The Sad, Sad State of Trados Studio's Useless Terminology Tools

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the overly dramatic title, but I am a keen terminologist, and although I actually rather like MultiTerm these days, and use it as a standalone terminology management system (for my massive collection of glossaries) … despite this: Trados Studio's terminology solutions are all complete garbage. Except for one (third-party plugin from China).

I have been testing ways of achieving a working (non-stressful) terminology system inside Studio now for YEARS, and to date, the ONLY system that works is the RyS plugin (‘RyS Termbase and Translation Assembler’). Why can some guys in China do something that the entire SDL team, with its vast resources, cannot manage, year in year out, for god knows how many years now?

There are many things broken in Studio's terminology handling system such as shortcuts that have been broken for over 5 years, but which the help system still merrily refers to as exiting/functional. Anyway, but the bug that bugs me the most is that there is NO WAY to quickly add a term while translating and then have it **immediately and reliably** shown as being present in your termbase. That is: (a) highlighted in the source box and (b) shown in the Term Recognition window. No matter which of the tools shown in the screenshot you use (except RyS), it is IMPOSSIBLE to just add a term and always have it immediately (a) highlighted in the source box and (b) shown in the Term Recognition window. How $%$£"£! hard can this be to code/implement???? Come on guys! get your %$£$£" together and fix this before we all go insane trying to use this broken mess.

In summary:

1. File-based MultiTerm Termbase [NO!]
2. Server-based MultiTerm Termbase [haven't tested it, but don't expect it to work]
3. SDL Language Cloud Terminology [NO!]
4. LinguaFin [haven't tested it since it is not an active term system]
4. RyS Termbase and Translation Assembler (plugin) [YES!]
5. Excel-based Terminology Provider (‘TermExcelerator’) (plugin) [NO!]
6. Tmxmall Term Plugin [haven't tested it, will soon]

‘YES!’ = it works (as per above)
‘NO!’ = it is broken

There is ONE more I haven't tested yet (‘Tmxmall Term Plugin’), which I will test as soon as I figure out how to pay them for a subscription, as they are in China. They said they will soon accept PayPal, but currently only accept two Chinese payment systems I haven't yet gotten to work, and bank transfer (which I did, but something went wrong).

Please Santa, please, fix this for Christmas this year.


PS: I would gladly pay quite a bit of extra money if someone at SDL would just fix this darned mess. Maybe it's time for a bug bounty system at SDL?

Links: (‘RyS Termbase & Translation Assembler’) (‘TermExcelerator’) (‘Tmxmall Term Plugin’)

Same old boring story @

  • I beg to differ:

    As you can clearly see, the added term does appear immediately in the TB.

  • Yes, occasionally it does, but often it doesn't. And it's this randomness that is infuriating, and which makes the system essentially unusable in my opinion.

    With the RyS plugin, and in memoQ, Déjà Vu, and many (actually most) other CAT tools, is always works. Period. So the user doesn't end up wondering, ‘Did it work this time?’.

    I am not the only one who has reported this, as I am sure you must be aware. It has been a problem for years, and just doesn't seem to be going away any time soon.

  • If you look at the lower right corner of my bigger screenshot, you'll see the number of words in this two documents I am now working on. For the complete translation process the adding terms has been reliable and the term recognition was working quite reliable (indeed, not always, but more often than not). So I fail to see such huge problems you describe.

    In fact I cannot reproduce most of the problems reported here in the forum. Neither the not working shortcuts, nor the accidental confirming of segments, to name the most recent. None of this problems is present on my desktop. I have a fairly simple setup, no game software on my PC. Only Studio, Office, Adobe CC, two communicators, Norton, file manager, TO3000, screen capturing software and some dictionaries. So why does this work here and will not work elsewhere?

    As you certainly know, finding out the differences between PCs is next to impossible. This may start with the software installed, go through graphics interface brand, installed processor, even installed RAM may change the behavior. There are indeed many people reporting problems, but OTOH there is also a very significant number or people NOT reporting such problems. So now put yourself in the shoes of SDL. How shall they find out, why it does work here and does not work there? It would be necessary to analyze the corresponding PCs piece by piece... This is certainly not possible. There must be something in the background, making this changes. This can be the PC setup, but also the plugins used. Version of Office, OS, anti-virus and so on... I am not able to find out these differences.

