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Which CAT Tool is simple to use/learn to use and is an affordable price?
Thread poster: Sarah Downing

Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:58
German to English
+ ...
May 7, 2004

Hello,

I realise that the topic of CAT tools has been discussed time and again, but I think my question is somewhat more specific, which is why I'm posting it here.

For some time now, I've been considering the purchase of a CAT tool.

Some of the leading CAT tools, such as TRADOS, have really put me off, partly due to price and partly due to complications - I constantly see forum postings where people have technical problems with TRADOS, which worries me because I don't want to lose time trying to sort something out with which I'm unfamiliar - added stressed which I can do without (especially if I've got a tight deadline)! But then again, are there any tools out there that are so intuitive that you can sort out the problem yourself?

Ideally, I'm looking for something that's reasonably priced because I've only got a certain amount of projects where such a tool would come in handy - these are mostly projects from a certain company where the terminology has to be uniform, often where the terminology has been (unfortunately) created by the customer. With projects where I get to define the terminology, I wouldn't need a CAT tool as much, because I tend to remember how I translated something previously and otherwise I often use Inforapid Search and Replace, which doesn't really take that long.

I have been told to stay away from TRANSIT (supposedly too complicated) and I was actually wondering about Wordfast - it seems to be affordable (either free or about 170 EURO), but does this, in your opinion, do the trick - i.e. is it easy to use/learn to use, is it user-friendly and is it compatible with other CAT tools? - judging by the website, it is, but is this really the case in practice?

Of course, I would also be grateful for any other CAT tool recommendations - it doesn't have to be Wordfast, but my main priority is something that it user-friendly and easy to learn to use.

Thank you in advance.

Sarah Downing


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Sarah Ponting  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:58
Italian to English
+ ...
Wordfast May 7, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:

I was actually wondering about Wordfast - it seems to be affordable (either free or about 170 EURO), but does this, in your opinion, do the trick - i.e. is it easy to use/learn to use, is it user-friendly and is it compatible with other CAT tools? - judging by the website, it is, but is this really the case in practice?



I use Wordfast and find it extremely user-friendly in comparison to the other CAT tools that I've tried. I'd certainly recommend it. You can download a free trial from the Wordfast website to see how you like it and then purchase a licence if you decide that it suits you. As for compatibility, I've never had any problems between Trados and Wordfast, although I haven't tried using files created with other CAT tools.

Sarah

[Edited at 2004-05-07 15:09]


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xxxncfialho  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:58
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Wordfast May 7, 2004

I think Wordfast is the right choice for you...try it, download it at http://www.wordfast.net , work with it and if you like it as much as most poeple do you buy a license
Have fun,
Natália


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Wordfast May 7, 2004

Hi Sarah,

Adding to what Sarah P said (oops! and Natalia!), I'd like to point out that you can extensively try Wordfast without any time limit, with all its functionalities.
You can use TMs of about up to 500 units (I've known cases of a lot bigger) which is more than enough for medium jobs, and you can create as many 500 units TMs as you like.

I have a Trados demo, and there it is; I have never been able to get much of it because th trial version is too limited.

FWIW
Cheers,
Grace

[Edited at 2004-05-07 15:33]


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 08:58
English to French
+ ...
Wordfast May 7, 2004


Which CAT Tool is simple to use/learn to use and is an affordable price ?


Your question said it all.


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 08:58
German
+ ...
From an agency's point of view, though... May 7, 2004

...Wordfast is not the ideal choice.

There are quite a few projects that I would never outsource to a translator who has "only" Wordfast and not Trados. This is especially true for tagged files such as HTML, XML and PageMaker, FrameMaker, InDesign and such. (We've all made our experiences.)

Trados' tools for editing these files are just vastly superior in terms of ensuring data integrity and smooth process flow (agencytranslator).

Whichever tool you use, though, the most important thing will always be that you understand the workings behind the technology (i.e. what is a segment, a fuzzy match, a tag, a character entity and so forth). In my view, working with TMs inevitably demands a higher level of understanding from a translator, because it adds a level of complexity to the mere translation.

These are just my two cents, though.

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

Benjamin
tectranslate, Germany


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:58
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Wf and the Wordfast mailing list May 7, 2004

Though wf is easy to use, you will encounter problems, as with any computer program. Look at Yahoo > Groups for wordfast.

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bergazy  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 08:58
Croatian to Italian
+ ...
Wordfast & Omega T May 7, 2004

Wordfast is a great low-cost tool and Omega T is free and good tool (look at Proz.com Cat Fight ).

Good luck

Marko


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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:58
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Deja vu May 7, 2004

Sarah,

I have (and use) all the major ones: DV, Trados, SDLX, Transit, Wordfast, Fusion. For its robust features and user-friendliness, Deja vu beats the competition hands down. It does what Tradoes does and more. So once you save your pennies (DV's not cheap at around US$900 - what I paid), I recommend it. You could even deliver Trados files without owning Trados. You simply have to use Deja vu.

To support my opinion, please go and read the CAT Fight, where users compare Trados and Deja vu feature by feature.

