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No CAT tool experience- where to begin?
Thread poster: Juliana Brown

Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 20:50
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 12, 2007

Although I have been working quite happily for several years without any CAT tools, I've realized that there are a lot of jobs where my lack of knowledge in that area is a serious problem ( i.e. work I could have gotten and did not).
Trados is way beyond my budget at the moment, but I wonder if it makes more sense to stretch myself thin and get/learn it, or if the less expensive Wordfast would do in the meanwhile...

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-03-13 07:52]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:50
German to English
+ ...
With OmegaT, of course! Mar 12, 2007

It's free, and easy to learn.

Marc


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Gisela Pérez González  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:50
English to Spanish
CAT beginner Mar 12, 2007

I have been working without any CAT too. An acquaintance of mine who happened to be a ProZ member told me about TRADOS and I started to work with it. I know it is quite an expensive tool, but you should look at it as a little investment. It would help you to work more with less effort. I think these tools are worthwhile. I have just taken advantage of one of the special purchases of TRADOS 2007 in this site. You should have a look at any of them.
Good luck!


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ciovo  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 02:50
English to Croatian
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Wordfast is very good way to start. Mar 12, 2007

You can download Wordfast and use it for free (with a 500 TU limit). This is ideal to get a grip on how a CAT tool works. I've been using it for a few years now and am quite happy with it. If you work with repetitive texts is can save you a lot of time. The manual is very good and explains the program very well. There are also training sessions you can download for a step by step procedure (begginer and advanced level).

Good luck with your CAT tools!


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 20:50
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
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TOPIC STARTER
a good start Mar 12, 2007

Gracias mil Gisela and hvala Pierre! I will definitely do both- download Wordfast and keep an eye out for a Trados discount. Cross your fingers for me!

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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:50
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
You might consider participation in a training, organised by a colleague Mar 12, 2007

At the moment we are gaining experience with such trainings in Poland. They are not for free, but when you pay a quite reasonable price, you'll get a very fair overview about Trados in this very special case.
And when you look on the market demand, this is the tool which is asked most. This means not necessarilly, taht this is the best tool - but it is similar to MS Office. Independet its shortages this is the most common format.

Pleae observe ProZ.com, where certainly it will be more about trainings by expert colleagues in the near future.
The next Trados training is to take place in Budapest prior and after the ProZ conference.

Jerzy


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 19:50
Partial member
Spanish
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Try them all Mar 12, 2007

Most CAT tools do the same things but in different ways. Which one is better? That depends on which one YOU like better. Try as many CAT tools as you can. I always recommend Metatexis because it's extremely easy to use and it's in the same price range as Wordfast.

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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 20:50
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
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TOPIC STARTER
so many choices Mar 12, 2007

I can see that this is a very personal choice, as with any type of work tool.
My only concern with trying something like Metatexis, or anything (let's say) that's not Trados or Wordfast, is that these are the two CAT's which the clients seems to be requesting specifically. While I want to learn this as a way of making my work faster and farther-reaching, I also need to know that there will be requests for this. Any comments?


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Navy Huang
China
Local time: 08:50
English to Chinese
+ ...
Be one in the group Mar 13, 2007

Generally the CAT I use is SDL Trados 2006 and when requested I will use SDLX. In my opinion, it is important especially for a freelance translator to be handy with some tools mostly accepted by the public, clients and translator colleagues as well. Suppose you are translating a 200000-word project in collaboration with four other translators who all use Trados and final TM is requested to be delivered, then it is quite obvious which CAT tool you should choose.

You can also try some other tools to see the difference, find out their fortes and get a better overview. Anyway, good luck.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Try OmegaT Mar 13, 2007

Juliana Starkman wrote:
Trados is way beyond my budget at the moment, but I wonder if it makes more sense to stretch myself thin and get/learn it, or if the less expensive Wordfast would do in the meanwhile...


CAT tools are great, but they only begin to show their value once you really get to know them well. I can sit down in front of Trados or Metatext or DVX today, and translating in it will take me ages, because although I understand the basic principles of the tools, my fingers and brain aint used to it. So try one CAT tool for a couple of weeks and really get to know it before moving on to learn another.

Since cost is your biggest factor, may I suggest OmegaT. Keep in mind that you may also need to install a newer version of Java and OpenOffice for maximum benefit. And don't forget to join the Yahoogroup mailing list.

