEditor.
  • Context Matches are flagged with a CM icon – not dependant on having a matching old ttx, also works live within new documents.
  • Formatting can still be copied from source to target.
  • Placeable and terms are offered in context (drop down like predictive text). No need to use arrow icons at the top of the UI (keyboard shortcuts still work).
  • AutoPropagate seamlessly pre-translates further occurrences of strings you have just translated. They are marked as Unconfirmed 100% (orange instead of green).
  • Term detected amd added

  • Full terminology functionality is also integrated, including adding to termbase.
  • A Review mode allows to filter by match type (e.g. display only Unconfirmed 100% matches within a document for batch review and sign off).
  • Editor can edit PDFs (but deliverable output isn’t PDF).

Project view (for PMs)

  • Project templates can be saved with a high level of customisation.
  • QA Checker is now in version 3.0.
  • TM options can be edited from here.
  • Dictionaries for AutoSuggest can be added.
  • Tasks can be assigned to users during project creation. This information is then included when packages (i.e. translation kits) are created.
  • Files can be merged, which creates a single .sdlxliff file out of potentially several file types.
  • Merged Files

  • Batch processing: TM tasks are processed simultaneously (analysis, pre-translate etc.)
  • Project package contents:
    Create Project Package

    • Can include Main (or Master) TM.
    • Can include an existing Project TM in a main package or create separate Project TMs if multiple packages (.sdlppx) are distributed.
    • Can link-up with Outlook to send automatically populated Handoffs emails.
    • Email Handoff

  • TMs view:
    • Can search through source and target.
    • Can upgrade existing TM.
  • Requires all participant to be using Studio 2009

Posted in News, SDL Trados, SDL Trados Studio 2009 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

XML in Localisation: What can it really do for us?

Posted by Nick Peris on April 8, 2009

Have you ever wondered how xml could possibly be relevant to our needs? Localising xml files is pretty much straight forward. But what of using XML to localise? From English XML to Localised RTF, HTML, PDF ... and XML

As localisation professionals we’ve all known about XML for quite some time now. We understand that as a Markup Language, it is closely related to HTML. We also know that it is Extensible, meaning that the tags and structure are user-specific. This gives us the picture of a very powerful and flexible language.

But I’m sure we also all have come across an xml-based document (a “.xml file”), which we have launched in our favorite browser, only to be treated to a pretty unattractive page of…XML code!

So what can that powerful and yet somewhat undefinable animal really do for us?

This article shows a practical example of xml technology applied to a specific localisation process. In doing so, it also illustrates some of the advantages of having a dedicated Localisation Team or Department, rather than allowing various departments in an organisation to manage their own localisation. In this case, a simple handover of responsibilities from a Marketing team to a Localisation team generated a major leap forward in process, efficiency and quality control. Here is how:

Original setup

In this organisation, the process for creating and localising marketing and web content was the following:

  • 1 master document – the product sheet – was created for each new product released.
  • The product sheet was localised into 13 languages.
  • Relevant  sections were pasted individually into the website for each language.
  • Relevant sections were also pasted individually into a printable version which was converted to PDF again for each language.
  • The localised doc files were also circulated.

There were 2 major issues with this:

  1. Copying and pasting made the process extremely time consuming and error prone.
  2. No translation memory system was used, making leveraging impossible and quality control of the localised content solely reliant on proof readers.

Solution implemented

The Localisation team was handed over the responsibility of localising this content mainly to free-up Marketing resources. Rather than simply taking over, they identified opportunities for improvement and initiated an R&D effort in xml Single Source Publishing. The goal now was to automate as much of the process as possible, and free-up time within the agreed standard turnaround for systematic quality control.

The new process ended up as follows:

  • Product sheet created in xml by the authors, using the free WYSIWYG XML authoring tool Altova Authentic®.
  • The xml schema was designed to be compatible with the web content management system used to create localised product pages.
  • A Trados ini file was created to parse out all non-localisable content in the xml code.
  • XSL Transformation and Apache FOP were used to automatically generate all localised XML, HTML, RTF and PDF copies after post-translation processing in Trados.
  • A VB Developer created a tool to manage all Altova StyleVision®-based automation from one single UI.

Result

  • Upload of complete xml product sheets to the website for each language rather than copying and pasting independent fields (unfortunately batch upload was not permitted by the web content management system).
  • Internet team saved 75% on the time required for localised product webpages to go live.
  • Other content types were all published simultaneously.
  • Use of Translation Memories and pro-active Terminology Management cut cost and increased consistency.
  • Thorough Quality Checks were also processed in batch using QA Distiller™ which helped catch multiple terminology and value errors before publication.

The key to the success of this new setup, apart from choosing to use XML, was the ability to revise the process from beginning to end. Because the Localisation team were allowed to have a say in the authoring process, efficiencies were generated on the whole span of the Marketing and Web content creation and XML Single Source Publishing was successfully implemented.

Posted in XSLT and FOP | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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