Wednesday, July 25, 2018

SDL Trados Studio 2019: The new Tell Me feature

My favorite feature in SDL Trados Studio 2019 is Tell Me, which SDL has described as Instant Access to Everything.

I have recently learned that Trados has over 700 commands and 1300 settings. No wonder it feels so complex at times!

The good news is that most of those settings don't need to be changed all the time, but when they do, it definitely helps to know where to find them. In pre-2019 versions of Studio, that meant clicking through menus and various screens to get to the right place. In SDL Trados Studio 2019, it's as simple as starting to write a command's name, then clicking on one of the offered options, and you're there!

To access Tell Me, click on the new blue rectangle you'll find on the top right of the Studio screen, or use its shortcut. The default shortcut is Alt+Q, which I've changed to F1, as I rarely use Help and Tell Me includes links to Studio's Help anyway.

Let's look at a couple of examples.

Just yesterday, I was talking to a colleague about Match Repair, so I thought that would be a good example to try.

This is what I get if I type "match repair":

From here, I can go either to Options or Project Settings. I want to check my match repair settings for the current project, so I'll select the one for Project Settings, and by clicking on it, I get to this screen:

Bonus info: SDL Trados Studio 2019 offers the option to turn off termbases as a source of match repairs, as seen above.

So that took 2 clicks. Pre-2019, that would have taken a few more clicks, plus, I would need to know where to find the setting.

Let's try another example. This time, I type the word "Open", which displays 16 different commands. From here, I can perform a wide array of actions, such as opening a package, opening my file for review or opening a translation memory.

Note how there's always a "Search for x in Help" option at the bottom of the screen, so at any time, I can go from the Tell Me screen to Help. This comes in handy when you're trying to find something that isn't included in Tell Me. For example, I want to get to the date auto-substitution settings, but Tell Me doesn't show me that when I type in "date":

If I click on the offer to search for "date" in Help, I get this screen, where the second entry is what I'm looking for:

So that's the idea. Now, even before we type anything in, Tell Me offers five options:

These are all helpful, and in my case "translation memory" will be frequently used, as it provides access to a good number of commands and settings that I use all the time. I would like to see "terminology" or "termbases" included in this list as well (both are available if typed in), and hopefully SDL will further refine the default and search options in Tell Me as SDL Trados Studio 2019 matures.

I'll finish by saying that when I first heard about the concept for Tell Me, I wasn't necessarily excited about it. After all, I use Trados Studio everyday and I know how to get to the settings I need, but after I tried it for the first time, I was hooked! Now it takes no time to change Autocorrect settings (you'll see me typing "quotes" and "initial" often to change quotation mark format or first-letter capitalization settings). 

Like I've said before, among all the SDL Trados Studio 2019 new features and enhancements, Tell Me is my absolute favorite, and one that I think fulfills SDL's goal of improving the user experience.

New Project and File Management Features in SDL Trados Studio 2019

SDL Trados Studio 2019 is finally here! Over the next few days and weeks, we will be hearing about the new features and how the SDL team has worked to make the user experience better.

One set of new features that has immediately improved my own user experience is the one around project and file management. In this post, I'll explain three tasks that have been made simpler and faster in SDL Trados Studio 2019: Creating a new project, Adding a file to an existing project and Updating an existing file in a project.

1. Creating a New Project

The New Project Wizard has been redesigned. Below is a comparison of what we see after clicking Create New Project in Studio 2017 vs. Studio 2019:

It's immediately evident that the new wizard offers a lot more information and options. The initial screen gives us options to select the project languages, base our project on existing templates or previous project settings, name our project, select its location, and add files or folders, effectively allowing us to create a new project in one step.

Across the top of the new wizard we see 9 metro stations, each representing a different step in project creation. Should the one-step option not be enough, we can further customize our project settings by either clicking Next and running through each of the stations or by clicking on the appropriate station.

For example, here's what I see after I click on station 4:

After clicking Finish, which can be done at any point in the process, the project is created and we're presented with the following screen:

Now, you may notice those two buttons above the batch task list and wonder what they're for. In fact, the buttons are there in SDL Trados Studio 2017 as well, but they're less prominent, so this is not a new feature, just new placement of those buttons. Restart Preparation will only become active if something fails during the project creation process and the files need to be prepared again. Results will become active when you select one of the completed batch tasks, as shown below.

2. Adding a new file to an existing project

There's an enhancement in SDL Trados Studio 2019 around adding a new file to an existing project that may not seem like a big deal, but has already proven to be a time-saver for me.

In past versions of SDL Trados Studio, adding a new file involves 1) adding the file, 2) manually preparing the file for translation by selecting the appropriate batch tasks, 3) switching to the target language once the file had been prepared. This last step causes a lot of confusion among new users, who are often puzzled about why they can't open the file for translation after preparing it (answer: they're still in the source language view), and usually resort to measures such as closing and restarting Studio.

With the new Quick Add Files option, one simply selects the file and SDL Trados Studio 2019 handles steps 2 and 3 above. The process is so quick that it's often a "blink and you'll miss it" sort of situation, where it seems like I've just added the file and it's already showing in my target language, prepared and ready for translation.

The Quick Add Files option can be accessed via the context menu (right click) in the Files view or via the Add Files button in the ribbon, where Quick Add Files is now the default.

 See it in action here:

Note: For the Quick Add Files feature to work, files have to be added using either of the two options mentioned above. Files that are added via drag and drop will not be automatically prepared by Studio.

3. Updating an existing file in a project

This is another enhancement that I really like. I sometimes have clients send me an updated version of a file I'm already working on. In past Trados Studio versions, replacing the old file with the new one required several steps: 1) going to the source language, 2) deleting the old file, 3) adding the new file, 4) preparing the file, 5) switching to the target language.

With the new Update File feature in SDL Trados Studio 2019, this is all done in a couple of clicks. To access the feature, we need to select the file that will be updated, right-click and select Update File, then select the new file. After that, Studio 2019 handles the entire process for us.

Here's an example. I have the following in my original file:

When I receive an updated file from my client, I follow the Update File process, as shown here:

After this, when I open the file, I have the following, which includes the new text added by the client:

A word of caution about updating files and file names: Keep in mind that Studio will update the contents of the file, but will keep the same file name. In my example, my original file was called "This is a file for translation", while the new file was called "This is a file for translation_rev". After updating the file, the new text is there, but the file in Studio is still called "This is a file for translation". I think we can all imagine potential scenarios where this could be a problem, so one should be aware of this.

There are several other exciting new features in SDL Trados Studio 2019, which I hope to explore in future posts, but for now, I hope you'll find the project and file management features as useful as I have.