Localization, Localisation

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

SDL Trados 2007: Quick Guide for the Complete Beginner

Posted by Nick Peris on April 14, 2009

This is a quick practical guide which was used when setting up the team of in-house translators I mentioned in my earlier post about Using Trados in Knowledge Base translation.

Everything in here is fairly low-level and is really designed to help someone get started immediately with their first translation, reviewing or bug fixing job in Trados.

SDL Trados 2007 consists of 3 modules

  1. Workbench is used to access the Translation Memory (TM), a database of existing translated sentences.
  2. TagEditor is the editing tool, where the translation is done.
  3. MultiTerm is an add-on (installed) which may be running in the background. It checks the segment currently being translated for English words or groups of words which may have a pre-approved translation.

Getting started

  1. Copy the TTX files (or English source files if TTX weren’t provided) and TM (5 files per language) to a folder on your local hard disk.
  2. Open the TM in Trados Workbench: double-click the file with extension .tmw or open Workbench and browse to it from the File-Open menu.
  3. Open the TTX (or source file) in Trados TagEditor: open TagEditor and browse to it from the File-Open menu or double-click the file if it’s already associated with TagEditor.
  4. Place your cursor in the English segment of the Translation Unit (TU) you want to translate.
  5. Click Open/Get Open/Get in the TagEditor tool bar.
  6. Edit the target segment of the TU (i.e. translate the part highlighted in yellow).
  7. Click Set/Close Set/Close to save your changes to this TU into both the TM and TTX.
  8. Save and close the TTX once it is fully translated.
  9. Start at point 3. above with the next TTX or source file.

Working with placeables

Most Placeables are tags contained within segments. Here is how Trados can help the translator with placeables:

  1. Open/Get Open/Get a TU.
  2. In Workbench, Placeables are underlined in blue (2 in the example below):Placeable in Workbench
  3. In TagEditor, put your cursor where the Placeable needs to be inserted into the target (yellow) area:Cursor
  4. Click Get Current Placeable Get Current Placeable.
  5. If there is more than one, use the Get Previous Placeable Get Previous Placeable and Get Next Placeable Get Next Placeable buttons as required.

Working with terms

If MultiTerm is running in the background, Trados is able to detect Terms listed in a dictionary and suggest their approved translation. Here is how to use this feature:

  1. Open/Get Open/Get a TU.
  2. In Workbench, Terms are over-lined in red (2 in this example):Term in Workbench
  3. In TagEditor, put your cursor where the Term needs to be inserted:Cursor
  4. Click Get Current Term Get Current Term.
  5. If there is more than one, use the Get Previous Term Get Previous Term and Get Next Term Get Next Term as required.

Tip: for more information on the Current Term, double-click the book icon beside the Term on the right Term Windowhand-side of Workbench. This will open a MultiTerm window where you can see more details about the Term (e.g. definition, product category etc. depending on how the TermBase was set), and browse the TermBase for other Terms.

Other useful buttons

  • Open Open: opens the TU in TagEditor without searching for a match in the TM.
  • Get Translation Get Translation: downloads a translation from the TM into the TU opened in TagEditor.
  • Restore Source Restore Source: removes the target segment (i.e. translation) from the opened TU.
  • Copy Source Copy Source: copies the source segment (i.e. English) into the target segment of the opened TU.
  • Set/Close next Open/Get Set/Close next Open/Get: uploads the translation from the current TU to the TM, closes the TU, opens the next TU and downloads any matching translation for the TM.
  • Translate to fuzzy Translate to fuzzy: translates all sentences in an English file opened in Tageditor, until it comes across a sentence with match less than 100% against the opened TM.
  • Close Close: closes a TU, saving changes made to the TTX, but without uploading the new translation to the TM.
  • Concordance Concordance: searches for an English word selected in a TTX, throughout all the sentences in the opened TM.

Troubleshooting tips

Open/Get button is grayed out

Using the Open/Get button in TagEditor requires a TM loaded in Workbench. Here is what to do if it’s grayed out: Greyed out Open/Get

  1. Ensure only one instance of Workbench is open.
  2. Ensure it has a TM open.
  3. If so, click the Connect to Workbench button in TagEditor: Connect to Workbench.
  4. If the issue is still not solved, close TagEditor, and re-open it.

TM won’t open in Workbench

Translation Memories are made up of 5 files per language and can only be opened one at a time. Here are the main errors that can occur when opening a TM:

  • Couldn’t obtain database lock: you are probably trying to re-open a TM in a second instance of Workbench.

    1. ensure only one instance of Workbench is open
    2. Go to its File menu
    3. Choose Open
    4. Browse to the TM you were trying to open.
    5. If this doesn’t resolve the issue the TM may be corrupted.
  • The system cannot find the file specified: one of the 5 files is missing.
    Solution: ensure the .iix and .tmw files are present in the location where you copied the TM.
  • Matrix Error: (null), data file: one of the 5 files is missing.
    Solution: ensure the .mdf and .mtf files are present in the same location as the .tmw you are opening.
  • Database corrupt! Run export, create and new TM and reimport: one of the 5 files could also be missing.
    Solution: ensure the .mwf file is present in the same location as the .tmw you are opening.
  • While no valid license file is used or no dongle is connected, this application runs in demo mode: no available license
    Solution: ensure your Trados license is activated.

