Thursday, June 15, 2006

Serious bug in Trados

We recently switched to version 7.1 of Trados, and discovered a new, and serious, bug.

Some of our customers send us software to translate in MS Word files. These files are formatted as tables with four columns, where the first, second and fourth column are protected from translation (formatted as external tags), and the third column is translatable text.

When you try to translate the file, you can open the first segment, translate it, and then close it normally. However, if you try to close it by clicking "Translate to Fuzzy" or "Set/Close Next Open/Get", Trados will not open the next segment or the next untranslated segment (depending on the command you clicked), as you would expect: it opens a segment much further down the table, or altogether outside the table. However, you can still manually open the next segment, manually close it, and so on (thus wasting a huge amount of time).

This bug was not present in Trados 5.5 (I reinstalled 5.5 on a spare machine and tested on the same files where I encountered the problem).

I already reported this bug to SDL, but, so far, with no satisfactory result: the first time I reported it I was told that version 7.5 probably didn't have it (thanks, but I had just paid quite a lot of money for several licenses of 7.1, and was not going to pay more for a new license that just might fix the problem), and that I could copy the text to be translated from the MS Word file, paste it in another file, translate it there, copy it again, and paste it back in the original file (which is a time consuming slapdash workaround that probably wastes more time than manually opening each segment).

The one good workaround I found so far is to translate the MS Word file in Tag Editor: there seem to be no problem when using Tag Editor to translate the MS Word files with the tables in them.

It is worth noting that I had to find this solution by myself, and that nobody at SDL either suggested it or, if they thought of it, bothered to communicate it to me. I think that tells quite a lot about the (poor) quality of SDL customer assistance.

Update (bad news for users of version 6.5)

I tested the issue also under version 6.5 of Trados.

Unfortunately, while the issue is already present in version 6.5, my workaround is not feasible, as version 6.5 of Tag Editor was still unable to open MS Word files.

Update 2 (unhelpful suggestions from SDL support)

I received some (unhelpful) suggestions from SDL technical support: see Poor technical support from SDL.


  1. The Trados support philosophy has always been "it is going to be fixed in the next upgrade/release," forcing users to continually upgrade in hope of correcting serious issues that they should never have had to put up with in the first place.

    As for your issue/suggestion: recommending TagEditor as a solution only works for those who have Trados 7.0 or higher. I still use versions 5.5 and 6.5 and have had the same issue you reported in your post, but I do not have the leisure of using TagEditor to translate Word files. My workaround was to set/close segments and manually open the next one. A pain, as you can imagine, but better than nothing.

    For users of Trados, the rock and hard place predicament applies here. TagEditor has always been incredibly buggy. I have supported up to 70 Trados users in a previous life, and many of them (interestingly not all of them)they reported things like TagEditor vanishing from their screens (and their process list) in the middle of a segment, without as much as peep (or an error being generated.) Using TW with Word, on the other hand, has always been the source of infamous problems, like endless looping within tables, vb code in the middle of segments, etc.

    In sum: As long as translation companies and freelancers accept subpar support as inevitable, Trados will happily continue to meet their expectations.

    We obviously need viable alternatives.

  2. Seriously, I hate Trados : it only slows me down. I have been in this field for a long time and my memory is faster than Trados'.

    Trados is really misleading for translation companies and for translators, because it modifies falsely the number of words to be translated. It substract all the words and expressions found in the memory.

    Well, may be one saves time whenever using Trados when the word is in the memory, BUT THEN they should ADD 500 wds every time you have a FOOTNOTE, because it really slows you down a lot.

    I hate it.

  3. I have just been struggling with the same problem, i.e. cells skipped in word tables during automatic translation, and have found a solution that may work for you: select the part of the table that won't process then do ctrl+spacebar ("Remove manual character formatting"), then save and re-process your word file. Provided you haven't lost your author's formatting, Robert est ton oncle.

  4. Viable alternatives? How about DejaVu X? It doesn't suffer from all these problems as it is one integrated suite and not a host of several hopelessly incompatible programs with interaction with Word. This is bound to go wrong and it frequently does.

  5. I'm responding here one year later, but I just want to chime in with my frustration (verging on hate) of Trados.

    In all my years of using software (CAD engineering software, design tools, etc.), never have I encountered a so-called "industry standard" software solution with as many flaws, bugs and weaknesses as Trados. It really is hard for me to believe that they have managed to secure so much of the market with such a crappy product.

    On occasion, I get ti work with other CAT tools and it just reminds me how poor Trados is! I'm looking into some of the other products on the market and I will seriously consider putting Trados in the trash bin forever.

    End of rant, sorry!

    Best regards to my fellow translators,
    Rob Cummings

  6. I just upgraded from the 6.5 to the 8.0 version, the bug is still there.

  7. Trados is HORRIBLE.

  8. Searched for "hate trados" and found myself here. Glad to see I'm not alone. :-)

  9. Today I experienced the same problem with Trados 8.0 build 835 and I solved it simply by loading the file into MS Word instead of the new file provided with this new release. Hope this helps somebody!

  10. I have been struggling with the same problem in Trados 8 on one computer. The problem was not present on a computer with Trados 7. I just upgraded the other computer to Trados 8, and now the problem is also present here.

    I'll try the suggestion with using an older version of the .dot file.



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