I’ve written about how to handle Bilingual Excel files, csv files and tab delimited files in the past. In fact one of the most popular articles I have ever written was this one “Creating a TM from a Termbase, or Glossary, in SDL Trados Studio” in July 2012, over three years ago. Despite writing it I’m still struggling a little with why this would be useful other than if you have been given a glossary to translate or proofread perhaps… but nonetheless it doesn’t really matter what I think because clearly it was useful!
So, why am I bringing this up three years later? Well, the recent launch of SDL Trados Studio 2015 introduced a new file type that seems worthy of some discussion. It’s a Bilingual Excel file type that allows you to handle excel files with bilingual content in a similar fashion to the way it used to be possible in the previous article.
There are some interesting differences though, and notably the first would be that you won’t lose any formatting in the excel file, which is something that happened if you had to handle files like these as CSV or Tab Delimited Text. That in itself might be interesting for some users because this was the first thing I’d hear when suggesting the CSV file type as a solution for handling files of this nature. Most of the time I don’t think this is really an issue but for those occasions where it is this is a good point.
But this new file type is more than just an Excel version of the old one. So let’s just take a look at the options using this excel layout as an example.
So I have five columns of text, with the source and target in columns B and C, the name of the character playing the part (it’s a film script) in column A, a maximum character length for the text in column D and some notes in column E. The text is also partially translated.
In addition to the usual source and target column I have a couple of other options.
I can set a maximum number of characters that are allowed in the target. This is quite useful because sometimes, particularly with gaming scripts where the text box is a limited size, it’s important for the translator to know how many characters are allowed. So here, if you use this option, the standard QA Checker in Studio can use this and flag something like this if you go over the limit.
You can also check the allowable length at any time by clicking on the document structure column on the right hand side. If you don’t have the context information populated then the right-hand column in Studio will say LN (for Length Restriction) but if you do, then it may use a different code with a plus symbol indicating there is more than one code in there. So in my example it says ACT+:
The check-box “Preserve Target Style” allows you to apply the style of the target cell in Excel to the target translation rather than overwrite with the style of the source cell. So just giving you another option for handling formatting in the Excel file.
In here we have another new option compared to the CSV file type, and that’s “Translation Column Content“. If you check this then any of the cells that have been translated in the Excel file already will be ignored. So if you do check this then the options in the next part of the settings will not apply.
These options were already available in the CSV file type and are quite useful because they can save you having to deal with existing translations at all, and more importantly using the locking option allows you to exclude these segments from the analysis.
Contexts and Comments
We had Comments availability in the previous CSV file type too, but there the comments were added to the document structure window. Useful but hard to get at as you needed to click on the document structure column to see the available information and you only saw one cell at a time.
In this file type the comments can be displayed as Studio comments like this which allows you to see more at a time and to read them without having to click on anything at all. In fact if you have a lot of comments and they are needed to provide important translation context then moving them to a window on the side can be very useful and easy to use.
The Context Information Column is useful because it provides a good way to track string IDs, or any other information which might be useful to know as you work. In this example I used the name of the characters in the film. These are in column A of my spreadsheet and they are displayed in the Document Structure Column as noted above in the section on Columns.
Where is it?
Perhaps one little thing I forgot to mention and that’s where it is. This is quite important to note because the default settings for Studio are like this with all three types of Excel file type checked.
Studio uses the file types on a first come first served basis depending on information in the file type settings. So if you want to use the Bilingual Excel file type you need to either disable the Microsoft Excel 2007-2013 file type or just move the Bilingual Excel file type so it sits above the others in the list. I guess if you do a lot of these and also work with Excel then you could create project templates that allow you to simply select the appropriate one to match the file type you’re working with and this would save you having to mess around with which one is active and taking priority in the list.
So all in all quite a useful file type. There is no preview with this, but in many ways it doesn’t feel as though it needs one as the layout of Studio is very similar to the sort of files you are likely to be handling with this file type and hopefully there are enough options to include the contextual information from the file to help anyway.
This blog was originally featured on Paul Filkin’s Multifarious Blog.