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Are Canadian translators taking full advantage of technologies available?
Thread poster: CLS Lexi-tech

CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 02:40
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
Jul 27, 2002

Warning: the subject is controversial and I am being purposefully polemical. And I am writing this in my personal capacity, not as a representative of any body or company.



I have been an EN>IT (and more recently FR>IT, IT>EN) translator for many years in Italy and in Canada. I have gone from translating entire books in long-hand, to typing them and then finally to a computer or two; from running around to libraries and experts, to using the net.

When I moved to Canada and started acquiring experience in this country, I thought I was in the heaven of translation, in a country that has a great linguistic infrastructure and is officially bilingual, hence values the work of translators to conduct the business of the country. I thought we were well placed in the world to be competitive, with a solid base of multilingual citizens.

I no longer hold this opinion, to my great regret.

Why?

Let me ask this question. How many freelance, official languages translators in Canada use a Cat tool of any sort with the volume of translation they have to tackle? In my experience very few, and with the good rates that this country has to offer. I am simply dumb-founded.

Then you come to Proz.com and look for translators in any other language combination and you discover that some translators own not just one, but several of these tools. They need them to be competitive, with the global downtrend in rates. (I did own two as a multilingual freelance translator, one that I acquired through Proz.com). We have the best online terminology databases. How many subscribe to them, willingly and readily?

How many Canadian official language translators are affiliated to any online translation site?

By all means, let me have it, prove me wrong, heap it on. I will only be too happy. I have had the feeling that asking a translator to use a Cat tool in Canada is like asking them to drive the Shuttle single-handedly, i.e. it can be done, but at great pains and costs.

Let\'s keep this friendly. I don\'t want to be right, I want to be proven wrong, and for the good of our industry, nationally and globally.

Kind regards.

paola l m











[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-27 12:37 ]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 02:40
SITE FOUNDER
Statistics seem to agree with your CAT assessment Jul 27, 2002

At our Toronto powwow with Mike Kidd of TRADOS, of the 17 translators in attendance, 2 owned TRADOS. I think there were 4 CAT tools owned overall. Like you, Mike Kidd was astounded at this ratio, which is not reflective of other areas, or ProZ.com members in general. In fact, Mike raised the point in a meeting back at TRADOS immediately after the powwow.



Perhaps you are right, and the phenomenon is related to the higher rates in Canada--there may not have been as much pressure to increase productivity. I don\'t see how the situation can continue, though.



I say give it a year or two. At the last ATIO convention, even the senior members who spoke emphasized the importance of embracing CAT technologies to the rest of the group.


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Russell Gillis  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:40
Spanish to English
CAT Tools are only useful if you are receiving electronic content. Jul 27, 2002

Paola, I also want to keep this friendly, but you miss the whole point of what a CAT Tool is useful for. It is only useful when you are working from an electronic format.



In my case, I receive 90% of my work in paper format, often a fax of a fax of a fax...



At the last association meeting I attended, we actually had a representative from Trados come and give a presentation. The representative admitted that a CAT Tool is not very useful if you are working from paper.



Unfortunately, scanners do not do a proper job on faxed or even photocopied documents. My experience is that a scanner will do a decent job on a laser-printed/inkjet-printed document (but of course, the document would have to be in electronic format...)



So you might want to ask yourself, why is it that Trados is not used to a great degree (if that is indeed the case)? Maybe because there is NO DEMAND for it. If a translator is only going to be able to use Trados (or any other CAT tool) for 10% of his/her work, why bother?



The best one can do is build a glossary for each company and subject matter in these situations.



I cannot speak for translators in French/English, but since most of my documents come from Latin America, they are rarely in an electronic format.



I am rather surprised you would make a sweeping generalization of an entire country, especially considering the diversity of people and language throughout Canada.


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Chinoise  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:40
English to Chinese
+ ...
I am one of those... Jul 27, 2002

Quote:
I have had the feeling that asking a translator to use a Cat tool in Canada is like asking them to drive the Shuttle single-handedly, i.e. it can be done, but at great pains and costs. Let\'s keep this friendly. I don\'t want to be right, I want to be proven wrong, and for the good of our industry, nationally and globally.

Kind regards. paola l m




Honestly, I should confess that I am among those who haven\'t purchased or used any CAT tool yet, but cherished a high aspiration to own one or more someday. With this wish on mind, I have conducted tons of consultations with our warm-hearted colleagues and gathered lots of valuable information.What impressed me most is that most of the tips in this regard are focused on which software to download and try freely instead of which to buy, with the majority saying that Wordfast is the best of all, i.e. both free and reliable.This poses a question to us: If we are endowed with the fortune to try it freely, why not go ahead? If we do go straight ahead, then, which is the right one to start with?



