SDL Trados - A lot of ammunition, not easy to load the gun.
August 26, 2019

SDL Trados - A lot of ammunition, not easy to load the gun.

Ricardo G Lopes | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SDL Trados Studio

I use SDL Trados with a network of freelance translators and reviewers. The product performs a sentence/paragraph text extracting from source documents into a proprietary file structure and shows it in a Source / Target 2-panels table. It addresses small to medium documents well where high performance is not a need. It doesn't really do well on big documents. It crashes frequently while doing search operations or committing hundreds of translations. Exporting to a 2 bilingual file is also a pain for big files.
  • Extracting sentences from Word, PowerPoint, and PDF.
  • Updating the source document when the client sends an updated source file.
  • Comparing sentence by sentence old set of source/target translations made outside of SDL Trados.
  • Maintaining a user community base to broadcast knowledge and issues.
  • Having an aggressive product update frequency.
  • The user interface includes elements that are basic, medium, and high complexity, which does not help the novices and it is an obstacle to Veterans. For example, Concordance Search, Fragments Matches, TQA should not be opened by default.
  • SDL Trados is a transactional-driven system. Transactions are everywhere, irrespective of its functionality. SDL Trados is not a process-oriented system, and in my humble opinion, it should be. They should be asking questions like: What are the Mega processes the system cover? What are the Macro Processes for each Mega Process? And so on and so forth for Process and then Procedures / Steps. For example, one Mega process could be Translate; another could be OCR.
  • The concept of batch tasks is a decades-old one. It assumes that the user knows what task to be selected from a bunch of tasks listed on this menu, and know which task makes sense for the step he/she is doing at one moment. Batch Tasks should be imploded, and its titles relocated and categorized within the existing Processes. A short-term action to minimize a bit this confusion would be to use dividers and re-sort the menu items by type of process and if whether it is endogenous or exogenous to the current process. That would help the end-user to focus on the main task. For example: Update Main Translation Memory is an endogenous task to the Files area.
  • The editor template with the 2 horizontal panels approach is good, and it provides many useful tools to help a manual translation, such as Terminology Base, Phrasal Translation memories, etc. However, all those tools are not available when performing an external translation and importing it back to the Editor panel. It does not flag inconsistencies against the Translation Memories or Terminology Base.
  • The product is good for low to medium volume. However, for big documents, it crashes frequently. Things like committing more than 30 sentences at the same time it takes a lot of time and CPU usage. Doing a search for the next Not Translated sentence, takes forever, I mean, more than 3 hours in a big document.
  • Fortunately, the support and training provided by BabelDGT, an SDL dealer located in Mexico City is fantastic. One-to-One Training and chat support are superb. Thanks to them my productivity is much better now.
  • It has a positive impact, especially by extracting text from many different sources.
  • Also positive is a significant size of SDL Users, which helps to attract jobs from other translator clients.
  • As a positive, the price is right.
  • As a negative, the fact that the product has huge artillery, but it is confusing to decide which tool to use based on your job.
  • As a negative, the functionality toward translating with external resources is lacking.
I did a private application that extracts data from an Office application and sends it to a Word table and allows the user to work there directly. Of course, SDL Trados is better than competitors but could do a better job with the formatting display in the Editor. I am aware that handling Formatting is quite confusing because one never knows where a bold formatted word will be after the translation. The switch between formatted and not formatted should be a toggle button close do the Editor template, not an option hidden in the Settings. That would help a lot the translators as you could toggle on and off and pay attention to the text-only and then see the formatting, which is usually the second goal.
Support has been fast, precise and thorough. There is support on the web, by chat, by email, from the communities, from the experts, on the product Help section, on YouTube, and other social media. There is also a paid support for companies. This area is where the company stands out. I was not able to evaluate the support in languages other than English.
Well suited for manual translation. There are many tools in SDL Trados Studio that help a lot when you are typing in the target language. These tools include Translation Memory, Multiterm Base, Spelling, and Reviewing tool similar to Word Review. It also allows external reviewers to do their job in a table on a Word document. When importing the revised words, Trados is able to gather the review and make it visible for final acceptance.

SDL Trados Studio Support

Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
No escalation required
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Not kept informed
Yes - If my business needs it in the future, certainly I would pay for. Right now, as the support is amazing, and I don't need to. However, if they release a cheaper annual option with fewer support features and a smaller price for additional incidents, then it would worth it. I believe many freelancers would take it.
Yes - Nope. The textbook solution did not apply to my case, and I have used Ccleaner to fix the uninstallation leftovers.
Babel DGT from Mexico are always present and finding ways to help their customers.

Using SDL Trados Studio

Again, the list of functions is impressive but the way it is organized (not process-driven) and the fact that complex tasks should be close to basic tasks make the product suitable to hardcore users that have a lot of time to research the manuals and blogs.
By the way, Nora Diaz is one of the most respectable users of this product. Her videos help a lot!