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Are cloud-based CAT tools incompatible with your workflow?
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 3, 2014

[Please don't move this thread to CAT Tools because I would also like opinions from translators who do not use them].

Hello,

I have been asked to translate part a large document. The instructions require the use on an online CAT tool so that the TM is updated "as you translate" so that other translators get the updates.

My problem is that I first type a very rough draft of the entire text, then I go back and make revisions, then the next day I make further revisions, then I edit and make more revisions. As I translate further, I find better ways of explaining things and make additional revisions. I absolutely have to print out the document and edit on paper because I find that otherwise, I always miss things. I may revise my text up to ten times. It is impossible for me to type something, press enter and that's it.

Based on the way I work, I believe it would not be possible for me to work under these conditions - or it is possible to send blocks of text to the TM at the end of the day rather than as you type them?

I'm afraid it would be terribly distracting for me to be translating and then all of a sudden get "updates" from other translators requiring me to change what I am working on. What if I disagree with the way something was translated or if I have a better solution?

I am in awe of translators who can translate this way.

[Edited at 2014-06-03 18:18 GMT]


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:54
German to English
Not my style Jun 3, 2014

Even ignoring reservations about material getting lost in the cloud, I can't get up much enthusiasm about cloud-based CAT tools.

Like you, I use a multi-phase revision process. If I take a break for more than an hour or so, I reread what I've translated previously, and frequently change my mind about phrasing or even terminology, not to mention fixing typos or misused words that slipped past the spell check. On especially difficult texts, my first draft frequently barely resembles the finished product. Having seen obviously unedited translations on Linguee, I am leery about relying on unrevised cloud-based text.

Cloud-based CAT tools sound like a great idea – until you think about it.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for the affirmation... Jun 3, 2014

Sometimes when you get asked to do something repeatedly (no matter how crazy it sounds), you begin to doubt yourself and think that there must be something wrong with the way you are working.

After researching all (or at least most) of the terms in the document (and writing them down on the paper source text), for my first run-through (draft), I concentrate solely on meaning. The initial result sounds very foreign (I'm thinking in the foreign language), but the meaning is accurate (at least to me). For the next step, I focus on details (tone, style and grammar) and try to make the text read more like it was written by a native English speaker. Next, I print the document and compare it to the original (checking all names, numbers, formatting, checking for omissions, etc.) and do a final editing and proofreading (checking the source document as I go). Finally, I enter all of my corrections into the file and if numerous corrections were necessary, I will proofread the document once again.

Interrupting this workflow to make partial deliveries completely disrupts the way I work.


Kevin Fulton wrote:

Cloud-based CAT tools sound like a great idea – until you think about it.


[Edited at 2014-06-03 17:15 GMT]


 

Narcis Lozano Drago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:54
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Online CAT tools Jun 3, 2014

Serious Cloud CAT tools (i.e. those not created by programmers that do not know about localization) have a state assigned to each segment, e.g.: new, translated, proofreaded, that you can change once you are satisfied with your translation to send it to the next stage (reviewer, client), or a manual option to sync with the TM. I would not work with a tool that sends my translation to the next stage just after finishing it -- that just would not make sense.

I have worked with several online tools. They are always slower and more cumbersome than desktop CAT tools. I also have to find custom ways to export it to Word or Excel (via XSL transformations or other methods) to apply my QA workflow. Therefore, I tend to charge extra for those projects.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:54
Member (2008)
French to English
Same here Jun 3, 2014

I have the same issues with server based TMs. The other day I had a memoQ project using a server based TM and the last thing I wanted was for people elsewhere (other translators, PMs) to be watching my work as it progressed, for just the reasons you state. So I made a copy of the project and worked on it offline, then when I was done opened it again with the online TM as well as the TM I had created, and updated the server TM from the offline TM. MemoQ let me do that. I think Studio would, since it allows multiple TMs to be selected, but I haven't tried it.

The only thing was the PM queried me shortly before the deadline that the TM showed I hadn't started yet! Nonetheless, I ensured that it went from 0% to 100% complete before the deadline.


