Large Excel translation – Studio vs. MemoQ

I was recently asked to translate a large Excel file containing 40,000+ rows. The total word count was not so big, about 50k new words. With this article I would like to share my experience and problems processing this translation in SDL Trados Studio 2014 and (ultimately) in MemoQ 2014 R2.

The file I was supposed to translate was a 14MB Excel file containing roughly 40,000 rows and more than 50k new words (total 115k). The Studio package had a little more than 16 MB. I used my laptop for this job – not the latest high-tech, but not an obsolete machine either. I would call it a “standard” machine.

The first annoyance I experienced with the translation was a very slow import of the package. It took about 20 minutes to get the source into the Studio. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning. Opening the file for translation took 30 minutes! Just mere opening…

When translating, I did not observe the Studio slowing down. However, another annoyance came when I tried to save the file. The Studio showed an error message stating that there was insufficient memory available. I did not lose the work (it was still in the TM), but I was back at the beginning with the file.

Having thought the problem had been caused by poor hardware (my laptop), I tried to move the project to my server that is relatively powerful. Opening the file took about 10 minutes (much better), but the memory problem persisted.

What now? I almost returned the job to the client, but then I realized I had MemoQ and that is allows importing Studio packages. I had not used this feature before, but gave it a try. Importing the Trados package took roughly 3 minutes, opening the file was almost instant, and working with the file was smooth, saving was done immediately. No problem at all!

To make sure that I would be able to get a valid Studio return package out of MemoQ, I tried to generate it after a few segments. Exporting the package went smoothly. I even took the time, imported the return package back into the Studio, spent 20 minutes waiting for import and 30 minutes for opening the file, and all was there! Even tags were okay. What a relief.

This was not the first time I experienced significant problems with the Studio. Until now, I always overcame them with my patience and technical skills. However, this time it was not possible. The outcome for me is that if I run into problems with the Studio, I will translate in MemoQ.

Why don’t I switch to MemoQ completely? For the time being, the user interface, functionality, and ease of work in the Studio are superior to the ones of MemoQ. Nevertheless, I was quite surprised that MemoQ offers such high level of compatibility with the Studio.

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4 Responses to Large Excel translation – Studio vs. MemoQ

  1. Thanks for the feedback Michal – I’m with SDL – do you think you can send the file to me? I’d like to take a look why it fails so we can improve our robustness. Thanks, Daniel

    • admin says:

      Hello Daniel,

      I would like to, but I am under the Non-disclosure Agreement, so the material is confidential. What I can say is, the source was a list of car parts (catalog) and all segments were rather short (1-5 words on average). There were about 45k Excel rows, a total of 120k words with quite high repetition rate. There were only a few tags in there, nothing that could cause the problem.

      As I said in the article, the problem was (1) opening the file that took really ages, and (2) inability to save work due to insufficient memory error. In MemoQ, everything worked like a breeze. Despite this annoyance, I still consider the Studio my primary CAT tool, since I prefer its user interface and features.

      I am sorry I could not provide you with more detailed information.

      Best,
      Michal

  2. Matt says:

    nice post, i like this blog.
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  3. Dan says:

    That’s a rather large file, I am also quite surprised that MemoQ offers such high level of compatibility with the Studio.

    DHC Translations

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