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New freelancer looking for colleagues' opinions of Trados, Wordfast etc
Thread poster: Adam Thomson

Adam Thomson  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Feb 8, 2004

This question must have been asked before but I haven't been able to locate it in the files. Apologies if I'm going over old ground.

What are people's experience of Trados, Wordfast and other programmes? How are they helpful (or not)?

Trados gives the impression of being the "industry leader". I understand that some clients make having Trados a condition of a translator getting business.

Wordfast claims to be much cheaper and seems to imply that it can do just as good a job as Trados can.

And there may well be other translation assistance programmes out there that are worth considering.

Or maybe all such programmes are not worth the investment.

I realise that I may have to make some investment in a translation programme. The question I have to decide on - as a freelancer with a laptop computer (WinXP, etc) - is, which (if any) programme would be most helpful for me?

What do people think?

I would be most grateful for colleagues' opinions and experience of using these programmes.

Thanks in advance.


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Carlos Moreno  Identity Verified
Colombia
Local time: 05:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Welcome to ProZ! Feb 8, 2004

Let me welcome you to the wide world of ProZ!

As a way to guide you to the answers, I suggest you take a look at the top of the screen, where a tab reads "Tools". Hover your mouse cursor over it. A vertical menu reads "CAT Center" and CAT Fight". You will find many answers to your questions in these two menu options.

Another place I suggest you to take a good look is at the lowest left portion of your screen. It reads "Search". Write "Trados", for example, and you will find there the many times this same question has been asked, and the answers ProZ mambers have given to the many variations of this question. Use the same procedure for Wordfast, DejaVu, and so on.

Of course, should you need something different, please feel free to ask, someone of us will be delighted to give you a question,

And enjoy your work, as much as I do mine!


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Dr Andrew Read  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:51
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
It depends... Feb 8, 2004

Hello Adam,

Carlos is probably right that there are other responses on this but let me share my very recent experience... See below...

[quote]Adam Thomson wrote:

What are people's experience of Trados, Wordfast and other programmes? How are they helpful (or not)?

*** Over the last year, I have had experience with four different programs - SDLX, Deja Vu, Wordfast, and Trados.

I do find that using a TM tool (once you get used to their quirks and tricks) is very, very helpful for the day-to-day translation process. The biggest benefits, IMO, are:
1. You're less likely to miss bits out, as the TM tool breaks your source text into "segments", usually on the basis of each sentence, and shows you an empty matching segment into which you type your translation. Because of this, I will now always use a CAT tool even in non-repetitive texts.
2. The memory: as you'll know, especially with technical texts, there are often lots or repeated, or very similar sentences, or headings or passages. Once your TM tool has "remembered" a particular sentence pair, it will then offer you a ready-made translation for a repeated or similar source text sentence later on. This saves massive amounts of time in some texts, though you have to watch out for small differences, of course.
3. You can get more work. Many agencies insist that you use a CAT tool, as they may have a previous "memory" from work done for the same client, and will want you to use that on a new job, so as to guarantee consistency.
***

Trados gives the impression of being the "industry leader". I understand that some clients make having Trados a condition of a translator getting business.

Wordfast claims to be much cheaper and seems to imply that it can do just as good a job as Trados can.

***
You're largely right on both of these points. I used SDLX first, simply because it was available at the university where I did my MA in translation. However, I didn't find it very user-friendly, and it was very "buggy" when producing a glossary - a special task I was doing at the time. Having looked at the ProZ CAT fight and other sources, I therefore thought I would try Deja Vu, as lots of people rated it very highly and at that time you could download an almost fully-functional version for a free month's trial. (Maybe you still can - see www.atril.com) I found it relatively easy to use, and I successfully completed some real client translations with it with good results, with a range of different file formats. I therefore purchased a new copy of it.

Since then, however, I did notice that there was much more demand, say on the ProZ job board, for translators with Trados, but also had heard good recommendations for Wordfast.