Regards,

Betty(BBW)


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xxxwilliamson
Local time: 08:40
Dutch to English
+ ...
Who benefits from CAT-tools? Jul 27, 2002

Who benefits from CAT-tools? They cost between 595$-1000$.

Just as DTP-tools, they take time to learn.

They can be efficient aides, but also tools to earn less.

Agencies expect their translators to give rebates for repetitions and matches.

Question to our PM: do you give rebates for repetitions and matches to your final client too? If it is to work more efficiently and to earn more, I would not mind buy the required CAT-tools. If it is give agencies a greater profit-margin and earn less, does this make sense. After all, translation is a business. Business is about making €,£,$ and growth.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:40
English to German
+ ...
That depends on how you use them... Jul 27, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-07-27 13:59, williamson wrote:

Who benefits from CAT-tools? They cost between 595$-1000$.

Just as DTP-tools, they take time to learn.

They can be efficient aides, but also tools to earn less.



That would be true of any tool, wouldn\'t it?



Quote:
Agencies expect their translators to give rebates for repetitions and matches.

Question to our PM: do you give rebates for repetitions and matches to your final client too?


May I answer this in my dual capacity as translator and outsourcer: Yes - and if you do it right, you can generate significant additional (profitable) business. Forgive me for not revealing more details in a public forum, but it can be done.

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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:40
German to Italian
+ ...
Query Jul 27, 2002

?Good translator = Cat Tool User?



Canadians seem to have another style...



So what, I don\'t think they endanger our profession, either...



Let them use what they want, if they want.







Bye all



Antonella





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Andrea Bullrich  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:40
Member
English to Spanish
Think direct clients Jul 27, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-07-27 13:59, williamson wrote:

Who benefits from CAT-tools? They cost between 595$-1000$.

Just as DTP-tools, they take time to learn.

They can be efficient aides, but also tools to earn less.

Agencies expect their translators to give rebates for repetitions and matches.





I know this discussion is mainly about translators in Canada, but I wish to add something: Williamson, I think you\'re forgetting about direct clients. I also hate dealing with the different agencies\' discounts, but I can make a significant profit, or give the client a good discount, or both, when I use CAT tools for direct clients, who don\'t need to know that I\'m using a TM.



Andrea

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-27 14:51 ]

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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
French to English
CAT tools and file types Jul 27, 2002

Hi Paola,



I think one problem may be the format of files received by translators in Canada.



Many translators working between English and French work or have worked for the federal government. Many government departments and offices still use WordPerfect, and I don\'t know of one CAT tool that can handle WP files. My significant other, an English-French translator now freelancing (a former employee of the Translation Bureau) receives tons of documents that would be ideal for a CAT tool. The problem is, they\'re mostly WP documents, and damned if he\'ll start converting between Word and WP just to use a CAT tool.



I think that if those tools added WordPerfect to the list of the formats they can handle, you might see an increase in their use by Canadian translators.



My two cents,



Erika


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mrippa  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:40
English to Italian
Who benefits from CAT-tools? - Mainly the translators but also the overall quality of translation... Jul 27, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-07-27 13:59, williamson wrote:

Who benefits from CAT-tools? They cost between 595$-1000$...

After all, translation is a business. Business is about making €,£,$ and growth.




Hello Williamson and everybody,

I could tell you that the % growth in my revenues across the last three years, after implementing CAT tools, has been of 350%. Also the accuracy of my work has improved very much, and I have much more time for myself (I remember a project of 27000 words which I handled in 5 days). Actually, when a Customer requires the translation of a PDF/Fax document, I charge extra costs for the handling. If we could accept the concept that working with a computer, an e-mail system, the Internet and a word processor has improved our reveues and the quality of our work, we should be also able to look at CAT tools as useful applications.

Regards

Massimo





[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-27 15:40 ]

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-07-27 15:44 ]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 02:40
SITE FOUNDER
I think Paola is being polite here Jul 27, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-07-27 14:40, Andreella wrote:

?Good translator = Cat Tool User?



Canadians seem to have another style...



Let them use what they want, if they want.





Knowing that Paola is in charge of outsourcing for one of the fastest growing agencies in Canada, I am going to guess at what motivates her to post this. (Correct me if I am wrong, Paola!) I am guessing that Paola would like to continue working with some translators in Canada who are now affiliated with her company. (They must be good, since she is frustrated that they won\'t use CAT tools.)



