It’s happened to me twice now. Each time it was late at night. Each time I was exhausted from a long day translating. I go to open a file within a Studio project, only to be told by a pop-up window that a “dependency file” can’t be found. The file name and path, too long for all characters to display, are as cryptic as the error message’s subject. Dependency file? I’m proud to know xliff, sdltm, sdlppx, sdlrpx and sdlproj, but I don’t know what a dependency file is–much less one that’s named tc5uot1y.101 and located somewhere named ipp11krx.eze. Uh, come again?
The blood leaves my face. I hold my breath. I click my way out of the pop-up (the only option I see) and … a glimmer of hope, the xliff starts to open. It opens! And not only does it open, it loads with all the right data. My segments! My work! The xliff file is intact! A huge wave of relief washes over me. And, then, as quickly as that relief came, it occurs to me to double-check some things. Did I lose any functionality? What about my ability to generate a target text when I’m done or at least save what I’ve got right now as a target text in case this happens again? And that’s when I discover that my problem isn’t completely solved. It seems I can’t use “Save Target As…,” “Generate Target Translations,” or even “Create Return Package.” All of these options were grayed out. A big deal since my client wasn’t expecting anything other than a clean Word file in this case. A smaller deal when the exact same thing happened two weeks later for a client who uses Studio on a regular basis. For them, I could at least provide the xliff. For the other client, I had to think fast.
I owe the solutions I used in each case not to my own ingenuity, but to discussions on ProZ.com and the results of general Web searches about file recovery. Thanks to those resources, I quickly learned that I wasn’t the only one to experience a missing dependency file error in Studio. Though it doesn’t make the problem go away, it’s always nice to know that it’s not just your software or hardware that’s malfunctioning. The posts I read suggested that the error occurred when some sort of computer maintenance program ran in the background and deleted temporary files. And that’s exactly what had happened in my case. I have a weekly PC maintenance program controlled by an external service provider that runs once a week, late Saturday night, and it ran while I was in the middle of working in Studio. What the occurrence of this error tells us about the hours translators keep is worthy of its own article, since I wager that most such maintenance programs are scheduled to run at hours one expects to be off the computer.
The solution I chose when I was confronted with my first missing dependency file error worked, but was nerve-wracking, since it involved deleting the project from Studio. As posts on ProZ suggested, as long as my translation units were stored in my translation memory, they could be recycled were I to process the source file anew. Since my source file was relatively small (less than one thousand words) and had to be delivered as a Word file, I felt I had no choice but to take the plunge. So, after confirming all of my segments, I went to Projects view, removed the project from the list and then started a new project with a clean copy of the source text. Thankfully, pre-translation reinserted my translations, and I finished the project on time.
When I encountered my second missing dependency file error two weeks later, I was less inclined to delete the project from my from Projects list and create a new project for several reasons. For one, the file I was working on was easily ten times larger than the one I had been working on two weeks earlier. Secondly, there were a lot of high level matches on my first go-round with this project and, still new to Studio, I wasn’t 100% sure how my tweaks of high-level matches were stored in the memory. Did the TM keep both the old and the new TU, and if it did, would it then treat what should theoretically be 100% matches from a source text it already “knew” as 99% matches, forcing me to look at and reconfirm thousands of words of translation? At 1:00 AM Sunday morning, that didn’t seem like an attractive option, especially since I knew I could ultimately send this client an xliff file. So, back to the drawing board I went and what I found on this round of Web research made all the difference: a way to recover deleted files and folders by using Windows 7′s Restore Previous Versions tool.
If you’re operating system is Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can verify that you have the Restore Previous Versions tool by right-clicking on any file or folder and seeing if the “Restore previous versions” option appears on the menu. You won’t change or damage your files or folders if you select “Restore previous versions.” Clicking it will simply show you whether there are previous versions of a file or folder (if there aren’t, none will be listed) and, if there are, the date and time of their last modification. With respect to the missing dependency file error in Studio, this meant closing and reopening my xliff so that I could get the name and location of the missing dependency file, or at least enough of the name and file path to know what folder to restore. In my case, the file with the cryptic name was located in a folder with an equally cryptic name at Users/MyUserFolder/AppData/Local/Temp. After restoring the Temp folder to the version that existed immediately prior to the time the PC maintenance scan ran, I had my dependency file back and my xliff opened in Studio 2011 without any dependency file error. My ability to use “Save Target As…,” “Generate Target Translations,” and “Create Return Package” were restored, as well.
The Restore Previous Versions Tool can be used for more than just troubleshooting SDL Trados Studio errors. It offers a way to recover files that have been deleted from the recycle bin, too. The method isn’t 100% foolproof, of course, because it assumes that you have been working on the file that goes missing or gets prematurely deleted long enough for your computer to have made its default copy of changed files and folders. Restore Previous Versions worked in my case because I had been working on the project in question all day for several days. However, if you start a project just a short while before your PC maintenance program runs and the maintenance program runs while you’re working on a file in Studio, there’s a good chance that the most recent version of your Temp folder won’t show a backup copy of the dependency file at all.