I therefore downloaded the free version of Wordfast (www.wordfast.net), and found this even easier to use and more pleasing to the eye than Deja Vu. Even the free version (which is you can use for as long as you like) produced very good results, at least for straightforward Word documents.

I have since used it with some clients I know well for Trados jobs, but there are major limitations, I believe, as to the compatibility. It cannot, for example, open the latest "TMW" memories produced by Trados. This caused me major difficulties on a rush-job for a new client a few weeks ago, as even the very old version of Trados I had bought could not help. I also found that Wordfast can disrupt some regular MS Word functions in unpredicatable ways.

For these reasons - mainly because of the high volume of technical translation work out there that does specify Trados - I recently bought a 2nd hand copy of Trados 5.5 Freelance after advertising on the Smart Shoppers forum here (for less than half of the price of a new version). I believe that any version from 5 onwards should be acceptable for most agencies.
***

So my advice for you in the short term would be:
1. To get used to using a TM, download and install Wordfast from www.wordfast.net. Try this on a few straightforward Word documents - this also gets you use to a similar screen format to that used by Trados. A nice guide to getting you started is given on www.your-translations.com

I would also suggest you try the free download of Deja Vu for a month - this has its own special user interface which sits outside Word. (See www.atril.com)

You could also download the month's trial of Trados, but I find the restrictions they place on memory size, etc for the demo version just too restrictive.

And then finally, make your decision based on your preference and on your likely clients' requirements.

If you have mainly end-user clients, then buy the full version of whichever one you prefer, as they will be unlikely to specify a particular CAT tool, but it will still speed up your work

If you deal with agencies, then discuss this with them. I suspect that you will find that most of them specify Trados, and if this is so, then bite the bullet and buy it (but 2nd hand!). As mentioned, I personally have found that neither Wordfast or Deja Vu are really truly compatible enough with Trados to act as a subsitute.

Hope this helps!

Finally, note that this is all personal opinion, and some people swear by SDLX, or other tools not mentioned, or insist that Wordfast or Deja Vu are sufficiently compatible with Trados as long as you communicate properly with your client.


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Adam Thomson  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks to Carlos for pointing me in the right direction. I should have looked harder on ProZ. Feb 8, 2004

Carlos Moreno wrote:

Let me welcome you to the wide world of ProZ!

As a way to guide you to the answers, I suggest you take a look at the top of the screen, where a tab reads "Tools". Hover your mouse cursor over it. A vertical menu reads "CAT Center" and CAT Fight". You will find many answers to your questions in these two menu options...


Thanks, Carlos. I should have known where to look - so thanks for letting me down lightly. However, updated opinions would be welcome.

For instance, why does Trados have such a following when it is apparently so much more expensive than, say, Wordfast (which seems to get higher user ratings anyway)?

Thanks again for your patience at my bumbling questions.


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Adam Thomson  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Andrew - exactly what I was looking for. Most grateful, Very helpful. Feb 8, 2004

[quote]Andrew Read wrote:

Hello Adam,

Carlos is probably right that there are other responses on this but let me share my very recent experience... See below...

Adam Thomson wrote:

What are people's experience of Trados, Wordfast and other programmes? How are they helpful (or not)?

*** Over the last year, I have had experience with four different programs - SDLX, Deja Vu, Wordfast, and Trados.

I do find that using a TM tool (once you get used to their quirks and tricks) is very, very helpful for the day-to-day translation process. The biggest benefits, IMO, are:
1. You're less likely to miss bits out, as the TM tool breaks your source text into "segments", usually on the basis of each sentence, and shows you an empty matching segment into which you type your translation. Because of this, I will now always use a CAT tool even in non-repetitive texts.
2. The memory: as you'll know, especially with technical texts, there are often lots or repeated, or very similar sentences, or headings or passages. Once your TM tool has "remembered" a particular sentence pair, it will then offer you a ready-made translation for a repeated or similar source text sentence later on. This saves massive amounts of time in some texts, though you have to watch out for small differences, of course.
3. You can get more work. Many agencies insist that you use a CAT tool, as they may have a previous "memory" from work done for the same client, and will want you to use that on a new job, so as to guarantee consistency.
***

Trados gives the impression of being the "industry leader". I understand that some clients make having Trados a condition of a translator getting business.

