One of the major complaints of many SDL Studio users is the lack of a "simple" terminology management module. MultiTerm, Studio’s terminology management environment, is a full-fledged terminology management module, but not everyone needs all the functionality it offers and some would have preferred a more simple and straightforward workflow that better suits their more modest terminology management needs.
Furthermore, MultiTerm’s traditional workflow can be a little daunting at first. Creating, importing, or exporting a termbase (the file storing all the terminology information) are not necessarily as most intuitive and straightforward as some would have preferred. And if that wasn’t enough, while Studio’s Editor environment enables the user to add and edit terms in a termbase that was added to a project, the termbase itself must first be created in MultiTerm, which is and external software package to SDL Studio. This adds another layer of confusion about how SDL Studio and MultiTerm interact with one another.
In this article I want to discuss how two Studio 2014 Open Exchange apps (for accuracy, one of them is a actually a plugin) simplify the terminology preparation and exchange workflows, and why I think their significance to the Studio ecosystem is larger than the sum of their parts.
Enter the Glossary Converter Open Exchange app
The Glossary Converter Open Exchange app (please note that version 3.1 of the Glossary Converter is currently a special edition to raise donations for the St Wilfrid’s Centre, Sheffield and will become freeware again in October, 2014) by Gerhard Kordmann is a great little app that makes terminology information conversion between commonly used file formats as easy as drag-and-drop.
It is that good that since its release whenever I am approached with a technical question about handling terminology, my automatic reply is "download the Glossary Converter app". Whatever your terminology management trouble is, chances are that the Glossary Converter app can solve it.
Moreover, the glossary converter can convert bilingual Excel worksheets and CSV files into the Translation Memory eXchange (TMX) file format; or in other words, into a Translation Memory. Extremely useful.
Because the purpose of the article is to discuss the "bigger picture", I will not go into details about how to use the Glossary Converter app.
To learn more about the Glossary Converter app and see it in action, watch Paul Filkin’s video below. In the video Paul demonstrates how to use the Glossary Converter app and covers all the information a user needs to know about it.
Still, one issue remains. The Glossary Converter is an external app and there is no way to interact with it directly from SDL Studio.
Enter the Glossary Plugin
Gerhard Kordmann, the developer of the Glossary Converter app, has also developed a plugin that adds that missing functionality and enables direct interaction with the Glossary Converter app from the Projects view of SDL Studio.
Paul Filkin has made another great video that demonstrates where to find the Glossary Plugin ribbon group in Studio and how to work with it, so take it from here Paul:
While technically the Glossary Converter is still a separate software package, it is far less distracting than having to open MultiTerm itself, and its small size and intuitive interface make it very similar to any other typical software dialog window (project creations, settings, etc.) that users are accustomed too, and therefore it almost feels like an integral part of Studio.
While not being a fully standalone replacement for MultiTerm, for most practical purposes the Glossary Converter and Glossary Plugin form together what could be considered as the missing link between the traditional and "complicated" MultiTerm-centric workflow and a more simple, straightforward, and seamless workflow – that while still dependent on MultiTerm in its core – also makes it almost transparent to the user.
In my opinion, this is what makes the Glossary Converter and the Glossary Plugin tandem for Studio 2014 greater than the sum of its parts. Together they introduce a new, simplified, and seamless terminology creation and exchange workflow that did not exist before in the Studio universe, and from which – I would venture a guess – most individual Studio users can benefit greatly.
Together, the Glossary Converter and the Glossary Plugin are are a must have addons for any Studio 2014 user.
The only concerns that I have are about fragmentation and cease of development.
At the time of this writing there is no way to automatically update the Open Exchange apps While there is currently no way to automatically update the Open eXchange apps, the Glossary Converter app does check for updates on startup and notifies the user when a new version is available. This will reduce fragmentation, i.e. different users running different versions – some possibly quite outdated, but much like manual backups and any other repetitive background process that requires the user’s attention and intervention, manual updates probably rank somewhere near the bottom of the user’s daily priority list and could easily get skipped. Unlike other processes and workflows in life that some insist to automate for no real reason, this is exactly the type of process the benefits from automation and I would like to see some kind of automatic updates system the Open eXchange apps being introduced in the future.
As far as cease of development goes, this is always a risk, and due to the reasons I’ve outlined above, in the future I would like to see SDL getting the rights to these two addons and implementing this functionality in Studio as a standard (and supported) feature.