Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A useful tool for Trados users

Many Trados users complain that it is impossible to use most Trados keyboard shortcuts when working on a laptop. Using the mouse to click on the toolbar icons feels awkward to people accustomed to touch type, and trying to activate the keyboard shortcuts through the virtual keypad accessed via the Fn key often ends up as an exercise in frustration.

A simple (and cheap) solution is to buy an USB numeric keypad: mine cost only a few dollars, is very lightweight and is also useful when working on a spreadsheet or entering numbers.

It may also help those of us accustomed to enter accented characters via the Alt+number route.
If you use an USB keypad like this, however, you may have to experiment a bit: on my computer, for example, the Alt+number accented characters only appeared after hitting the backspace key. This may differ on different laptops.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Trados: beware of wrong links

I have complained in the past of various problems Trados has with fuzzy matches. A particularly insidious one is the way Trados treats Internet URIs and other links.

For matching purposes, Trados processes URIs as if they were no different than any other text segment. By doing so, it considers two identical URIs (say, for example "http://aboutranslation.blogspot.com") as 100% matches (which is OK), but it also consider two different URLs (for example, "http://flickr.com" and "http://facebook.com") as fuzzy matches.

This is wrong and dangerous.

If the two URLs are as different as Flickr.com and Facebook.com, the problem may seem trivial: a glance suffices to see that they are different, and to copy over the correct URL.

But other addresses looks much more similar, and we can easily accept the wrong link while translating quickly:

Trados, in fact, consider these two links as 97% similar.

But there is no such a think as a "similar" link: it either gets you to the correct page or file, or not, and the way Trados matches them adds to the risk of inserting a wrong link in our translations.

Changing the internal logic to treat URLs differently would be trivial, but the Trados programmers (or, more likely, their managers), cannot be bothered to spend the necessary time for a simple improvement that would ensure higher quality.