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CAT Decision
Thread poster: Whisper9999
Whisper9999
Local time: 20:12
English to Spanish
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Oct 14, 2008

I'm relatively new at this and I am at the point of getting a CAT tool. I don't have the money right now for Trados, although some day I might like to get it. However, I know that I want something that will handle Trados documents. So I have a couple of questions about how one might decide which one to buy:

1. The number of choices in a CAT tool seems overwhelming when you first look at it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-assisted_translation

I can narrow down the choice somewhat because I want something relatively inexpensive (less than ~$300) and that can handle Trados documents. How do you decide? Do you just get a bunch of trial versions and try them out?

2. It looks like there are several Trados formats, right? TTX and RTF, correct? I assume these are both important?

3. Does anyone have any recommendations? I don't even know how to get started!

4. Any other things I should look for?

Thanks for the help.


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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:12
Member (2007)
German to English
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TMX Oct 14, 2008

Hello Cristina

I can't really recommend which CAT tool to use as I've only worked with Trados so far, but as far as Trados compatibility is concerned I don't think it really matters which tool you choose. I think most CAT tools support the TMX standard, which is a vendor-neutral open XML standard for the exchange of translation memory data.

Hope this helps a little.





[Edited at 2008-10-14 16:52]


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 00:12
Partial member
Spanish
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Try them all Oct 14, 2008

Hi Cristina,

1. You have plenty of (cheaper, better) options besides Trados. Even though most CAT tools do the same thing (segmentation and TM), not all work the same way, so it would be better if you try as many as you can before buying one.

2. RTF is a Word format. I think all CAT tools should handle this format. TTX is a tagged file, which can contain embedded information. See this topic: www.proz.com/forum/cat_tools_technical_help/91259-whats_a_ttx_file-.html

3. I always recommend Metatexis for beginners. It's extremely easy to use and it even has a free version.

4. I don't think there's a perfect CAT tool. Trados is the "standard"--just like iPod is the standard for mp3 players, even thought there are better options out there. Trados can produce tagged bilingual files (as doc, rtf or ttx). Many outsourcers prefer to receive these bilingual files, so they can use them to create a TM. Most CAT tools can produce and process these bilingual files. But always be honest with your clients, tell them you don't have Trados but your CAT tool can create bilingual files.

Good luck,

Claudia


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Spiros Doikas  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:12
Member (2002)
English to Greek
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Indeed... Oct 14, 2008

Trados is a standard but if you want to acquire some experience I would recommend the free (limited) versions of MetaTexis (2 months) and Wordfast (500 TUs). If your translations are mainly doc files, then they can both serve you happily (they can serve you happily with other formats too but there can be import/export complications if clients ask for Trados files).

DVX is a very powerful system too, but it is the most expensive.


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Whisper9999
Local time: 20:12
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
Thank You Oct 14, 2008

Thank you - your responses helped very much.

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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:12
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
I prefer DVX for most work... Oct 14, 2008

...but MemoQ is worth a serious look. Its price is reasonable, and you can generate bilingual files to feed a customer's Trados TMs if you want to. It will also handle "real" Trados projects in the form of presegmented Word/RTF/TTX files. I haven't gotten past the evaluation stage with the product, but I have seen a lot of very nice things that should make it a serious contender.

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Magdalena Szewciów  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:12
Member (2008)
English to Polish
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Wordfast Oct 14, 2008

Do not forget to try my little helpful friend, Wordfast.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:12
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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My answer Oct 14, 2008

Cristina Coronado wrote:
I can narrow down the choice somewhat because I want
1. something relatively inexpensive (less than ~$300) and
2. that can handle Trados documents.


The only program I know of that can handle both Trados RTF and Trados TTX and costs less than USD 300 is Swordfish.

None of the other tools under USD 300 mentioned so far can handle both these formats without some extensive pre-formatting and/or hacking (correct me if I'm wrong, please).

My advice to you is to use cheaper CAT tools that can't handle Trados formats, so that you can learn how to use CAT tools in general. If you really want Trados jobs, you can buy Trados (at about USD 1100, if I'm not mistaken) when you're confident that you'll be able to pay off the investment in a jiffy.

Claudia Alvis wrote:
RTF is a Word format. I think all CAT tools should handle this format.


OmegaT doesn't handle it. Swordfish only handles it if the file was created using Trados.

I always recommend Metatexis for beginners. It's extremely easy to use and it even has a free version.


Metatexis' Lite version may actually be a good beginner's tool, yes. Once you are comfortable with the basic functions (because that's all the Lite version has) you can progress to Wordfast's unregistered version, which has more features. But neither Metatexis nor Wordfast can handle Trados TTX files. The platinum version of Metatexis (at USD 250) can handle it if you have Trados itself installed as well. Correct me if I'm wrong.


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Rodolfo Raya  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:12
English to Spanish
Swordfish creates unclean RTF Oct 14, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

Claudia Alvis wrote:
RTF is a Word format. I think all CAT tools should handle this format.


