Trados Studio 2022
An Accelerated Journey to The Cloud

By Óscar Curros

What’s Trados but a desktop program? That’s the thought that comes to my mind when I recall my experience as a freelance user. After all, desktop has been the main platform offered by RWS to the 270,000 translators using the Studio version worldwide.

However, the 2022 version comes with a revamp of the whole product portfolio around the cloud. Not just Trados Studio, mostly addressed at freelancers, but also Trados Team and Trados Enterprise.

One of this release’s key features is better synchronization between the traditional desktop applications and the cloud platform. The online editor is improved with over 330 developments. This makes it easier to choose between working with the desktop workbench, the online editor, or a mix of both.

It was about time. We had been dealing with desktop-related problems and limitations at the translator’s end since the software ran as a workbench in Word.

Does this mean that RWS is listening to customer feedback when crafting this release? Let’s see what their new motto for Studio, “Designed for you,” really means.

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A customer-centric approach

RWS recently received feedback from users who wanted to store their resources in the cloud for better backup and security. Was this an issue? It was, indeed, judging from my own pain. 

In July 2021, one of my Trados memories stopped working suddenly. I was finishing a project, and I needed that resource to assure quality and meet the deadline. Fortunately, I had a maintenance agreement, and the support team repaired the issue in just 24 hours.

The IT officer told me the problem could have resulted from storing that memory on another company’s cloud. I considered moving it to RWS’ cloud, then known as Trados Live Essential, to avoid future malfunctions. However, the subscription was free for only one year for perpetual license holders. I didn’t want to add extra costs after that period.

Thankfully, RWS has now made the cloud subscription permanently free for all supported versions of Trados Studio, including Studio 2021.

This is the company’s response to the demand above. Its vision is to bring together all stakeholders onto one platform, integrating it with Trados Studio at all touch points — project creation, translation, review, and final delivery. 

In other words, it provides individuals with free access to the cloud, so they can get acquainted with it and better interact with teams and companies using networked versions of its platform. This may lead to a friction reduction in the supply chain, process streamlining, and productivity increases for the industry.

For instance, there’s no need to follow export and import steps for TMs and termbases anymore. Brand new migration wizards allow users to move their resources to the cloud in easier ways. They can even upload them in batches, specifying whether multiple TMs or termbases should be merged into one or retained separately.

Another frequent user demand is support for as many file types as possible. RWS has added two new ones to the 50+ already supported. This allows translators to accept a wider scope of work. Their Multilingual Excel file type app for handling multilingual worksheets enables translators to accept projects from the gaming industry, as well as the new Microsoft .NET libraries, which allow them to work with binary software localization.

Figure 1: Easy migration of local resources to the cloud

The agile cloud

The 2022 Trados release arrives at the usual time, a two-year cycle. However, some may think the production period is shorter because the previous version was named Trados 2021. That one, however, was launched in August 2020. The current release could’ve been named Trados 2023 to follow the same logic, but RWS’ choice was to match the release year with the product name.

RWS has assured MultiLingual that it has no plans to change the release cycle. It has also said that it will tell its customers with plenty of time in advance about any significant change to its release strategy.

The Trados team follows an agile development mindset. It delivers regular cumulative updates and service releases to Trados Studio and MultiTerm. It also releases updates to the cloud at an accelerated pace — nearly every two weeks.

Fig 2: Easy migration of local resources to the cloud in batch uploads

Fig 3: Resources can be merged or retained separately

Workbench memories

I started using Trados in 2007 after moving to Brazil with a BA in Journalism and a writing background. Due to the demand for Spanish translations, I became a freelance technical translator with expertise in communications.

Since most of my professional experience was related to newswriting, I felt it would be good to learn more about the translation and localization industry. That’s why I applied for an in-house job as a Spanish translator and reviser for a large Brazilian translation agency in Sao Paulo. This is where I first came across MultiLingual magazine, just short of celebrating its 100th edition in 2008. The company owners were subscribers of the print edition and showcased it at the headquarters’ hall.

When I started at the agency, we used Workbench, then an SDL product, within Microsoft Word. The tool segmented the source text and offered a space to translate it right below. For other file types, there was TagEditor. 

Looking back, I can see how cloud integration may make our lives as independent translators easier. When I was working in person, I shared a room with other Spanish and Portuguese translators. Our computers had a networked version of Trados installed. This way, changes made by any team member were added to the general TM seamlessly. However, when working remotely, memories were shared as email attachments that we had to save on our desktop, import to our local app, use, export, and send back by email again. It was difficult to keep track of the versions, and we had to call the agency’s support when there was any technical issue.

Fig 4: The Trados online editor

Figure 5: Multilingual Excel

Figure 6: Multilingual Excel includes a real-time preview

Bugs were frequent, by the way. Trados would get blocked so often that my Brazilian colleagues gave it the nickname “Trabos” (a play on words with the Portuguese verb “trabar,” meaning to block).

SDL Trados Studio 2009 and later releases brought more stability by providing a proprietary translation environment, independent from Word. With it came the side-by-side view that we got used to (although the online editor now allows users to switch it back to up/bottom). The first Studio versions were a hit in Brazil, where some translation agencies acted as resellers and organized live presentations at hotel venues for translators.

