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Demand to get a CAT
Thread poster: biankonera

biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 11:14
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
May 7, 2008

Today I received an email notification from a client of mine stating that soon all translations for them will have to be done only using a particular CAT tool. This makes me think:

IF I buy this CAT they would be the only ones Id be using it for and Im not sure this purchase would pay off till the end of this year considering that it wont be used too often (not to mention the fact I was not planning to make such an investment).

This is a reasonably good client I like working for yet I dont like to be pressed to get a CAT just to work for them. So in this situation Id be really glad to have some opinions on what would you do in such situation.:)


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:14
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Be real straight with them May 7, 2008

Why not just be real direct with, as follows?:

"You are the only client I'd be using this for, so I really need to know that you will be giving me XXX dollars/euros/lats worth of work during the next year so that I can be confident that I will be getting a reasonable return on my investment."

After all, they are making a demand of you, so I don't think it unreasonable that you at least get a verbal commitment from them. There is then the question as to whether you feel you can trust their verbal commitment....


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xxxPRen
Canada
Local time: 05:14
French to English
+ ...
My initial reaction... May 7, 2008

You've posted this under Being Independent, which is what you are. You are not an employee. As a freelance, you offer them your services, setting out what software you use, how many words a day you translate, what your areas of expertise are, and what your rates are. It is up to them to accept or decline your terms. Personally, I would not work for an agency or client that requires a specific CAT tool, any more than I would for a client that requires I use a certain brand of computer, printer, fax or pencil.
(PS, I don't use CATs - I'm sure that colours my response!


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Heather Chinchilla
United States
Local time: 04:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Wordfast May 7, 2008

What about Wordfast? I believe you can get a free trial version, and that it's compatible with Trados.

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:14
English to Dutch
+ ...
Getting used to it May 7, 2008

First of all, I think the comments by Robert and PRen certainly are relevant and useful.
I would just like to point out that it is very well possible that you will be using this CAT tool for other projects as well, once you get used to it.


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:14
French to English
+ ...
Depends May 7, 2008

I had a similar request from an agency I do a fair amount of work for earlier this year. They're not my favourite agency because they take ages to pay, 45 days end of month, but I find them very professional other than that and I like the project managers. However they asked me to do a free trial of MemoQ, on the basis that all their translations for major clients would be on this software in the future. As I was really busy at the time and had spent a lot of time and money investing in Wordfast the previous year and attending courses in Wordfast, I really wasn't inclined to spend yet more money or confuse myself by investigating another package - especially when I'm really happy with Wordfast! This agency had also previously wanted me to use Déja Vu, their preferred package in earlier years.

Anyway, I explained my reasons and said that I enjoyed working with them, but really couldn't justify the outlay at this point in time. They do still send me work on a regular basis, so I don't feel I've missed out by not going along with them. They did say that it wasn't their policy to force freelancers to use a certain product - I should think so too!

All in all, I think it depends how much you value their business and whether you can justify the expenditure. I took the risk that they liked my work enough to continue sending me jobs even though I wasn't using their preferred format and luckily it paid off.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 04:14
German to English
Client specifications are not unusual May 7, 2008

I translate a number of requests for proposals, and in almost every one, the client specifies that the potential vendor must provide data in certain formats, created by designated software. This is not at all unusual in an industrial setting. There are very legitimate reasons for requiring that data (in our case, translations) be provided in a specified format. A primary reason is to assure that multiple vendors provide a product in a common format that can be shared by other vendors as well as by the client. This is quite usual in the automotive industry, for example.

In the case of a large project involving several translators, translation memories and terminology databases can readily be shared by all members of a team if they're using the same software. This offers advantages to both the agency as well as the individual translators.

There's a lot to be said for participation in large on-going projects: solid income stream over a long period, and if the deadlines aren't too beastly and the project is well-managed, you may also have the opportunity to keep your other clients happy. Right now I'm working on the resumption of a project that started over a year ago. There are a few hundred thousands words to be translated, and a half-dozen translators are working at least half-time. Without a database of previously translated text and terminology, we'd be reinventing the wheel.

As freelancers we're all entitled to decide whether we want to provide various products and services. The client does have the right, however, to specify the format in which the product is to be provided. For one-of-a-kind jobs, it probably doesn't matter whether the translator uses translation memory software. The better agencies tend to have repeat customers; the use of consistent terminology, boilerplate text, etc. is an essential component of the translation product, hence the requirement for a translation tool.