Evidently, Paola has found that there is an increasing number of translators in places other than Canada who are using the latest technologies to become more productive. She must be tempted to start working with them.



This posting seems to me to be a polite \"wake up call\" to people who might otherwise find themselves falling behind their competition.



---



A person who uses CAT tools is not necessarily a good translator, that is true. But translation is both an art and a business. If you intend to be in the business for a while, you should at least be watching with interest the technological developments in the industry.



If you look at the data, you will find that CAT tools are having an impact on our industry that may be as significant as that of the word processor. Using a typewriter is quaint, but most people need to work faster these days.

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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:40
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
yes Jul 27, 2002

is my answer to your main question, Paola. I actually have all four major tools: DV, Trados, Transit and SDLX. I enumerate them in the order that I use them and in the order of my preference.



I bought Trados only because I was noticing 3-4 years ago that agencies were demanding ownership and proficiency in it. It did make me marginally more productive especially when dealing with software manuals where the degree of repetition is high. I now use it only when asked. But to be fair, if a freelancer had to choose among the major CAT tools and the primary reason for acquisition is to meet outsourcer demand (with increasing productivity being the secondary reason), then Trados is the solution. You will definitely increase your chances of landing a job if you own Trados.



I now mainly use Deja Vu and I use it even when not asked to do so. The principal reason is that it\'s really the best tool around and I want to build a super-duper TM (my German>English currently has more than 75,000 segments).



I will use Transit or SDLX only if asked by a client. Indeed, I\'ve been using Transit only because an agency gave it to me for free and has been sending me regular Transit projects for 2 years now.



I think demand for CAT tools is more or less dependent on the country of origin of the outsourcer. Most of my clients are German, Austrian, Swiss, French, British and American. Most of my German clients demand the use of Trados or Transit, whereas the French and Americans rarely do so. Only some of the Austrian, Swiss and Brits require a CAT tool to be used. Perhaps the conclusion is that these tools are marketed more aggressively to European (mainly German) agencies?



So I own these tools for various reasons: Trados and Transit - to remain competitive; DV - to own the best tool around; SDLX - to widen my grip and cover all possibilities. I might get this free Wordfast or whatever you call it and check it out...if I get the time that is.



I simply cannot imagine embarking on a translation project without using a CAT tool (except, of course, when having to deal with hard copies - which is only about 20% in my case). It truly simplifies your work even when the text is not highly repetitive (with Deja Vu, for example, you can send entire phrases, clauses, sentences to your lexicon, apart from the usual terms).



To the fence-sitters: if you\'re not convinced by the efficiency that you gain, be convinced by the higher amount of jobs you would get if you were to market yourself as a user.



One last thing, it is true that Canada has a superb translation infrastructure (En-Fr-Es). Subscribing to Termium is undeniably indispensable, especially if you do Es/Fr>En engineering, IT and finance. I just wish this were true for the German>English community (call to Ernst: get your shit together and publish the Woerterbuch Technik once and for all!)





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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:40
German to Italian
+ ...
Reply to Henry Jul 27, 2002

Hi Henry,



imho the most important thing is to deliver good translations to agencies/direct clients, no matter how!!!

Unless you find that \'poor\' quality is due to the absence of a Cat Tool.



But, in the message of Paola I did not find any reference to quality and/or words per day and/or consistency



... so I\'m sorry, but I think I simply miss the point.



Moreover not every translation can properly be handled with a Cat Tool, not all texts, meaning that one can still be an excellent translator and having a very high daily output (let\'s say 6,000 words/day?) without using a Cat Tool...



The result (translation) should be the only important thing.



Cheers







Antonella









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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:40
German to Italian
+ ...
By the way Jul 27, 2002

I do use Cat Tools.



Bye







Antonella





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Chinoise  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:40
English to Chinese
+ ...
Nice to meet you , Paola! Jul 27, 2002

Quote:
(They must be good, since she is frustrated that they won\'t use CAT tools.)

Evidently, Paola has found that there is an increasing number of translators in places other than Canada who are using the latest technologies to become more productive. She must be tempted to start working with them.

This posting seems to me to be a polite \"wake up call\" to people who might otherwise find themselves falling behind their competition.




If this is the right reason why I have not been \"used\" by your esteemed company yet, I will purchase one CAT tool through ProZ.com right away!!! Tell me when, where, and how to make this resolute purchase,S.V.P.!



Anxiously yours,



BBW(= Betty=another proud Canadian )



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