SDL Trados Studio 2014: new features for beginners

Studio 2014 iconAfter many months of teasers, hints and glimpses, SDL Trados Studio 2014 is finally out! I’ve really enjoyed taking part in the beta testing phase, where a group of keen users work side by side with the developers to try out new features, identify bugs and discuss the changes. There are too many features to cover in a single blog post, so I thought I would look at some that will be useful for beginners here, and then follow up with another post on new features that may interest intermediate and advanced users.

In this post I’ll look at:

In my follow-up post I’ll cover:

    • OpenExchange apps
    • Compatibility with previous versions
    • File analysis
    • Locked segments
    • Display filter
    • Comments
    • Getting up to speed
    • QuickMerge

Let’s make a start.

The Ribbon

This is big news for beginners. The ribbon sorts everything you need in Studio into tabs. The tabs that are displayed will vary depending which view you’re in. In the Editor View you’ll see tabs called File, Home, Review, Advanced, View, Add-Ins and Help.

home tab in the editor

font adaptationIt’s much more intuitive than before. Now, when you’re looking for a zoom button, you’ll naturally go to the View Tab and spot the font adaptation icons on the far right. Click on one of the icons to increase or decrease font size, or click the dialog box launcher (little arrow in the bottom right-hand corner, also known as “dinky”) to open up the full options for font adaptation.

project settingsWith the ribbon it’s almost impossible to get confused between general Studio settings and project-specific  settings. To change your general settings, go to File Tab>Options. To change project settings, just click on the huge “Project Settings” icon under the Home Tab. Make sure you’re in the right project by checking the project name at the top of the screen. Project name

The Help Tab is displayed in all Studio views. Not only does it contain the usual help topics (F1) but it also has some excellent links to take you straight to your SDL account, Knowledge Base articles, video tutorials and even to Paul Filkin’s blog. (I do wish it had been labelled “Multifarious” and not just a boring-sounding “Studio Blog”.) Anyway, labels apart, at last no one can complain that SDL’s help is hard to find.

help tab

Welcome View

When starting up Studio for the very first time, a complete newbie gets immediate help here. Click on the “Getting Started” tab to access specific video tutorials and learn how to open a single file for translation, set up a new project or get started with Multiterm. If you’re upgrading from Trados 2007, go to the “More Resources” tab and check out the Migration Guide (it’s got an excellent section on working on TTX files in Studio).

Welcome View


Studio now automatically backs up your SDLXLIFF file (the one you see in the Editor view). It’s enabled by default. To disable it or change the saving interval (every 10 minutes by default) go to File Tab>Options>Editor. This is useful to fall back on if your computer crashes unexpectedly.

User ID
Old_new user ID
How can I change my user ID in a Translation Memory? That used to be a common question on user forums. And the answer was, you couldn’t. Studio used to simply apply your Windows username, which wasn’t what I would have chosen to share in a TM. Now, you can set your user ID when you launch Studio the very first time, or later by going to File Tab>Setup>Users.

User ID

Drag and drop 

You can now simply drag and drop a file into the Studio Editor window to start translating, or add it to an existing project (source file view) using drag and drop. I often have Windows Explorer open on a second monitor, so dragging the file over into a Studio project saves quite a few clicks. If you drop the file into your target file list by mistake, Studio will ask you if you want to add the file to your source file list or keep it for reference.

And, by the way, if you use the old method of clicking “Add files” instead of Drag and Drop and you’re in the target file view by mistake, Studio will now switch to the source file list without even asking. Cool.


If you’ve got past translations in separate source/target files, you can now align them with the new SDL Alignment Tool. From the Welcome View, click the “Align Documents” icon under the Home Tab.



  • The tool accepts just about every single file format you can think of.
  • It’s fast and easy.
  • The output format is a TM ready to use in Studio.
  • You can do minor editing afterwards in the TM window.


  • You can’t edit it before the alignment is exported so unless your original files are formatted exactly the same, the results may be disappointing. I’m sure it won’t be long before SDL comes up with an editing feature for the alignment tool. In the meantime, I’m using András Farkas’ LF Aligner.


A concordance search is still triggered by highlighting a term in the source or target and clicking F3. But now, concordance is also automatically performed on a whole segment when no matches are found in your TM. This is a great improvement and I’ve found it offers lots of meaningful results.

