Friday, July 27, 2012

Changing Segmentation in SDL Trados Studio 2011

For those occasions when Studio's standard segmentation won't do, the following steps will help you customize your file's segmentation to your liking.

 Let's say I have a source file that has tabs in it, like this simple Word file:

After adding my file to a project, and translating the first segment, it looks like this:

We can easily see that if the file were segmented differently, I would be able to leverage my translations much better, with each individual country name being on its own separate segment.

To achieve this, I go into Project Settings, then Translation Memory Settings:

In the window that opens, select Language Resources on the left, and then Segmentation Rules on the right, then click on Edit:

This brings up one more box. For this example, since I want Studio to create a new segment every time it finds a tab, I need to choose Add:

To create a segmentation rule based on tabs, I add a name (Tab), choose "Anything" in the "Before break" dropdown menu, "Tab" in the "Break characters" dropdown menu, and "Anything" in the "After break" dropdown menu:

 Click OK several times to close all the open dialog boxes.

Now I go back to my project, remove the Word file I was working on, add it again, prepare it, and this is what I see:

Much better!

From now on, whenever I use this TM, a new segment will be created  whenever there is a tab. If I want to remove this segmentation rule, I simply go back to the Segmentation Rules dialog box, select the rule I created and click on Remove.

This is a simple example using tabs, but Studio is powerful enough to provide a great range of possibilities by playing with the various options provided.


  1. And what if the tab is at the beginning of the sentence, or there is an image then tab then phrase? SDL will not recognize tab. Do you have any workaround?

  2. Hello Nora!

    I am writing on behalf of the Interns in my Office:
    Thank you so much for your easy and insightfull Post about SDL Trados&MultiTerm!

    It is so hard to find information that is easy to read and acctually helpfull. Your post has helped everyone to save time and nerves!
    Again Thanks!

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Florence. It's great to know this is helping someone.

  3. Hi Nora,

    I am using Trados Studio 2014. The tab segmentation rule you recommended worked perfectly in Studio 11. In the new version, I regularly experience that tab characters appear in the source segment of docx files, despite the tab segmentation rule set.

    Have you already experienced this problem?

    Best regards

    Sandor Juhasz

  4. For Studio 2014 you can use Nora's tip here:

    Replace the \n in the regular expression with \t for splitting on tabs. Note that multiple tabs are added to the end of the segment. It would be optimal to move all tabs to a separate segment. Perhaps someone else can achieve this?

  5. Thanks for a very easy-to-understand explanation. I couldn't fix it for a while, because I changed segmentation rules for the source language only. But then I figured out that you need to do it for the target language and it worked! Thanks so much again.

  6. Hi Nora,
    I am using Trados Studio 2014 and work with TM with paragraph-based segmentation. Could you tell me, whether it is possible to keep the paragraph-based segmentation and at the same time add the Tab segmentation rule? Can they be combined or do they exclude each other? Thank you very much in advance!

    1. Hi Veronika,
      As far as I know, it's not possible to combine paragraph-based segmentation and a a tab rule. When you choose paragraph-based segmentation, the Add and Edit buttons are disabled.

    2. Thank you for fast reply, Nora!

  7. Hi, Any chance you could help me add a segmentation rule for an excel file that Studio 2019 segments after each full stop within the excel cell instead of at the end of the excel cell? I'm translating a database and the descriptions in each cell are being segmented into multiple Studio segments, making the file extremely long. I don't know how to add the rule to change the segmentation. Any suggestions???