The IATE termbase – some suggestions

IATE (Inter-Active Terminology for Europe) is the European Union’s inter-institutional terminology database, and it is such a huge – more than 8 million termpost entries – and comprehensive (and also to a great extent normative) terminology resource that I feel motivated to include some extra information about it.

A good place to start is IATE’s own “Download IATE” page, with a brief description including the number of term posts for each of the 26 languages and a download link.

Further information, including some links to useful sites, is found at the Terminology Coordination site, the Download IATE.TBX page.

If you want to learn about the basics of how to use the gigantic .tbx file and the practical problems associated with that, Paul Filkin’s blog post What a whopper! is a fine place to do that.

If, however, you want to go directly to importing a suitable language pair, then if you’re lucky, Paul has already done the work for you. For 11 English <> [some other EU language], he provides (free of charge) the corresponding .tbx file, as well as for 7 other language combinations involving French, German, Italian, Polish, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese. Go to the blog post A few bilingual TBX resources and find out.

However, there are glitches in the IATE base material, and they are present also in Paul’s files. But they have been dealt with in the files that are provided by Henk Sanderson via his SanTrans site ( The problems, specified in detail by Henk, are these:

  • The handling of synonyms varies.
  • Context notes are sometimes inserted in the term itself.
  • There are a lot of HTML tags or formatting strings that mess up the term post.
  • Subjects are listed as numerical codes which are extremely problematic to interprete.
  • Some terms are in fact whole sentences, more appropriate for a TM than for a termbase.
  • There are numerous non-UTF-8 characters.
  • There are a lot of 1-, 2- and 3-letter words.

Henk has taken care of all this in the files he provides. They are not free, but very inexpensive: 10 euro for the first language pair, 7.50 for each additional pair. Order under the Contact & Comments tab at the SanTrans site. Included are very detailed and easy-to-follow instructions.

You will find all this illustrated in a pedagogical way in Paul Filkin’s blog post IATE, the last word… maybe!.

The SDL Language Cloud

This will be a long post…

With the cumulative update (CU) 6, on 5 August, the SDL BeGlobal Community was replaced by the SDL Language Cloud. It offers many more options and hence requires a sub-section of its own, which will be included in the upcoming update of the 2014 version of the manual. (Note, however, that this applies only to the 2014 version of Studio. Users of the 2011 and 2009 versions still have access to the BeGlobal Community but not to the Language Cloud.) The SDL Language Cloud gives you the following options:

  • Free access to the roughly same facilities as with the BeGlobal Community, only under another name. It is restricted to searching for 600,000 source text characters per month (more than for BeGlobal, where it was 4,000 words per day).
  • Basic access, at $10 per month, to 750,000 characters per month (extra characters at $20 per million), plus the option of using one dictionary (i.e. a dictionary for one language combination), where you can upload any number of your own suitable dictionaries. More on that below.
  • Advanced access, at $35 per month, to 2 million characters per month (extra characters at $30 per million), plus the option of using 2 dictionaries and 1 specially trained and industry-specific machine translation engine.
  • Expert access, at $75 per month, to 3 million characters per month (extra characters at $30 per million), plus the option of using 5 dictionaries and 2 specially trained and industry-specific machine translation engine.

You can try this out for free during 30 days. The trial includes 1 million characters, 3 dictionaries and 3 engines. For those who are familiar with API programming (I’m not), there is also the SDL Language Cloud Translation Toolkit (at https://langu­, which enables devel­opers to submit content for translation via the SDL Language Cloud translation platform.

Getting started

If you don’t have a Language Cloud account when you open Studio, you will be greeted with a Welcome to Language Cloud window. Click Next, log in, and then click Finish. This establishes your account with Language Cloud, and the 30 day free trial will be activated at the same time. Next, go to File > Language Cloud. The LC account summary will open in the right-hand pane, detailing the details of the trial option:

When the trial period is over, you will be requested to select a subscription option.

The SDL Language Cloud page

All manipulations of your Language Cloud account is done on the SDL Language Cloud page, which you reach via Studio: Go to File > Langu­age Cloud, then select the Manage Subscription button (or, as the case may be, the Upgrade your subscription button). You will be taken to your account page, showing your Current packages:

- Plans and pricing: If you want to see the different options (or select one of them), select the Pricing tab:

- Available languages: On this page there is also a link to a list of all available languages (you can find it direcly – without being logged in – at

- Customized package: If In addition, you can have a subscription package taylored to your specific needs: scroll down to the Need more? part:

As for the other tabs – Overview, API Documentation, and FAQ – I leave them for you to investigate.


A dictionary in the Lanugage Cloud is an empty container specifying source and target languages, and you then fill with content of your own. The difference between having those entries automatically looked up in a MultiTerm termbase and in a Language Cloud dictionary is that in the former case you will see the hit in an AutoSuggest list – and have to select it manually if you want to use it – whereas in the latter case it will be automatically inserted into the machine translated target segment.

