How to work with projects in SDL Trados Studio

How to work with projects in SDL Trados Studio

This blog, written by Gemma Smith, was originally featured on SDL’s Blog as part of the ‘Translators talk Trados’ series.

Deadlines are becoming tighter when it comes to translation projects, so when you receive that email marked “Urgent” in your inbox, most translators want to get to work as soon as possible. Whether you have 1 file to translate or 50 files, you want to be able to set up the files with ease, without having to waste time re-adding your translation memories, AutoSuggest Dictionaries and termbases each and every time. How do you do this in SDL Trados Studio? This is where the Projects functionality saves the day and your time.

I’m going to walk you through how to create and start work on a project, return to working on it, and lastly, what to do with it on completion.

To start setting up the project, use the New Project button. As is the case with most buttons for ease of accessibility in Studio, it’s duplicated in a variety of views and menus. It’s on the Home tab of the ribbon in the Projects view and it’s on the File menu via New > New Project in all views. If you’re a fan of keyboard shortcuts, just press CTRL + N to bring up the new project dialog box. And the 2017 version spoils you for choice even more, with the ability to drag and drop single or multiple files into the Welcome view and create a new project that way.

Whichever you go for, the New Project wizard appears.


Although I’d certainly recommend that you have a play around with these first two options once you become more accustomed to using projects, simplicity is key when you’re just getting to grips with them. Keep “Default” selected under Create a project based on a project template and click on Next.

Studio now wants to know where you wish to save your project and its name. Type in the name you wish to assign to it next to Name and use the Browse button to select your preferred location. Bear in mind that the folder must be an empty one.


There are editing options that you can enable or disable as best for your project. If you want to be able to edit your source segments, ensure you tick Allow source editing. The Disable merging segments across paragraphs is an enhancement for 2017, where you can merge segments even over a hard return (if you uncheck this box). Very handy if you’re working from PDFs or badly formatted files. Note that if you wish to make use of this feature, you must tick the source editing box first (otherwise it remains greyed out).

In the name of simplicity, we’ll leave GroupShare out of this blog post, and similarly, the Due Date and Customer options are exactly that –optional– so we can also ignore both these options. Click on Next.


Now you need to select your source language at the top, followed by your target language or languages. A nifty enhancement in 2017 comes in the form of the “Recently Used Languages” list – very handy if you’re using the same languages all the time – perfect for some freelancers! With another click of the Next button, we’re onto the next screen.

This is where we add our source files. You’ll notice to the right of the wizard there is an Add Folder and an Add Files button. If your files are all in the same folder, you’ll be able to use either button, but there is no right or wrong way to do this. It just depends on your personal preference. Once all files have been added, clickNext.


This is where you add your TMs (as many as you need) by pressing the Use button. You also have the option to set up a new TM, if you haven’t already got a suitable TM, by clicking Create instead. Although there are different types of TM you can use or create, for most people, the “File-based Translation Memory” is perfectly fine.


You will notice that all of the boxes for the TM added first have a tick in them, whereas only the first 3 boxes are checked for any subsequently added memories. This doesn’t mean that you can’t tick the Update box for the others, it’s just the default behaviour by Studio. Click Next.

Now we add our termbases. If you don’t have a termbase then you can just skip this screen, but if you do, add it here. Terminology recognition is very sophisticated, whilst adding new terms as you translate in Studio is a breeze. Simply press the Use button to browse for and select the termbase or termbases you wish to use. As with the TMs, there is also the option to create a new termbase from scratch if you don’t have one. Once done, it’s onto the Next button again…



This next screen can be skipped as it’s all about a special match type called PerfectMatch and is typically used only by Project Managers, so don’t worry about this.

We’re nearly there; stick with me! ThisProject Preparation screen wants to know how you want to prepare your files. Now for most users, the default Task Sequence is perfectly fine. Therefore, keep Prepare without Project TM selected, and yes, you’ve guessed it, press Next

On this Batch Processing Settings screen are more advanced options that you may wish to play around with once you’re familiar with project creation, but for now, it’s perfectly fine to skip by pressing Next.

