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Proposal: The Proz.com Software Compatibility Board
Thread poster: Sven Petersson

Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:53
English to Swedish
+ ...
Oct 23, 2007

From questions posted on the Proz.com Forum one can clearly see that large amounts of monies are wasted by lots of translators because of ignorance about the compatibility/incompatibility of various applications with each other.

Proz.com would do their members a great service if Proz.com set up a database in which those who are knowledgeable could enter application pairs (name AND version), a compatibility statement (Fully Compatible, Partially Compatible or Incompatible), date, and a short description of solutions and/or alternatives, if any.

Those who seek compatibility information could then enter two applications and obtain the desired compatibility information.

***********************
Sven Petersson
Medical translator
Web site: www.svenp.com
***********************


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:53
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Good idea Oct 23, 2007

However it is based on the assumption, people would read that.
TBH I have the feeling, most of the people having trouble with incompatibility did not read anything, even not the producer desctription of the software, where the main (in-)compatibilities are described.
Nevertheless, I would gladly participate in such experience exchcange, once integrated and available here.

Jerzy


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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 22:53
English to German
+ ...
I am afraid Jerzy is right... Oct 23, 2007

I sent two colleagues of mine, who are interested in buying a CAT tool, a summary that OBJECTIVELY states the pros and cons of various CAT tools and quoted the title of a book, neither of them read any of this, so I think it may be an almost complete waste of time as Jerzy suggested. I am afraid the majority of people are interested in quick solutions and quick answers to their unprofessional questions these days...

Martin

PS.: I think if you put in keywords such as compatibility and the name and versions of the programs you will already find threads discussing these problems. We should not prechew food for others...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Or, write it collectively! Oct 23, 2007

Sven Petersson wrote:
Proz.com would do their members a great service if Proz.com set up a database in which those who are knowledgeable could enter application pairs (name AND version), a compatibility statement (Fully Compatible, Partially Compatible or Incompatible), date, and a short description of solutions and/or alternatives, if any.


Here's another idea. Let us have pages in the ProZwiki named something like Compare_Trados_and_Wordfast etc in which not only the key differences between the tools but also the compatibility of the tools are described. Such a page would then only contain information related to the comparison, and not general product information about the two products.

Any volunteers for driving the process of writing (or at least starting to write) such a series of pages? The way to do it may be to (a) do forum searches and (b) post new threads asking very specific questions about two tools at a time... and writing a very short synopsis for the ProZwiki. Contact me privately, if anyone wants to help write such pages.

PS. I'm not a ProZ.com staff member.


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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:53
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
NO, NO, NO! Oct 23, 2007

I am not suggesting a new Forum or a Wiki or any other form of verbal diarrhoea, I am suggesting a concise and easily accessible database, like the Blue Board.


Don't bury my proposal under a heap of deadwood!

***********************
Sven Petersson
Medical translator
Web site: www.svenp.com
***********************


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:53
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Yes, yes, yes Oct 23, 2007

As I said, I think your proposal is a good idea.
A database, working similar to a glossary, searchable by a software name and listing "paired devices" would do, methinks. But a disclaimer would be of course necessary: "No guarantee can be given, that shown combinations will work for any user on any PC. Combinations shown here are only for informative purposes and are based on the experience of users, who entered them. No user can be made responsible for any incompatibilities, which may occur in difference to her or his experience" - or something like that, worded better.

Jerzy


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I'm all ears... Oct 23, 2007

Sven Petersson wrote:
I am not suggesting a new Forum or a Wiki or any other form of verbal diarrhoea, I am suggesting a concise and easily accessible database, like the Blue Board.


Don't panic, it was just a suggested solution.

I'm curious... who would write this information, and in what format would they write it, and who would vet the information, and who would decide what goes in and what doesn't? Who would keep it up to date? Surely the best people to do this, wouldn't be representatives of the CAT tools, but ordinary users who have experienced both tools.

CAT tools differ so much that it would be difficult to reduce their compatibilities to a mere table, because what two tools have in common, two other tools may not have in common even though they are equally compatible. I think this was one of the shortcomings of the CAT Fight feature in ProZ.com. It is better to compare just two tools at a time, and not all of them at the same time. It would IMO be better to have one page/table/entry per every two tools.

I fail to see how such a database would be anything like the Blue Board -- could you please explain that part for me?