Good luck,
Marcus


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 01:58
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
Give Metatexis a try May 7, 2004

I had Wordfast but tried Metatexis for a while, and I was hooked. I still use Wordfast from time to time but all for most of my projects I go for Metatexis.

You can also import and export any Metatexis.

You can read more features @ http://metatexis.com/features.htm . Or visit the web site http://metatexis.com.

Good luck

Cali


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:58
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Ditto on WF May 7, 2004

I've worked with WF for a couple of years now -- still have the old version! -- and it's a gem. Affordable and understandable.
Wouldn't trade it for the world.
I tried Trados (at a friend's office) and didn't see many advantages -- but plenty of disadvantages.
Once my friend left on a trip, laptop in tow, and FORGOT THE DONGLE. She had to have her husband DHL it to her!
None of that nonsense with WF!


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Intergraf  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:58
Spanish to English
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Some thoughts and advice... May 7, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:
I don't want to lose time trying to sort something out with which I'm unfamiliar - added stressed which I can do without (especially if I've got a tight deadline)!

First of all, when you're on deadline (tight or not) is NOT the time to test out new software, much less new CAT software! I learned that the hard way long ago, and aged at least 10 years in the process, not to mention making the tranquilizer manufacturers rich in the process...

So my first piece of advice is this: Try the different CAT tools between jobs, using old translations. This way, you won't be under the gun – which tends to make one frazzled and shuts down normally clear thinking as well. In this more relaxed environment, you'll find it easier to understand how the program works and you'll have the time you need to read the Help files and ask questions here or via the mailing lists that are available to users of the tools.

If you can't try a program between jobs, then make it a point to schedule short daily sessions for playing with whatever tool you're evaluating. Most have a 30-day trial period and generally the software is fully functional during the trial. There are exceptions – some trials limit certain functions, so be sure to read what the limits might be.

I would suggest starting with short sessions, maybe 15-30 minutes long. If you're not familiar with CAT tools at all, that's about as long as you can deal with one at one sitting without becoming overly frustrated or having information overload. You can always have more than one session each day, you know.

Second piece of advice: Try more than one tool (but only one at a time). They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and their particular quirks. What works well for one person is a nightmare for the next. Each of us has our own requirements, set-ups (computer hardware and software, work flow, type of client and work, type of documents you have to handle, etc.), and, last but by no means least, our own personal idiosyncracies.

Neither I nor anyone else can tell you what is best for YOU. You are the only one who can do that, and, unfortunately, it's not the easiest or fastest thing to determine. You have to test the programs and see how they work for you, no matter how well they may work for someone else or how much someone else dislikes them.

Third piece of advice: Don't buy any tool before the end of the trial period. What may seem like an answer from heaven at first sight might prove to be totally unworkable or extremely annoying once you get deeper into it and learn some of the more advanced features. I learned that through hard experience, too.

It's also a good idea to evaluate several tools, even when you think you've found the one for you. For all you know, another tool might be even more suited to you and the type of work you do.

Fourth piece of advice (and this goes back to #2 and somewhat to #3): Very important – as a newbie with CAT tools, don't attempt to evaluate more than one tool at once. You'll get confused and frustrated, and you'll reach information overload very quickly.


But then again, are there any tools out there that are so intuitive that you can sort out the problem yourself?

While a lot depends on the program and its Help files and manuals, a lot also depends on you:
- how familiar are you with CAT tools and how they're supposed to work? (The idea behind them, plus what they are as well as what they are NOT, what they can do and what they cannot do, etc.)
- how good are you at reading Help files or manuals and following directions?
- how easily frustrated do you get when starting to learn new software?

Those are just a few of the factors involved...


Ideally, I'm looking for something that's reasonably priced because I've only got a certain amount of projects where such a tool would come in handy - these are mostly projects from a certain company where the terminology has to be uniform, often where the terminology has been (unfortunately) created by the customer.

Although this is your initial reason for looking at CAT tools, once you build up your TMs (Translation Memories) and terminology databases (or glossaries), you may be surprised to find that a CAT tool can come in handy for all sorts of translation work.


With projects where I get to define the terminology, I wouldn't need a CAT tool as much, because I tend to remember how I translated something previously and otherwise I often use Inforapid Search and Replace, which doesn't really take that long.

Yes, but think of this: Many of these tools perform such searches automatically for you. Some search your TMs, some include your terminology bases or glossaries as well, some also search reference material that you've designated as such.


I have been told to stay away from TRANSIT (supposedly too complicated)

I've heard that too, but I've also heard it's the most powerful and versatile of the bunch. Unfortunately, there's no trial for it, as far as I know.


and I was actually wondering about Wordfast - it seems to be affordable (either free or about 170 EURO), but does this, in your opinion, do the trick - i.e. is it easy to use/learn to use, is it user-friendly and is it compatible with other CAT tools? - judging by the website, it is, but is this really the case in practice?

Again, it depends on you. Many people find it to be extremely user-friendly, others don't like it. Whatever you hear about it, pro or con, take it with a grain of salt. Only you can determine whether it will work for you and how user-friendly it is for you.

