How to create an Auto-suggest Dictionary in Trados when your TMs are too small

This is a post which I thought might be useful for translators who are relatively new to the profession or relatively new to Trados.

If you have the Auto-Suggest option with your version of Trados, you may find that your translation memories are too small to create an Auto-Suggest dictionary. Auto-Suggest is a useful tool that recognises words and phrases and that can avoid you having to type common words regularly.

Creating an Auto-Suggest dictionary requires a TM with a minimum of 25,000 entries. I have been using Trados since 2010 and none of my TMs have that many entries. One way to overcome this is to create one big TM by compiling all your specialist TMs and then generate the Auto-Suggest dictionary from this, but perhaps, even then, you won’t have enough entries.

Another option is to make use of the TM of the European Union’s DGT (Directorate-General for Translation), which is available free online. The DGT-TM contains ‘about 1 million sentences and their high quality translations in 22 of the 23 official EU languages’ and is available in Zip files to download. This initiative is intended to support the development of the machine translation industry, but there’s no reason why individual freelance translators can’t take advantage of it too.

Having worked with EU translation memories on a project for European Parliament, I can tell you that they are not perfect. There is a certain artistic licence with grammar sometimes and the style is very.. well ‘European Union’. However, as with Auto-Suggest you will be working with sub-segments (words or short phrases), you should still find plenty of useful results in your dictionary.

Once you’ve downloaded the files (the 2013 version comprises six volumes), don’t unzip them. You will need to download the extraction tool (TMXtract) which will allow you to generate TMs in your chosen language combinations. In Select Input files, choose the Zip volume you want to work with. In Select Output files, create a file name and location for your new TM. Then press start. The volumes have anywhere from around 65,000 to 100,000 entries so even one volume is enough to create an Auto-Suggest dictionary. They may take a little while to process though. Your new TM will be in TMX format so you can import it directly to a Trados TM.

From here, you simply go to the Auto-Suggest tool in Trados and create your new dictionary. Don’t forget of course to activate your dictionary with each new Trados project (by clicking on the relevant language pair in the project configuration settings).

I hope this comes in useful and please feel free to contact me if you get stuck!



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