To copy and paste concordance results, you can easily jump to the concordance search window using Ctrl+Tab. If you use project and main TMs, make sure that “Search both project and main translation memories” is enabled in Project Settings>Language Pairs>Translation Memory and Automated Translation>Search.

search project and main TMs

I hope this post helps newish users decide whether they want to upgrade to the new Studio 2014 and encourage complete beginners to take the plunge. Stay tuned for the follow-up post on new features for intermediate/advanced users and in the meantime keep track of #Studio2014 on Twitter for other translators’ views.

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50 Responses to SDL Trados Studio 2014: new features for beginners

  1. paulfilkin says:

    Very nice introductory blog Emma… I’m looking forward to the rest of your series. What’s interesting for me is that I wasn’t that convinced on the usefulness of the drag and drop but you convinced me!

  2. EmilyLouisa says:

    Just when I finally feel like I know all the in’s and out’s of the latest Trados software, SDL comes out with a new program 🙂 Great post Emma, just one question for you, if I decide to purchase Studio 2014, will it be completely compatible with Studio 2011, i.e. are all of the file extensions the same?

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  4. Adrian Urban says:

    Great post! Thank you Emma! I really look forward to reading the next one on Studio!

  5. James Crawford says:

    Thanks for your pointer to LF Align. Looks like proper software. I upgraded to Studio 2014 mostly with a view to using the improved alignment process but I can’t see how to realign misaligned segments. Am I missing something really obvious? It wouldn’t be the first time!

    • Hi James. There are two possibilities to edit alignment results.
      1. Open the .sdltm in the Translation Memories window and edit the segments there.
      2. Set up a Studio project with the new TM and the source document for translation. Then, in the Editor window you can edit the segments more easily.
      However, neither method will be any good if the initial alignment result is very poor. I’ve seen some pretty decent alignments and several fairly disastrous ones using the new tool, which is why I’m hoping some sort of pre-editing function will be brought in soon.

      • James Crawford says:

        It’s hard to believe that a new tool could offer less functionality than the one it replaces, especially when the old tool was such a dog. I’ve used Studio 2014 today to do a relatively simple alignment and have ended up with lots of misaligned segments, and there’s really no way to correct that using Studio 2014. So, it looks like I’ll be using LF Align in that case. I wonder if SDL will give me my money back. They seem to have twenty people working on marketing for every person producing software.

        • I personally wouldn’t return Studio 2014 just because of problems with the alignment tool. There are so many other new features (I love the ribbon in particular;)) that make it worthwhile. Going backwards isn’t an option for me.

          • James Crawford says:

            I’m glad the upgrade delivers for you, but the ribbon doesn’t add any value for me. I still can’t believe the alignment function is what it is. What I’ve done is buy a pig in a poke.

        • EmilyLouisa says:

          I completely agree with you James, the alignment tool is a big big disappointment, it’s as if they didn’t even consult with translators before developing it… But at least now we can change the user ID 🙂

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  10. Frederique says:

    Thank you for your smart blog, Emma. I still dit not find how to integrate a new app from OpenExchange next to the existing ones. Download worked, the application works too but I can’t get the logo on the Studio 2014 Welcome page. Maybe something for your next blog?

    • Thanks for your comment and kind words, Frederique. Yes, a blog post on OpenExchange apps and Studio 2014 is a good idea.
      In the meantime, to transfer plug-ins (i.e. apps that work inside Studio) from 2011 to 2014, most will simply work by closing Studio and then copying the plug-in from here:
      C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Local\SDL\SDL Trados Studio\10\Plugins\Packages
      to here:
      C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Local\SDL\SDL Trados Studio\11\Plugins\Packages
      In the case of standalone apps (e.g. TM Convert), you can install Menu Maker from the Open Exchange to customise the Welcome view by adding apps and other programs too.

      Edited to add:
      Here’s the post on the subject of OpenExchange apps and Studio 2014:

  11. zoealegre says:

    Thank you, Emma, particularly for the hint about LF Aligner. That is going to be huge. Like some other posters, what I was most excited about in 2014 was the alignment tool, but I find it rather clunky sometimes (not being able to move segments around, to join or merge segments, etc.). I really love the way the LF Aligner looks. What a wonderful resource!

    • Thanks for your comment, Zoe. LF Aligner is useful indeed.