For example, I consider myself to be fairly computer savvy, yet trying to help a friend with their AOL account was beyond me – an exercise in total frustration. It's reputed to be extremely user-friendly, and I know many people who aren't very computer-literate who find it very easy to use. I found it illogical and difficult to work with. (This was a few years back – things may have changed since then.)


Of course, I would also be grateful for any other CAT tool recommendations - it doesn't have to be Wordfast, but my main priority is something that it user-friendly and easy to learn to use.

Another one to explore is WordFisher, especially considering the use you want to put it to initially (I think once you start using a CAT tool, you'll find they're more useful than you thought). At $30 (yes, thirty), it's the cheapest of them all, except for OmegaT, which is free. It's also not as powerful, but then, sometimes it's all you need – don't buy an elephant gun to kill gnats when a fly-swatter will do. ;-D [With apologies to the developer: No offense intended, just trying to make a point. Actually, WordFisher is a very nice piece of work and highly under-rated and overlooked. I believe the trial period is either 45 or 60 days, and it's fully functional.]

Here's an article about WordFisher, written by its author:
"WordFisher for MS Word: An alternative to translation memory programs for freelance translators?" by Tibor Környei
http://accurapid.com/journal/11wf.htm

Good luck in your search!

T.


[Edited at 2004-05-07 17:15]

[Edited at 2004-05-07 17:16]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 08:58
English to German
+ ...
Fusion May 7, 2004

Sarah Downing wrote:

Hello,

I realise that the topic of CAT tools has been discussed time and again, but I think my question is somewhat more specific, which is why I'm posting it here.

For some time now, I've been considering the purchase of a CAT tool.

Some of the leading CAT tools, such as TRADOS, have really put me off, partly due to price and partly due to complications - I constantly see forum postings where people have technical problems with TRADOS, which worries me because I don't want to lose time trying to sort something out with which I'm unfamiliar - added stressed which I can do without (especially if I've got a tight deadline)! But then again, are there any tools out there that are so intuitive that you can sort out the problem yourself?

Ideally, I'm looking for something that's reasonably priced because I've only got a certain amount of projects where such a tool would come in handy - these are mostly projects from a certain company where the terminology has to be uniform, often where the terminology has been (unfortunately) created by the customer. With projects where I get to define the terminology, I wouldn't need a CAT tool as much, because I tend to remember how I translated something previously and otherwise I often use Inforapid Search and Replace, which doesn't really take that long.

I have been told to stay away from TRANSIT (supposedly too complicated) and I was actually wondering about Wordfast - it seems to be affordable (either free or about 170 EURO), but does this, in your opinion, do the trick - i.e. is it easy to use/learn to use, is it user-friendly and is it compatible with other CAT tools? - judging by the website, it is, but is this really the case in practice?

Of course, I would also be grateful for any other CAT tool recommendations - it doesn't have to be Wordfast, but my main priority is something that it user-friendly and easy to learn to use.

Thank you in advance.

Sarah Downing
Hi! I find Fusion is very suitable due to many reasons. It is Trados compatible, main issue, can export the TM to Trados, thirdly it is very easy to learn and master ( approx 30 min). It was within the affordable price range. I do not know the present price. Addtionally Fusion team gives a life-long product and updation support at no further price, which means for me, that the Tool would be ever expanding. It´s like buying a Mercedes for life, and every new development would be addtional spare parts or newer technology !! would be integrated. I find that is helluva promise.
Warm Regards,
Bandi

[Edited at 2004-05-08 20:55]


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Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:58
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Transit Satellite PE May 7, 2004


I have been told to stay away from TRANSIT (supposedly too complicated)


I've heard that too, but I've also heard it's the most powerful and versatile of the bunch. Unfortunately, there's no trial for it, as far as I know.


Why is it that Transit keeps getting bad press here? The number of people saying "they have "heard" negative comments about Transit" keeps growing. Why not try it and see? There is a free downloadable version called Satellite - without time restraints. It has many of the functions of the full Transit version - except for the ability to create projects, you have to have one sent from your project manager or someone else. I would be happy to send you one of your previous projects to try it out. There are also excellent computer-based training tutorials.

I think the major reason why Transit puts people off is because it isn't a graphic program like Word. It has a completely different look to it: one window for source, one for the target, one for the dictionary, one for the notepad, and one for fuzzies. All can be resized and relocated. You can use the same Transit program for Powerpoint, Excel, Word files, which is a great advantage. It also extracts text out of text boxes, which are a real pain with Trados.

I work with Trados and Transit, and IMHO, Transit wins hands down every time.

The download link for Satellite and the CBT:

http://www.star-solutions.net/html/eng/support/Transit-SAT-PE.html


Info on Transit and some screen shots:

http://www.localizationworks.com/DRTOM/Star/STAR.html

Cheers,
Jill



[Edited at 2004-05-08 06:42]


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Shang
China
Local time: 14:58
English to Chinese
Wordfast May 7, 2004

Trados and Wordfast are fully integrated with Office, but the later is much cheaper than the former. I regret buying Trados.

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