Translation Backups & Security

In this article, we will be exploring the different files and settings you must back up at all times on MemoQ and Trados, as well as general security tips.

If you’ve ever had a computer for more than a few years, you’re probably acquainted with the Windows rot phenomenon: As time goes by, your applications might become less responsive and your computer takes longer to boot up.

While this problem has become less prevalent in recent years, it’s a good idea to keep your data in check – not just for when you reinstall or upgrade your operating system, but also in case of hardware malfunction (which somehow always seem to happen when you just got lots of urgent projects to deliver).

In this article, I’ll be focusing on data related to translation projects and outlining the process of backing up your data with two of the most popular CAT tools on the market: MemoQ and Trados Studio.

Backing up your MemoQ settings

As it turns out, there are a few settings on MemoQ that are separated from your projects (TMs/TBs etc.) and need to be fully backed up before resetting your operating system. You might not use all of them, but it’s always a good idea to double-check.

Backing up your local projects

If you work primarily on projects hosted on MemoQ server(s), here’s the good news: you don’t need to back anything up. Since the data related to those projects is stored on a remote server, all you’ll need to do is save the login data to said server, and you’ll find your translations exactly as you left them. However, any local projects will need to be manually backed up.

Thankfully, MemoQ makes it pretty easy to save your projects into one condensed package: all you need to do is go to your projects list, select one or several projects, right-click and select “Back up”. This will generate a “.mqbkf” file, which you can store on the Cloud or on a USB key. Upon reinstalling MemoQ, you can either double-click that file or right click => Restore, and that project will be restored.

Backing up other data

There are also global settings that will also need to be backed up separately, such as:

  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Web search settings
  • Project templates

To do so, head to the Resources console (MemoQ => Resources => Resource console), right-click on the setting you want to save and select Export:

Each resource is saved as a “.mqres” file, which you then need to reimport through the same console on your new installation. It can be rather time consuming if you have many different settings, but as far as I know, there is unfortunately no way to back everything up in one go.

Moreover, certain preferences cannot be saved at all, such as:

  • Appearance preferences (fonts, size, colors, etc.)
  • Autocorrect/auto-propagation settings
  • Predictive typing settings

These don’t take a lot of time to set up, but it has to be done regardless. Of course, any external plugin (such as Antidote) also needs to be reinstalled manually. 

Backing up your Trados Studio settings

Save your user profile

With Studio, you have the possibility of exporting and saving your user profile. This profile will basically contain everything you have defined under Options. As a reminder, Options are found in File > Options. Don’t forget you have two types of settings in Studio. The settings you find in File > Options will apply to every project you work on. The settings you find in Project Settings will only apply to the project you are working on.

Here is the general Options window, it can take quite a while to set everything.

In order to save your user profile, go to File > Setup and Manage User Profiles.

Then, you’ll have to follow the instructions of the Wizard. You’ll have to choose a path where you want to save your User Settings to, and give a name to the Profile. When you reinstall Trados Studio, you’ll have to simply import your User Settings under the same location, using Change user profile option instead.

Save your projects

As for memoQ, Trados Studio has some separate things that you’ll have to back up too. For example, if you are working on projects, you can simply copy them, and after reinstalling, paste them. However, if you don’t use the same exact path you used for those projects, when reopening them on your reinstalled machine, Trados will ask you to relink one by one all TMs and TBs.

By default, when creating a Translation memory, Studio will automatically save it under its Translation memories folder. This folder can be found in Studio 2019 (or whatever version you use) folder under the path you choose when installing Studio for the first time.

However, this is not a really convenient method. When working on a project, I would recommend you the following. Create a folder where you will save the Studio project, and then, in this folder, also create a folder named, for example, Reference material, where you can save your TMs and TBs.

Here is an example:

Your Project A folder will contain everything linked to your Studio project. It is a good practice to always do this and this will avoid you some fuss when reinstalling.

Otherwise, you can always copy the TBs and TMs you were using, but then remember to reproduce the exact same path when reinstalling, to save you the fuss of having to link everything back.

Save your Studio Templates

If like me, you have to or simply like to work with templates, do not forget to save them too. Again, Studio has a default folder where it saves its Project templates (cf above screenshot), but you might have saved them in another folder. I am personally working with 20+ templates, and it would be hell to recreate each one of them, as this is something you modify regularly according to how your project evolves. So make sure not to forget to save a copy of all of them.

Again, if you do not save the TMs and TBs under the exact same path, templates will not save you from the fuss of linking everything.

Save your plugins

Unfortunately, I did not find any easy and simple way to do this. However, if you don’t remember the plugins you have on your Studio, you can go to the Home page of Studio.

From there, you’ll have access to these options: 

Clicking on SDL Plugin Management will open a new window with a list of your plugins. When reinstalling Studio, you’ll have to go to the SDL App Store and reinstall each plugin one by one. Please note that if you change your Studio version, some plugins might not be available on the latest versions of Studio, at least at the beginning of their release.

Return your Studio licence

Last but not least, do not forget to return your Studio licence before uninstalling it. To do this, you have to go to Help > Product Activation > Deactivate.

Then go to your SDL account to check that you have returned the licence correctly. If it is the case, you’ll see that you’ll have one available licence. Why do this? The first time I ever uninstalled Studio, I did not know about this and I had to contact the Support to have my licence back. After this last step, you’ll be ready to uninstall. When you reinstall Studio, the licence will be available in your account, and you’ll be able to activate it smoothly.

Backup tips

Just like most freelancers, translators are solely responsible for the upkeep of the data related to their work and must ensure that said data stays secure at all times. This includes translation packages of course, but also reference materials, glossaries, and any other project data that is not stored on the Cloud by the client. Of course, there are also other documents relative to your business that you can’t afford to lose, such as invoices, tax documents, VAT receipts, etc.

Is it usually recommended to have a “3-way” saving system: one on your hard drive, one on local backup (such as an external hard drive/NAS), and one on a Cloud solution in case of loss of physical data – in the event of natural disaster, for example. My data is secured as such:

  • I keep all my data on a SSD drive
  • A backup of everything on my NAS (which has itself a backup system, because I share it with my husband and we’re a bit paranoid!)
  • A backup of all important business documents on Dropbox/Google drive

Thankfully, both physical and Cloud solutions are cheaper than ever, and since translation files are usually not as heavy as other types of media, this doesn’t require a huge investment.

For physical storage, my recommendation is a 5400 RPM Western Digital Red hard drive, which comes at just under 100€ for 3 TB of storage – more than the average translator will ever need. As for Cloud storage, Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage, which can be bumped to 100 GB or more through Google One for a monthly fee.

Keeping multiple backups ensures that, if you ever encounter a software or hardware malfunction, your precious data will be preserved at a relatively small cost.

What kind of backup methods do you use for your translation business?

Footnote: a huge thank you to my wonderful colleague Violaine Sauze for the research and writing on the Trados Studio part of this article!

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