Failed to create Java Virtual Machine

The above is the error message I received when trying to pre-translate a biggish ttx-file in SDL Trados 2007 Freelance. Not surprisingly, the file was not pre-translated. I prefer working in DVX, so generally when I receive Trados ttx-files for translation, I will pre-translate them in Trados, then import them to DVX and translate them there. Without the pre-translation it won’t work. Also, if I am unable to pre-translate the file, chances are I won’t be able to clean it once the translation is done either, whether I do the actual translation in Trados or DVX. So I really needed to find a solution to this.

I tried searching the SDL Knowledge Base, and found what I thought was the solution to my problem in an article about the exact error message I was getting and the information that this occurs when opening large Adobe InDesign CS2/CS3 files (*.inx) in TagEditor or SDL Edit in SDLX. The ttx-file I had been trying to pre-translate was indeed a 3.5 MB inx-file which the agency had prepped as a ttx-file before sending it to me.

All I needed to do to solve the problem, according to this article at least, was to allocate more memory to the Java Virtual Machine, because by default it is set to not use too much memory. And since SDL Trados 2007 Freelance comes with a nice little application for filter settings, where you among other things can change the size of the Java Virtual Machine, allocating memory should be a piece of cake. And yes, so it is – however, even when I set it to max, which is 512 MB, and restarted everything, the problem persisted.

The question now was, what else I could do to solve the problem. I have allocated 4 GB RAM to Windows under Parallels, which should be more than plenty, so there was no point in trying to use a RAM optimizer program, which was another suggestion from the SDL Knowledge Base article. They had one more suggestion, which was to make the inx-file smaller prior to creating a ttx-file. That, however, is not something I can do, since I don’t have InDesign, and I am pretty sure the agency would not want me messing around with their inx-files even if I did.

After I had spent a few hours looking for other solutions (and swearing and pulling out my hair), I thought of something: What if I installed SDL Trados Studio 2009 – which I have postponed doing for a long time – and tried importing the ttx-files there? That might just work. Well, I thought so until I realised that even if I could import the ttx-files to SDL Trados Studio 2009 and get sdlxliff-files instead (which I could then import to DVX) I would still have to clean up the ttx-files in the end – and my client could not use sdlxliff-files either. Oh well … that was when I officially gave up and decided to write my client in the morning and ask them if they would try making that bl**** inx-file smaller and send me a new ttx-file. Unofficially though, I would much prefer to find a solution myself … so I kept looking for a solution although with little hope of actually finding one.

In the end, TW solved the problem for me. He had a look at the various error logs, updated .NET to the newest version, de-installed all older Java Runtime Environment versions, and restored the default settings for the size of the Java Virtual Machine in Trados (by opening the Filter Settings from the Start menu > SDL International > SDL Trados 2007 Freelance > Trados > Filters, and simply clicking Restore default settings under Java Virtual Machine Size). And bingo – pre-translation worked as it should.

Note: Earlier today, after I had tried setting the Jave Virtual Machine Size to max to no avail, I also tried restoring the default settings. It did not work at the time. So why did it work now? Perhaps it was due to the .NET update. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I tried updating the Java Runtime Environment too a little later. At the time, it seemed to have no effect either, but if I had updated the JRE before restoring the size settings myself (and setting them back to max when that didn’t work), who knows – maybe it would have solved my problem two hours earlier.

At least everything finally works again.

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