As some of you will know, I am the Product Director for SDL Trados Studio and I have been leading the development and innovation of Studio for over 10 years and six major releases later (in fact, I started much earlier than this and also helped with Studio’s predecessor, TRADOS Translator’s Workbench – but that’s a different story for a different blog ).
With my personal translation background (I’m a linguist at heart), I have worked very closely to collaborate with our engineering & development teams over many years to develop a professional CAT tool for our community.
Having said that, a constant stream of feedback by many users has always been that Studio, over the years, has become quite a comprehensive tool with many features. While most users appreciate the richness and flexibility of being able to fine-tune Studio to their needs, others say that it’s a bit hard to learn, discover and make full use of all this functionality and that it often takes a large amount of clicks to get to a certain option or setting.
In fact, if we count all the settings and commands that Studio 2019 has to offer now, we come up with a quite amazing number: today, Studio has no less than 700 commands and approximately 1300 settings! These range from basic commands for, say, creating a new project or a translation memory, to very sophisticated settings for handling file type intricacies in Microsoft or Adobe products. For sure, it’s great that Studio has become so flexible and powerful. At the same time, I can understand that some users claim that it can be hard to discover and get confident in mastering all this richness.
As a matter of fact, Studio is not unlike comparable software products in other industries in this regard. If you look at tools like Adobe InDesign for publishing, Microsoft Visual Studio for developers or – not least – Microsoft Word for authoring documents, all of them have a certain complexity in common that has grown over the years. Even when I look at my phones – I have an iPhone for work and an Android phone at home – their operating systems have become very extensive with a stunning amount of settings and commands.
With this in mind, wouldn’t it be great if users were able to instant access to all the commands and settings in their software? But not only that, wouldn’t it be great if users were able to search for anything in the software and directly access it?
A unique experience for CAT tools
Enter “Tell Me” technology in SDL Trados Studio 2019. This has first been seen in Microsoft Office 2016 (and is also available in similar shape in Microsoft Visual Studio or even, at least to some extent, Adobe InDesign). Basically, it works like this: the user opens a text box, types what they are looking for, and can then directly access the corresponding setting or command. So rather than having to search for a certain button on a ribbon, taking potentially lots of clicking until you find it, you can just type the search string into a box and then go to the command instantly.
We thought that a similar command would just be great in SDL Trados Studio – a first in our industry! Why did we move so fast on this? Well, we have often seen that it can be tiresome for users to click six or seven times until they reach a setting in the Microsoft PowerPoint file type, for example. Or setting up connections to SDL Trados GroupShare servers – the corresponding command is reasonably easy to find under File – Setup – Servers, but it takes four or five clicks until you get there.
With Tell Me, this has become much easier with the new Tell me what you want to do box (Available from the top right corner in Studio or press Alt+Q).
As an example, let’s say you type “serv”. This will then list the Servers command as a hit. One click and you can directly go to the dialog box and change settings as you wish.
For me personally, this finally means instant access to often used settings which can be well “buried” in the depths of Studio. For instance, I often need to change the “Notes” setting in the Microsoft PowerPoint file type. Now, I can just type “Notes” into the Tell Me box and directly access the setting before creating my PowerPoint project. There are many more examples like this.
In fact, I have so much fun with this new feature that I find myself trying to avoid the well-known File – Options dialog box in Studio, with its many settings trees, whenever I can. Rather, I try to think of a search term to access a command or setting directly. It’s then so much fun to see the corresponding dialog box pop up instantly!
As I mentioned at the beginning, one of our constant concerns and driving forces is to come up with new ways of making our users more productive, as this is what we know is one of the most important, if not the most important, success factors in our industry. Tell Me does exactly that – it not only helps new users discover Studio’s rich functionality and over time get more and more confident with it. It also helps power users to change settings and execute commands faster, making everyone more productive in their daily routines.
I can only encourage everyone to play with and – not least – enjoy Tell Me! Watch this short video to see Tell Me in action – I think you will love it.
Look out for my next blog on Tell Me, were I will deep dive into Tell Me and some of the lesser-known aspects, which can benefit you when you are translating with SDL Trados Studio 2019.