- Add a dictionary: On the SDL Language Cloud page, go to the left-hand menu and select Translation Tools, then Dictionaries. The Diction­aries pane opens. If you haven’t created any dictionaries, you’re invited to do so. Otherwise, the pane looks like this:

Click the New Dictionary button. The Add a New Dictionary pane opens:

Fill in the fields and select languages, then Save. Now you can import content, or you can do it later. The Dictionaries pane will list the new dictionary (dictionaries).

- Import dictionary content: You can, at any time, import new content into your dictionaries. Go to the Dictionaries pane as described above. Click the Edit pen for the dictionary in question:

The Manage Dictionary pane opens:

Click the Import button and upload your dictionary file (must have a TBX or XML file extension, TBX being the XML-based standard for exchanging terminological data). Note that neither the Studio SDLTB nor the old MTW will not do, so you may need to open the dictionary in MultiTerm and export it to the appropriate format. (In the Upload file box which opens when you click Import, there is a link – Learn more – to Knowledge base entry #5267 with a video showing the full import process including how to export from MultiTerm.)

Note: To get the best results you should simply your termbase, making it one-to-one (synonyms are not handled intelligently in Language Cloud dictionaries). This dictionary function is at its best when you are using very specific terminologies, such as for brand guides.

In the same Manage Dictionary pane, your imports – successful and failed – will be listed in an Import History list.

- Search for dictionaries: On top of the Dictionaries pane (see above) there is a search field. It is used for searching for a particular dictionary. Why would you do that when even the Expert subscription only gives you 5 dictionaries? The answer is found further down on the pricing page: “Need more? Contact us to discuss packages and pricing.” If your needs are such that you handle 30 different dictionaries (or millions of words per day), there is a solution for that, too. And then the search function (plus the box for specifying how many hits per page you want) may come in handy.


An Engine is a more or less specialised application of machine translation. The one which is included in the free option is the same as before, in BeGlobal Community, which means a  general content TM for automatic translation much like Google Translate or Bing. For the paid options, there are specialised engines – currently, however, only with English as source. This is because so far, these are the only ones “trained” enough to give demonstrably better results than the standard ones. (I haven’t checked this myself.) The domains of specialisation are Automotive, Electronics, IT, Life Science, and Travel (not all of them are available for every language combination).

(The training of an engine – possible if you use BeGlobal Enterprise – requires statistically significant volumes of translation data, preferably more than half a million words per update. For an organisation doing a lot of translation this may be a worthwhile exercise, but it is hardly useful for the freelance translator.)

- Select engines: On the SDL Language Cloud page, go to the left-hand menu and select Translation Tools > Engines. Then click the engine(s) you need. Once you have saved your selections, you cannot change them until the next billing period – see below.

Billing period

To see your current billing period: On the SDL Language Cloud page, go to the left-hand menu and select Subscription. You can change between Auto-Renewal and manual renewal anytime you want. Just click the left-hand or right-hand part of the Auto-Renewal part here:

In this example, the Auto-Renewal option is on, and the wording “Active until” means that the subscription will be automatically renewed on the specified date. If the Auto-Renewal option is off, the corresponding wording will be “Expires on” (which is a lot more clear than “Active until”, I would say).

Current subscription status

You can always see the current status of your subscription (package type, how much you have used, etc.) on the Summary pane which opens when you select, in Studio, File > Language Cloud.

Menu items

The left-hand menu of the SDL Language Cloud page gives access to resources as follows:

Summary: The summary of your current subscription activities (see above) which is also shown in the Studio window via File > Translation Cloud.

Subscription: The Current Package / Available Packages pane (see above).

Translation Tools: Sub-items Dictionaries and Engines (see above).

Integrations: Sub-item API Keys; for the creation of API keys (for more information, select the API Documentation tab).

Analytics: Sub-items Machine Translation and Human Trans­lation; for reports on your usage of those features.

Profile: Sub-items User Information, Account Information, and Password.

Administration: Sub-items Account Balance, Billing Details, and Translation Limits.


Make sure to read Paul Filkin’s multifarious posting on this topic – particularly if you’re a 2011 user who has run into an error message telling you that you have exceeded the maximum number of words per day, even though you know you haven’t.

Error during Update from External Review

It’s not uncommon that the Update from External Review ends in error. This will happen if the review document was handled in Word 2003 or previous versions (even if the .docx format is retained), but it can happen for other reasons as well. However, this is often a solution:

  1. Open the problematic reviewed document in any version of Word and accept the changes as desired (if you haven’t already).
  2. Copy the thus changed reviewed target column.
  3. Insert the copy into the original review document and, as applicable, delete the extra right-hand column or accept all changes.
  4. Save the amended original review document and use that for the update process as above.

Suddenly the interface language is Chinese!

It has happened that a user opens Studio and, inexplicably, the interface language is Chinese! What to do when of course you cannot understand any of the commands? Here is how: click the highlighed button as shown below:

Then, in the new dialog box (below), click the downward arrow and select your language.

Click the OK button (which is in its usual place: second from the right). That’s all!