      • Ines says:

        Thank you for your LF Aligner hint. It’s really a lot better than any Trados alignment tool. I wish I had known it before 😉

        • Hi Ines,
          Yes, I find the LF Aligner better than the Studio one too. Studio alignment now has editing options, which is great, but in my opinion it needs more polishing.

  12. Djino says:

    Thank you Emma. The new Alignment tool seems to be the decision of an overconfident developer to hide intermediary steps of the alignment process or of somebody eager to delete from the application everything that reminds us of the original Trados application (before the SDL era). Until those intermediary steps are revealed again, we will use other tools including WinAlign in Studio 2013.

  13. Hollie Duquemin says:

    Thanks for a really informative post Emma. I recently attended one of your webinars at the Proz virtual conference which was also incredibly helpful. Keep up the good work!

  14. Pablo says:

    Thank you for your useful post.

    I’m a long time user of Dragon (DNS) and worked fine with Word and Trados 2007. Studio 2014 doesn`t support Dragon, but I have read over there in the web that there is a way to make both programs work concurrently (it’s also your experience I think). I have tried some tips so far but with no avail. Could you explain me how to make them work together? Even if the capabilities are limited, I would be happy enough if I can dictate in the Studio grid instead of in a dictation window (slows down the translation process). Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Pablo, I’m not sure if I can help because Dragon works seamlessly for me in Studio 2014. As far as I understand, it works in any Windows-based program. I only have Dragon Preferred version 10.0, so I’m a bit out of date. After dictating the segment, I can say “Press control+enter” to confirm and move to the next segment.
      I use “dictation mode” or “normal mode” and Dragon sometimes displays the message “dictating to a non-standard window” when I speak, but that’s the only warning sign I see.
      So I’m not sure what to suggest. Dragon is definitely compatible with Studio 2014.

  15. Pablo says:

    Hi Emma, thank you for your prompt answer. Lucky you!. DNS doesn`t work for me on Studio 2014, It doesn`t get a single word on the Studio 2014 grid.

    Based on my experience DNS doesn`t work in any Windows-based program but only in some of them (it doesn´t work on Tag Editor, Power Point, Excel, some email programs, etc). I don´t know if it has to do with the DNS versión. I have nr. 12.5 installed on my desktop but still nr. 9 on my laptop, so I will try there. By the way I work in a Windos 7 Pro 32bits environment if this may something to do with the problem.

    Nora Diaz suggested in Proz (you gave your opinion there too) “uncheck the “Use dictation window for incompatible applications” in DNS if you want your dictation to appear directly in Studio and not in a separate dictation window.” (she uses DNS 12.5) but this tip doesn`t work for me either. So I will keep on with my inquiry on the web.

    Thank you anyway for trying!

    Kind regards


  16. Agata says:

    Hello Emma,

    Thank you for your previous useful tips. Now, I have a problem with SDL Studio 2014, as it refuses to display the preview of a Word document with a message saying “Real-time preview is not supported by the Microsft Word version you are running” (I use Windows 8 (64 bit) and MS Office 2013). Is that true and should I give up trying to conjure a preview, or is there any solution to this issue?


  17. Lucienne Parsons says:

    Hi Emma, I received a project in SDL studio 2014 without a TM. I created one. I saved my translation, but now I cannot create a Return Package (the function is not accessible). Please could you suggest a solution for this. Many thanks in anticipation. Lucienne

    • Hi Lucienne,
      It sounds as if you didn’t receive a package. If that’s the case, then you won’t be able to create a return package. It shouldn’t matter too much. If I were you I’d just send your client the sdlxliff file and target translation and explain the situation.
      Hope that helps,

  18. Lucienne Parsons says:

    Dear, dear Emma, you are so precious. Thank you so much once again for your prompt reply and explanation. It puts an end to my “torture” trying to work out why I cannot crack my problems with Studio. Lucienne

  19. Matt says:

    Respect for your work and articles. However, does sdl pay you? (just joking)
    Lets face it, trados is not a good translation tool. it is unstable, buggy, too complicated and unfriendly, it always has been. memoq has surpassed it long ago and even opens sdl packages and creates return packages. it is a bad coincidence that sdl has such a major position in the industry. this is of course just an opinion and everyone is free to use what suits them, but this sdl enthusiasm really striked me.