19 Responses to “SDL Trados 2007: Quick Guide for the Complete Beginner”

  1. Jen Hannon said


    Just wondering if you know of a way to spell-check an entire TM in a relatively uncomplicated fashion?


  2. Nick Peris said

    Hi Jen,
    Unfortunately this is not a feature of Workbench, probably because Spell Check is expected to be part of the workflow before TM updating (ie from the bilingual files in TagEditor or Word during translation).
    If you really have to, there’s a good article on spell checking Trados TMs here: http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/468/ although it might be a bit technical.
    The alternative if you can, is to find the corresponding bilingual files, spell check them and re-clean them into the TM. Depending on your TM settings it should overwrite the existing TUs in the case where you’ve changed spelling.

    Hope this helps,


  3. Lianne said

    Glad I found your post, Nick. I am searching for keyboard shortcuts to do the major work in tag editor, such as one for set/close next open/get, or a way to get back to a previous segment to make changes. These are basic operations in Wordfast Pro, which has many (customizable) keyboard shortcuts that help speed up the translation process. It looks like tag editor doesn’t have these?

  4. Nick Peris said

    Hi Lianne,
    Sorry for the delayed reply.
    Just open Tageditor, go to Help – Search and input “keyboard shortcut”. You will find shortcuts for pretty much everything you can think of 🙂

  5. SaravananAE said


    Thank you very much for your very short but clear guide to using a complex s/w like Trados.

    Recently I was working on a PPT file. Everything went well but when I tried to get the target file in PPT from TTX, it always gives an error something like ‘cannot convert as instance is open in the object….”

    Do you have an idea to sort this out??

    With Best Regards,


  6. Nick Peris said

    Hi Aes,

    I haven’t seen this one before. Perhaps try to clean the bilingual file in Workbench rather than saving target as in Tageditor. You can do that against an empty TM as long as it has the source and target language. Also if you were given the bilingual file by a customer, check if the original has the same issue and if so ask them to help fix it.

    I hope this helps a bit,

    Thanks for the compliment!


  7. Hi Nick,

    Thanks so much for your brilliant guide. I’m a T2009-user, but had to switch to T2007 for a project. Not much time to get familiar with the software, not much time to finish my project. So big stress. Your guide has been ever so helpful! After I found it, it only took me something like half an hour to get started.

    Keep up the good work!


  8. Nick Peris said

    Thanks a mill Ymkje,
    I’m preparing a preview of TS2011 right now.
    I hope you find it useful too 🙂

  9. […] the hits on Localization, Localisation have any statistical value, it is a telling sign that SDL Trados 2007: Quick Guide for the Complete Beginner continues to be the most frequently visited post in these pages, 2.5 years after being posted. But […]

  10. Hi Nick,

    I wonder if you can help me.

    After my struggle last week in going retro (from Trados 2009 to Trados 2007) I’m still stuck with a few (partially) translated documents in Trados 2009,

    Do you know of any way to convert the files to a format I can use in Trados 2007? The only way I have found so far, is retyping the whole lot and I must admit, I ‘d rather not.

    I really hope you (or anyone else who reads this message) can help me out.


  11. Nick Peris said

    Hi Ymkje,

    TTX it! should work: http://blog.sdl.com/blog/2010/11/sdl-ttx-it-one-of-the-first-applications-on-sdl-openexchange.html

  12. Hi Nick,

    I tried the TTX.

    I took the files to convert from; C:\Users\Ymkje\Documents\SDL Trados Studio\Projects\DATFrance 36171\nl-NL\NL_36171, so the target language (Source language is EN-US).
    After TTX, when I open it in T2007, I first get loads of pages with just tags, document path and name and all sorts of information. When I search for the first word, I get to the document part. But what was the target language has now become the source language.

    The documents I received from the agency were pretranslated, with all 100% matches in Dutch, the rest in English. In most of the documents I have already done some translating, others I have completed translating. I received the documents in RTF format.

    Do you know what went wrong?

    Beswt wishes,

  13. Nick Peris said

    Hi Ymkje,
    It sounds there are 2 problems. The source/target language could be a settings when you created the Studio project, or when you converted in TTXit.
    The tag at the start of the documents seems like an ini settings issue.


  14. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your help. With the deadline breathing in my neck, I have given up trying to convert the docs back to T2007 and have redone the translations. At least now I also know how to work in T2005.

    Thanks again for your advice,

  15. […] in Localisation: Next Step or Major Faux Pas? Globalization – The importance of thinking globally SDL Trados 2007: Quick Guide for the Complete Beginner Which comes first, Globalization or Internationalization? Who’s responsible for Localization in […]

  16. thoyo said

    Thank you thank you thank you. This came up real clutch while working on a tight deadline!

  17. Inge said

    Thank you so much for this! A real lifesaver !!

  18. […] clients of mine still work with Trados 2007, i.e. Trados Workbench and TagEditor. When there is a new translation project, I get a translation […]

  19. […] https://localizationlocalisation.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/sdl-trados-quick-guide-for-the-complete-beg…, consultado el 30 de agosto de 2013. […]

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