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TRADOS - what exactly does it do and is it worth it?
Thread poster: Sophia Hundt
Sophia Hundt  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Russian to English
+ ...
Aug 19, 2006

Dear colleagues,

What exactlly is the appeal of TRADOS and is it really worth the money it costs? Obviously, 50% of job ads come with TRADOS as a requirement. Seems to come hand in hand with technical translations. I couldn't find any more or less satisfactory description on TRADOS website. I'd like to know what actual translators really think about it. Also, if I mainly do humanities and literature, is there any benefit in having TRADOS? Thank you very much,
Sophia Hundt


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 19:21
German to English
Parallel discussion Aug 19, 2006

Take a look at
http://www.proz.com/topic/53584
which discusses the pros and cons of CAT tools.

Of course, Trados isn't the only CAT tool...


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:21
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Quick Poll Aug 19, 2006

Take the current quick poll for a comparison of several CAT tools. You can vote N/A; that will allow you to see the results of the poll. Also, yesterday's Quick Poll was about CAT Tools; half of the respondents seem to use them, another fourth does not, and the rest was composed of several other types of answers. Read the many postings about this subject in the fora and the articles about the good and the bad of TRADOS and other CAT Tools.

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:21
German to English
+ ...
TRADOS - what exactly does it do and is it worth it? Aug 19, 2006

Sophia Hundt wrote:

Obviously, 50% of job ads come with TRADOS as a requirement.


Presumably you mean "50% of job ads on ProZ"?

Marc


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Sophia Hundt  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks, I'll do that. Aug 19, 2006

Kevin Fulton wrote:

Take a look at
http://www.proz.com/topic/53584
which discusses the pros and cons of CAT tools.

Of course, Trados isn't the only CAT tool...


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Jack Becconsall
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:21
German to English
I am unconvinced Aug 19, 2006

Recently an outsourcer who had previously sent me a number of jobs, which worked out successfully, offered me one on condition that it must be done with TRADOS, as the customer had stipulated that. Did I use TRADOS? No, sorry, so that job went elsewhere. Afterwards the outsourcer assured me that TRADOS is the best thing since sliced bread, and it was a pity I did not use it. Does that mean I get no more jobs from that source? Well, it's their loss.

I looked at TRADOS websites, and the main message seemed to be "never translate the same sentence twice!". If this means that I abandon flexibility for efficiency, it seems to me to signal the death of style. Does style matter, especially as I do scientific translations? Yes, I think so. A staple part of my work is book review translations, and I try to produce translations that reflect the widely different styles of the reviewers. I do not want my style to be cramped by a CAT tool. And then, of course, there's the cost. I have now looked at the earlier Forum discussion referred to here, and that contains nothing to change my mind so far.

[Edited at 2006-08-19 19:28]


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Thor Truelson  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:21
Swedish to English
+ ...
Maybe... Aug 19, 2006

Hi. If you do mostly literature, then I seriously doubt Trados would help you very much. I work with mostly legal stuff, but also a bit of everything and have for over 6 years, and have not used Trados, or anything else, and nobody has ever told me that they wanted me to use it. I am going to start to, but I am not sure that it will really make me all that much more productive. If it does, then great. If not, well, at least I gave it an honest shot. I find it odd that so many people think that Trados is such a requirement. I work from Swedish and Icelandic, so there are perhaps less people, but still, not one PM in 6 years has ever shut me out for lack of a CAT tool. You can always give it a try and then sell it if you don't like it. I'll tell you right now, that learning how to use it is very difficult without quite a bit of computer knowledge. I had an older version of it that I couldn't use at all since the manual was so difficult to understand. The newer manual doesn't appear any easier, but they have an online course which should help. Good luck with it.

Thor


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Sophia Hundt  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jack for a detailed answer. That's how I felt too. Aug 19, 2006

Jack Becconsall wrote:

Recently an outsourcer who had previously sent me a number of jobs, which worked out successfully, offered me one on condition that it must be done with TRADOS, as the customer had stipulated that. Did I use TRADOS? No, sorry, so that job went elsewhere. Afterwards the outsourcer assured me that TRADOS is the best thing since sliced bread, and it was a pity I did not use it. Does that mean I get no more jobs from that source? Well, it's their loss.

I looked at TRADOS websites, and the main message seemed to be "never translate the same sentence twice!". If this means that I abandon flexibility for efficiency, it seems to me to signal the death of style. Does style matter, especially as I do scientific translations? Yes, I think so. A staple part of my work is book review translations, and I try to produce translations that reflect the widely different styles of the reviewers. I do not want my style to be cramped by a CAT tool. And then, of course, there's the cost. I have now looked at the earlier Forum discussion referred to here, and that contains nothing to change my mind so far.

[Edited at 2006-08-19 19:28]


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Sophia Hundt  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thank you too Aug 19, 2006

Thor Truelson wrote:

Hi. If you do mostly literature, then I seriously doubt Trados would help you very much. I work with mostly legal stuff, but also a bit of everything and have for over 6 years, and have not used Trados, or anything else, and nobody has ever told me that they wanted me to use it. I am going to start to, but I am not sure that it will really make me all that much more productive. If it does, then great. If not, well, at least I gave it an honest shot. I find it odd that so many people think that Trados is such a requirement. I work from Swedish and Icelandic, so there are perhaps less people, but still, not one PM in 6 years has ever shut me out for lack of a CAT tool. You can always give it a try and then sell it if you don't like it. I'll tell you right now, that learning how to use it is very difficult without quite a bit of computer knowledge. I had an older version of it that I couldn't use at all since the manual was so difficult to understand. The newer manual doesn't appear any easier, but they have an online course which should help. Good luck with it.

Thor


Thank you Thor for taking time to share.