 

xxxxxLecraxx
Germany
Local time: 11:54
French to German
+ ...
a no-no for me Jun 3, 2014

I would definitely not use a cloud-based CAT tool. First of all, it's not the safest way to store confidential data. Then my working style resembles Jeff's and Kevin's: 1. draft 2.editing 3. proofreading (the latter at least two times). Impossible for me to translate on the fly and upload each segment directly. And even if I can change/edit the segments afterwards, I simply don't want to upload something (and thus, in a way, make it "public") before it's not as perfect as possible. My last point might be irrational, but I can't help it.

 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Workarounds Jun 3, 2014

I have a friend who is a doctor and due to the recent changes in the healthcare system, all doctors are being required to install an electronic system. The vast majority of doctors HATE the electronic medical records (EMR) system because they were designed by programmers and it takes them 5 to 6 times as long to record data and they are constantly having to come up with workarounds to make the system do what they really need it to do. (If you have been in the hospital lately, you will see that healthcare workers spend 30 minutes typing in the computer for every 5 minutes they spend with patients - everyone is busy typing, typing, typing). Instead of just ticking a box on a paper form, they have to document every interaction electronically in a very non user-friendly way that is completely foreign to their usual way of thinking. The only one who benefits is the government who now has a digital record of everyone's healthcare records. The funny part is that the system automatically generates plain-text notes based on boxes that the doctor clicks and the text is often full of grammatical mistakes (The patient arm were 2 injection administered...) and insurance companies are threatening not to pay doctors because all of the notes are now identical (duh - they were created by the machine) and they want custom reports for each patient.

Of course, the only reason for all of these on-line systems is because we are too afraid to tell clients that a proper translation will take more time out of fear of losing business and they are (probably?) never told that doing the job faster will require the use of multiple translators, often resulting in an inferior product. If given the choice, I wonder how many would choose to wait and get more value for their money.

John Fossey wrote:

I have the same issues with server based TMs. The other day I had a memoQ project using a server based TM and the last thing I wanted was for people elsewhere (other translators, PMs) to be watching my work as it progressed, for just the reasons you state. So I made a copy of the project and worked on it offline, then when I was done opened it again with the online TM as well as the TM I had created, and updated the server TM from the offline TM. MemoQ let me do that. I think Studio would, since it allows multiple TMs to be selected, but I haven't tried it.

The only thing was the PM queried me shortly before the deadline that the TM showed I hadn't started yet! Nonetheless, I ensured that it went from 0% to 100% complete before the deadline.


[Edited at 2014-06-03 18:16 GMT]


 
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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
I don't mind using them. Jun 3, 2014

I don't use TM myself because I mainly do marketing and advertising, but a couple of my customers make me use their online software. It slows me down because I can't dictate at high speed, but I accept for the sake of goodwill.

The only thing I hate is if they're using it to force discounts for fuzzy matches - I recently parted company with one of my biggest customers because of this. Cloud-based TM is a pain at first, but you get used to it.


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:54
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Yes and no Jun 3, 2014

I have to admit that I really dislike anyone looking at my drafts. A good 30% of the time I spend on a translation is spent in revision and I do find howlers that I wouldn't want anyone to see. And yes, I prefer printing out a document, but at the very least I need to see the file in its final format.

I don't think I would like that set-up with everyone on a team having my draft TM flash up for relevant segments, but I can't say I really mind working via remote server in general. I don't really expect a client to scrutinise my draft, but rather to check for progress. If the draft is used by another translator, this becomes a different issue.

Consistency issues do crop up in shared large projects. I guess this can be improved in all translators are in constant communication about key terms, or maybe keep a shared glossary that is updated as you go along. This tends to work better in direct collaboration than if projects are split up by an agency, but it is a viable and far more comfortable alternative.


 

JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:54
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Definitely incompatible Jun 3, 2014

When I use Trados to do a project, I have the benefit of my own TM and termbase. It's also got a number of nifty features (auto-suggest, for example) that speeds up my work.

