How do I share file-based Trados Studio Translation Memories (*.sdltm) and Termbases (*.sdltb) across a network so that other users can access them at the same time?
The Translation Memory files in the question are individual files with the TM file extension *.sdltm and in this article, we will refer to them as ‘file-based TMs’.
The Termbase files are also individual files with the file extension *.sdltb.
If a user wants to share resources such as Translation Memories (TMs) and/or Termbases at the same time, with a colleague or a small team without deploying a server solution this article provides guidelines on how to do so using an alternative networked environment.
It goes on to explain the limitations and disadvantages of sharing file-based TM or Termbases and follows on with a list of a number of best practices for TM/ Termbase-resource sharing.
Finally, this article will provide an overview of the SDL Support options available for users who take this course of action and concludes with SDL’s recommendation for real-time file sharing using a server-based collaboration solution, Trados GroupShare.
The answer is that the sharing of Trados Studio file-based TMs and Termbases, outside of a server environment is possible with either Studio Freelance or Studio Professional. Users can provide shared access to file-based TMs and Termbases by using a networked file repository or an external cloud-based file sharing facility such as DropBox. All that is needed is the setup of a shared folder and an acceptance of an invitation to share, which can be sent out to named users. These individual files can be saved, read, amended, copied, and deleted by any user that is given access to the network. Newly added translations can be shared instantly as 100% matches and seen by all users of the translation memory or suggestion in the Term Recognition window. That means, if a user adds a new translation unit in the TM or a new term/ entry in the Termbase and another user comes across the same segment, the latter will be able to retrieve it immediately as a 100% match. Users can access the file at any time but not always simultaneously, this depends on network integrity and locking issues. To ensure accurate version control, it is recommended that rigid access rules must be adhered to by all users and a process of ‘read/write’ permissions introduced to ensure that the latest, most up to date version of the TM and Termbase is being shared. Alternatively, a process of having a number of copy TMs or Termbases could be used instead of just one, users could be allowed 'to read' all TMs’ and Termbases but only ‘write to one’, on their own this would help to ensure accurate version control.
Limitations of file-based TM/ Termbase sharing
1. Performance issues, such as speed, can impact sharing file-based TMs/ Termbases, work could be impacted by network degradation or inconsistent access. Network infrastructure, bandwidth, firewalls, monitoring tools or backup tools can all cause issues outside of the Studio environment.
2. Using external network facilities such as cloud-based sharing facilities, could be subject to security and confidentiality breaches and may impact GDPR ruling.
3. Access to file-based TMs/ Termbases over external networks can be open to malpractice, such as copying the entire file for own use when there is no permission-based management of files.
4. Multiple-user access to the same file-based TM/ Termbase file can introduce inconsistent versions, and users need to be diligent in TM/ Termbase version control.
5. Access to shared file-based TMs/ Termbases should ideally be restricted to 2 users, and at a maximum 3 users to avoid creating issues around TM/ Termbase maintenance and inconsistent versions.
6. Using one file-based TM/ Termbase across several users can cause corruption of the file and also locking problems.
7. Uplift fragment matching technology was introduced with Studio 2017. File-based TMs that have taken advantage of this functionality are now larger and degradation of performance can impact usage of shared file-based TMs, making access much slower.
8. Fuzzy matches cannot be shared instantly in this way, because updating the local fuzzy index for each segment added to the translation memory would affect performance negatively, resulting in unacceptable response times for users. Instead, the local fuzzy index for users is synchronized with new translation units every twenty minutes - from that point, the newly added translation units can also be shared as fuzzy matches.
Recommendations for best practices
1. Project managers should refrain from running the Prepare Task Sequence nor any other batch processing activity while other users are simultaneously using the file-based TM/ Termbase. Possible errors that may occur:
a. Translation Provider threw exception...
b. Database file locked...
c. Database is locked
d. An unexpected network error occurred.
2. Translation memory administrators should refrain from performing any TM maintenance work, as typically this would cause a heavy load and introduce performance issues. In addition, any other TM work that adds many transactions in a short time frame should be avoided. All "heavy TM activities" should therefore only be carried out when there are users are not simultaneous using the translation memory.
