Running SDL Idiom Worldserver Desktop Workbench on Windows 8.1
Many localization professionals now: those localization companies that work for the bigger software companies often require freelance translators to work with Idiom Desktop Workbench. Idiom Desktop Workbench is a CAT tool with a not too steep learning curve. However, the software is no longer supported and moreover, the newest version is years old. Running the software on a newer machine can be a real pain. In fact, theoretically it is even impossible!
In this blog article I will share how you can accomplish Idiom Desktop Workbench Windows 8.
- What is SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench?
- Download SDL Idiom Workbench free
- Trados Studio 2011 xlz
- Idiom Desktop Workbench Windows 8
What is SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench?
Idiom Desktop Workbench is a free CAT tool, previously developed by Idiom. At a certain time in the past SDL, developer of CAT tools like Trados Studio, acquired Idiom. From that time Idiom Desktop Workbench was called SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench.
As a CAT tool Idiom Desktop Workbench is mainly used by software localization companies. They use the software because projects, translation memories and terminology databases are relatively straightforward to create, manage and distribute. Idiom Desktop Workbench is not very complicated. That’s at least because the software is not very feature-rich: translators can create a project and add TMs and TBs in one window, afterwards they can start the project.
Projects in Idiom Desktop Workbench are handed off as xlz files. These files contain one or more files for translation, where possible pre-translated. The files should be exported before delivery to the client.
Download SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench free
As a translator I am not sure why localization companies should use SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench: there are much better alternatives for software localization, which are sometimes free too. However, if I am required to use SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench, I will do so.
I recommend you to do the same: there are workarounds (see below) but they do not work.
However, where should you download SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench to run on Windows 8? It is supported no longer and the original Idiom website does not work anymore.
Here’s the solution: you can download SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench free here. It’s an executable (exe), 28.6 MB large. It’s one of the latest releases but not the very latest.
Trados Studio 2011 xlz
The release notes of Idiom Workbench state that SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench 220.127.116.11 will work on Windows XP and Windows Vista. So you can use the software easily on older Windows operating systems. The point however is that since then Windows 7 and 8 were released.
I’ve had Idiom Desktop Workbench on a Windows 7 system and that still worked.
However, when you use Windows 8, the software will not work any longer. Although: it worked on my Windows 8 system until I upgraded to Windows 8.1. Then it was over…
Thanks SDL there’s a solution: you can open Idiom Desktop Workbench xlz files in Trados Studio. To do that:
- Open Trados Studio
- Go to File > Open document (or press Ctrl + Shift + O)
- Browse to the xlz file to open it
- Translate it and export it to the source format for delivery
This workaround nevertheless is not without pain too: you cannot use the TM and TB your client sent you. Fortunately you can edit the file and translate the segments in the normal way in Trados Studio. The pain nevertheless comes when it comes to delivery: when you export the file in the source format (xlz), the client might see untranslated and unconfirmed segments on importing the translated file in Workbench.
That’s not always the case but there’s a real chance: it happened to me a few times. You then need to translate the files again, but not in Trados Studio. So this is not a recommendable solution.
Idiom Desktop Workbench Windows 8
Let’s come to an end. So far I discussed SDL Idiom Desktop Workbench and a workaround on Windows systems.
The reason why the CAT tool does not work on Windows 8 operating systems is that it requires .Net 1.1 to run. That .Net version has been superseded long ago. Microsoft currently works with .Net 3.5 and newer. .Net is outdated and therefore not installed on newer Windows systems.
When you install Windows 8, the operating system will install some files on the background that prevent .Net 1.1 from running. Theoretically Idiom Workbench will never run on Windows 8.
However, don’t stop reading. I’ve good news! Software developer Aaron Stebner developed a tiny tool that will clean up all those files that prevent .Net 1.1 from running. you can download the file, Dotnetfx Cleanup Tool, here.
Here is how it works:
- Download the file here
- Extract the zip file
- In Windows 8, press the Windows key + F
- Click on ‘Run’
- The Run dialog will show
- In this dialog, put in the next italic code: cleanup_tool.exe /q:a /c:”cleanup.exe /p .NET Framework 1.1
- Hit Enter
Note: if you extract the zip file in a particular folder, you should add the path to the folder in front of cleanup_tool.exe then, like in C:\User_Name\Path\to\Folder\cleanup_tool.exe /q:a /c:”cleanup.exe /p .NET Framework 1.1.
The software will run in the background. If it’s ready (within a minute), you should install SDL Idiom Dekstop Workbench 18.104.22.168. Done!
- I did not experience any consequences of running the tool. Aaron Stebner nevertheless warns for some caveats. I would therefore recommend you to make a backup or system restore point right before you run the tool.
- I am not responsible/accountable for any errors that can occur.
- Software towards is linked in this blog article is protected by copyrights from their respective owners.
I changed the extention of an XLZ file into zip and I unzipped the file. Then I imported xlf file into a CAT tool. I found this solution at proz.com and I found it extremely simple!
Thank you Mayumi!
I also tried this but returning to the original file type was a crime.
I think the option described in this post will satisfy more clients.
hi Peter, thanks a lot, what a nice article…helped me much. But I am unable to open XLZ file using SDL Studio 2011, dunno why, anyway thanks for sharing this 🙂
Thank you so much for your reply.
Although Studio 2011 should be able to open the files I highly discourage you to do it.
Even when you can import the file and translate it as a whole problems can occur while exporting it. I have experience empty segments and other problems. Afterwards I had still to copy paste all segments into Workbench.
Try MemoQ if you have it and can’t get Workbench running…
I would like to thank you a lot for the information you posted concerning the tool to remove the .net versions. I tried it and it worked. It was very frustrating when I upgraded to Windows version 8.1 and I could not work with Idiom anymore.
Hi Pieter, I unzipped the file and ran the code but nothing happened.
Is it supposed to be like this? Because I don’t know when is it ready for me to install the workbench.
It’s a time ago I ran the file, but as far as I can remember indeed there didn’t happen that much.
You might consider to right-click and run it as an administrator.
Install Idiom afterwards, it should work fine then.
Looking forward to the outcome 🙂
Except running the file I used the programme compatibility troubleshoot and installed the workbench under the Windows XP mode. and it WORKED! Thank you so much!
I cannot apply the instruction above on win 8.1. I simply double-click the exe and select option to clean up the Framework 1.1 and then install the Idiom workbench but failed.
– Right-click on the executable (exe)
– Select “Run as administrator”
Please note that you will not see any setup screens or whatsoever. Rebooting your PC before installing Workbench can help too..
Hope this solves the problem.
Just so you know, you are still helping people with this. Thank you.
Is Idiom available also for Mac?
Hi Claudia, I don’t expect so but maybe you can run it in a virtualization environment?
NGUYEN HUYEN TUNG
Thank you so much for you excellent workaround, Pieter Beens!