Wordfast's trial version never expires, and you're only limited by the size of the TM, which is 500 TUs per TM. So you might also want to try Wordfast, but if you do, just keep in mind that for your purposes I reckon you'll eventually have to buy the full version, which is EUR 250.00 unless I'm mistaken.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The nice thing about Trados... Mar 13, 2007

Juliana Starkman wrote:
My only concern with ... anything that's not Trados or Wordfast, is that these are the two CAT's which the clients seems to be requesting specifically.


The nice thing about having Trados, is that both you and the client can go into dummy mode. If something goes wrong, just blame Trados. If, on the other hand, you use a CAT tool that is different from what the client requested, then you can't really blame the CAT tool and get away with it if something goes horribly wrong.

I suspect some people just buy Trados and start using only the barest of its features, and they don't really know how it works. They can't come up with creative solutions in new situations because they don't know what their CAT tool is capable of (nor do they understand the workflow). They just click the icons and watch how the magic happens.

This is why I suggest you try one CAT tool and stick with it for a few weeks, and really get to know it well, so that you are capable of deciding for yourself if you may be able to do the client's Trados job in Wordfast, or the client's Wordfast job in OmegaT, or similar.

I have had clients tell me they require Trados, then I just tell them that although I do not have Trados, I do have Wordfast and OmegaT. Many of those clients currently use my services even though they initially said "You must have Trados and that's not negotiable".

Your initial post mentioned *price* as your prime variable. If that is the case, why not try something that is free? After a few weeks you'll discover its limitations, and decide how to work around them.


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:50
German to English
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If you are wondering whether you can afford something you probably can't. Mar 13, 2007

Juliana Starkman wrote:
Trados is way beyond my budget at the moment, but I wonder if it makes more sense to stretch myself thin and get/learn it, or if the less expensive Wordfast would do in the meanwhile...


Of course, it's probably equally true to say:

If you are wondering whether you can afford to do without something you probably can't.

Open Language Tools is another free one I'm currently beginning to have more success with - but if you want to play around with tmx files, OmegaT is probably a better one to start with (unless you are up to trying out Transolution, which you will probably find needs a little more computer knowledge to use).

https://open-language-tools.dev.java.net/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/eviltrans/


[Edited at 2007-03-13 08:59]


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Ladislav Filo  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 02:50
English to Slovak
+ ...
Try MetaTexis Mar 13, 2007

I am using Star Transit and am very happy with its user friendliness. If your main concern is price, then try MetaTexis, which is fully compatible with Trados and costs a fractal of its price. And is much more user friendly (at least for me). You can try it for two months free of charge.

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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:50
French to English
+ ...
Training course Mar 13, 2007

Hi Juliana,

I did an ITI training course in the UK last year which was an introduction to CAT tools in general, looking at and comparing Trados, Déja Vu and Wordfast. We were able to try them all out and see which one suited our working methods best. I don't know whether there's anything similar in Canada but I found it a really useful way of making my mind up. I had already experimented with the free version of Wordfast and liked it, but this enabled me to see that, in terms of value for money, it did precisely what I needed it to. I also liked Déja Vu but for me it wasn't worth the additional cost to have the extra features. We did a straw poll at the end of the course and most people had reached the same conclusion, so much so that the course leader was able to negotiate a substantial group discount on the Wordfast price if we upgraded to the full version after the course. A very worthwhile exercise!

It really does make a lot of difference to productivity and quality/consistency of translation once you're into it. One of the features I hadn't realised would be so useful was the ability to have three glossaries open at once and to be able to update them with new terms as you work.

Good luck!


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:50
Italian to English
There's a flip side to dummy mode, Samuel! Mar 13, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

The nice thing about having Trados, is that both you and the client can go into dummy mode. If something goes wrong, just blame Trados.



Pointing the finger at the CAT tool doesn't actually solve the client's problem so I hope you're joking, Samuel!

One thing I'm glad I started doing ages ago was to set up a folder on my data directory for CAT tool tips. Every time I see a nifty idea, I cut and paste it into a WordPad file and save it.

Over the years, the folder has enabled me to solve quite a few little problems for colleagues, clients and agency project managers despite my relative ignorance of CAT tools and IT in general.

And of course if you solve the punters' problems, they tend to come back.



I suspect some people just buy Trados and start using only the barest of its features, and they don't really know how it works. They can't come up with creative solutions in new situations because they don't know what their CAT tool is capable of (nor do they understand the workflow). They just click the icons and watch how the magic happens.



Sadly, I suspect you're right about that. But there again if everyone else was super-competent, no one would appreciate how good you are

Cheers,

Giles


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