Sep 11, 2012

memoQ for Trados Studio users

Guest post by Jayne Fox

Why would a Trados Studio user be interested in memoQ? For me, I was intrigued by what I’d heard about improved matches from the translation memory.

About a year ago I started a big project that involved updating a whole lot of text that I’d previously translated. The problem was that the text formatting had got a bit mangled so I was only getting about a 25% match rate with my translation memory.

I had a hunch that memoQ would find a lot more matches with its translation memory-driven segmentation. I gave it a try and I was right – the match rate went up to a massive 45%. Here are some of the things I’ve learned as a Trados Studio user who dabbles with memoQ.

Starting out with memoQ 
Firstly, there are different editions of memoQ to suit different needs. I use Translator Pro, but there’s also a Project Manager version and a memoQ 4 free edition that you can try. There’s more information on the different editions of memoQ here.

You can download a handy Quick Start Guide to memoQ from the Kilgray website.

When you start out with memoQ, you’ll need to export any existing translation memories to TMX format and import them to memoQ. You’ll also need to import any termbases, which can be done via TMX or a delimited format.

There are good instructions on setting up a project in memoQ here. It’s very easy to create a new translation memory or termbase when setting up a project, and you don’t need a separate terminology application as it’s all built in.

One thing to note about memoQ projects is that, unlike Trados Studio, it doesn’t use project templates. An easy way to get around this is to set up a project for a particular client, and just add or remove files from this project.

Some things are pleasantly easy in memoQ:
  • Inserting matches or terms into the translation: these are displayed in a numbered list of suggestions and you can insert any of them using CTRL+the suggestion number. 
  • Inserting tags: CTRL+F9 inserts the next inline tag from the source segment. (The keyboard shortcuts are configuragble so you can change them to whatever you’re used to.) 
  • Joining and splitting segments: use CTRL+J to join segments and CTRL+T to split them. (It’s great to have the freedom to do this!) 
LiveDocs is another great thing about memoQ. You can add source and target versions of reference documents here and align them for use during translation. You can also add monolingual reference documents, media files and previously translated documents.

However, some things don’t work quite like Trados Studio:
  • You can review your translation and set the segment status to reviewed, but to do this you need to set yourself up as a project manager for the particular project. This is a bit easier in Studio. 
  • The Translator Pro edition doesn’t have a sign-off status like Trados Studio. To get around this you can change the reviewed status back to translated and then review the translation again. 
  • If your source document is a PDF you can translate the text in memoQ, but it’s handled without formatting, i.e. it’s just text. So you may need to add the formatting, or use OCR software. Studio takes a different approach and can handle formatted PDFs reasonably well, as long as they’re not too complex or require OCR. 
  • Lastly, track changes works a bit differently in memoQ. You can compare versions at any stage, but it’s less intuitive than the MS Word-style change tracking in Studio. 
Overall, I’ve found memoQ easy to use and great for translation memory matches; it’s a stable, reliable tool that’s a pleasure to translate with.

About the author: Jayne Fox is a German to English translator for business and IT. She has a background in science, training, technical writing and management and has worked as a translator since 1996. She blogs BetweenTranslations,and you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. Jayne, once again you've succeeded in giving an incredibly clear overview. This is very useful!


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