Tuomas Kostiainen’s workshop serves up valuable instruction for improving skills and efficiency in Trados Studio—even if you think you already know it all!

Translation software (i.e. computer-assisted translation, or CAT) in the translation industry is the equivalent of a hammer in construction: it is essential. And if you’re doing business in a large commercial sector, Trados is the standard—at least for now.

Tools and industry standardization were originally designed to help us complete our work and interface with collaborators in an efficient, high-quality manner. However, if we don’t know our tools, we can wind up spending vast amounts of time going in circles.

Enter Tuomas Kostiainen’s SDL Trados Studio 2011 Workshop for Intermediate and Advanced Users held December 1, 2012. Here is someone who not only has an entire set of tools in his toolbox, he knows how to use them. It was an inspiration to those of us in attendance to watch a master at work for the one-day workshop in San Francisco. I hope I can do his workshop justice for anyone who is asking themselves the tricky question: Would this really improve my life or do I already know everything I need to know?

Memory maintenance
The course was the second of Tuomas’s Trados workshops and was primarily focused on translation memory management, termbases, and filters. For those who are rather new to using Trados, the good news is that you can be up and run- ning quickly. The problem is that as you amass translation files, your database, if un-maintained, can become increasingly unwieldy. Tuomas therefore took us through some simple steps on how to maintain translation memories (TM).

He introduced us to TM fields and how they can vastly improve efficiency in finding things in the TM. We went through various functions such as making the most of verification, what  happens  when  you change global or project settings, importing and exporting non-Studio  memories, utilizing  file type-specific settings,  and what to do if you screw up. We looked at the autopropagation feature and the translation memory search (fuzzy match) settings  and  how  they  affect the  translation process. Tuomas discussed compatibility  issues, such  as  updating  from external reviews and  creating translation memories in TMX format for clients without Studio. He also covered segmentation issues before introducing  us to the (very easy) MultiTerm  Convert. We spent time discussing the purpose of the various fields and how to make use of them. He touched on SDL’s  OpenExchange, which is a good source for free apps, including a glossary converter app. Tuomas wrapped up the day by briefly touching on common error messages and how to resolve them.
For example:
»   tw4win errors: These always and only occur when you are very stressed out. For instance: “File doesn’t contain bilingual segments” (What?!?) All you need to do is go to Tools > Options  > File Types > [the  file type in  question]  > Common  > and  select “Process  files with tw4winMark style.
»   If you are in the Editor and can’t save the target file, run the Tag Verification and see if the culprit is a tag error. If so, correct the missing or incorrect tags and try again.

Wrapping up
Overall, it was a very worthwhile workshop: well-structured,  lots of hands-on  exercises and helpful tips. The idea of having a couple of Trados expert-assistants on hand to troubleshoot with participants on an individual basis was very good. I personally look forward to the day when I too can join the ranks of the Trados under-challenged. In the meantime, I’ll just have to keep trying and screwing up occasionally, until I can sign up for Tuomas’s next workshop. Oh yes, and the snacks were delectable. SR