Sunday, 25 March 2012

Studio - Solve File Issues by Yourself

The complexity of all publishing and other text editors make a hard life for CAT developers who have to consider several functions of these softwares and many ways to work with them in order to propose a good conversion for translation. Users still use [hard return] to jump to the next line and you can imagine that other arts of unconventional use of these edition and publishing softwares will still be the source of problem when the time of the translation has come.
So, as a CAT-software user, consider these 2 sustainable ways to improve translation work: forward your information through the support department, forums or else about file issues, so that our tools can get more and more improved and learn to deal yourself with corrupted files: that the subject of this post.

File issues generally appear at two different stages in the computer assisted translation workflow: at the conversion stage during the project preparation and at the back conversion stage, when the translation has to be read in layout or sent to the customer.

An issue occuring at the conversion stage is generally not a severe problem: first because you will get an error message which means that the software development has already thought about a such case and tell you to try something else when not clearly explaining what you did wrong. Second, because it's often the beginning of your translation project, so you may have time to try a new conversion with other file type settings or with another tool if you don't find a way. If you took to much time, it's not too late to discuss about a new due date with your customer or to ask a colleague for help.

Relevant is when your xliff files have already been converted AND translated and you just have a few hours left before the deadline.

In such cases, consider following this troubleshooting method.

Step 1. Try to save the source text from your bilingual file. This first step will tell you if the problem you have is to search in the translated text (-> go to step 2), or if the conversion of the file was not proper (-> go to step 3).

Step 2. There are 2 main reasons to explain an error in the translated text:
- a relevant tag has been forgotten in one or more segments,
- an "invalid" character has been inserted in one or more segments.

-> Run first the QA-Checker to check the tags. Omitted or added formatting tags are generally not a problem, so consider first the other ones like bookmarks or variables.
-> If there's no tag error, you'll have to find the problematic segment(s), and then the problematic character(s) by yourself...

Step 3. If the problem lies in the file conversion, you'll have to prepare your file again.
-> prepare the same file with other file type settings and check if you can save the source text from the resulting bilingual file.
-> if no other settings help, you will have to find which part of the document is causing the problem... this is certainly time to contact your support department. If you prefer to solve it yourself, consider erasing parts of the native file before testing the conversion, particularly special objects like tables, pictures, variable... but this way could be very time-consuming.