  • I suppose you are less sensitive to this stuff than I am. ‘Quite reliable (indeed, not always, but more often than not)’ just doesn't cut it in my book. This kind of randomness drives me nuts. I just can't use something like that. Not to mention, the tool isn't exactly cheap, and I expect really basic functionality like this to just work. I mean, if single-developer projects like CafeTran can manage basic stuff like this, why can't SDL's large team?

    Instead of redesigning the Layout (Flags layout -> Default layout) over and over, first fix the underlying system. And in my opinion this basically means: ditch the legacy MS Access databases and upgrade to a more modern technology.


    Just out of curiosity (and only if you have a moment to spare), do any of these shortcuts work on your PC?

  • CTRL+SHIFT+J will not work, this shortcut is used in Word for forced justification to both margins.

    And I do not have the two other defined, I just use "Next view" to move between Studio parts:

    But just out of curiosity I defined two shortcuts for your request, but these indeed refuse to work.

    However, Next view does work.

  • I just used CTRL+SHIFT+J as an example, I was trying to find a (any) shortcut that would make ‘Term recognition’ work. I can't find a single combo that works. Users have been asking for SDL to fix these three KBS for years and they just do not do it. It's bizarre. If they don't work (and haven't now for 4-5 years or more), they should stop referring to them in the Options dialogue and their Help docs. (Paul, are you reading this? Care to comment?)

    Yeah, I tried Next view, but find it way too cumbersome. Firstly, you need to scan the list visually every time, and secondly, moving back up the (tiny) list involves also 1st pressing Shift. Way too much thinking IYAM, when all you want to do it immediately go to a specific window. If Next view, at least worked more like the new Alt+Tab in Windows 10, where the arrow keys also work to quickly move between the different windows/programs, that would be nice.

  • Well, next view works exactly like ALT+TAB in Win10. I am using this every day for going to concordance. A quick return can be done via ALT+F6 - this is toggling source and target, but in my case I use CTRL+TAB for this. So "Next view" to go to concordance (while only for the first time I have to select it from the list, next time it is always the next view, so I just press the shortcut once and am in the concordance), then I return with CTRL+TAB. Maybe it would be better to have all dedicated shortcuts for every single window in Studio, but I'm afraid I would not be able to keep all this numerous shortcuts in mind. Pragmatically seen, I have just a few of these on my mind and that is enough. Having them all in a special list would involve scrolling this list, so time saved on changing windows would be lost for searching the proper shortcut.

    Maybe it is easier to live with not so perfect things, when you're an engineer, I don't know. Anyway, I find solutions for my work which do work, so I do not spend so much time on researching if that could be done better - once it works, it works. Optimization happens mostly by accident.

    Now I have to return to my 2,500 words left.

  • Former Member
    Former Member 8 months ago

    Good, very good. You find your tool
    I find my tool too - I made it, I guess you have seen them once earlier.

    nobody is perfect, including You and Me
    you use your tool, I use mine

    SDL knows quite well all your complains, for sure.
    and some users are satisfied with it, completely.


  • why are you being so critical? Are you like this with all the software you use?

    I don't know of any software as complex and heavy-duty as the SDL Studio and MultiTerm combo that works perfectly. All software is prone to glitches and I've always thought that this is because the programmers cannot know what mix of other software and hardware is going to be present on a given setup/environment.

    I have always seen each piece of software as a tool and, just like with a physical tool, I work out the best way to use it within its shape and limitations rather than wanting it to work 'my' way and complaining when it doesn't.

    Indeed, nothing is perfect. I, like  and other long-term expert users, find that even with jobs that are 10's of 1000's words large, Studio and MultiTerm perform as close to perfectly as I'd expect any huge software to perform. 

    I use very few plugins because I learned how to use these tools before there were any plugins. Maybe that helps to keep things a little less complex but I love these products, despite their occasional imperfections. No point getting frustrated, I enjoy my work and never let minimal flaws detract from that enjoyment. I use Studio and Multiterm in the same way as I use any other tool, e.g. Microsoft Office. If they're not behaving, I'll repair them or even reinstall them and then get back to work.

    That's what life is all about for me, making the best of things and focusing on the positives.

    That's my 'Happy, Happy State of Trados Studio's Useful Tools' that make my working life so good Wink

    Ali Slight smile

  • I totally get your point. I too am a pragmatist. However, I'm also not a defeatist. That is, just because sth is the way it is, this doesn't mean we can't hope to improve it. And yes, I am like this about all the software I use. Some developers appreciate it more than others.

