In a nutshell, SDL Studio Online 2011 is an optional add-on exclusive to SDL TMS 2011. It is distributed as part of the SDL TMS 2011 Service Pack 1 and upgrades the SDL TMS Translator Interface. While SDL TMS 2011 introduced a new Carbon Theme, its Translator Interface was in fact still a slim version of SDLX 2007. SDL Studio Online 2011 replaces it with an SDL Trados Studio inspired successor.
From a linguist’s point a view this is an important leap forward. Together with the performance improvements promised with the original release of SDL TMS 2011, this could significantly increase the proportion of linguists working online. Translators, and sometimes even Reviewers, have tended to choose to download SDL TMS packages rather than working online. This somewhat defeats the purpose of having an online translation environment with real-time TM and Terminology updates capabilities. Yet it has remained a popular choice mainly for two reasons:
- Combined server and user-side performance issues: this should already improve with an upgrade to the original SDL TMS 2011.
- Translation Interface too basic compared to desktop CAT tools: this is what this optional SDL TMS 2011 SP1 add-on proposes to address
- Improved performance for linguists working online with the more modern interface featuring:
- Segment-level lookup
- Concordance lookup
- Flexible tag display and editing
- Find and replace functionality across the entire task
- Integral spell checking with Inline and batch spell checking, multilingual dictionary and correction and user-specific dictionaries.
- Reduced need for training and support for the growing number of linguists unfamiliar with SDLX
- Reduced file management overhead thanks to a more attractive online environment
- Increased proportion of linguists connecting to online linguistic assets rather than working from periodic downloads
- Licensing and upgrade management owned by the client
- Support for Microsoft input method editors (IMEs) for typing East Asian characters on non-matching language versions of Office.
Requirements and setup information
Studio Online is a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in. It requires Microsoft Silverlight 4 and the latest available Service Pack for Windows. Its upgrade or installation process is guided in Studio Online.
Studio Online Licenses have to be purchased in addition to the SDL TMS licenses for a specific number of concurrent users. Once installed and licensed, each user may choose to configure SDL Studio Online as their default editor in SDL TMS by going to Home – My Details – User Preferences and checking the option Use SDL Studio Online (see screenshot). This remains optional, so not all users have to make this choice. Task download for offline work also remains available in any case.
One limitation to note is that SDL Studio Online 2011 does not integrate with the QA Models. If you have made use of the online rating function added since SDL TMS 2007 SP4, you will have to make a choice between that and the new online interface. My inclination would be towards allowing the Translators to use Studio Online to make it more acceptable for them to stay online throughout the translation process. On another hand, Reviewers could continue using the old interface so that they use the QA Model, and so that you save on Studio Online licenses.