Wordfast claims to be much cheaper and seems to imply that it can do just as good a job as Trados can.

***
You're largely right on both of these points. I used SDLX first, simply because it was available at the university where I did my MA in translation. However, I didn't find it very user-friendly, and it was very "buggy" when producing a glossary - a special task I was doing at the time. Having looked at the ProZ CAT fight and other sources, I therefore thought I would try Deja Vu, as lots of people rated it very highly and at that time you could download an almost fully-functional version for a free month's trial. (Maybe you still can - see www.atril.com) I found it relatively easy to use, and I successfully completed some real client translations with it with good results, with a range of different file formats. I therefore purchased a new copy of it.

Since then, however, I did notice that there was much more demand, say on the ProZ job board, for translators with Trados, but also had heard good recommendations for Wordfast.

I therefore downloaded the free version of Wordfast (www.wordfast.net), and found this even easier to use and more pleasing to the eye than Deja Vu. Even the free version (which is you can use for as long as you like) produced very good results, at least for straightforward Word documents.

I have since used it with some clients I know well for Trados jobs, but there are major limitations, I believe, as to the compatibility. It cannot, for example, open the latest "TMW" memories produced by Trados. This caused me major difficulties on a rush-job for a new client a few weeks ago, as even the very old version of Trados I had bought could not help. I also found that Wordfast can disrupt some regular MS Word functions in unpredicatable ways.

For these reasons - mainly because of the high volume of technical translation work out there that does specify Trados - I recently bought a 2nd hand copy of Trados 5.5 Freelance after advertising on the Smart Shoppers forum here (for less than half of the price of a new version). I believe that any version from 5 onwards should be acceptable for most agencies.
***

So my advice for you in the short term would be:
1. To get used to using a TM, download and install Wordfast from www.wordfast.net. Try this on a few straightforward Word documents - this also gets you use to a similar screen format to that used by Trados. A nice guide to getting you started is given on www.your-translations.com

I would also suggest you try the free download of Deja Vu for a month - this has its own special user interface which sits outside Word. (See www.atril.com)

You could also download the month's trial of Trados, but I find the restrictions they place on memory size, etc for the demo version just too restrictive.

And then finally, make your decision based on your preference and on your likely clients' requirements.

If you have mainly end-user clients, then buy the full version of whichever one you prefer, as they will be unlikely to specify a particular CAT tool, but it will still speed up your work

If you deal with agencies, then discuss this with them. I suspect that you will find that most of them specify Trados, and if this is so, then bite the bullet and buy it (but 2nd hand!). As mentioned, I personally have found that neither Wordfast or Deja Vu are really truly compatible enough with Trados to act as a subsitute.

Hope this helps!

Finally, note that this is all personal opinion, and some people swear by SDLX, or other tools not mentioned, or insist that Wordfast or Deja Vu are sufficiently compatible with Trados as long as you communicate properly with your client.


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Todd Field  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:51
Member (2003)
Portuguese to English
Advantages to having both Feb 9, 2004

Hello Adam, and welcome to Proz.

This is a hotly debated topic, but let me share my two cents: I strongly feel that there are distinct advantages to having both.

TRADOS: Good to have so that you are compatible with the industry when you need to be, and good to have for the sake of simply being able to claim "I have TRADOS".

WORDFAST: Good to have because, in my humble opinion, it is a better CAT tool for a freelancer working solo. It is quick, light on your system, and infinitely easier to learn. The custom glossary functions, context searches, and QC checks are amazing, not to mention much easier to use in comparison to TRADOS, which can be intimidating.

I believe there are good reasons why WordFast has a higher rating here at Proz's CAT fight section. I use WordFast whenever I can, and TRADOS only when I have to.

Just one (very personal) opinion. Hope it helps, and good luck.