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:53
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...
It is good idea (when properly designed)! Oct 23, 2007

I would suggest, among other things, that someone reporting an incompatibility would have to be shown on this "INCOMPATIBILITY BOARD" so that one would have to assume full responsibility for what one states.

For instance: WORD 2003-WORD 2007 incompatibility

WORD 2003 cannot read a 2007 .doc file (Right Sven?)

Reporting person: Prozie Prozfield

What say you?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Adding tools in isolation won't work Oct 23, 2007

Jerzy Czopik wrote:
A database, working similar to a glossary, searchable by a software name and listing "paired devices" would do, methinks.


I also support the idea. It is the implementation that Sven is not agreeing with me about.

But it sounds to me like you're thinking of some sort of database in which details about CAT tools are added in isolation of each other, and then a user simply selects an item he wants to be compatible, and the database returns a list of tools that are compatible in that regard. Am I right?

In that case, I don't think it will work, because tools are compatible in different ways. You could do a query "can export and import TMX", and both Trados and OmegaT will show up in the results. This might lead you to think that Trados and OmegaT are compatible with regard to TMX export and import, but... in reality, Trados's TMX is UTF16LE whereas OmegaT's TMX is UTF8.

What kinds of questions would you be hoping to answer with such a database?

* A client wants me to use Trados, and I've read that they both support TMX, so... can I use OmegaT instead of Trados for this job? (a mere grid will not answer this question)

* A translator I'm subcontracting to, uses Wordfast, and he says it is fully compatible with Trados... but my boss says it is only partially compatible. What does that mean? (a grid might help, but a paragraphed explanation would be better)

* One of my translators used Trados 6, and it caused an error in my Trados 7. How compatible is Trados 6 with Trados 7? (there is no way a grid can answer this)

Other questions?


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 17:53
SITE STAFF
Good ideas! Oct 23, 2007

I like Sven's suggestion of a knowledge repository on this issue, and Samuel's idea of implementing this in ProZwiki.

Thanks!

Best,
Enrique


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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:53
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Dear Samuel, Oct 23, 2007

Your questions – My answers

Who would write this information? – Anybody who’s registered at Proz.

In what format would they write it? – Please read my proposal!

Who would vet the information? – Nobody!

Who would decide what goes in and what does not? – The writer! Free speach and no censorship!

Who would keep it up to date? – The writers!

How could such a database be anything like the Blue Board? – The Blue Board is a database! Instead of Outsourcer one has an Application Pair, instead of LWA one has Compatibility, instead of Comments one has Description and just as on the Blue Board one makes the date of posting and the name of the poster public.

Clear?

Let’s assume you are happily translating with the help of MS Office 2003, MS Office Proofing Tools 2003 and WordFinder 8, but get a sudden urge to ’update’ to MS Office 2007. Would you not like to know if you still will be able use your proofing tools and your WordFinder after the ’update’?

In my system you would type ’MS Office 2007’ in the ’Application 1’ box , ’MS Office Proofing Tools 2003’ in the ’Application 2’ box and click ’Search’. A second later you would read ’Compatible’ and ’MS Office 2007 MUST be installed over an existing MS 2003 with a working MS Office Proofing Tools 2003’.

Then you would replace your entry ’ MS Office Proofing Tools 2003’ with ’WordFinder 8’ and click ’Search’ again, and on the screen you would see ’Incompatible’ and ’WordFinder 8 will work as a non-integrated application; you will have to cut-and-paste.

***********************
Sven Petersson
Medical translator
Web site: www.svenp.com
***********************


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:53
Swedish to English
+ ...
Misunderstanding? Oct 23, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

CAT tools differ so much that it would be difficult to reduce their compatibilities to a mere table, because what two tools have in common, two other tools may not have in common even though they are equally compatible.



I have a feeling you and Sven are misunderstanding each other. The way I understand Sven's posting, he visualizes a database which details the compatibility of different types of programs - i.e. does Word 2007 work with Wordfast.

You one the other hand are talking about comparing different CAT tools.

I feel Sven's suggestion could be interesting if the emphasise was on whether a certain CAT tool works with version X of some other program.

For information about which other type of application is compatible with Vista or Word 2007, there are numerous other sites (incl. Microsoft).

[Edited at 2007-10-23 19:08]

[Edited at 2007-10-23 19:09]


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