Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Importing AutoText Entries in SDL Trados Studio

SDL Trados Studio is most useful during the translation process when we have added as many resources and assets to it as possible. One of these resources are AutoText entries, which, when present, can save us typing time as they are offered in the list of AutoSuggest hits.

AutoText entries can be added on the fly to the active target language list by selecting the appropriate word or phrase and pressing Alt+F7, but if we already have a long list of entries, it is more efficient to import the entire list at once, as explained below.

First, we need to get to the right place where our entries will be imported. If we have SDL Trados Studio 2019, then that's as easy as typing "autotext" in the Tell Me box, which will take us to the appropriate setting. In versions older than 2019, we will need to navigate to the right place (shown below).

The window that opens next displays any existing AutoText entries for the selected target language. As you can see in the example below, my ES-ES list on this computer is pretty empty. Luckily, I keep a backup in Dropbox of my main computer's AutoText entries (which can also be exported from this same screen), so it's just a matter of importing it if I need to.

To import the list, click the Import button...

and find the file that contains the appropriate AutoText entries.*

*This is a plain text file, and we can easily open it in any text editor and make changes to its contents.

TIP: This being a very simple text file, we can also use the file for one language variant as the basis for a file in a different language variant, simply by changing the language codes inside the file.

After importing, we will see something like this, with the entries now being available to us as we type.

Typing the first four letters of an AutoText entry will bring it up in the AutoSuggest list while working in Studio.

Points to remember:

1. AutoText entries are monolingual (target language only)
2. The minimum threshold to display an AutoText entry in the AutoSuggest hit list is 4 characters typed.

And that's all we need to do to take advantage of this very simple way to save us some typing while working in SDL Trados Studio.


  1. Hello,
    Thanks for this article. I find AutoSuggest to be one of the most helpful features in Studio, but I've never used AutoText (in fact, I was only really vaguely aware of its existence!) However, I do use a termbase for (I think) the same purpose: while translating, I add any words/phrases which occur frequently or which are particularly long/difficult to type, so that these pop up in AutoSuggest (and after fewer than the 4 characters you mention for AutoText - unless that number can be configured?).
    Having read your article, my question is now: am I missing something here? Are there advantages to using AutoText rather than a termbase to save on typing time?
    I'd be interested in hearing other translators' thoughts!

    1. Hello,

      I use termbases extensively as well, but AutoText can be a really valuable addition to our AutoSuggest toolbox. There are important differences: termbase entries are bilingual and triggered by typing only the first letter of the target term, so when there's a termbase entry available, that will always be offered before an AutoText entry, of course. There are cases where you may not have a particular entry in your termbase but it's in your AutoText list, and then you have it available to you. An example of this would be a project where the termbase contains only technical terms, but your AutoText list contains all kinds of long adverbs. There are also cases when the term wouldn't be offered from the termbase, for example, when a sentence is broken up into various segments and your target word order differs from the source word order. AutoText entries are monolingual, so you would be able to use them even if the term is not in your source segment.

    2. Hello Nora,
      Thanks for your reply. That makes more sense now! Now that I can see how AutoText could be useful, like Roman below, I've also been looking for a way to import a list of Autotext words/phrases, but as far as I can see, you can only import a list exported by another Trados user, not from another source (e.g. an Excel/Word/Text file). Is that right?

  2. Hi Nora,
    Thank you for the article. As far as I understand, you first have to enter AutoText entries manually word by word in Studio to create your own “dictionary”. So it is more convenient to use AutoSuggest dictionaries that can be generated from TMs and also save you a lot of typing time. Or there is a way to generate AutoText entries as well?