Todd Field

P.S. With regard to whether they are worth the investment, I would have to say "YES" in capital letters. I love translating with a good CAT tool, especially on large extended projects where terminology has to remain consistent.

I even go so far as to import hardcopies into Word using ABBYY FineReader (another great program to have in your arsenal) so that I can use my beloved WordFast as much as possible!



[Edited at 2004-02-09 00:32]


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 06:51
German to English
I agree with Andrew Feb 9, 2004

Most of the major TM programs have (limited) functional demos available for download. Unless you're under pressure to commit yourself, try the demos for small jobs. See which one is most compatible with your style of working. TM programs are like religions or political parties: supporters generally consider theirs to be the best.

Take your time selecting,
Kevin


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You'll only know if you test it. Feb 9, 2004

Download Wordfast and OmegaT and try them out. They are both small downloads.

Wordfast will give you an idea of what the work method of Trados would be like - you work inside the Word document. OmegaT might give you an idea of what the work method of Déjà Vu might be like - it is database driven and you work outside of the [source text] document.

Only when you've seen what it does, can you determine whether TM works for you. Then you can decide to try the eval versions of Trados and Déjà Vu and similar programs.

http://www.omegat.org/omegat/omegat.html (requires Java)
http://www.geocities.com/wordfast/ (requires MS Word)


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Dr Andrew Read  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:51
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
Trados and Wordfast at the same time? Feb 9, 2004

Todd and Monica Field wrote:

This is a hotly debated topic, but let me share my two cents: I strongly feel that there are distinct advantages to having both.

I believe there are good reasons why WordFast has a higher rating here at Proz's CAT fight section. I use WordFast whenever I can, and TRADOS only when I have to.

[Edited at 2004-02-09 00:32]


Hi Todd,

From my experience so far, I agree with everything you say about Trados and Wordfast.

However, how do you manage running *both* on your PC at the same time? I find that if Trados is installed then some of the keyboard shortcuts in Wordfast fail to work, and just generally it seems to mess things up when working within Word - it's as if there are just too many macros or too much Visual Basic for Word to cope with.

(Do you think I should start a new thread for this?)

Thanks
Andrew


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Todd Field  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:51
Member (2003)
Portuguese to English
Funny you should ask Andrew... Feb 9, 2004

We had the same challenge and posted a question at http://www.proz.com/topic/12794.

If you follow the (very easy) instructions in the answers under this post, you will be able to run WordFast and TRADOS side by side with no problems.

We've had no problems since... good luck!

Todd


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Joanna Gough  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:51
CAT Tools comparison videos Jul 22, 2010

Hello Adam,

Have you tried translatorstraining.com?

The have just released free videos comparing 20 different CAT Tools. They show how they work by having the same document translated by all these tools.

Maybe this will help?

here is the link:

http://www.translatorstraining.com/sito/

Good luck!

Joanna


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
My view Jul 22, 2010

I do not use CAT tools, as they are complicated to set up and very time-consuming. However, I have had training in both Trados and Wordfast, and can say that Wordfast is a lot easier to use, although limited to 500 TUs or something (maybe a wordfastologist can shed light on exactly what a TU is). Trados is cumbersome and complicated, you need to open three of four boxes, one for the Workbench, one for Trados etc. Every course I take makes me more baffled...

Another problem with Trados is that it always crashes - here in Brazil it is often known as "Travos" (from the Brazilian verb "travar" which means "to crash (a computer system)".


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Ulf Samuelsson  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:51
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Personal preference or the customer's choice Jul 23, 2010

The choice of which translation software to use is different for each translator.
It depends on a combination of personal preferences and which clients the translator work for.

Personally, I use Wordfast for those jobs that I can decide which tool to use, but in order to be able to accept work from certain clients, I sometimes have to use Trados, SDLX, LocStudio, Helium, Passolo or MemoQ.

In other words, it's a matter of finding out what your existing and potential clients need and want, and then use the tool that you like the most for any job that doesn't require a specific tool.

There is no single tool that can be considered to be the best for all translators.


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