Friday, 19 August 2011

Problems with Sub-languages in Trados Studio

One great blog about using Trados Studio is Tuomas Kostiainen's nice blog My Migration to Trados Studio 2009.

I read his post with great interest about the problem with sublanguages. It's a real problem that has affected me a great deal.

So the problem is basically that if you have say a "Chinese to English (UK)" Translation Memory setup. But now you get sent a US English job. When you try to open your Translation Memory you get told "wrong language" and basically can't.

My work around was always just to have 3 TM's Chinese - English (UK), (US), and (Canada). After working on say the US TM I have to export it and use it to create new Canadian and UK English TM's. If I then work on the English TM, I export it and create a new US and Candian TM and so on. In a week I'll quite often do a few US and a few UK English jobs (with the occassional Canadian one thrown in), so as Thomas says this method is "getting old very fast".

In reality I am quite happy to always work in US English and then do the changes into UK or Candian English in Microsoft Word, so I don't really deserve this hastle! Does anyone really keep separate TM's for UK/US/ and Candian English? Not to mention some of the other sublanguages which are available "Belize/Carribean/Ireland?" Is Irish English spelt or written differently to UK English? A quick look at the Wikipedia page tells us that "Ireland does not have its own spelling rules and British English spelling is used throughout the island."

Actually there really aren't many spelling or grammatical difference in Chinese to English technical translation into UK or US English. One of the terms that comes up quite often which is problematic is "suplher"/"sulfer" (it's not as simple as having the "ph" used in the UK and "f" used in the US though as this Rod's Chemistry Blog points out). Aside from that, and a few other very cosmetic differences (z's for s'z and so on). I don't even think I've got any terms that I would ever mix up if the US and UK TM's were merged.

It's a real problem and impacts quite severely on my use of Trados. A little thing like that can add 20 mins of work to a job, and that totally negates the time saved using a TM in the first place. It's a good reason for looking into something like WordFast, or sticking with Trados 2007 of course!