Sep 16, 2015

Getting around language variant issues in memoQ LiveDocs

I was told by some other users that a fundamental change had been made in the way language data are accessed in LiveDocs. It was said that until a few versions ago it had been possible to use documents for reference in LiveDocs regardless of their sublanguage settings. So I was told. The truth is more complicated than that.

According to my tests, memoQ 2015 is the first version of memoQ to have a logically consistent treatment of language variants for both bilingual and monolingual documents in corpora. All the other versions tested (memoQ 2013R2, 2014, 2014R2) are equally screwed up and show the same results.

The "visibility" of a monolingual or bilingual document when viewed in a corpus attached to a project running under memoQ 2015 follows these rules:

  • the sublanguage (language variant) settings for source and target (of the document or the project) must match the project
  • or the language setting (of the document or the project) must be generic. 
Two rules. Pretty simple. It doesn't matter what version of memoQ the project or corpus was created in, only which version is actively running.

I created a test corpus with the following document mix:

The corpus contained 11 documents, both bilingual and monolingual with a mix of generic language settings and settings with language variants specified (such as German for Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and English for Zimbabwe, the US and UK). 

In a project running under memoQ 2015 with the languages set to generic German and generic English, all 11 documents in the corpus were accessible. 

So if you want access to all LiveDocs corpus data for the major languages of your project, it is necessary to use generic language settings, either when you load the data into LiveDocs (difficult unless you always use the resource console, since adding documents to a corpus from within a project automatically applies the project's language settings!) or in the languages specified for the project itself. And this will only work with memoQ 2015. If you want to apply penalties to particular language variants this can be done using keyword markers (as seen in the screenshot above) and configuring the More penalties tab of the LiveDocs settings file applied to that corpus.

If the same corpus is attached to a project running under memoQ 2015 with language settings for Swiss German and generic English, the documents available from the corpus are these:

For a Swiss German and UK English project under memoQ 2015, this is the picture:

And for a Germany's German and US English:

 All the screenshots above can be predicted based on the two rules stated. Work it out.

"But what happens with earlier versions of memoQ?" you might wonder. It's messy. Here is a look at a Swiss German and UK English project under memoQ 2013 R2, 2014 and 2014 R2: 

And here's a project with generic German and Generic English under memoQ 2013 R2, 2014 and 2014 R2:

In each case the five bilingual documents are visible no matter what the project's language settings are. However, there is strict adherence to language variants and the generic language setting for monolingual documents! In my opinion, that's for the birds. I see no good reason to follow a different rule for data availability in bilingual versus monolingual documents. So in a sense, Kilgray has cleaned up this inconsistency in the latest version of memoQ.

Some have expressed a desire for a "switch" setting to allow language variant settings to be ignored. And perhaps Kilgray will provide such a feature in the future. But the best way to get there now is simply to make your project's language settings generic.

Changing the language settings for bilingual data in an existing LiveDocs corpus 
If you have a corpus with a mix of language settings and you want to convert these to generic settings or a particular variant, this can be done as follows currently only for bilingual documents:
  1. Select the bilingual documents to export from the corpus and export them to a folder. (If you choose to zip them all together, unpack the *.zip file later to make a folder of the exported *.mqxlz files.
  2. Re-import the *.mqxlz files to the LiveDocs corpus via the Resource Console so you are able to specify the exact language settings you want. In the import dialog, you'll have to change the filter setting manually from "binary" to "XLIFF". These *.mqxlz files are not the same as bilingual files from a translation document in a project and are not recognized automatically.
Unfortunately, there is no way to change the language settings of a monolingual document except to re-import it in the Resource Console in its original form and set the language variant (or generic value) there.

So really, for now, the best way to go seems to be to use memoQ 2015 with generic project language settings.

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