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:21
German to English
+ ...
Trados changed my life. Aug 19, 2006

Sophia Hundt wrote:

Dear colleagues,

What exactlly is the appeal of TRADOS and is it really worth the money it costs?...


Sorry to buck the trend here, but I implemented Trados about 1.5 years ago, and it has totally transformed my working life. I estimate it makes me at least twice as effective as a translator, and I am able to reach an entirely different segment of jobs (paying 2 or even 3 times the previous amount). I even refuse to give discounts for 100% matches, and have never had a client say no to this.

A few caveats: I work primarily in technical fields, where CAT tools are arguably more useful. Demand for Trados also seems to be particularly strong in my language pair (DE/EN). Not sure why this is - is Trados a German company? Or do they just market particularly intensively there?

For me, Trados paid off within max 2 months. I think the biggest payoff comes with the transition from no CAT to CAT. SO the initial increase in productivity could likely be achieved with any CAT tool (Omega T, Wordfast, Metataxis, etc.).


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:21
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
CAT advantages Aug 19, 2006

As you can see, discussions about CAT tools often reach an almost theological intensity. As a convert to the CAT faith, like Michele Johnson above, I find it hard to imagine life without these tools. One of the main reasons, rarely mentioned in such discussions, is that CAT tools provide a much safer and more efficient way of handling a source text. FOur reasons:

- you have only one document, so avoiding excessive eye and head movement. A simple physical advantage.
- the presentation means you never overwrite the original
- you cannot omit paragraphs or sentences by mistake.
- reviewing/proofreading is easier and better.

For those reasons I use CAT tools 99% of the time. There are also the traditional CAT benefits of helping with repetitions, glossaries and concordancers. My productivity is certainly higher.

But, you ask, what about the quality? Some people argue that CAT tools cramp your style, damage the flow. Possibly, but not in my experience, and a good solution is to use speech recognition software with your CAT tool. SR encourages you to think in sentences, not words or phrases. It liberates the flow and enhances the style.

SR also enables you to talk to your computer while sitting comfortably in an armchair, instead of being hunched uncomfortably over a keyboard. That does wonders for your creativity, not to mention your tendons and muscles.

I recently translated a short novel using Trados and SR. It was a revelation. Much faster than traditional methods, and flowed better. And a perverse advantage - as it was a literary text, I wanted to avoid repeating myself. Trados helped by showing all repetitions. In a technical text I could have used them. In a literary text, they alerted me to the need to be consistent if needed, or to think of a more original phrase.

Having said all that, learning how to get the best out of a CAT tool is a slow and sometimes infuriating process, and that may be a good enough reason not to take the plunge. But I am now very glad I have made the effort and survived the baptism.


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
More than just technical texts Aug 20, 2006

I use Déjà Vu for all my translations. DV's usefulness to me is evident in much more than just repetitive technical documents. To cite one example, whenever I find a nice solution for a "bugbear", one of those tricky expressions that are so nice and succint --perhaps just a single word -- in the source language, but virtually untranslatable into the target language, I make sure that I enter it into my Term Base. Having done so, I no longer have to strain my brain when I encounter the same expression on some future occasion - it pops up in my Portions Found window (the window that displays terms saved in the Term Base that match terms in the current segment of the text). I can look at it, contemplate it, and decide whether I want to use it as is, tweak it, or devise a completely new solution. As you can imagine, this can happen with texts of any ilk.

If a difficult word or phrase is familiar (that feeling of "I know I've translated that before, but how did I render it?") but it isn't in my Term Base, I can select it and give the command Ctrl-S. DV then opens a window displaying a table of all the sentences in my translation memory that contain the selected text. As before, I can consider each one and decide whether any of them supply the solution. Once again, this is useful for much more than merely technical terms. Also again, let me emphasize that it doesn't oblige or even pressure me to always translate the same expression in the same way, but it does remind me of how I did it before.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:21
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Trados's just one TET of many Aug 20, 2006

TET = Translation Environment Tool (a term invented by Jost Zetzsche to cover the manifold of applications including simple CATs).
Trados indeed was a German enterprise (like Star Transit, another provider of a TET). Last year Trados was acquired by SDL.
These TETs will all require some time to learn, but very soon you will notice improvements in speed and ergonomics.
Using a TET does not mean "death of style". In literary translation there are virtually no matches or repetitions, and if an author uses twice exactly the same sentence why produce different translations? Exceptions would be a sentence like "I love you". In German either Ich liebe dich or Ich liebe Sie.
You can use different TMs for different customers, so you can apply one style for the one and one for the other.

To those who do not use TETs in technical translations: Very often nowadays these translations are converted into TMs by a second translator, in order to make it possible to use the translations in further updates. You cannot avoid TETs forever, so the earlier you jump onboard the better for you.

Regards
Heinrich
User of Wordfast since 2002.


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Antoní­n Otáhal
Local time: 01:21
Member (2005)
English to Czech
+ ...
A technical comment Aug 20, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Trados indeed was a German enterprise (like Star Transit, another provider of a TET).


AFAIK, Transit is Swiss based. I know it because it is my favourite CAT tool.

Regarding the main topic, IMHO using a CAT tool definitely improves each translator's work if it is used properly. Try it and see. No use to explain to someone for whom not using CAT is a matter of principle, of course.

Antonin


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xxxPuicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:21
Swedish to English
Price and support Aug 20, 2006

Noone seems to have mentioned price and technical support, maybe because these are mentioned in other threads, but Trados cannot compare in price to say, Wordfast.
I have an old version of Trados, which is fine for my needs and yes, I do find it useful for many of the reasons mentioned in this discussion but as new versions of Microsoft emerge, so too do new versions of Trados and their support department have no interest in the older versions.


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