Our top tips for working with Trados Studio

When you start working with a complex CAT tool like Trados Studio, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by all the different options available. This is when you really need top tips from those in the know. But even more experienced users pick up things they didn’t know about the tool once in a while. You never know when you’re going to stumble upon a more streamlined way of performing a task you used to find fiddly. We hope you’ll be able to apply some of our handy hints to your own work with Trados Studio.

Clear up communication problems

Have you ever opened a GroupShare project to find that Trados is clearly not communicating with the GroupShare server? You’ll know this is happening when a message pops up to tell you that the server is not responding and it’s not possible to connect to the server-based translation memory. Head to File → Setup → Servers to work out what’s going on:

The green tick may be a reassuring sight, but it’s a good idea to click on the button to manually check the availability of the server just in case.

You may find that Trados is still struggling to connect to the server. Here’s a few little tricks you can try if that’s the case:

  • Delete the server from the list and add it again.
  • Remove the TM under the project settings and add it again (Use → Server-based Translation Memory).
  • Get in touch with the project manager to check that you’ve actually been granted access to the TM.

Find any function fast

Do you find yourself wasting time looking for the right button when you’re using sophisticated software with a lot of options? You know the pesky thing exists because you’ve used it before but you just can’t quite put your finger on where it’s hiding?

That was always the case in Trados too. Before 2019, that is, because there’s been a simple solution ever since then. Are you aware of the blue ‘Tell me what you want to do...’ button? That one up above the ribbon in the top-right corner. The shortcut Alt+Q is another way to open the window where you can search for all the settings and features you need:

Find your favourite font

Not happy with how the text is displayed in the Editor window? That’s not a problem because you can actually change the font style and size without having any impact on the target file. If you want to try out the previous tip at the same time, try pressing Alt+Q and typing ‘Font’ into the search bar. Otherwise, you can head to Options → Editor → Font Adaptation:

Once you’re there, you can change the font, the size and the language to suit you. Your new settings will be applied to the target language column next time you open the Editor window. We’ll leave you to decide if Comic Sans is really the way to go...

Open multiple files at once

Need to open more than one file in a project at the same time? It’s as simple as holding down the Ctrl key as you select the files and then clicking on ‘Open for Translation’. There are so many reasons you might find this useful:

  • For one thing, you can use the display filter for all the files at once. Just imagine how much quicker it would be to view all the ‘Number only’ segments and lock them in one simple step. And just think of the benefits of searching for all the segments containing a particular term across all the files for an overview of all the instances in the relevant context.
  • And your translations can be auto-propagated throughout the project if segments are repeated. This is really handy when you’re reading through a file because any changes you make will be automatically applied to any other identical segments in all the files you have open once you’ve confirmed the segment. Just don’t forget to enable auto-propagation under ‘Options’ beforehand:

Take a shortcut

Ctrl+S: This good old shortcut for quickly saving a document used to be a firm favourite for desk jockeys. It’s not such a big deal these days since most software will save your work for you automatically anyway. And Trados is no exception:

But it can’t hurt to get into the habit of pressing Ctrl+S every so often, can it? We have to say that we don’t trust the AutoSave function fully ever since it left us in the lurch at the exact moment we needed it the most.

Ctrl+F4: This handy little shortcut for closing files works in other Windows programs too, but it really comes into its own in Trados because the cross icon in the Editor is tiny and hidden amongst other features on the interface. Bonus tip: Press Ctrl+Shift+F4 to close all the files you have open and switch to Files view.

Ctrl+Enter: This legendary shortcut confirms the segment you’re working on and moves you to the next unconfirmed segment. Bonus tip: Ctrl+Alt+Enter is more or less the same but will take you to the very next segment – even if it’s already been confirmed.

F3: Need to perform a concordance search on a word or phrase in the source column? Simply highlight the text in your source language and hit F3 to search the entire TM for hits. This can be really helpful when there aren’t any matches. Bonus tip: You can also set this up to happen automatically:

Ctrl+,: This shortcut provides a quick way of inserting certain elements into your translation. Numbers, dates, times and measurements with units are all examples of placeables in Trados. Any placeables – underlined in blue in the source column – will appear in a pop-up menu when you use Ctrl+, as a shortcut. Simply select the placeable you want to add to your translation and don’t worry about the format of dates and so on because Trados will take care of all that for you:

Figure out your file types

Eight letters might seem a bit excessive for a file extension but anything’s better than the full version! SDL XML-based Localization Interchange File Format is a bit of a mouthful, don’t you think? We generally just talk about ‘xliff files’ and that seems to work fine for us in context. So what Trados file types do we need to know about?

  • .sdlxliff – You’ll probably have heard about these bilingual translation files containing the source and target text with metadata.

.sdlproj – These project files contain the metadata and settings for a project but no text whatsoever. The text is stored in the subfolders within the project folder

  • Bonus tip: If you remove a project from your list of projects in the Projects view in Trados, the project folder itself won’t be deleted. Just double click on the .sdlproj file to open the project again.
  • .sdlppx – Project packages are used to send a translation project. The project folder is zipped up – complete with settings and files.
    Bonus tip: If you ever have any problems when trying to open a project package in Trados, you can still access the files. It’s just a case of changing the file extension from .sdlppx to .zip and confirming that’s what you want to do when a pop-up appears...

Voilà! Open your newly created zip folder and extract the files as you would normally.

  • .sdlrpx – Once you’ve finished working on a translation, you deliver it in a return package. Simply click on ‘Create Return Package’ in the Files view. You can use the same manual workaround we mentioned for project packages if you have any trouble with a return package.

What are file types anyway?

The file type or format is the structure of a file that defines how its contents should be displayed. Generally speaking, the file extension (at the end of a file name after the dot) tells us what the file type is and which program we need to open it.

Extensive filter development means that Trados is compatible with a wide range of file formats, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF and XML. You can find a full list of the file formats supported by Trados under Options → File Types. And if what we’ve heard on the grapevine is true, that list of file formats is even longer in Studio 2022.

Do us a favour

One problem we come across a lot is translators accidentally opening the wrong file in a project with multiple target languages. This happens because Trados doesn’t have a way of knowing what your target language is and so the wrong language may be showing in the ‘Language’ drop-down menu in the top-left corner of the Files view. If you translate Italian in the French file, your Italian translation will end up in the French TM. It’ll be no good to anyone in there!

Make sure you check that the correct language is selected when you open your files in Trados. No worries if the language is wrong – just select the right one in the drop-down menu. Thank you!

Did you find our hints handy? Or do you have any other top tips of your own that you’d like to share with us? Feel free to email us at freelance@apostrophgroup.ch. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Achieving goals together

  • A reliable partner

    It’s very easy to process jobs in our portal myFREELANCE and you can look forward to punctual, monthly payments.
  • Your link to Apostroph

    With Apostroph, you will have personal contact with our project management employees. They will answer your questions and help you process your orders.
  • The Apostroph community

    A lively exchange, exciting and entertaining contributions in the Language Lounge and continuing education opportunities are what make our community what it is.