Studio also offered better integration with MultiTerm and other apps. Talking about terminology, I can remember the classic Excel glossaries in a shared folder. The project manager was zealous in revising suggested terms before incorporating them into the general list. That was because, once added, it would be difficult to undo any possible mistakes. That’s quite different from today’s systematic termbases, with their historical records and their high capacity to relate data.

Let’s get back to Trados Studio 2022. Since Trados is a complex portfolio of products, we’ll start with the Freelancer Studio version for desktop. Afterward, we’ll comment on the connection to the cloud and the added functionalities aimed at the rest of the supply chain.

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The desktop hasn’t died (yet)

As a Trados freelance user myself, I have a Level-Two Support and Maintenance Agreement, which means that I pay a yearly tax to have my back covered in case of technical problems. This is fundamental for me, because Trados has always been like a fortress if you try to get support for free. You’ll have to bring down the gate. That’s if you’re able to cross the moat! 

The agreement also entitles me to receive any new Trados and MultiTerm releases at no extra cost during the contracted period. This is an RWS tactic to foment customer loyalty. From the user’s perspective, it adds one extra layer of reliability. In an industry where projects are usually urgent, we need fast responses. It’s also important to have the latest versions to take full advantage of the platform’s features.

If you aren’t a Trados license owner, you can still request a free 30-day trial at RWS’ website. Please note that you need to register, and the trial doesn’t include access to non-native RWS products and services, such as Language Weaver, MultiTerm, or apps from the RWS AppStore.

If you are into official Trados education and certification, you can find more information here. You can also surf the Trados website for beginner guides, webinars, and other resources.

In my case, the way to get my updates is logging into my profile at RWS’ website. Both Studio and MultiTerm licenses come with their respective installation guides and detailed release notes. Note the remark addressed at users of Professional Networked Licenses, who will need to upgrade their License Server Manager to version 17.

Once opened, the Trados Studio 2022 interface looks quite like the previous version. The sample project that comes with the download shows several types of Microsoft Office files and details about them (words, file status, progress, and so on). A couple of info columns are related to networking capabilities: the path for Trados GroupShare and Cloud Tasks.

The Editor also looks like previous versions. The terminology resources are integrated into this interface, but the user can also open MultiTerm as a separate application. Most of Studio’s workspace areas can be customized and resized.

Yet there’s a brand-new Manager View you can activate. It’s a beta version that allows you to see both projects and files simultaneously. Activating or deactivating that view may require the program to be restarted. 

Once you’ve turned it on, it may seem that nothing has changed. The first time, I thought it hadn’t worked. It took me a while to look for anything different across the screen. Then I noticed a new tab on the left side, between “Welcome” and “Projects,” named “Manager (Beta).”

This feature gives a clearer picture of how the files are organized within the project (see figure 8). Compared to the classic view, this view allows a project manager to see the source files, as well as the evolution of the target files for all the project’s languages, at once. Just click the “+” at the left of each language’s name, and the corresponding files will be shown.

RWS is asking users for feedback on this feature. You can send it directly from a box on the left side of the interface.

Compare it to the classic view, in which you can see either the source or the target language(s), one at a time. To do so, you have to choose them from a drop-down menu associated with the Files tab.

This is as far as Studio gets. If you’re looking for a robust management solution, you can check Trados Business Manager. RWS has recently revamped it and offers an Essential version for individuals — focusing on client invoicing, quoting, and reporting — and another one for groups, integrated with Trados Studio, Trados GroupShare, and Trados Team, aimed at end-to-end management of translation jobs. Both allow for free trials.

Now, let’s take off to the cloud. All you need to get there is logging in on the top right side of the Studio desktop app. You’ll need to own an RWS account for that since this service is always an integral part of a subscription license.

Figure 7: Trados Studio 2022 cloud interface

Figure 8: New manager view (Beta)

Exploring the cloud

Once in the cloud, you’ll see a dashboard where you can add customers. The recommendation is that you do this first to organize your resources and projects more effectively. There are tabs for Projects and Terminology, among other features.

If you are a beginner, you can press the button available on the Get Started box of the interface. It will take you to a useful how-to video. As the footnote informs, it’s still an SDL production referring to Trados Studio 2021. They still call the service Trados Live, which is the former name of the cloud subscription. 

You can even create your new projects on the cloud and use the desktop as your working interface. The latter is still more complete than the online editor. Just take your time to analyze any security concerns and check the compliance with data protection legislation you’re subject to before uploading your files. For instance, you must comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if you send to the cloud any personal data of people in the EU, no matter where in the world you’re based.

New horizons

When we look at the current connected landscape, Trados Studio 2022 is not just a desktop tool anymore. The cloud has shaped new online capabilities, such as the browser-based online editor. Yet the cloud hasn’t killed the desktop star. It’s still rocking. 

RWS is now focused on keeping the flow from the desktop to the cloud and back to Studio as seamless as possible. This is a challenging task. Mostly it comes to work flowing through the supply chain. 

An example of this is the new real-time notification feature in Trados Studio. Whenever a cloud task is assigned to a linguist, Studio will show a notification right within its user interface, allowing the linguist to pick it up right away. RWS’ aim is to make such flows as fluid as possible and enhance them over time.

Their vision is to be the backbone of the translation industry. To this end, they’re working on multiple integration points for partners and third parties. 

Óscar Curros is a journalist, translator, and writer for MultiLingual Media.

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