3. Ensure the network that is used is configured to offer the highest performance ie speed and uses the latest hardware and software versions.
4. Avoid open-source or Linux-based NAS, opt for Windows-based networks.
5. Try to limit shared file-based TMs to 50,000 TUs – this will help with performance and maintenance. This is not mandatory and larger TUs have been used.
6. SDL Trados Studio Freelance licenses or Starter licenses are desktop licenses and will only run on workgroup-based networks. Studio Freelance or Stater will not work on a domain-based network, Studio Professional is the version used on domain-based networks. For more information on network types refer to the KB articles. If you try to run Studio Freelance or Starter on a domain-based network, the following error message will be displayed: Your current license does not allow you to run SDL Trados Studio when connected to a corporate domain-based network
SDL Support will try to do everything they can to help in the event of a problem. However, if the user is using external networking facilities or cloud-based sharing on their network or behind their own firewalls, it is the user’s responsibility to ensure that they have the correct security measures in place and that they allocate users with the correct permissions. SDL provides configuration options in its software that enable end users to enable security features but this is the sole responsibility of the end user to ensure they are in place and suitable for their organization. If you are working with file-based TMs/ Termbases that are shared across multiple users and have any errors or run into issues, the first step should be to try to reproduce the issue on your own local hardware, away from the network - copy the file-based TM/ Termbase onto your local disk. SDL Support will ask for that as a first troubleshooting step. If the error persists with the file-based TM/ Termbase copied locally, then SDL Support will continue troubleshooting on your local copy until the resolution is found. You can then implement the resolution to your networked version and revert back to your shared TM/ Termbase. An additional way to find help is to connect with other users to see if they have had the same problem or issue, ask about their experience, how they resolved the issue, or what worked best for them. You can contact the SDL community here.
SDL’s recommended route for TM/ Termbase Sharing
If you want to share TMs with more than 2 or 3 users or your TM size exceeds 50,000 TUs or termbase with more than 50,000 entries, you may like to consider Trados GroupShare and use a server solution to share your translation resources. Trados GroupShare is available as a hosted solution, on-premise installation, or you can equally choose for Trados Live Team (Language Cloud technology). All these work seamlessly with Trados Studio to manage workload, reduce manual tasks, and provide real-time access to shared translation memories, projects, and terminology in a secure, permission-based environment.
The key benefits of using Trados GroupShare are:
1. Sharing and accessing translation resources centrally and in real-time
2. Control and security with role-based permissions giving users unique degrees of authority to work on the same TM/ Termbase
3. Automation of tasks
4. Termbase consistency and TM accuracy across your organization
Note: The Translation Memories and Termbases are not stored as a file (file-based TM with extension .sdltm, termbase with the extension *.sdltb) but as a Microsoft SQL database which means your TM/ Termbase data will benefit from all the security and backups that Microsoft SQL Server provides.
Trados GroupShare Dedicated Hosting
Our GroupShare Dedicated Hosting is for small to large translation teams that want to work together on translation projects, situated in a central location on an SDL-hosted and managed server. This solution includes backup, upgrade, and monitoring services, all delivered by SDL. SDL GroupShare Dedicated Hosting is quick and easy set-up with no technical installation or Professional Services requirement. There is full administrative functionality supported and the server can be hosted in one of our datacenter in the US or Germany. The dedicated hosting price is in addition to the GroupShare license and is on an annual basis.
Trados GroupShare On-Premise
Our GroupShare On-Premise offering is for small to large translation teams that want to work together on translation projects in a central location using an on-premise server installed on their company servers. This means the GroupShare server, SQL server, and all the other necessary components are hosted and managed by the customer. This involves IT and server costs, on-site technical installation and possibly Professional Services support. This server will have a perpetual license, full administrative functionality, and full ownership by the customer.
Trados Live Team (Language Cloud technology)
Our Trados Live Team (TLT) offering is for small or medium translation teams that want to work together on translation projects in a central location using cloud-based technology and accessed by a web-based browser. This works seamlessly with Trados Studio to streamline processes, reduce manual tasks and provide real-time access to translation projects and reporting. Setup is quick and cost-effective with no technical installation required and the access itself can be granted based on subscriptions. We have 6 or 12 months subscriptions available.