When I use an online CAT tool, which I occasionally do, I don't have my own TM, I don't have my own termbase, and I don't have those nifty features. I may occasionally have access to pre-populated - and inevitably poor quality - language resources.

Consequently I'm *much* slower when I use one of these tools, and as a result of that I've learned to refuse such jobs.

I've invested in Trados. I've trained myself to use Trados. My workflow is based on Trados. If someone wants me to use something other than Trados, there has to be a pretty good incentive to do so, and I don't just mean in terms of money!


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:54
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Precisely my thoughts Jun 3, 2014

JaneD wrote:

When I use Trados to do a project, I have the benefit of my own TM and termbase. It's also got a number of nifty features (auto-suggest, for example) that speeds up my work.

When I use an online CAT tool, which I occasionally do, I don't have my own TM, I don't have my own termbase, and I don't have those nifty features. I may occasionally have access to pre-populated - and inevitably poor quality - language resources.

Consequently I'm *much* slower when I use one of these tools, and as a result of that I've learned to refuse such jobs.

I've invested in Trados. I've trained myself to use Trados. My workflow is based on Trados. If someone wants me to use something other than Trados, there has to be a pretty good incentive to do so, and I don't just mean in terms of money!


I too like to work backward and forward through the text, coordinating with earlier work in the TM, changing here and adjusting there. If I did not have a deadline, I could probably go on with some jobs for ever, though most of my jobs are small, and at some point I can see that they are not better, just different, and for most I simply do the best I can within the deadine... But they are not all rushed.

I too find online systems slow me down. I am a poor typist, and it upsets my whole train of thought if I have to start thinking about the mechanics and workarounds all over again.

I am simply not suited to group work, unless we can divide the job up into individual sections - a magazine or reports written by different contributors, where different translators with slightly different styles are actually an advantage.

A daily session to coordinate on terminology is fine... But no, I refuse cloud jobs too.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My take Jun 3, 2014

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
I have been asked to translate part a large document. The instructions require the use on an online CAT tool so that the TM is updated "as you translate" so that other translators get the updates.


With all online CAT tools I always try to find a way to do the translation off-line, because I'm faster and more accurate off-line than on-line. That said, I'm fortunate in that my languages are so similar that I am actually able to get away with just one or two revisions (i.e. the translation is near-perfect pretty much from the start, unless the source text is poorly written).

This means that I can work along with other translators on the same file. The success of such a venture depends on more than just a willingness to work together, though. I prefer that one of the translators be appointed as the final authority, so that I know which term I should use whenever I encounter two or more translations for a term.

Clients who want fast translations must realise that the translations will be merely adequate.


 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:54
English to Spanish
And... what about consistency? Jun 3, 2014

First, my main concern would be: how do they ensure consistency among all the translators involved? Terms, verbs, expressions, phraseology, style, etc.

Quality is the first victim in a cloud-based work setup.

And second, all the already mentioned additional nuisance and pressure from working on-line as opposed to working off-line (independently) with your own TMs, TBs/glossaries, simply trying to be consistent with yourself (not with others), etc.

Cloud-based CAT tools are not for me.


 

xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 11:54
French to Dutch
+ ...
Of course this is true Jun 3, 2014

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

My problem is that I first type a very rough draft of the entire text, then I go back and make revisions, then the next day I make further revisions, then I edit and make more revisions. As I translate further, I find better ways of explaining things and make additional revisions. I absolutely have to print out the document and edit on paper because I find that otherwise, I always miss things. I may revise my text up to ten times. It is impossible for me to type something, press enter and that's it.



As a translator who always works in this way and who is totally unable to deliver instant first drafts which are 100% correct (and this is not because I am a beginner, I have 25 years of experience), I tried to work on an online CAT, I have been fired out of the client's workgroups and I drew the conclusion that there is no way "back". I say back because delivering first drafts is out of the question. However I see lots of people doing that, just translate and no or little proofreading of own work. Which also explains their rates.
Well, I suppose that my generation is to old or not gifted enough for this kind of work.


 
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