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Why are we so obsessed with TM?
Thread poster: philgoddard
philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Aug 2, 2013

I don't use it because 70% of my work is things like advertising copy and art books for which it would be totally unsuitable, and the other 30% is run-of-the-mill contracts and other commercial stuff containing very little repetition. Every few months I'll get a job and think oh yes, TM might save a few minutes' copying and pasting here. But this doesn't happen often enough to make me want to buy it.

This morning I had an email from an agency I hadn't dealt with before, saying they needed people to work on jobs for a leading fashion and jewelry brand, and all they wanted to know was what version of Trados I used and what discounts I offered.

A week or so ago I did a short travel guide with lots of lyrical descriptions of scenery, and again they asked for Trados if possible, though I just gave it to them in Word.

Also, one of my best agency clients has told me that I have to start using TM (which, to be fair, they provide) and giving fuzzy discounts. I don't have much choice, because we have a good relationship and they give me lots of work.

I don't know much about TM, though I can see its value for things like technical manuals. But why are we using it for everything? And is it really increasing our productivity?


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
I hate it, too, Aug 2, 2013

But it is very useful for technical things with repeating segments - I am just doing manuals for about 12 worsktations on the same assembly line, and believe me, it is great. But I only use it when the text is suitable for it or if the client requires so - and if, as you say, they want it against all logic, I say no - or, if I have to deliver in Word anyway, I just do it in Word and tell them I used WF.

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Alina - Maria Chiteala  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 13:28
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Logic for some orders Aug 2, 2013

It is most logic to use Trados for large orders with fuzzy and 100%match or in order to maintain concordance on large technical/financial, etc. orders.
In these situations I can understand, BUT I have clients asking for Trados and delivery of clean, unclean + TM for 30 words which is most ridiculous and time consuming.
I think that some customers that do not really know what Trados does and think it is some kind of wonder that translates itself.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:28
Russian to English
+ ...
I think there should be workshops for customers and outsourcers Aug 2, 2013

to teach them the basics about translation, how many "native" translators they can expect in a particular language pair, what repetitions mean, and when using CAT tools is helpful, and when it is just a hassle that they should pay extra for, if they require it -- like twice the rate, at least.

[Edited at 2013-08-02 15:53 GMT]


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Texte Style
Local time: 12:28
French to English
lyrical TMs Aug 2, 2013

Phil you seem very much to work in the same sort of fields as me, I agree that CAT tools are not at all useful, obviously you can't recycle lyrical stuff.

I've just handed in an entire book of recipes for soups and juices and it was useful there, lots of "bring to the boil and leave to simmer for X minutes", but press releases for fashion and jewellery cannot be recycled. You have to be original! At best you can make up a glossary but you don't need CAT tools for that.

When the agency insists on a CAT tool I use it but I often end up doing last-minute edits once it's been exported back to Word. The PMs always want me to make the same changes in the CAT file but often the problem is caused by tags or segmentation. I make a couple of changes, like the first two, but then I don't bother, since the chances of the segment ever cropping up again are about nil.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:28
Member
English to French
Repository Aug 2, 2013

More than leverage, I assume that agencies like CAT tools because they can consolidate everything they have ever translated for a customer. So anybody is able to know how the tagline or introductory clause for such product was translated, thus maintaining consistency.
I understand it can keep them secure about their "assets", all neatly stacked up in TMs.
That is, provided they hire real translators who know their jobs and enough about TMs to avoid bloating them with rubbish.

I've been using CAT tools since 2000 (Trados 3), before flat screens, Facebook and 9/11, and I can't imagine working the old way, overwriting the source and rereading against it in a split window. I use CAT tools even on a 500-word press release, even when it is not required, and even when I know that keeping such segments is vastly useless. But it's very addictive for rereading and consistency checking.

That said, I agree that not everybody knows about the tools they use or require, and CAT tools are now seen by many outsourcers as a cost-cutting utility only besides the repository function - with the help of major makers whispering tales about reps, fuzzies, internal matches, homogeneity... and all that money they can save.

The people obsessed with CAT tools are those who save money with them.

In my case, it makes my life easier and strengthens my quality control processes. It certainly didn't make me richer.

Philippe


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Stellray
Local time: 13:28
English to Russian
+ ...
Useful Aug 2, 2013

For me, TMs are really useful. I often translate rare terms, and it sometimes takes a lot of time to find the right equivalent. Without a TM, I'd be wasting my time again if I forgot a translation.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:28
Chinese to English
Because they improve translator inter-operability Aug 2, 2013

TMs are not really tools for us, though we can use them. They are tools for agencies.

One of an agency's big issues is that a client who is happy with their (the agency's) work is often really happy with work done by one specific translator. The agency wants to be able to switch between translators (to get the best deal) while keeping their customers locked in. Having TMs makes it easier to maintain consistency between translators.


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Tom Ellett  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
Swedish to English
+ ...
TM interferes with the flow Aug 2, 2013

Like Phil Goddard, I don't use TM because it would be unsuitable for most of the work I do, which is creative in nature. For the small number of texts I encounter where it might help a little, it's simply not worth the investment of time and money and the steep learning curve. (Not to mention the fact that, to use most of the mainstream CAT tools, I would have to switch from Mac to Windows – ugh!)

