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SDL Passolo

Passolo Translator Edition - getting started

SDL Passolo Translator Edition is a Trados application used for translating software strings. There are several versions of the free translator edition: 2007, 2009 and 2011. STP in-house translators and project managers can install the required version from the Installers folder, and the installers can be provided to external suppliers. Another version of Passolo 2009, Passolo Essential, comes as part of the SDL Trados Studio 2009 package. This Essential version cannot open all file formats, so use one of the translator edition versions if necessary.

The Passolo version required will be apparent from the file name. Files for 2007 are called .tbulic700, files for 2009 are called .tbulic800 and files for 2011 are called .tbulic11. Earlier versions of Passolo cannot open files from a later version, and later versions cannot open files from an earlier version. You can keep installations of the different versions on your computer without them interfering with each other. Please note that the Translator Edition cannot parse source files or generate target files, nor open translation bundles which have not been set up and exported by the client to be opened in the translator edition.

The below instructions are duplicated where necessary to show differences in Passolo 2007 and 2009/2011. Most settings and dialogs are the same between the editions.

This document focuses on basic instructions for new users. More settings can be found in the FAQ for advanced users (link to follow - ask your PM for this for now)

Passolo checklist

STP PMs and translators can use the below checklist to ensure all steps have been carried out before and after translation: \\VS2\General\Training\FAQs\Passolo checklist.doc.

The first time you open a new installation of Passolo, you should go through these steps to set up the program.

Changing ID

By default, Passolo uses your Windows user ID. Change this to XX@STP where XX stands for your initials. Launch Passolo. Under Commands > User, select Edit user list.

In the User dialog that opens, click Add to add the new user name. Restart Passolo for the change to take effect. When starting a new project, select the new user name before you open a bundle for translation in Passolo.

Initial settings

Most of the below settings only need to be set once for the translator edition. Go to Tools > Options and tick or select the below marked settings.

If you do not have external glossaries or TMs to connect to Passolo, use the below settings for all of the Translation Helpers > Fuzzy Matching / Concordances / Terminology views. (You can read more about attaching external glossaries in the Advanced Passolo guide)

Settings for replicates should mirror the below screenshot. Note that we are often not paid for repetitions in Passolo projects. The below settings ensure that any repeated segment is only processed once.

The below settings for the Translation Assistant need to be set once only, but the Translation Assistant should be activated by ticking Use Translation Assistant or via the translation view icon every time you use Passolo. Change these settings according to client specification or your own preference if need be.

Launch Passolo and select Browse for existing file or click Open from the File menu. Select the bundle you want to open and click Open. You can also double-click the Passolo bundle to automatically open the file in the correct Passolo version. The following project dialog opens:

Analysing a project

You can display analysis results for a whole project by going to String List > Statistics. Statistics for individual files will be displayed if you click a file name on the left.

The Translation Bundle screen will contain all files that are part of the bundle. You can double click a file to open it, but most Passolo projects will contain a large number of files, and most of the total content will be out-of-scope validated translations, so it is usually easier to open all files at once and then filter for the content in scope.
To open all files, select them all (CTRL + A), right click and Open String List.

This will open the segments for editing.

Strings colour codes

  • Red text has not yet been translated.
  • Blue text has been manually translated but not yet reviewed.
  • Green text has been pre-translated but not yet reviewed. It can be a perfect match or a fuzzy match.
  • Black text has been translated and validated. It is normally out of scope and locked for editing.

Note that as soon as a "red" and "green" translation is edited, the colour of the segment turns blue, and it can be difficult to distinguish newly translated blue segments that may still need to be revised, from blue segments for review from the original translation bundle. If you are revising "blue" strings as well as translating, consider filtering for and reviewing the blue strings only, then move on to the red and green strings. (More about filter settings below)

Please make sure there is a clear agreement on who should revise existing blue strings, the translator or reviser. Newly translated red strings that turn blue as soon as a translation has been entered can still be identified by their user ID. You can sort strings by the User column.

Filtering strings

Apply a filter to your project to only process in-scope segments. The most efficient way to work is to create a filter that will display untranslated segments, For review-segments and pretranslated segments, but not validated segments. Press Define... to open the Filter dialog and set up the filter as in the below screenshot. Press the disk icon to save the filter with a name of your choice. This filter will be directly accessible through the Filter menu.
You can also filter strings by date or matching a number of different criteria - see Advanced Passolo guide.

Undo any filtering by clicking .

Displaying string information

To display as much useful information about the strings, right-click on top of a string name column and select to display the below columns.
It is useful to show Match percentage to differentiate between high and low fuzzies

Workspace layout

You can structure the Passolo screen in any way you like, but it is recommended that you make the segment list, translation window and Properties window visible. You can translate directly in the segment list but it is recommended to work in the Properties window.

To begin translating, click on the first string for translation or review, then look at the Properties window.
The top field contains comments, character limits or source changes.
The middle field contains the source text.
The bottom field contains translated text, pretranslated text, or source copied to target.

Activate the translation assistant and enter your translation in the bottom field. Press ENTER to move to the next segment.


There are 2 things you can do to improve readability:

1) Increase the proportional size of the Properties window

2) Increase the font size under Tools > Options, section Translation Window > Font zoom.

Displaying context and layout information

The main benefit of translating software strings in Passolo is that you can view the translated string immediately in the context and layout it will appear on the software. Go to View > Show Resource to display the layout, and follow your translation as you go along to make sure it fits in the space allocated. Check that you have View > Resource Display > Translation selected to see the translation in context.

