Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Shouldn't Trados programmers improve their matching algorithms?

I sometime wonder what the programmers at SDL/Trados think that "similar" means, but I'm sure that what they think must be different from what most translators think.

Take for example the strings
  1. "- LEAD DESIGN -",
  2. "- LEAD PROGRAMMER -", and
  3. "Lead Design".

Most translators, when asked to translate "- LEAD DESIGN -", would find the translation of "Lead Design" more useful than knowing the translation of "- LEAD PROGRAMMER -".

Seemingly, Trados programmers disagree: as you can see from this screenshot,
Trados considers "- LEAD PROGRAMMER -" a 75% fuzzy match for "- LEAD DESIGN -", while "Lead Design" only gets a 67% score.

How the program arrives at this result is clear: both strings 1 and 2 follow similar patterns (all caps, leading a trailing dashes), while 3 doesn't.

But writing a more intelligent algorithm shouldn't be all that difficult: a better algorithm would give more weight to the actual words, and not to such irrelevant characteristics as case or dashes.

Trados programmers should, in short, try to think of what is useful to translators, and implement that in new algorithms, rather than rely on old ones that have probably not changed in over ten years.


  1. I totally agree with you. New features nobody asked for, formats hardly anyone is using, but the essentials, the core applications, are neglected. SDL killed the Trados star.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hello,

    I work in marketing for SDL Trados.
    We have created a portal where you can enter your suggestion and ideas can be voted by other users. We use the input for future product releases.
    You can visit it by going to

    I hope you find this useful.


  4. C'mon Massi -
    The most asked "feature" in Trados is the one to go back to the previous sentence easily. If you cannot solve that problem, we are far away from working a better algorithm.
    Unfortuantely, I believe the suggestion page is a "feel better" page that does not affect design.


Thank you for your comment!

Unfortunately, comment spam has grown to the point that all comments need to be moderated. All legitimate comments will be published as soon as possible.