Friday, July 19, 2013

Say no to the ribbon: an open letter to SDL's Paul Filkin

Dear Paul,

I’m writing to you as you are the best advocate for translators at SDL. 

We have heard that Studio 2014 will adopt a ribbon interface. If there is still time (and there is, since the program is still in beta) I urge you, and all at SDL, to reconsider this decision.

The ribbon interface in MS Office has been a disaster, in the opinion of most power users – we’ve had to spend unnecessary long hours to find out where all familiar commands had been hidden away.

In MS Office, at least, third party developers have been able to return something similar to the familiar menu as an add-on to the program. Since, however, SDL has a much smaller market, I doubt that there will be any similar solution available to us.

I therefore urge you, and SDL, to concentrate your efforts not on an unnecessary, unwanted and harmful novelty like a ribbon interface, but rather on spending development resources on actual improvements to the program – you could, for example, finally start to do something to improve the serious defects still present in your fuzzy-matching algorithms, or perhaps work on the broken auto-propagation feature.

Best regards,

Riccardo Schiaffino

Monday, July 01, 2013

Switching spell-checker in SDL Trados Studio

I normally prefer to use the Hunspell spell checker in Trados Studio: I can set the various parameters from within Studio (instead of having to change them in MS Word), and I don't mind that Hunspell normally flags more false positives - I actually prefer that to MS's sometimes more permissive approach.

There are, however, times when you need to change the spell checker used - for instance, if the language version used in a project is not supported by your default spell checker.

This happened to me in a recent project: the customer had set it as English to Italian (Switzerland), instead of the normal Italian (Italy). Hunspell does not have a spell checker for Italian (Switzerland), so Studio was not performing any spell checking at all - if you selected the Tools menu you would see the spell-checker option grayed out.

In such instances the workaround is simple: just go to Tools > Options > Editor > Spelling, and select the other spell checker.

In my case, I switched from Hunspell to MS Word's, and I was able to check my project. In other instances you may try the reverse (selecting Hunspell when you normally use the MS Word spell-checker). This is useful, for instance, if your installation of MS Office does not come with the spell-checker for a certain language.