Shall I get SDL Trados? Is it worth it?
Thread poster: Joanna M.

Joanna M.
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:37
English to Polish
+ ...
Mar 29, 2011

Dear fellow translators,

I do not use any CAT tools at the moment and I am considering investing in Trados Studio 2009.
What are your opinions?
I know a lot of agencies require freelancers to be CAT tool users and I believe when you do use CAT tools the opportunities for getting work increase.
I'd be very grateful for any advice!


Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:37
Member (2004)
German to Polish
+ ...
Search forum, please Mar 30, 2011

For example:




JaneD  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:37
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
For what it's worth Mar 30, 2011

... Trados has certainly earned its price back for me, many times over, and it did so the first time within a month of buying it.

But it depends on your existing clients - why not ask them whether they would *definitely* be able to put more work your way if you made this investment?

Future clients will happily use the fact that you have a CAT tool, but it's the gain over what you are already earning that's the key.

If you're only going to stay at the same income level, then there's not much point paying such a large amount for a CAT tool, and you might as well just stick to the free ones, which will give you the productivity gains and make your life easier but without costing you anything.



Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not a good first tool Mar 30, 2011

In my opinion, Studio is not the ideal option for a newbie. The main reasons are that a) it is an industrial tool with a big project management component, b) is not very intuitive and rather technical for a newbie, and c) the list of potential issues you can run into is rather long, as proven by the very many fora in reporting bugs or difficulty using the product.

In my opinion, you probably want to go for a simpler tool, for instance Wordfast.

Once you are more experienced with CAT tools and know what you can expect from a CAT tool, your customer's requirements about CAT tools and, more generally, whether a CAT tool is for you and your business, you might want to go for a more professional tool, like memoQ or even Studio (a product that is not for the faint of heart if you ask me).

In any case, I would not recommend to use a more powerful tool like memoQ or Studio without some initial training.

[Edited at 2011-03-30 07:58 GMT]


Joachim Dietlicher MSc (BDÜ)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:37
English to German
+ ...
Fully agree with Tomás Mar 30, 2011

Having had to familiarise myself with Trados 2007 (back then) when studying for my MSc without any previous knowledge of a CAT tool, and having worked with Studio 2009 for a while now (after having done Trados certification up to level three), I can fully agree with Tomás that, for a new CAT user, this tool is far from being intuitive and rather complex.



Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:37
English to Russian
+ ...
Check with your clients first Mar 30, 2011

None of my clients has switched to Trados Studio so far.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:37
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Try a free CAT first Mar 30, 2011

Trados will NOT save you time for the first few months. It may never save you time, if the kinds of texts you work with are not very repetitive.

However, it includes ways of managing your terminology and helps with consistency in other ways. Some people like it, including me, when it works.

The first thing to find out is whether you personally want to use a CAT at all.
Persevere and give it a chance - it does take time to work up a routine and add some content to the memory.

A surprising number of translators get by happily without CATs, and have their own methods of managing terminology, referring back to earlier work for the same client or in the same subject field etc.

Agencies like Trados, because they can send a so-called Translation Memory or a glossary to a translator who has not worked with a particular end client before, and tell the translator to find the client's preferred terminology there. This may work or it may not - you have to know what to look for and when.

I suspect agencies are having trouble with Studio 2009 - it was introduced with fanfares and hype... and although the freelance version is not bad to work with (IMHO), none of my clients demand it and most are still using the earlier version, which is not directly compatible with Studio 2009.

As others have pointed out, Studio 2009 would probably be quite daunting for a complete beginner, though once you get the idea and have been shown how it works, it does have some smart features. (And you can ignore many of the others.)

Apart from Wordfast Classic, I have not tried any free CATs, but that is quite a good one to start with. It is also compatible with Trados, at least up to a point, and I have used it occasionally for files that would not open in TagEditor, which comes with the 'old' Trados. You don't have to worry about TagEditor with Studio 2009.

Best of luck!

[Edited at 2011-03-30 13:55 GMT]


Joanna M.
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:37
English to Polish
+ ...
Thank you! Mar 30, 2011

Many thanks for your replies and your time!!!!!!
Very helpful!


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