Jan 2, 2014

The memoQ TM search tool

Release 2 of memoQ 2013 included a new utility which allows memoQ translation memories to be used for lookups, the TM search tool:

When working in other translation environment tools such as SDL Trados Studio or Wordfast, translating text in a word processor or reading PDF files and web pages, selected text can be looked up directly in chosen translation memories and text from the source or target of a translation match can be put in the Clipboard for pasting into the other application. Relevant keyboard shortcuts are:

Ctrl+Shift+Q     Starts the memoQ TM search tool, immediately searches for any text on the Windows Clipboard.
Ctrl+C     Copies new text to the TM search window and executes a search.
Ctrl+Alt+C     Copies the target text of a selected match to the Clipboard.
Ctrl+Shift+C     Copies the source text of a selected match to the Clipboard.
Ctrl+V     Pastes the Clipboard text into another application.

A translation memory selected in the TM search tool cannot be opened or used in memoQ while the search tool is active. An orange lightning bolt is displayed in the TM list of the Search settings to indicate this status. After the search tool is closed, the TM is available again for use in memoQ.

Although the initial version of this tool is quite useful, many users have realized that further refinements of its features would make its application more flexible and effective. Some suggestions so far include
  • selecting/deselecting all TMs
  • filtering TMs by metadata
  • saving and loading profiles (collections of particular TMs and settings)
  • indicating match sources (i.e. TM, preferably with metadata)
A number of other quirks, like the ability to launch multiple instances of the tool, also still need to be sorted out as of Build 52.

I hope that Kilgray will take the further development of this tool seriously and consider how to improve and expand it, perhaps to include remote translation memories as well. The current version of the TM search tool requires a memoQ license on the computer where it is used, but separate licensing could also be quite interesting. This could be useful, for example, in collaborative projects with partners who use different tools and working methods or for those who want to use memoQ translation memories as bilingual concordances. I see the potential for a value-added service here if I can provide such a concordance (for a fee) to an end client, perhaps with some sort of protective encapsulation for the memories provided. Inclusion of termbases and LiveDocs corpora in future versions of the tool could also prove interesting. memoQ could become a reference information packaging platform to create additional communication services for our clients. There are interesting possibilities for mobile applications here as well. But in the meantime I'll settle for the modest improvements in the bullet points above.

Further information on the memoQ search tool can be found in the Kilgray knowledgebase.


  1. Choosing Ctrl+C to trigger the tool is crazy. Whenever the tool's open you can no longer use Ctrl+C normally. Am I the only person who thinks this was an idiotic decision?


  2. It occurred to me this afternoon while discussing the general problem of filtering in the regular memoQ concordance that this tool might also be used within memoQ to create a second active concordance with a particular set of translation memories which one might not want to have mucking up the main concordance hits. The EU DGT data comes to mind here.

  3. Yes I asked something similar a while back on the list; I asked Kilgray to implement a way to ‘disconnect’ concordance searches from the TMs attached to the current project, as I often want to be able to run a concordance search on all my TMs, but don’t want to have to have them all attached to all of my projects at all times. Your idea of using the new lookup tool might be a way of solving this. It is still very rough though (no indication of which TM the hit is from, weird shortcut choices, etc.), but I’m sure they will improve it.

    Incidentally, you might want to check out Farkas András’ new concordance tool, ‘TMLookup’. It’s still in beta, but nearing its first release. My TMLookup database (SQLlite) currently contains 35,000,000 TUs (all the TMXs on my computer), yet most searches are completed in under a second. Even memoQ's concordance lookup, which is one of the fastest around, can’t touch TMLookup's lookup speeds. András is currently adding TM metadata features, and a few other goodies. Here's a screenshot of the tool: http://wordbook.nl/screenshots/TMLookup.png

    András' website with info: http://www.farkastranslations.com/tmlookup.php (Oh yeah, and it’s free and open source!)

    1. I saw a mention of TMLookup somewhere earlier today (the Yahoo list I think) and had intended to look it up. Thank you. The way the tool is described, I would use it only for static data collections (such as that EU DGT stuff or client data I have no intention of updating), but it could be a possibility for a third concurrent concordance. That's more interesting to me than the ability to handle very large amounts of data. My own experience with the diminishing returns of "big data" have sometimes led me to think that a preoccupation with bulk TMs is perhaps worthy of its own DSM diagnosis. I think there is more to be gained from sensible classification, filtering and separation than from sheer mass. But in any case, this sounds like another good effort from a developer who does many interesting things.


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