OmegaT doesn't handle it. Swordfish only handles it if the file was created using Trados.



Swordfish can create an unclean RTF (Trados tagged) from a regular RTF. Simply select "Tagged RTF" as source file format and Swordfish will add all Trados styles if they are missing.

You don't need to have Trados to deliver an unclean RTF, Swordfish is enough.

Regards,
Rodolfo


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Whisper9999
Local time: 20:12
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
Formats Oct 15, 2008

Wow! Thank you for all the comments and suggestions but now I've read a few links about file formats and I'm more confused about a few things:

1. There are tagged RTF (Trados Unclean), untagged (regular) RTFs, TTX and TMX I believe. Which of these formats do agencies like to send you?
2. And in which of these formats do agencies like to receive their translations in?
3. I assume by "tagged" you mean with standard XML tags, right?

I am asking 1 and 2 because that will help me not to get a CAT tool that will not serve my purposes. Also, I want to ask this:

Thanks and any help is much appreciated.

[Edited at 2008-10-15 05:19]


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Whisper9999
Local time: 20:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Support Oct 15, 2008

Also, who has the best support out of the cheaper CAT tools (such as Metatexis and Swordfish)? I think I am going to have a lot of questions! I guess Swordfish has a users group and Metatexis a support email. Do they both work pretty well if you have troubles?

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:12
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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What I meant... Oct 15, 2008

[quote]Rodolfo Raya wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
Swordfish only handles
f the file was created using Trados.

Swordfish can create an unclean RTF (Trados tagged) from a regular RTF. Simply select "Tagged RTF" as source file format and Swordfish will add all Trados styles if they are missing. ... You don't need to have Trados to deliver an unclean RTF, Swordfish is enough.


Sorry, what I meant was that if the RTF file wasn't created by Swordfish but by some other tool, Swordfish can only handle it if it was created by Trados. An tagged RTF file created by Wordfast, for example, is rejected by Swordfish (it is rejected by Trados too, by the way). But I'll gladly be corrected on this.

Anyway, the point is that Swordfish seems to be the only tool that matches the OP's original requirements.


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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:12
Member (2005)
English to Polish
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Swordfish Oct 15, 2008

I'd recommend Swordfish wholeheartedly. It can handle the TTX format alright with the improved filter. But I'd also recommend that you request a pretranslated TTX (even with an empty TM) from your client, then Swordfish will keep the segments which TagEditor created.

Tagged RTF works most of the time, but sometimes there are bugs and you won't get an RTF file that opens in Word.

I know that the author of Swordfish has another tagged format for Word files up his sleeve and hopefully it will resolve the problems with Tagged RTF.

Piotr


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Hermann Bruns  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:12
English to German
MetaTexis Oct 15, 2008

MetaTexis can handle TTX files, after all! In fact, there are quite a few translators and even agencies (JABA translations, Portugal) who use MetaTexis to translate TTX files.

You can download the latest version of MetaTexis at www.metatexis.com and test the trial version, if it works for you.

Cheers
Hermann


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:12
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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The formats you mention Oct 15, 2008

Cristina Coronado wrote:
1. There are tagged RTF (Trados Unclean), untagged (regular) RTFs, TTX and TMX I believe. Which of these formats do agencies like to send you?


I wonder if untagged RTF is ever a source format any more. My clients all send MS Word files, not RTF files. And I think you have to make a distinction between uncleaned RTF and tagged RTF files too. And different people mean different things by these terms also.

TTX is a bilingual source text format. TMX is a translation memory format. Untagged RTF is a unilingual source text format, but if you translate it and deliver it as an uncleaned RTF then it is a bilingual format, obviously. The same goes for tagged RTF, although some people do not regard such a file as tagged if it isn't also uncleaned, and an uncleaned file is bilingual. Got you confused yet?

A client will rarely ask you to translate a TMX file. The only tool I know of that can edit a TMX file in the same way as it edits other files, is VirTaal. Please let me know if you know of more such tools.

3. I assume by "tagged" you mean with standard XML tags, right?


Well, a lot of people who move in the same circles as I do use the term "tagged RTF" to refer to a styled RTF that usually contains XML tags, but not necessarily. I suppose in other circles the term may be used more narrowly to refer to only RTFs that are tagged and that contain XML tags.

I am asking 1 and 2 because that will help me not to get a CAT tool that will not serve my purposes.


Clients may send you pre-processed files or they may expect you to do the pre-processing yourself. I myself can handle all of Trados' formats using only Wordfast, but that is because the files are pre-processed by my clients. If I had to create the files myself, I'd need to use a demo version of Trados in some cases, or full version of Trados in other cases. I also try to use Swordfish in such cases, but I haven't had that much experience with it to give you any meaningful answer about it.

Don't worry about RTF for the moment. The big Trados format is TTX. Ask if the CAT tool can (a) create a new TTX and (b) translate an existing TTX. If the tool can do at least #b, then it's a good buy. If not, then there's no point in venturing into the muddy waters of which RTF dialect the tool supports.


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