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:14
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Depends on you May 7, 2008

A couple of years ago, an agency contacted me for a long-term project but they insisted that I must have Trados. I was learning wordfast at that time and had the unlicensed version of wordfast and Trados was much more expensive. I managed to convince them that I'll buy licensed version of wordfast and we agreed to use the .tmx format for exchanging TMs.

We are still working together. And last time I heard, they had actually shifted to wordfast!!! I don't know the reason behind the shift... but maybe there were other translators and they thought that it was worth the investment.


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:14
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
You're to decide! May 7, 2008

It depends very much on the particular tool that they demand. A CAT tool will certainly pay off, but the pay-off period will vary. I'd ask the client to confirm that they're ready to supply you a steady and significant workload, and also if they'll supply you term bases and translation memories for that tool.

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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 11:14
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great ideas May 7, 2008

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts on this matter! Ive to say they've given me some valuable ideas regarding what my decision might be when I give them my answer about that CAT.;)

What Margreet said about getting used to a CAT is most definitely true however in my case I cant really use CATs much due to the fact that Im dealing with creative texts (movies etc) and there is not much terminology that repeats itself and things like that.

Im not saying clients cant make specifications - they most certainly have such rights and as Kevin said Im obviously entitled whether to provide my services on their terms or not.

As for Wordfast, I have the free version of this CAT, but they demand another species so to speak - Deja Vu.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:14
English to French
+ ...
The only request I'd find reasonable is TMX files May 7, 2008

I would find it unreasonable for the freelancer to spend money to further a client's business, especially when said freelancer already has a CAT tool they invested money in and, often painstakingly, learned to use.

I think any agency should be more than happy if translators can offer them TMs, perhaps as TMX files since those are the industry standard. With it, they can easily achieve pretty much any task they would have. Doesn't matter which CAT tool you used, they can get the expected result if you provide them with a TMX file.

If a translator wants to completely avoid having to use a CAT tool, ever, the best solution is to work exclusively with direct clients and leave the agencies alone. That would fix this problem - and in many cases, many others as well.

All the best!


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:14
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Deja Vu has a free version as well May 7, 2008

bramasole wrote:

As for Wordfast, I have the free version of this CAT, but they demand another species so to speak - Deja Vu.


You don't have to buy Deja Vu. It has four versions: Workgroup, Professional, Standard and Editor. And the Editor version is free. See http://www.atril.com/featurecomparison.asp


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biankonera  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 11:14
Italian to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good to know May 7, 2008

Selcuk Akyuz wrote:

bramasole wrote:

As for Wordfast, I have the free version of this CAT, but they demand another species so to speak - Deja Vu.


You don't have to buy Deja Vu. It has four versions: Workgroup, Professional, Standard and Editor. And the Editor version is free. See http://www.atril.com/featurecomparison.asp


Thanks for this! I really wasnt aware of it.:)


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Laura Tridico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:14
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I think I work with Claire's agency as well... May 8, 2008

In my case, I decided to download the trial version of MemoQ to see whether using it with this client would increase my volume. In fact, in the couple of months since I downloaded the tool I've received several fantastic projects from them (including one 30K job) that I wouldn't have otherwise been assigned to me. So, in my case, once the trial period ends I'm going to invest in the tool because it appears to be paying off.

It's very simple - clients have the right to ask for specific services, even if it requires an investment on the part of the translator. It's up to us to decide whether our investment will pay off. For me it was simply a business decision - not something that's necessarily black and white.


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Deja Vu for creative texts May 8, 2008

Just for the record, I use Deja Vu consequently, also for so-called creative texts, and I find it extremely helpflul, especially because of its word-for-word approach (what they call "auto-assembling"). My case was similar: a client encouraged (not forced) me to buy it and now, it has been my work horse for just about a decade, and I also serve Trados and Star Transit clients with it.

As far as the editor version is concerned, I cannot recommend it. The functions are way too basic, AFAIK you cannot even spellcheck. But anyway, you should try the 30 day evaluation version, which is fully functional. This way, you will see if you can get familiar with it or not.

If not, or if buying it is not an option for you, there are other options for giving your client what he wants, but he will have to cooperate a little. Deja Vu has certain export features and the client could give you the text in a Trados presegmented format (which you could also process with Wordfast) or as a Word table.

Good luck with your decision!


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