This is a review of the 3rd edition of the SDL Trados Studio 2011 Manual by Mats Linder.
Compared to the 2nd edition, this manual for Trados Studio 2011 has got some 40 additional pages, updated references to relevant blog posts and useful tips and instructions. Everyone who purchased Mats’ 2009 manual gets a discount on the 2011 version.
Since the manual was published at the end of June 2013, I will go straight into the details without further ado!
The manual comprises a healthy 385 pages with 9 major chapters ranging from the basics to regular expressions. These chapters contain a number of sub-headings and sections that cover the software from the basic to the more specific. Yes, a thorough manual indeed.
Mats sets out the purpose of his manual right at the beginning: Learn and study Trados without having to do it piece meal. This immediately struck a chord with me. Having followed the self-taught approach to familiarising myself with the software and looking for help only when
panicking necessary, this is just great for me. Writing the review also forced me to actually sit down rather than postponing it until the next time I need advice on Trados Studio 2011. So, I followed the advice in the manual and placed myself away from the desk and onto the sofa.
In the introductory section “About This Manual”, it is laid out that the manual does not cover installation and license handling apart from: What to do if the computer crashes and my version of Trados disappears with it? Brilliant. A question I was really looking to get the answer to. The manual is supposed to be self-contained – and it is – however, I was too nosy not to have Trados Studio 2011 open while reading the manual.
Layout and Cross-referencing:
The manual starts out with explaining the changes in Studio 2011 compared to older versions which is very useful if you have upgraded. When features are introduced, Mats provides you with information on how to change or modify them straight away without the text becoming too cluttered. References are made to other pages in the manual where these features are explained in more detail. It would be nice to see some more contextual links that enable the reader to jump back and forth with a bit more ease.
Tips and Hints:
There are many helpful visual hints in the manual, e.g. settings that can’t be undone or need to be done at a certain stage in the process are marked with an exclamation mark and warning signs show you when to be extra careful. The manual contains many clever and simple, but very useful tips, e.g. save the target file right after creating project so you know straight away if there are any issues later.
From the Broad to the Specific:
What I really like is that the manual goes from the very broad to the very specific, meaning that a novice user does not have to read the entire manual before getting started with Trados Studio 2011, but can actually read a coherent slimmed-down version of the manual and then progress further. To quote Mats: “It is my experience that if you are familiar with the basic 10 percent of the functions of any CAT tool, you can handle 90 percent of the jobs.”
Basic editing features are introduced and then summarised in terms of tables with shortcuts plus explanation which really makes for a thorough study.
Scenarios, Application and Peculiarities:
Mats adds his own views on functions/settings that he finds useful and gives examples for when a certain setting would be applicable or recommended. But also feedback and tips from other Trados users can be found in the manual, e.g. that find and replace in large files works much better with term recognition turned off.
In the manual, any problems or peculiarities that the reader might encounter are anticipated. It explains why some things only work in a certain way and explains terminology that might be slightly misleading (e.g. “language provider”).
Extremely helpful and extremely useful: A list of keyboard shortcuts for Multiterm, translation memories, files etc. Where is my printer? This is a really exhaustive list of shortcuts. This way, the reader does not miss any information in the document even when s/he just skimmed the text as the shortcuts include all features.
The manual holds what it sets out to do in the introduction: Learn and study Trados without having to do it piece meal. Ideal for anyone who is looking for a comprehensive manual on Trados Studio 2011. It is very user-friendly, really handy to have and I am sure I will consult it on many future occasions.
The manual can be purchased here: http://tradosstudiomanual.com/
(All views my own, of course.)