SDL Trados Studio

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SDL Trados Studio
Developer(s)SDL Plc
Stable release
SDL Trados Studio 2019 [1] / July 2019 [1]
Operating systemWindows
TypeComputer-assisted translation

SDL Trados Studio is a computer-assisted translation software suite,[2] a successor to the older Translators Workbench originally developed by the German company Trados GmbH and currently available from SDL plc, a provider of customer experience cloud solutions. It is considered the market leader[3] in providing translation software across the entire translation supply chain, including freelance translators, language service providers, corporate language departments and academic institutions.

Alongside SDL Trados Studio, SDL also develops productivity tools SDL MultiTerm and SDL Passolo.


Trados GmbH was founded as a language-service provider (LSP) in 1984 by Jochen Hummel and Iko Knyphausen in Stuttgart, Germany.[4] The company began developing translation software in the late 1980s, and released the first Windows versions of two of the suite's major components in the early 1990s – MultiTerm in 1992, and Translator's Workbench in 1994. In 1997, the company received a major boost when Microsoft decided to use Trados for its internal localization needs.[4]

Trados was acquired by SDL in 2005.[5]


SDL Trados Studio is delivered with several tools and applications. These are:

SDL Trados Studio
The main application providing a complete environment to edit or review translations, manage translation projects, organize terminology, and connect to machine translation.
SDL MultiTerm
A terminology management tool that is integrated with SDL Trados Studio for adding, editing and managing terms.
SDL AppStore
SDL Trados Studio includes several applications on an online marketplace which offers apps to help with a range of translation processes, for example further file format support and task automation.

Supported source document formats[edit]

SDL Trados Studio supports over 70 different file types,[6] including: various markup and tagged formats such as SGML, XML, HTML, XLIFF, SDLXLIFF (Studio's native format for translation), OpenDocument files; straight text files; source code files, such as Java and Microsoft .NET; Microsoft Word, Excel, Bilingual Excel and PowerPoint; and some Adobe file formats, such as PDF, scanned PDF (OCR is included), FrameMaker, InDesign, and InCopy.

Handling of translation memories and glossaries[edit]

The translation memory (TM) format of SDL Trados Studio is SDLTM, which consists in a particular SQLite database.[7]

When creating a new (file-based) translation memory, SDL Trados Studio creates a database file in which all translation units are stored. The translation memory also stores structural and context information to link all the different segments and their position in a document. This allows the tool to select the most relevant translation memory segment.

  • Main translation memory database file: .sdltm

In previous version of Trados a neural network of files that enable fuzzy search capability was also created. A new translation memory consists of five new files:

  • Main translation memory database file: .tmw
  • Neural network files: .mdf, *.mtf, *.mwf, *.iix

When copying a translation memory, you must copy all five translation memory files. Otherwise, Translator's Workbench displays an error message when opening the copied translation memory.

SDL Trados Studio can also work with server-based translation memories by connecting to SDL Trados GroupShare. It can also connect to other Translation Providers created through the API by any developer, many examples of these can be found on the SDL AppStore.

Glossaries are handled by the MultiTerm application. Glossaries can be bilingual or multi-lingual, file-based or Server based.

Integration of machine translation and postediting[edit]

SDL Trados Studio has integrated machine translation and postediting into its translation workflow. If the appropriate parameter setting is made, SDL Trados Studio will insert a machine translation of a translation unit (TU) if no match is found in the translation memory. The translator can then post-edit the machine translation for added clarity. SDL Trados currently supports the following MT systems: Language Weaver, SDL BeGlobal, SDL LanguageCloud and Google Translate. SDL Trados Studio also supports the integration of Microsoft Translator and other MT system through its open API and plugin architecture on the SDL OpenExchange.

SDL AppStore[edit]

In December 2010 SDL launched the SDL OpenExchange, now known as SDL AppStore, a web portal allowing independent developers to leverage the software's open architecture to create applications and plug-ins for SDL Trados Studio. Apps can be downloaded to add functionality missing from the base product, such as legacy file support and new machine translation plugins. As of the end of August 2017 there has been over a million downloads of apps from the store.

Today the SDL AppStore supports the needs of users through the ability to download and install additional functionality that often addresses niche requirements that cannot be solved in any translation tool. It also supports the needs of developers who use the APIs that are freely available for the products to integrate and add new features that support their own business needs.[8]

The SDL team supporting the SDL AppStore also maintain a github site where they provide opensource code using the APIs for many of the apps they have created on the SDL AppStore. This provides a very useful resource for developers looking for additional examples of how to use the APIs in practice.[9]

Market share[edit]

According to a 2004 survey by the World Bank, Trados held an estimated 75% global market share with SDL holding an additional 10%.[2]

According to the ICU Translation Memory Survey from 2006, SDL Trados is used by a total of 75% of surveyed users - 51% used Trados with a further 24% SDL Trados (See table 21).[10]

A survey done by in 2013 indicated that 73% of ProZ translators have SDL Trados.[11]

Community and compatibility[edit]

A number of solutions have been created for handling the different versions of Trados file formats.[12] SDL did apparently respond to user complaints of licensing complexity and problems by simplifying the licensing scheme used in the SDL Trados Studio 2011 Freelance release.[13] Successive versions of SDL Trados Studio have resolved the backward compatibility issues.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "SDL Support". Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  2. ^ a b "World Bank- Translation Business Practices Report" (PDF). Gentil Traduceri. August 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-02-10. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  3. ^ Kockaert, Hendrik; Steurs, Frieda (2015). Handbook of Terminology. 1. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 225.
  4. ^ a b Garcia, Ignacio. "Long term memories: Trados and TM turn 20". The Journal of Specialized Translation. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  5. ^ DePalma, Donald A. (July 2005). "SDL-TRADOS: Language Service Provider Reaction to SDL's Purchase of TRADOS" (PDF). Globalization & Localization Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-11-04. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  6. ^ "SDL Trados Studio Languages and Filters". Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  7. ^ SDL SDK API Help files
  8. ^ "SDL Developers Hub SDK". SDL AppStore. Archived from the original on 2017-09-29.
  9. ^ "Open source Trados Studio App Store plugins". SDL Github Repository.
  10. ^ "Imperial College London Translation Memories Survey" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  11. ^ Tabor, Jared (2013-03-28). "CAT tool use by translators: what are they using?". Translator T.O. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  12. ^ "Using & Installing Multiple Versions of Trados on the Same Computer". Trados How-To. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
  13. ^ "SDL Trados Studio 2011 Freelance: What's New?". bottom of page. Retrieved 2012-05-25. Faster installation and simpler licensing - Designed to get you up and running quicker, plus you can now activate either online or offline.