We're still in the first month of 2016, so I'm working on one of my resolutions: Reading Mats Linder's SDL Trados Studio 2015 Manual cover to cover (all 508 pages of it!) before January 31st.
I decided to do this for three reasons:
1. I always like to start a new year by reading a self-improvement book. I usually pick something to do with personal development, but for this year it will be something to do with skill development.
2. I recently heard a world-famous surgeon say that the reason he has become an expert in his field is that he has picked certain techniques and stuck with them, studying them and developing and honing his craft, rather than jumping from approach to approach, just scratching the surface of new knowledge. This resonated with me: I should invest more time to learn as much as I can about the tools I use every day, and one of those tools is Studio.
3. I find that the SDL Trados Studio 2015 Manual is well written and organized, and it's very comprehensive. Whenever I want to learn more about a Studio feature, I usually go to Studio's help first, then I refer to Mats' Manual, and when I do that I always find more information, unrelated to what I was looking for but just as interesting and I often think "I need to read this later", and then I never find the time to do it, so this is my chance to read it all.
To illustrate, here are 3 examples of information I wasn't looking for at the time but I found very useful after coming upon it in Mats' manual:
1. Using the AnyTM feature to add an automated translation provider, such as Google Translate or SDL Language Cloud as "any other translation provider" rather than as a file-based TM means that language direction doesn't matter (page 102). This is interesting, as I had seen the feature and had wondered what would be the point of adding Google Translate via AnyTM.
2. Multiple AutoText entries can be added at once by opening the file in a text editor and simply adding the entries there (page 243), then importing it. I had actually thought about this but reading about it in the manual motivated me to go and try it.
3. In the Word List settings under QA, the correct form of the word doesn't have to be specified along with the wrong form. Including it will only mention it in the error message (page 284) but will have no other effect. I knew the correct form was listed in the error message, but didn't realize a wrong word could be included in the list without the correct form.
Something that I really like about Mats' Manual is that it's full of tips and hints that go beyond Studio and include Open Exchange apps, which are not mentioned just in passing, but rather include his own views about the usefulness of the apps and even instructions to use them, as is the case for example with these great apps: TermInjector (page 244) and the Glossary Converter/Glossary Plugin (page 388). There are also sections about third-party software, such as AutoHotkey and PhraseExpress. Mats also references blogs with how-tos to help the reader expand their understanding of Studio's features.
I realize this cover-to-cover approach to reading a reference manual may be unorthodox, and, some may say, even pointless, but I am finding it very satisfying. I'm reading some sections faster than others, depending on how familiar I am with the features being explained, and I'm bookmarking things for future reference as I go along. I just hope I will be done with all 500+ pages before a new version comes out!