My brief experiments with demo versions of CAT tools have shown them to be totally incompatible with the way I think and work. The sentence-by-sentence segmentation of the text results in a translation that is unnaturally choppy. In order to achieve a natural flow in English, I frequently split or combine sentences (and sometimes even paragraphs) from the source language.

I'm aware that most CAT tools offer a way to adjust the segmentation, but again, for me it's not worth the time and the disruption to my workflow. I'd rather spend that time translating and writing.

[Edited at 2013-08-02 17:49 GMT]


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:28
English to Polish
+ ...
That's CAT marketing to you Aug 2, 2013

philgoddard wrote:

I don't use it because 70% of my work is things like advertising copy and art books for which it would be totally unsuitable, and the other 30% is run-of-the-mill contracts and other commercial stuff containing very little repetition. Every few months I'll get a job and think oh yes, TM might save a few minutes' copying and pasting here. But this doesn't happen often enough to make me want to buy it.

This morning I had an email from an agency I hadn't dealt with before, saying they needed people to work on jobs for a leading fashion and jewelry brand, and all they wanted to know was what version of Trados I used and what discounts I offered.

A week or so ago I did a short travel guide with lots of lyrical descriptions of scenery, and again they asked for Trados if possible, though I just gave it to them in Word.

Also, one of my best agency clients has told me that I have to start using TM (which, to be fair, they provide) and giving fuzzy discounts. I don't have much choice, because we have a good relationship and they give me lots of work.

I don't know much about TM, though I can see its value for things like technical manuals. But why are we using it for everything? And is it really increasing our productivity?


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:28
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, I absolutely agree with you -- using them distorts the work flow Aug 2, 2013

Also, if I see a new term for the first time -- I remember it right away -- hopefully for life. This way translation becomes enriching, not dumbing.

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2G Trad  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:28
Member (2000)
English to Italian
+ ...
Technology Aug 2, 2013

Philippe Etienne:
I've been using CAT tools since 2000 (Trados 3), before flat screens, Facebook and 9/11, and I can't imagine working the old way, overwriting the source and rereading against it in a split window. I use CAT tools even on a 500-word press release, even when it is not required, and even when I know that keeping such segments is vastly useless. But it's very addictive for rereading and consistency checking.


Same here.

I use CAT tools as a work technology.

People used candles, and then came electricity. Or they used horses and carts, and then came cars and motorcycles.

Bye!
Gianni


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dianaft  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
CAT tools offer more than TM Aug 2, 2013

I get very few projects that actually have the types of segment repetitions CAT tools really aim at.

However, a glossary for regular clients - many of whom have very specific preferences - or for large projects is a godsend.
Also, I can't stand formatting. Without a CAT tool, I would need to do that as I go along. This way I can focus on the translation itself.
Sometimes files need to be tidied up before or after, so I employ a teenage part-timer, who is great at that (and thinks it's a good job...). If I had to fix it as I go along, I would probably be suicidal. This way, I can set it aside as a separate job.
I guess it will depend very much on the types of jobs you focus on, whether or not this is useful, my work is often format heavy.


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Texte Style
Local time: 12:28
French to English
Exactly Aug 2, 2013

Tom Ellett wrote:

My brief experiments with demo versions of CAT tools have shown them to be totally incompatible with the way I think and work. The sentence-by-sentence segmentation of the text results in a translation that is unnaturally choppy. In order to achieve a natural flow in English, I frequently split or combine sentences (and sometimes even paragraphs) from the source language.



Once I was sent a paragraph, in Word and in a CAT tool file. I only saw the Word file, and just translated it and sent it straight back.
The PM said the Word file was just for "context" and asked me to copy the segments into the CAT tool file. I agreed, but then I saw that I had literally turned the entire text round, with the end at the beginning and the middle no longer in the middle. So I said I couldn't. The client survived!


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:28
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
TM is not a moneymaker Aug 2, 2013

philgoddard wrote:

I don't know much about TM, though I can see its value for things like technical manuals. But why are we using it for everything? And is it really increasing our productivity?


I've been a loyal Wordfast user for more than ten years and with hindsight I can say that the TM functionality of CAT has slightly increased my productivity, but mainly because I have never bothered to do any serious maintenance on my TMs and have only aligned documents to create TUs of great value for a specific project.

As a micro entrepreneur, productivity is not my main goal. I prefer translating 2,000 words for 0.12 euro per source word to translating 3,000 words for 0.09 euro weighted (after various CAT discounts), which would cost me several hours more to invoice 30 euros more.

The thing is that most TM tools offer additional, far more valuable, functionality, like glossaries, reference search, machine translation and, don't forget, segmentation. Overwriting is stupid when you can segment, I can always see what's ahead and what's behind of my current text in both languages.

I've moved into the direction of value-added translations, where I don't have to fight for every cent, and I use Wordfast Classic for almost any job I do. I don't see Wordfast as a TM tool but as a faithful valet that segments, retrieves all available information within a second and presents one or more translations I could use.

My recurring TM dream is to translate Joyce's Dubliners with Wordfast and have the WFC algorithms notice themes and leitmotifs that haven't been discovered before.

Cheers,
Gerard


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