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choosing first software, is systran 5.0 a cat tool
Thread poster: Marissa Vicari
Marissa Vicari  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
French to English
Apr 12, 2006

Hi, I'm looking for my first translation software too... I actually have a few questions.

I tried downloading the Trados demo, but didn't really understand, it seemed like something essential was missing - would you use Trados for one-time articles, or is it mainly for doing things like manuals?

I'm mainly translating scientific journal articles and I rarely see the 'same sentence' twice. Would a CAT tool be useful for me?

I'm also looking at Systran 5.0, and their website sort of says it is a CAT tool, but I thought it wasn't. They talk about TM though, and I'm wondering if anyone can clarify this for me.

Finally, what is your opinion of Systran 5.0? I've tried alta-vista babel fish, which is powered by Systran, and I'm wondering if the Systran 5.0 software is better.... I can't find a demo.

Thank you for any advice,

Marissa


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Jerónimo Fernández  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
My 2 cents Apr 12, 2006

Hi there!

I tried downloading the Trados demo, but didn't really understand, it seemed like something essential was missing - would you use Trados for one-time articles, or is it mainly for doing things like manuals?


In my experience, it's mainly for repetitive texts, like manuals.

I'm mainly translating scientific journal articles and I rarely see the 'same sentence' twice. Would a CAT tool be useful for me?


As above. However, if you translate scientific journal articles about a particular field on a regular basis, it's almost guaranteed that you will eventually find very similar sentences, let alone terms.

I'm also looking at Systran 5.0, and their website sort of says it is a CAT tool, but I thought it wasn't. They talk about TM though, and I'm wondering if anyone can clarify this for me.


For what I understand from http://www.systransoft.com/solutions/agencies.html, you can "add" your TM to the automatic translation software. Don't take my word for this, but I guess it gives priority to the content of your TM over the content of Systran's glossaries/databases when it comes to translation.

Finally, what is your opinion of Systran 5.0? I've tried alta-vista babel fish, which is powered by Systran, and I'm wondering if the Systran 5.0 software is better.... I can't find a demo.


Last time I used Systran, back at univeristy, it was as good as any other machine translation software (ie: not reliable). Then again, that was some 4 years ago, which is a lot in the computing world, so maybe it's wonderful now. Somebody out there with a more recent experience?

HTH,
Cheers,
Jerónimo


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Hermann Bruns  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:19
English to German
Try MetaTexis Apr 13, 2006

Hello Marissa,

I'm mainly translating scientific journal articles and I rarely see the 'same sentence' twice. Would a CAT tool be useful for me?


A CAT tool is useful for every translator! For, CAT tools not only offer identical translations or similar translation, but help you in several ways. For more information, see the introduction to CAT tools in the MetaTexis manual:

http://www.metatexis.net/manual/whatisacattoolashortintroduction.htm

There are CAT tools which can be run without a TM (so that you are not distracted by any bad TM search results). One example is MetaTexis. In the first two months the trial version is fully functional, and thereafter you can use the free version without TM support. For more information see:

http://www.metatexis.com

I'm also looking at Systran 5.0, and their website sort of says it is a CAT tool, but I thought it wasn't. They talk about TM though, and I'm wondering if anyone can clarify this for me.


Several machine translation programs do include some kind of translation memory, but compared to the 'real' TM tools like MetaTexis and TRADOS they are not very convenient.

Finally, what is your opinion of Systran 5.0? I've tried alta-vista babel fish, which is powered by Systran, and I'm wondering if the Systran 5.0 software is better.... I can't find a demo.


Especially in your case, a machine translation software would not be useful, for, the more complex the sentence structure, and the more demanding the content to be translated, the less useful are machine translations. In fact, in such a case it is more efficient to do a manual translation - this is my experience, at least.

Best regards
Hermann

[Edited at 2006-04-13 07:35]


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Marissa Vicari  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
using metatexis but don't understand Apr 13, 2006

First of all, thank you both for your rapid and insightful advice. It really helps.

I've read the metatexis material, and understand more now what a CAT tool is supposed to do for me (That was so much more clear than the TRADOS blurb). So, I've downloaded metatexis, I'm translating my first document - but- nothing is being prompted in the box for the translation. (This is exactly what happened when I tried the TRADOS trial)

I'm basically translating with no help from metatexis... I've checked the TM and DTB search boxes, so I expected that there would be suggestions popping up. Is this normal? How do I get access to the trial TM and DTB?

I feel like I'm so close to understanding this, but it doesn't seem to be working. What am I missing here?

Thank you,
Marissa


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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:19
English to German
+ ...
Fuzzy Threshold Apr 13, 2006

I think what you are experiencing is that the sentence you translate is just not similiar enough to those in your TM/database.

In fact, a CAT tool works best after some time, when you have accumulated enough work so that the system has a lot of translation units to choose from.

What you could do at this stage is to check what fuzzy threshold you have (usually 75% is recommended) and lower it so chances are higher that the CAT tool will offer matches.

You should also familiarize yourself with other features of your CAT tool, such as concordance search, etc. to see how it can help you best with your work.

As you mentioned above, you mainly translate articles which do not usually contain a lot of repetitions. In these cases, you may not benefit from the main features a CAT tool offers but from all the other small features, such as searching legacy TMs, building glossaries, etc.

I can also recommend these two Wikipedia articles that offer some more background information on the whole subject:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_translation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Translation_memory


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Marissa Vicari  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
thank you, going on faith Apr 15, 2006

Thank you Sonja, those links are very helpful. I also got a response from Metataxis support explaining that the TM and TDBs are empty. So, I guess I'll just have to keep translating and hope that one day the TM and TDB will be useful for me. Too bad they don't put a few general and common things in there, just to help get you started, because otherwise you just have to go on faith that the software will be useful (for those functions) at some point. The emptyness of it all was really counter-intuitive for me.

Thank you all for your help. You guys are great.

Marissa


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:19
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
getting started with SYSTRAN v5 Apr 16, 2006

Marissa Vicari wrote:
I'm also looking at Systran 5.0, and their website sort of says it is a CAT tool, but I thought it wasn't. They talk about TM though, and I'm wondering if anyone can clarify this for me.

Finally, what is your opinion of Systran 5.0? I've tried alta-vista babel fish, which is powered by Systran, and I'm wondering if the Systran 5.0 software is better.... I can't find a demo.


* As for CAT tools, you might want to read the following two posts:

Definition of CAT
http://www.proz.com/post/184880#184880

&

MT is part of CAT & MT postediting is worthwhile
http://www.proz.com/post/189873#189873

* The purpose and functions of Internet MT portals (like AltaVista's BabelFish) is explained in this short 1-page article:
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/allen-ijld6.htm

* Yes, the SYSTRAN desktop products have more translator-friendly features than the push-button BabelFish Internet version. See explanation at:
http://www.geocities.com/mtpostediting/LWBonn2004-A05JeffAllen.pdf

* SYSTRAN v5 and higher includes a built-in Translation Memory module.

I suggest you read the following:

* the several short software reviews of SYSTRAN desktop products in the Machine Translation section of the Language Technology Software Evaluation site:
http://www.geocities.com/langtecheval/

* the hints and tips about using SYSTRAN MT software at:
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/MT-tips.htm

* the short "Getting Started with MT software" article in the following:
https://216.18.156.115/multilingual/downloads/screenSupp69.pdf


Regards,

Jeff

=======
Jeff Allen, PhD
http://www.geocities.com/jeffallenpubs/


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