New page: OpenExchange overview

The OpenExchange concept is a brilliant idea, but navigating the OpenExchange site is a bit unwieldy. Hence my table at the Manual site, which presents all plugins/applications all at once; you can also sort them by clicking on the column headers. Links give direct access to the respective OpenExchange presentation page as well as to the respective developer.

Click on the header above (OpenExchange Overview) or here.

Printout only relevant web page content (not Studio-related – but useful!)

I don’t like reading long texts on screen. Also, I often need (or think I need) to save interesting and/or important stuff on paper.

But screen content is often cluttered with all sorts of irrelevant material. And sometimes also the layout makes direct printouts difficult to handle and read (e.g. the type size may be inordinately small on paper). One method to obtain nice printouts is to copy the relevant content and paste it into Word, whereupon you can edit it as you like. But this is not always easy; some web pages are very difficult to edit even in Word format.

However, there is a solution. At the click of a button, the Evernote Clearly application ( reformats the web page content to something which looks good on paper. ProZ discussions is a good example. This is how a discussion looks originally on-screen:

On several occasions, I have copied and pasted ProZ content into Word, but the convoluted table format makes it very difficult to achieve a good printout even so. With Evernote Clearly, this is what you see in your browser:


Obviously, this makes for a good printout. If you copy it into Word, the table layout is still there, but it’s relatively easy to re-format it as you like it.

Evernote Clearly is free and very easy to install and use. Its one drawback is that it only works with Google Chrome. It seems to work as expected on almost all occasions; only once did it happen that the selected content was not what I wanted. Good stuff!


Cumulative Update?

If you have the automatic update function activated (it is by default: check under File > Options and Automatic Updates in the left-hand pane), you would have been prompted to update a few days ago (or anytime after that if you bought Studio later). This would have given you the Cumulative Update 2, or CU2. So what does that mean? All the details are here:

but mainly it means that you can now update your Java plugin without risking problems in Studio (providing you use the 32-bit Java version). It also means “major enhancements to the new SDL Trados Studio Integration API”, which in turn means – I hope – that even more people will provide OpenExchange applications (for which we are always grateful).

One other notable improvement: “intermittent issues with legacy termbases requiring reorganization no longer occur”. Good to know.

Stepping between placeables – occasional problem

This is a function for inserting placeables/tags in the target text that I have come to appreciate very much: By pressing Ctrl+Alt+RightArrow/LeftArrow, you step between the placeables/tags in the source element, forwards or backwards; each placeable/tag is highlighted in turn. When you come to the correct one, you just press Enter to insert it. In a segment with many placeables/tags, this is really useful.

However, suddenly what happened when I used that command was that instead of the expected result, the screen was briefly blackened and then, when it showed again, it was rotated! Totally bizarre and not useful at all.

The problem, it appeared, was to do with the Intel Video programming, which had been reset following an update of its driver. The solution was to inactivate the Intel Video shortcuts: right-click the screen, select Graphics Options > Shortcuts > Inactivate.

Probably a seldom occurring issue, but it may be good to know what to do if you happen to be affected.

Creating a TM file from a Word table with source + target

Sometimes you have a Word document with source and target texts not in the usual Trados bilinugal format but simply as two columns in a table. Roger Sjölander’s nice macro handily transforms that table into a TM file in text format (but first make sure that the source is in the left-hand column). The macro is called Modul 1.bas, and you will find it here.

As with all .bas documents, you open the MS Visual Basic window (Alt + F11), open File > Import file and import the file in question.

If you want to assign a shortcut to it, here’s how (in case you do not remember):

Open Word’s Tools > Customize dialog. Click the Keyboard button. In the Categories list, click Macros. Select the macro in the list to the right. Enter the shortcut in the Press new shortcut key box, then click Assign then Close and Close again.

If you don’t use shortcuts, here’s how to run the macro:

Open the macro window (Alt + F8), go to the macro and click the Run button.

PS. If you receive a “5156 runtime error” message when you use the macro, it may be that you are trying to save the resulting file directly in the root catalogue (usually C:). Try moving it to a subdirectory (existing or new).

Copying “unselectable” screen texts is easy!

Have you got the widely spread FineReader from ABBYY? It is a tool used to extract text from PDF documents (and of course also for OCR-ing of paper documents; and similar tasks). If so, you may – like me – have missed that it includes a useful extra tool called the ABBYY Screenshot Reader, used for copying text in e.g. message boxes, file handlers and other places where you cannot just select the text and copy&paste it into Word or other places. It’s actually an excellent tool, very easy to use (and not particularly expensive either, if you don’t have FineReader – you can buy it separately at €9.95) and as I said, very useful. I’m sure that you, like me, many times have had occasion to copy by hand long texts in error messages – well, no more.

The latest version of FineReader is 11; I have version 10 and discovered that the Screenshot Reader is included there, too. All you have to do to check is select Start > All Programs > ABBYY FineReader, and if you have a recent enough version, this is what you see:


I suggest you place a shortcut icon in a corner of your screen so that it is easily available when you need it.

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