Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Creating a Multiterm Termbase to Use in SDL Trados Studio

This how-to guide will be divided in three parts tackling the main steps in termbase creation and use:

1. Creating a simple Multiterm termbase

2. Importing bilingual Excel glossaries into Multiterm

3. Using your Multiterm termbase in Studio


1. Multiterm is a separate program, it's not part of Trados or Studio. It needs to be downloaded and installed separately, and it appears as a standalone program in your SDL folder in your All Programs list in Windows. If you don't see it there, make sure to go to your SDL account and download and install the program from the My Downloads page.

2. Termbases cannot be created in Studio or Trados. The "Create New Termbase" you see in the SDL Trados Synergy main page or the "Terminology Management" button in the Studio home page are merely links that will take you to Multiterm, if it's installed in your computer.

Creating a simple Multiterm termbase

Multiterm can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. In this example I will create the simplest kind of termbase: source term=target term. No other index fields will be included.

1. Open SDL Multiterm Desktop (in this example I will use SDL Multiterm 2009 SP4).

Once in Multiterm, Go to File, then select Create Termbase.

Save your termbase in the dialog box that opens:

After saving the termbase, the Termbase Wizard will open:

Click Next.

Click Next on Step 1 of 5 of the Wizard without making any changes.

In Step 2 of 5, enter a Friendly Name for your termbase. This is the name you will see when choosing your termbase in Studio. To keep things simple, I'll use the same name I used before.

Click Next. In Step 3 of the Wizard, choose your languages. In this example I will use English and Spanish. After selecting each on the left, click Add so they will appear under Selected index fields:

Click Next. For this simple termbase you can leave Step 4 blank, just click Next.

Also leave Step 5 blank. Click Next.

This completes the Wizard. Click Finish.

And with this you have finished creating your termbase. Clicking on the Catalog tab on the bottom left of your Multiterm screen will show you the termbase and its statistics. In this case the termbase has been created but it's empty.

To manually add terms, click on the Terms tab on the bottom left of your screen, click F3 or click on the Add New Entry icon right under the Edit menu. You will see the Entry screen, as shown below.

Double click on the little box next to the pencil icon and enter the term for each entry.

Press F12 to save the changes.

The term is now part of your termbase and therefore will be available when you use the termbase in Studio.

This concludes the basics of termbase creation.

To learn about importing bilingual glossaries from Excel files, read Importing Excel Glossaries into Multiterm.

To learn about using your termbases in Studio, read Using Multiterm Termbases in Studio.


  1. Hola Nora,

    he empezado a usar Trados por primera vez hoy mismo y no doy una, me ha sido muy útil tu artículo para crear mi primera termbase, gracias!

  2. Very old post - but you provided the answer I was looking for : ) I have just downloaded the trial version of Studio 2014 and I was getting quite frustrated trying to create a term base. I am a memoQ user, and in memoQ creating a new term base is as easy as creating a new TM - you just click on the button! Hard to believe I would have to buy a separate product at 300$ just to be able to do it with Trados.
    Thanks for spelling it out, though, that you can't create it with Studio. Saved me from getting even more frustrated : )

    1. Hi Helle, you don't actually have to buy a separate product, you just have to also download and install Multiterm from your SDL account, it's included when you buy Studio. However, I'm not sure if the trial version of Studio also allows you to download Multiterm.

  3. Thanks, Nora. I just bought Studio 2014 and now I see Multiterm- it was not included with the trial version just like you suggested.

    I will now follow your instructions and create a term base! I am happy to see you also have posts about importing my excel glossary, not to mention using it all in Studio. Thanks for all this great info!

    1. Hi Helle, I am also a MemoQ user who now uses Trados 2011 and 2014. Trados is unnecessarily complex, especially if you are accustomed to MemoQ, which is actually the more user-friendly of the two. The disadvantage I find is that MemoQ takes too long to fix the bugs in its latest version.

  4. Sounds good! Hopefully you'll find all the info you need here. If you go to the SDL Open Exchange you'll find a great app called "Glossary Converter" that simplifies the process of converting your Excel glossaries to be used in Multiterm. I've been meaning to write a post about it and will as soon as I find the time. Happy translating!

  5. Hi Nora,
    maybe a silly question: is it necessary to have Access in order to create a database?
    I'm asking this because a friend of mine gave me Office Home and Student 2010 which contains only Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote (I'm upgrading the Office Suite from Office 2007 which included Access). Thanks for your kind reply!

    1. Hi Barbara,

      I'm certainly no expert, but I don't think you'll need Access to be able to create termbases within Multiterm. I have used Multiterm before in computers with only the most basic versions of Office and I've had no issues.

      Good luck!


  6. Thank you so much for this post Nora! This must be a silly question, but will there be one tab for each term?

    1. Yes, when adding a new term manually, a new tab will open for each term.

  7. HI Nora
    Thanks for the walk-thru. I was able to successfully create a new termbase (Multiterm 2011). But now I want to add a new term and when i click on "Add New" the screen appears blank (not like what you have shown). Initially i got an error saying java needs to be updated. I have updated java but this still wont work. Could you please help?

  8. Hi!
    Actually, there is a very easy way to cerate a new termbase, without having to use MultiTerm: The Studio add-in Glossary Converter, See

    1. That's right! This series of posts was written long before the Glossary Converter and the Glossary Plugin were available.

  9. Thank you for the instructions.
    I am wondering at SDL. Trados Studio looks as an advanced translator's software, many versions have been issued, programs are big and should have many abilities, but it's unable to do one the first things needed by translator, namely organizing automatic translation of terms and phrases repeated through the document. For that, it needs a separate program and efforts to know how to do it.