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Data Merge not functioning but no error message

Community Beginner ,
Jan 31, 2024 Jan 31, 2024

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Hello everyone. 
I have been using the Data Merge feature of indesign to create assets for our board game development process.

I am currently working on a rulebook, which is translated into 10-13 languages. For a quick and dirty solution - or at least as a base for later improvement - I imagined prepping the translators' data in google sheets, exporting it and using that for my datamerge.

 

When importing the file, there is no error. Then, the application hangs a bit for a few seconds. Finally, the data source did not show up anywhere. Again, no message or anything. The process simply doesn't happen as usual.

 

I must admit the file size is quite large (1.5 - 2.7 mb) but I tried different supported (and unsupported formats) such as .csv (as there are commas in the cells' contents, so this doesn't work?) and .txt for a tab separated solution.
Neither worked.

Please help!

 

Thanks

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 31, 2024 Jan 31, 2024

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Hi,

 

Sorry to hear about the trouble. Please try the suggestions shared in this similar discussion and let us know if this helps or if you need further assistance. 


Thanks

Rishabh

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Community Expert ,
Jan 31, 2024 Jan 31, 2024

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You know, Rishabh, I went and looked at Frans' post, which was a pair of links to two other discussions. Both of those discussions hit upon the idea that running a Data Merge requires a correctly formatted input file, but neither one highlighted the true solution - to look at the exact input format required by InDesign, which is visible when one checks the "Import Options" box when selecting a data source.

 

I find the suggestions offered in those threads either incomplete or actually incorrect. Instead of simply suggesting that the OP identify the correct input format, the suggestions amount to "try all the input formats until you hit on the correct combination." There's also a lot of frankly incorrect advice, like "don't use Unicode format" that would absolutely hamstring anyone trying to work with multilingual raw data, like our OP here in this thread. 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 31, 2024 Jan 31, 2024

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Did you check the "Import Options" box when selecting your data source? That's where you can specify delimiter, encoding, and platform. In your case I'm going to guess that would be "tab" "Unicode" and "PC." 

 

The next time you want to do something along these lines, you might want a localization tool that both less problematic and more heavyweight than Data Merge.  I have some suggestions, but "hey why don't you rip up your localization workflow and replace it with something fit to purpose" is not a helpful suggestion for where your project is right now. 

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2024 Feb 01, 2024

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Yes, I tried adjusting this manually but to no avail unfortunately.
Thanks for the tip, though.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 31, 2024 Jan 31, 2024

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@Joel Cherney is right - you DEFINITELY need to use a different way / method to work with your data...

 

You have 124k+ characters in a single row ?!?! Not sure how many columns - but it looks like 1000+?

 

Some time ago I've created tool for WarHammer and LightSeekers card games - please let me know if you need more info.

 

▒► ID-Tasker / ID-Tasker Server - work smart not hard ◄▒

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2024 Feb 01, 2024

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Hello,
Yes, I should have quite long rows as each row basically consists of the entire rulebook from front to back. Which is a lot of columns. 
I don't know much about ID Tasker, but thanks for the tip. 
I found this quote by you actually "Right now - DataMerge won't be able to process this data as the information for a "single" record is in a multiple lines." which clarifies the situation for me further. 
There doesn't seem to be too much documentation for beginners on ID-Tasker.  Any tips on getting started?

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2024 Feb 01, 2024

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The WarHammer / LightSeekers was a custom tool created few years ago.

 

ID-Tasker is a new, completely different tool - I'll get back to you on priv.

 

▒► ID-Tasker / ID-Tasker Server - work smart not hard ◄▒

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2024 Feb 01, 2024

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Update: I tried and tested around some more and I downloaded quite a lot of versions of the sheet. The following were not the problem:
-too many columns
-commas in a cell
-breaks in a cell
-special character from different languages
-too many rows
-too long cell entries
-too many digits or too large file size

I even broke the problem down to a single cypher that was troubling me, but only by isolating one language. I assume there are several of these in my file, because simply removing it didn't work with ALL languages.
My conclusion is that the way I gathered the cell entries must have resulted in damaged data. I copied from .docx documents that were opened by acrobat pro, and previously handled by translators around the world.

I hope this can be useful to anyone who reads this with the same problem.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 01, 2024 Feb 01, 2024

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My conclusion is that the way I gathered the cell entries must have resulted in damaged data. I copied from .docx documents that were opened by acrobat pro, and previously handled by translators around the world.

 

That's certainly possible. A better translation workflow would involve minimal manual handling such as you describe. I typically use tools that can work directly on IDML files (which is a markup-language equivalent of an InDesign file, more or less), and when it's my job to select translators, I typically only choose providers who can work with those tools. That isolates the workflow from many sources of potentially damaged data. 

 

Even though it may look expensive, I usually suggest to people unfamilar with the localization process to hand their English files over to a language service provider. Paying someone else to fix these problems is typically a significant cost savings, unless you rate your own time as being worth zero dollars per hour. And, for what it's worth, if you already have your translations in some kind of tabluar format, it may well be easy for someone to groom that data and turn it into a translation memory database, which could then be applied directly to your IDML. That's the kind of thing I do all the time, to be honest. It might be a great deal cheaper than you'd expect. 

 

However, if you're going to try to fix this without handing it off to the language professionals, I still think that some sort of tooling would help you out. For example, a tool that could tell you which string a merge failed on would be to your advantage, right? You wouldn't be speculating as to the reason why your merge failed, if you knew which strings were problems. I suspect that Robert's game-specific tools could be very useful to you, here. If you'd like a second opinion, and are willing to share your massive CSV, I'd be happy to take a look at it to confirm or deny your conclusions regarding potential damage to your data source. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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