This final screen gives you a Project Summary of all the settings chosen. Have a quick check and if you wish to make any changes, you can simply go back to the relevant screen and amend. Once you’re happy with your choices, pressFinish to create the project.

Depending on the size and number of your files, not to mention your computer’s processing power, it may take a minute or so for the wizard to run, so be patient. Once you have 5 ticks in place (provided you used the default “Prepare without Project TM” task sequence, otherwise you may have fewer or more ticks), this means that the project has been created and you should click Close.

But wait a minute… Where did the project go? Well, Studio has taken us into the Projects view, where our newly created project is in bold. This means that it is the “Active Project”. And what that means is that when you click on the Filesview, you will see and be able to work on the files from that project. Similarly, the Reportsview will show you the analysis from the same project. If you wanted to switch to a different project, simply double-click on the project name or right-click and choose Set as Active. In my screenshot below, you can see that the project called “19855” is the active project.




There we have it – that’s the project set up and ready to go. How do you now open a file for translation? Very simple… In the Files view, select the first file you wish to start work on. You can either click on it and choose Open for Translation (available from the ribbon or on the right-click context menu) or just double-click the file name.

The file now opens in the Editor view. We can see on the left all the source segments for translation. The empty column to the right is where we’ll insert our translations. As the focus of this post is about project creation, I won’t go into any detail about the actual translation part as there are plenty of other videos and posts that explain how to do this.


Imagine you translate half of the file, by which time it’s 6pm and time to shut down for the day. Go to the File menu and chooseSave (or just click on the little disk symbol at the top). That saves your work. Close the file by clicking on the cross symbol to the top right or by clicking Close on the File menu. You shut down Studio for the day, have a good night’s sleep and come back to it the next day, armed with a cup of coffee.

You boot up Studio. But how do you carry on working on the project from the previous day, you ask? Easy – go to the Projects view and select your project by double-clicking on it (or you can right-click and Set as Active, which does the same thing). It may be that it’s already the active project – if so it will be in bold already so you don’t need to do anything. How do we get back to the files? Exactly the same as the previous day – go to the Files view and double-click on the file. Continue working as normal. When you want to go to the next file in the project, just save your work and close the document. Doing this will automatically take you back to the Files view where you then just continue to work your way through the files using Open for translation (or double-click).


Once you’ve completed all the files, go to the Projects view (you can also do it individually per file in the Files view), select Batch Tasks from the right-click menu and choose Finalise. This will update your TMs (say you forgot to confirm some segments) and generate the target files. If you prefer, you can just select Generate Target Translations, if that’s all you need to do. Just click Next and then Finish. Use the Close button to close the window once complete.


Now it’s just a case of finding your newly-created target files. And where are they, you ask? They are in the target folder of your project. To find this, you can browse manually, or a much simpler way is to right click on the project and select Open Project Folder. This opens your project folder in Windows Explorer. Our target files plus the SDLXLIFFs we worked on during translation are safely saved in this folder. That’s all there is to it!

Looking for more tips from translators on using SDL Trados Studio? Click here >

About the Author:

Gemma has a degree in Spanish and Italian from the University of Leicester and a post-graduate MA in Translation from the University of Salford. She is a certified advanced user of and has been an Approved Trainer for SDL Trados translation software since 2009. Gemma is also part of the pool of Studio beta-testers that test all SDL’s new features before launch.

Gemma works for Alexika Ltd, a translation company based in West Yorkshire. Kept busy by a range of different projects for clients across a variety of specialised sectors, Gemma ensures that the translation process is as smooth as possible for clients, translators and the in-house team. She is immensely knowledgeable about SDL Trados Studio translation software and how to make it work for you. Gemma is Alexika’s lead trainer running courses on Studio for translators and translation project managers.