One of the greatest features of Trados Studio 2014 to me was the introduction of Open Exchange, a kind of marketplace for free and paid extensions for Trados Studio. Since it was introduced I am eagerly looking for extensions that can improve or speed up my translations. I am still dreaming of creating extensions myself once, but I bet that will never happen.
Luckily I can still download any extensions offered by a community of developers. If you never visited the Store, I would certainly recommend you to visit it today. For your convenience I created an overview of extensions you shouldn’t miss.
To start with the negative news: a few drawbacks of SDL Open Exchange
Trados is one of the most used CAT tools in the world. To me, Studio 2014 was absolutely a giant improvement in terms of speed compared to Studio 2011. But one of the best things SDL offers with it is Open Exchange. A drawback is that you should have the specific CAT tools for which the extensions are meant registered in your SDL account. That means that you cannot download the extensions when SDL does not know that you bought the software with them. Another drawback is that you need to download and install different packages. So when you need an extension, you should download an installer, which installs a multitude of files and keys and executables on your PC. If you want to have a tidy computer, like me, that is very annoying.
And to mention one last negative thing: not all extensions work properly. I recently downloaded a file type definition but I was unable to use it, so I had to use MemoQ to translate the file because MemoQ natively supported it. That was annoying as well.
But besides these things – which can be avoided or ignored when you have a fallback – Open Exchange offers many possibilities. In this article I write about a few top extensions that certainly improved my work and life.
SDLXliff2TMX is without doubt my most popular extension for Trados Studio 2014. The extension is a standalone executable that enables you to convert Studio 2014 bilinguals, normally saved as SDLXliff files, into a TM eXport format – TMX.
It is especially useful when you translate files and the client requires you to send a TM export but you used your general TM or don’t want to share all your knowledge for whatever reason. You then simply open SDLXliff2TMX, drag and drop the files into the screen, select which segments should be exported and press “Run”. The tool then generates a fully usable TMX file which can be send to the client. Absolutely the best!
2. SDLX Translation Memory Plug-in for SDL Trados Studio
My second best plug-in for Studio 2014 is SDLX Translation Memory Plug-in for SDL Trados Studio – and yes, that’s a long name for a small extension. Basically you download an installer which offers an option to use the legacy Microsoft Access databases that were common in SDLX 2007. Installing this extension saves time because you do not need to peel of the TM or to dive into a bunch of third party tools to get the content of the old TM in a new Trados TM. As long as SDLX files are used, you shouldn’t miss this extension.
A tool I use not that much but that’s still useful is SDLTmConvert. This extension offers much more options for exporting a TM than Studio normally does. You can export a TM as a bilingual, as a CSV, XML or TXT file or as monolingual file to do whatever you want. Useful when you want to do a QA or when you would manage imported and exported segments in a TM. Recommended!
When it comes to localizing apps, companies often export the strings to a MS Office file, require you to pay expensive software or want you to translate in an online environment. The first results in much work for agencies and the latter puts a burden on translators. MobileApp allows translators to open native string files in Studio 2014. No costs, no spent time and always access to your own proprietary TM. Amazing!
5. SDL Trados Studio Symbols
We all know the option in MS Office to insert special characters and symbols. To speed up my work and to avoid looking up special tricks and Alt codes again and again, I try to remember the Alt codes as much as possible. And yes, I now know many of them. When it comes to those symbols, SDL Trados Studio Symbols however is a much better idea. Once installed it offers access to that well-known MS Office screen with the most common symbols. No need to learn Alt codes anymore and no need to search the web for tips and tricks. Hopefully SDL will implement it in Studio 2015 by default!