    • Hi Matt. Thanks for your comment. Some translators hate a CAT tool so much that they use a lot of energy protesting about it. I prefer to write about the CAT tool that I enjoy using. There are many good ones out there and it sounds as if you’ve chosen a different one. That’s fine by me!

  20. Pat says:

    I just wanted to make the text bigger on my screen in Trados Studio, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. With this blog I found quickly how to do it. Thank you, Emma.

  21. Renato Colonna Rosman says:

    Dear Emma Goldsmith,

    How are you? Your blog is very useful.

    I am a Brazilian Chemist Translator, who translates Patents about Chemistry, Biotechnology and Pharmaceutics (from English to Brazilian-Portuguese) for some Brazilian Intellectual Property Agencies and an American Patent Translation Corporation.

    I never used the software SDL Trados. I would like to purchase the SDL Trados Studio 2014. What version would be more suitable for me (as an individual human translator): the “SDL Trados Studio 2014 Professional” or the “SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance”?

    What SDL Trados Studio 2014 version do you use?

    The SDL’s comparison table shows that the SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance does not have the tools: 1)”AutoSuggest – Create”, only as an Add-on;. 2)”Customizable tasks”; 3) “Create SDL Packages”; 4)”Email SDL Packages”; and 5)”Works on company networks (Domain based)”..

    About the “AutoSuggest – Create”, as an Add-on (in SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance), should it be purchased or it is downloaded?

    I suppose that the version “SDL Trados Studio 2014 Professional” is designed for Translation Agencies and not for individual human translators because it has the tools “Create SDL Packages”; “Email SDL Packages”; and “Works on company networks (Domain based)” that certainly are not necessary for individual human translators.

    Thank you very much for your kind attention.
    Renato Colonna Rosman
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    • Hi Renato.
      I recommend the Freelance version for the reasons you mention. Getting AutoSuggest is a good idea. It’s a separate license, with nothing extra to download. Freelance is also limited to 5 main languages (so Portuguese, for example, would include all its variants and count as one language), and is usually enough for individual use.
      I wouldn’t recommend the Starter version personally, but other translators have found it a good way to start.
      It’s worth checking out the Group Buy page because you can get up to 40% off and sometimes the offer includes Autosuggest. If the current offer is full, another will come along, often within a month or so.
      Hope that helps,

  22. Renato Colonna Rosman says:

    Dear Emma Goldsmith

    How are you? Thank you very much for your advice.
    I bought the SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance including the AutoSuggest Creator Add-on.
    I am learning slowly how to use SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance. Until now I have translated Patents using MS Word (using my very big English-Portuguese Glossary), and a Computer-Aided Translation Software (to work for a USA Patent Translation Corporation) that is much more simple than SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance.

    Trados will certainly improve my translation productivity when working for Brazilian Intellectual Property Agencies.

    I would like to transform my very big English-Portuguese Glossary (a MS Word document) into a Dictionary that could be used by SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance. I read the methods to obtain the Dictionary, I could use SDL MultiTerm or AutoSuggest, but first it would be necessary to convert all my very big MS Word English-Portuguese document glossary into an Excell file, for example.

    Do you have an advice about how to obtain a Trado’s Dictionary using a more simple method? Or what method would be better: SDL MultiTerm or AutoSuggest?

    When I obtain the Trado’s Dictionary, could I insert, correct or delete a word pair or expression pair (English-Portuguese) directly in the Trado’s Dictionary?

    Thank you very much for your kind attention


  23. Renato Colonna Rosman says:

    Dear Emma

    Thank you for your advice.

    I have a problem when using SDL MultiTerm 2014,
    I created my first Termbase file for English and Portuguese.
    The Subject has the Picklist Type with several Picklist Values (General, Chemistry, Medicine etc)

    The Termbase file is selected and it’s name is shown on the top of SDL MultiTerm 2014 window.
    When I click on TERMS, I see only the Current Tab as a Blank Page.
    When I click on Add New (term), it is opened a new Blank Tab.

    Do you have any idea how to solve this problem?

    Thank you for your kind attention.

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  28. Hi everyone,

    Comments on this post are now closed. If you need help with Studio issues, I recommend the Studio User group on Yahoo Groups or the SDL Trados support forum on ProZ.

    If you’d like my advice about solving specific Studio issues or personal guidance as you start out with Studio, please click the contact tab above to arrange a consultancy session.


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