    Some developers take criticism/suggestions, thank the user, and then act on them (CafeTran). Other developers get annoyed (Déjà Vu, Swordfish). Others try to pretend the problem doesn't exist (SDL). There are many types of developers out there.

    Let me ask you though, if three specific keyboard shortcuts have not worked, at all, for around 5 years now, is it so unreasonable to ask that SDL removes any mention of them in their Help docs and interface? After all, since I by now know 100% that they are aware of the problem, and have been for around 5 years now, maybe more, doesn't this constitute FALSE ADVERTISING.

    Also, the reason you will see me using CAPS and shouting a lot more often in the SDL forums than say in the Cafetran forums is because of the way SDL treats its users. That is, yelling loudly in many different channels, for many years … is often the only way to (perhaps/maybe/if you are very lucky) achieve anything with a company like SDL. If something is obviously broken in CafeTran, I email Igor privately, he thanks me, and it is often fixed the very next day. Very classy.

  • As you say, you email someone in private and the problem is solved. If you have a problem with me, email me in private and we will chase it from the world. This is how it works in such situations. However, try to report a problem to - say - Deutsche Bahn... SDL is a bigger company with many developers, so it is not that easy to act and react. This said, I am not taking the side of SDL, but try to understand how things work. You may have noticed, that there have been many user requests, sitting there for years, from which some have already been implemented and for others we still wait, even though the numbers community likes for these ideas are very high. Nonetheless, things change.

    SDL does not treat us user bad, to the contrary - this forum is the best proof, that they are willing to listen and to help. Unfortunately for us, small users, there are so many big institutional users out there, that SDL is resolving their requests first. For example, from what I know, the existence of "single document approach" is one of such features requested by a big entity. If you ask me, this would be one of the first things I would remove from Studio, as this way of working makes many user crazy...

    Your point about these three non working shortcuts is valid, no question. But OTOH there are other solutions to achieve the same results, so there is a way and a solution. In my opinion, the best way to resolve this problem would be simply removing these (and maybe other non-working shortcuts) altogether and concentrate on much more important things, like the reliability of the term recognition. From what I see in the forums and mailing lists, not working shortcuts are not on the top of the list of bugs.

  • Others try to pretend the problem doesn't exist (SDL).

    Come on Michael.. that's nonsense. It's not helpful when you make statements like this that are not true at all.  Just because something is a problem for a long time does not mean we don't care.  Sometimes resolving these problems is lot more difficult than you might think because they don't affect all users.

    Anyone who thinks developers, in any company, don't care about this type of thing is clearly not really thinking this through.

    Let me ask you though, if three specific keyboard shortcuts have not worked, at all, for around 5 years now, is it so unreasonable to ask that SDL removes any mention of them in their Help docs and interface?

    Is it reasonable to remove things like this if they work for more users than they don't?

    That is, yelling loudly in many different channels, for many years … is often the only way to (perhaps/maybe/if you are very lucky) achieve anything with a company like SDL. If something is obviously broken in CafeTran, I email Igor privately, he thanks me, and it is often fixed the very next day. Very classy.

    Also a gross misunderstanding of how things work. Shouting only pisses people off and makes them waste their energy dealing with the fall out it creates... it doesn't get things done any faster.

    Working with one or two developers in an environment without the sort of dependancies you get in a larger company is easy.  I see that every day working on Trados Business Manager.  If you really think this is classy it's only because you have no idea at all about software development in a more complex environment with more developers and more components that work together.  In fact I take that back... it is classy, and it's a real joy if you're lucky enough to have it.  But it's not the real and more complex world that we live in.

    I know we have things that need work to get better in our software, and we do always try to push these things to the top of list within many competing priorities.  But when things affect a smaller number of users only... and it is small despite what you or another 10 users might think... it is very difficult to deliver the time to investigate and resolve.  That doesn't mean we don't care or that we won't do it... but it may be that things automagically get resolved when we make bigger changes to more fundamental things... or even if you happened to change your computer!  I'm not saying ti's your computers fault by the way!!

  • Thanks for your wise words Slight smile

  • I must say that I have noticed the problem Michael explains above. When I add a term to a termbase (and I have many end-client-specific termbases...) it is often the case that the newly added term will NOT immediately be recognised. If it is important, I have to close the project (or Studio) and restart. Obviously I can't do this for every term so, yes, it can be a significant obstruction to working with termbases.


  • Thanks for such a rational reply with which I totally agree Slight smile