Thursday, July 7, 2011

Emulating AutoSuggest Functionality with Instant Text

AutoSuggest is one of my favorite features in SDL Trados Studio 2009. Unfortunately, it's not available in other programs and creating, maintaining and updating Autosuggest dictionaries is time-consuming and non-intuitive.

Autosuggest offers suggestions based on 3 things:

1. A TM (must have at least 25000 translation units)
2. A termbase
3. Autotext entries

I've been learning to use Instant Text, and I realized that it can do something very similar to what AutoSuggest does with a feature called Continuations.

Continuations are offered based on the contents of your Instant Text glossary. I have therefore concluded that "feeding" a glossary with my TM and termbases should yield results similar to those of Autosuggest.

To test this I will use the same assets (TM and termbase) to create both an Autosuggest dictionary and an Instant Text Continuations glossary, then will test both against the same text.

AutoSuggest is currently set up in my system to show suggestions which have 1 or more characters.

So, to keep things fair, I have used the same setting in Instant Text:

Note: I probably won't keep this setting, as a minimum continuation length of one character is going to bring up an insane number of suggestions. We'll see.

Note 2: Although I had the best intentions to create a new AutoSuggest dictionary for this test, it turns out my AutoSuggest license is "damaged" after a Service Pack installation and cannot be reactivated (at least not quickly). So I have given up on this idea and will simply create Instant Text compilations from the TM I originally used to create my current AutoSuggest dictionary.

Yet another note: Doing the compilation directly from the TM file resulted in a glossary that included a mixture of English and Spanish phrases. This doesn't really bother me all that much, but I ended up "cleaning up" the exported TM to remove all the source text anyway and redoing the Instant Text Glossary to keep the comparison fair, as AutoSuggest only includes one language.

Instant Text took about 5 minutes to do a compilation of my test TM, which has about 95,000 translation units, which is not bad. I remember AutoSuggest taking much longer than that with the same TM.

These are the results of my compilation:

Notice the number of words, phrases and phrase groups Instant Text added to the glossary.

I also exported my main termbase from Multiterm (target terms only) to a .txt file, then I used it to do a new compilation in Instant Text.

For this test I took some text from an informed consent template published by the World Health Organization and opened the document both in Studio and in Trados 2007.

The results can be seen in the videos below.

Instant Text and SDL Trados Studio 2009 (with AutoSuggest enabled)

Instant Text and SDL Trados 2007

Instant Text adds some powerful functionality to any application where you need to type. Once your words and phrases are in Instant Text, they're available everywhere on your computer, be it a CAT tool, word processor, broswer, etc.

As I continue to learn about text expansion, I have started rounding up my glossaries to use in Instant Text, and I'm putting together a list of common phrases and expressions in Spanish to add to the glossary.

Next in my list of learning experiments is figuring out how to handle bilingual glossaries in Instant Text. I will let you know how it goes!

To see a video of Instant Text and XTM Cloud, go here.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! A brilliant use of Instant Text.

    Jon (long-time IT user)
    ABCZ Software