Monday, September 30, 2013

SDL Trados Studio 2014: A First Look at My 5 Favorite Features

When you first open SDL Trados Studio 2014, the first thing you see is how different it looks from Studio 2011. But the question I kept asking myself was: Will this make a difference for me in terms of productivity? Will it make the many hours I spend working with Studio every day easier?

In this review I will describe only a few of my favorite Studio 2014 features, which I've had the opportunity to use on a daily basis for several weeks now.

1. The Ribbon

I must confess I initially had some mixed feelings about the ribbon in Studio 2014.

It looked pretty and made some rarely-used features more visible, but its implementation also took away some left-hand-only shortcuts I've been using for years (as an example, Alt+E, which I used for Copy Source to Target, is now reserved for the Help tab and cannot be reclaimed as a custom shortcut). I wasn't sure I would be able to get over that. But I did.

And I'm glad I gave it some time before giving up. After some initial discomfort, I quickly got used to the "new" way of doing things. And now, when I occasionally open Studio 2011, I don't feel I can go back. But it's not only a matter of aesthetics.

With the aid of the ribbon, I have been rediscovering Studio! There are some things in there that I remember seeing in Studio 2011 but not using very often. However, now that they're more visible, it's easier to remember to use them. An example of this is the Clear Formatting feature under the Home tab.

Another advantage of the ribbon that I have quickly become used to, is the quick launch arrows under relevant groups. In the example below, clicking on the quick launch arrow opens the Termbase settings for the active project:

I've spent some time going through the ribbon under each tab to see what else I could find, and it has been worth it.

One of my favorite tabs in the ribbon is the Help tab, which provides easy and quick access to tutorials, my SDL account, and other resources.

By the way, a feature I use heavily is now right there on the ribbon: adapting font sizes. It's under the View tab, and I use it now even more than I did before.

2. QuickMerge

I just love this and use it practically every day. What does it do? It opens multiple files as a single file. How does it work? All you have to do is go the Files view (this assumes your files are part of a project), select the files you want to "merge", and either hit Enter on your keyboard or right-click and select Open for Translation (or Open for Review), or click the Open for Translation button on the ribbon.

The files will open as a merged file in the Editor view, except they will not be really merged, this is only a virtual merge that will be active while you work on the files in the Editor.

3. The default position of the Termbase Viewer

With a wide-view monitor, I find it very useful to get the Termbase viewer by default in a vertical position on the left of my translation units, below the Translation Results window.

Let me add that it has been pointed out to me that I could have done the same thing in Studio 2011, but to be honest, I never even tried to move the termbase viewer from its default position, so I missed out on this. So, like I said, I'm rediscovering Studio!

4. Automatic Concordance Search

Trados 2007 users will rejoice when they hear this. This much-missed feature is back in Studio 2014. Now, if the TM lookup returns no results, Studio 2014 will run a concordance search automatically, which has done wonders to refresh my memory and has saved me a lot of time and a lot of manual concordance searches.

First, make sure the option is active. Go to File - Options (the new pathway to the Options dialog box, similar to where you find MS Word Options).

In the Options dialog box, select Editor, then Concordance Search Window, and you will see a new option: Perform search if the TM lookup returns no results. Make sure the box is checked.

And that's it. The next time you have a translation unit with no matches, Studio 2014 will launch a quick concordance search and you will see the results on the Translation Results window.

5. Adding Files to Projects from the Target Language View

This was a minor annoyance in Studio 2011, I often tried to add files to projects from the target language view and was prompted to switch to the source language view to do so. With Studio 2014, this is no longer necessary, I can add files from the target language view.

There are many other improvements (speed comes to mind, Studio 2014 is really fast) and features that I'm sure will be discussed at great length as more and more colleagues start using Studio 2014. This is just a brief first look at some of my favorite features, which I hope to be able to follow up soon with other observations.

Overall, my experience with Studio 2014 has been a very positive one, and I hope the same will be true for many other translators.


  1. Dear Nora,

    Are you sure that this Automatic Concordance Search works correctly for you? Because, for me, it does not, and it seems I am not the only one, I have already seen a case online (in Proz, but didn't get any answers yet from SDL support). I have done all what you said, ticked the box in Options... and it does not work. The Concordance Search Window remains inmobile even though the TM finds no match. I select the whole segment with the mouse, press F3 and voilà, some entries appear (far from perfect matches, but they do appear!) I lower the mininum match value under concordance to 30 (the mininum) and still does not work. Let me give you an example so you might understand it better:
    Suppose I have a segment with just one word, which is Dosimeter. I don't have a segment very similar to that one in my TM, so my translation results are none.
    But I do have a sentence in my TM that says "It stands apart as an intrinsically safe dosimeter that offers simultaneous C-weighted and A-weighted measurements."
    Evidently, that sentence, compared to my 1-word segment "Dosimeter" is a ridiculously low match. But the fact is that if you perform a manual concordance search (selecting the word Dosimeter and pressing F3), Trados Studio WILL locate several occurrences of that word (which is great!) including the one I just spoke about. But... it just won't do it automatically. And I have no idea why. It does not even try to perform a search (and everything is ticked as it should to the best of my knowledge)

    I would greatly appreciate some insight.. if you know of this problema, it happens to you as well.. or perhaps there is some other button, some box, some other option I am not using correctly. So far, I have ticked "Perform Concordance search if TM lookup returns no results". My mínimum match value under Concordance is 30 and... I am out of options.

    Thank you Nora for your great articles!

  2. Hi Nora, thank you for your very useful insights and tips!

    Ignacio, I have the same problem as you with the automatic concordance search. It seems not to work if source segment is not empty and untouched. If the source has been copied, or there's a draft translation or anything else, there are no results.