My Problem with Trados Multiterm

Posted on: December 18, 2020

My Problem with Trados MultiTerm

In this article, I’m going to talk about what seems to me, to be a major failing with Trados Multiterm. Actually I’ve been aware of the problem for several years, but I always thought I hadn’t installed something correctly, or didn’t set the files appropriately, but now I’ve done some more research and I think this is indeed a problem.

I’m writing this article hoping either that someone out that has solved the problem, or that at least I can warn other translators that this problem exists. I’ve had real issues with a client this week due to this problem, which was the final straw for me.

The problem

Here’s what should happen. You move to the next row in Trados Studio and Multiterm finds that a term which is in your database is found in the source text. So it highlights that term in the results window.

This is really useful for things like chemicals where you can save the time and effort of researching the name more than once. It’s always an absolute life-saver for patents where you might want to use a term like “device” as opposed to “apparatus”, “equipment” etc, so you add it to multiterm to ensure you can be consistent.

The problem is that the term is not always shown in the window. It seems to be almost random chance as to whether the term is shown. Obviously that makes consistency impossible. You could almost say, having an inconsistent lookup is worse than having no lookup, because it gives you confidence you shouldn’t have. For example, you might think “it didn’t find the term, so it’s probably not device, I’ll use the term “apparatus” here then”.