Punctuation, placeholders and access keys

End punctuation for translated strings should follow the source. All quotation marks should follow the source, do not change straight quotation marks to curly in strings translations. Placeholders (for example, %s) indicate the place for particular information and should be reproduced in the target. It's not always clear what placeholders denote, they may, for example, be replaced by a product or other name or a number, singular or plural, so translate around them as generically as you can.

Ampersands (&) denote access keys (hotkeys), and they should be reproduced in the target. The easiest way is to select the same letter (for example, &p) in the target as in the source. If this is not possible, use another letter, but do check the access keys at the end by running Passolo's QA check (see below for instructions and settings).

Using fuzzy matching and concordance

By default both the fuzzy match and the concordance searches in Passolo only search for matches within strings in the open translation bundles. Fuzzy match search and concordance search only search in external TMs and glossaries if this has been defined in the relevant Passolo settings in Tools > Options > Translation Helpers (see Advanced Passolo guide for more info).

Fuzzy matching searches for segment level matches for the words or segment selected, so you will find a previous segment "Enter your login name and password here" if you search fuzzy for "Change your login name and password here". The default match percentage is 80%.

Go to String > Find Fuzzy Translations or hit CTRL + F8 to display fuzzy matches from open translation bundles that match your current string. Matches are displayed in the Translation tab view. Double-click on a translation to copy it in the target string.

Concordance matching searches for term/word level matches for the words selected, the same way as in other translation tools.

To search for concordance matches, select a word or a part of the text in the source string and press SHIFT+F8. Concordance results will display in the same Translation view as fuzzy match results. Select the view you want to search in from the drop-down list, and note that the view may change to the Messages tab if there are any errors resulting from the search, click back into the Translation view if necessary.


When an entry is displayed in the translation window, the spellchecker will automatically check the text and mark any recognized spelling errors with a wavy red underline.

To correct an error, right-click the word and select a suggested correction, or simply type in your correction.

To check spelling for one file at a time, use the filter function to display strings you want to spellcheck and hit F7. To spellcheck an entire project, go to the Project view, select Translation bundle and hit F7. Do note, however, that there are no filtering options when spellchecking the entire translation bundle.

If you need to change the spellchecker from the internal Polar spellchecker (which doesn't work for all languages), you can change it to the normal Microsoft spellchecker in Tools > Options > Spelling check.

Saving translations

Remember to save your translation regularly by going to the File tab and selecting Save all or hitting CTRL+Shift+S. Note that saving in Passolo does not automatically update an external TM loaded in the project.

QA checking

QA checking options in Passolo can be found in Tools > Options. The QA check will help ensure that there are no duplicate or missing access keys (hotkeys) or access keys in the translated strings if the source does not have them, and that there are no inconsistencies in the translation. Select the following options unless otherwise specified by the PM.

Filter or select the strings you want to check and go to String > Check. Select either to check selected strings or the entire file on filtered strings.

The results will display in the Check window. Click on a result to take you to the string.

Printing and exporting

You cannot export or print strings from Passolo Translator Edition. There is also no tracked changes functionality.

Validating translations

Validate translations by selecting the strings you want to validate and going to String > Validate Translation. Validating translations will turn their colour to black and they cannot be distinguished anymore as existing, new translations and reviewed translations, so if you have been requested to validate, only do this as the very last step before final delivery. If you are translating and someone else is revising, it is better to leave all in-scope strings as For review for the reviser.l

Final checks

Before delivery to the client, open all bundles and check that all strings have been validated (if requested) and appear black, QA check has been run and strings have been spellchecked.

You should run Statistics for the whole project before delivery. Depending on what the PM has instructed, all in-scope segments should be either For review or Translated and validated. IF there are any pretranslated or untranslated segments left, locate and translate these.


Validated strings suddenly appear as blue with status "For review" again when the bundle is opened anew by reviser or PM
Try to sort the strings on the status For review, mark all or a section of them and then validate them all in one go when you are done. This is efficient for files with many strings for review. For small ones it may be better to validate one string at a time. Then Save. Even if you forget, the application should ask you if you want to save changes when you close the string list. Also remember to Save All every now and then as you go along in case Passolo crashes. If locked blue For review strings cannot be validated, tell the PM and they will tell the client. Should only be the odd string in a project that is locked for editing.

Passolo says it cannot open the bundle
If you are trying to use the Passolo that is intergrated in the SDL Trados Studio 2009 package, then install the correct Passolo version as a separate application and open the bundle(s)s there instead.

Nothing happens when I try to open the Passolo bundle
Make sure that you are trying to open it in the correct Passolo version. .tbulic700 bundles should be opened in Passolo 2007.tbulic800 should be opened in Passolo 2009 and .tbulic11 should be opened in Passolo 2011

The source contains manual line breaks
You can make manual line feeds in the target field by pressing CTRL + ENTER.

One of my floating windows disappeared and I cannot get it to reappear
This is a bug that tends to happen when windows are floating instead of docked. You can make all windows reappear by pressing View > Arrange dockable windows.

I get annoying error messages about Trados Studio
A plug-in, activated by default in Passolo 2011, assumes Trados Studio is installed and tries to connect to it. You can inactivate it by navigating to Tools > Add-ins. Look for Trados Studio in the list. The column State will have the value Loaded. Chose Unload to inactivate the add-in. Also choose Manual in the Load Type column to ensure the error messages do not reappear next time you load Passolo.