It has finally arrived. With the release of Studio 2014, Trados now fully supports merging files, thus saving translators from the mind-numbing hassle of working on multiple files within a single project. If I were a devout Trados user, I would be very happy. But since I am anything but one, I am quite bewildered by what has just happened.
As a non-Trados user, I cannot understand why users put up with the lack of this feature for so long. As a long-term user of CAT tools, I consider this feature one of the most important in a tool. For example, it is the number one reason I love OmegaT, which presents a translation project as if it were a single merged file.
Imagine that you are using pre-2014 Studio to process 300+ files in a project. You have to open and save each single file and then specifically move to the next one. You cannot search across files. You cannot return to another file quickly, if you decide to fix something there. I never even contemplated working like this, because the very idea scares me enough.
Okay, Studio 2011 actually allows merging all types of files and splitting most of them back again. The key word here is “most,” though. If you merge SDLXLIFF files—which I assume is the file type many translators and editors receive from Trados-based agencies—you cannot split them back. This is unbelievable if you think about it. The previous versions of Trados, such as 2006, did have a small tool called SDL Trados Glue, which allowed merging TTX files and splitting them back. Even though it was kind of experimental and unsupported, this important function was available. And then comes Studio, and it was gone? I just don’t get it.
Perhaps—and hopefully—people were using various workarounds to handle multiple-file jobs in the pre-2014 era. This I do not understand either, because you do not buy an expensive program only to resort to workarounds. You do not buy a BMW to drive with your skis sticking out the window. You have a special slot in your back seat for that.
In conclusion, I congratulate Trados users for finally getting what they needed so badly (I would). After all, it is a good program overall. But if I were one of those users, I would regret all the wasted time. I would be thrilled if Trados users would comment below about how they were doing without this functionality all these years and how they feel about it now.
You can read more on this topic in the article “Do You Like Projects with Multiple Files as Much as I Like Them?”.