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Questions about free CAT tools
Thread poster: LegalTransform

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:32
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 7, 2015

Do free CAT tools (such as OmegaT: http://www.omegat.org/en/omegat.html ) allow you to use more than five languages (Trados is limited to five)?

What other kinds of things can't free tools (such as OmegaT) do that Trados can?

Do they have as many bugs and errors as the pay versions? Judging by the forums, it seems people are spending more time dealing with software problems than linguistic ones.

I've seen some screenshots and it looks impressive, but what are we missing by using a free CAT tool instead of purchasing an $800.00 one every two years?

[Edited at 2015-07-07 16:17 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-07-07 20:42 GMT]


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Member (2014)
English to German
Yes, this is puzzling me too! Jul 7, 2015

I like Memsource, I can load 2 files on the free version, which is enough for me as I save my work elsewhere anyway - what would I gain by buying a license or purchasing Trados, apart from the fact that agency TMs may not be compatible.

 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:32
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, but... Jul 7, 2015

... I'm not talking about free "trial" versions. As far as I know, OmegaT FULL VERSION is completely free (and if you are good at programming, you can even modify it to suit your own needs).

From what I've read, the TMs are compatible and even if they are not, all you have to do is load the bilingual file and presto - instant free TM.



Gabriele Demuth wrote:

I like Memsource, I can load 2 files on the free version, which is enough for me as I save my work elsewhere anyway - what would I gain by buying a license or purchasing Trados, apart from the fact that agency TMs may not be compatible.


[Edited at 2015-07-07 15:45 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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OmegaT Jul 7, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
Do free CAT tools (such as OmegaT: http://www.omegat.org/en/omegat.html) allow you to use more than five languages (Trados is limited to five)?


Isn't Trados the only CAT tool that limits the number of languages that you may use?

OmegaT also has a limit -- you can only use language codes that actually exist. If you happen to translate a dialect that doesn't have an official language code, you can't make one up (in Wordfast you can, but in OmegaT you can't). Sorry for that bit of irony.

What other kinds of things can't free tools (such as OmegaT) do that Trados can?


Oh, many things.

For one, I've have more faith in Trados' file filters than in OmegaT's. The file filters in OmegaT are pretty good by now, but they do tend to get developed further only as and when anyone finds a problem with one (and that someone will be a translator with a deadline that he might miss). And the OmegaT documentation team is not keen on publishing the limits of their filters, even though the limits are known and sometimes discussed on the forums.

Trados also has "packages", i.e. bundles that you can share with translators, that contain all the necessary files etc. You can create a package in OmegaT, but it requires intimate knowledge of all the little things you have to keep in mind, because you'd have to create it manually.

Trados has segment statuses, i.e. you can set whether a segment is "draft" or "translated" or "reviewed" etc. I have my doubts about whether many people actually use those segment statuses on a segment by segment basis, but they do exist. In OmegaT, a segment that contains a translation is considered "translated", and that's that. The only way to mark a segment as e.g. draft is to put some text in it, e.g. "!!draft!!", manually.

Trados has side-by-side view, which OmegaT won't have for another year. OmegaT has above-and-below view, which Trados won't have, ever. Trados has "bilingual review export" (granted, not very reliable), and OmegaT currently only has a workaround (one that assumes that duplicate source strings have identical translations). Trados has a professionally designed ribbon, whereas OmegaT simply tacks the menu items for every new feature somewhere onto an existing menu. That said, OmegaT regularly gets new features... Trados only every 1-2 years, if you pay.

OmegaT is free, but it doesn't have to be. You *can* actually pay a developer to implement a specific feature (has been done), which will then be available for all future users. If you know Java and you know some of the related scripting languages (groovy comes to mind), you can script additional features (hmm, call it "macros"), but I'm not sure if Trados can do that.

I rarely use Trados, so I may not be the best person to answer this question of yours.

I've seen some screenshots and it looks impressive, but what are we missing by using a free CAT tool instead of purchasing an $800.00 one every two years?


The main thing that you're missing is the intermediary bilingual file format. OmegaT doesn't use one. OmegaT translates a source text directly into a target text. This makes OmegaT less ideal for workflows that require a number of steps (translate, edit, proof, qm, etc) to be kept track of.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:32
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Spanish to English
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Questions about free CAT tools Jul 7, 2015

Thanks Samuel.

That information was actually helpful. I too have only used the very basic functions of Trados. I only use it when the client absolutely requests it or when I have a .doc with a lot of tables and charts because I don't like how it restricts my writing style. In fact, I rarely use the TM function at all and I use the tool just as a way to make sure that I don't accidentally omit anything - hence the reason I was looking for a cheaper/free alternative.

Interesting about the top and bottom source and target rather than side by side. I seem to remember briefly using a CAT tool back in 1999-2001 that used this model. The name escapes me. Perhaps it was SDLX. It didn't seem to bother me, but it did result in even more choppy sentences because you were even further removed from the document as a whole (concentrating on individual paragraphs/sentences instead of creating a comprehensive text).

Plus, back then, we got paid in full for everything - no one had masterminded the scam of discounts for repetitions and matches yet.

I don't know why Trados continues to limit the number of languages. It is aggravating because I just need to add one more. For now, you can uninstall and reinstall, but it seems that whichever language I choose to omit, that's the language the next client wants. I would even consider paying a small amount to add a language. I guess they want to charge agencies more and the fear is that they would not pay the premium, but there has to be a different way to determine this.

With regard to updates, I hope that one day they will move towards the Word model and just charge a monthly access rate, where you access the software online and they can update it slowly all the time. You could also only pay for it during those months that you need to use it.

What do you mean by file filters? Do you mean other document file formats?

I'm not afraid of the missing ribbon - I used to use WordPerfect with absolutely no menu (everything was function 4 or function x and it was much faster than having to move a mouse across the screen and click (of course, we didn't have WYSIWYG either and you had no idea what the document looked like until you printed it).

The packages are nice. However, I wonder if I could I receive a Trados package from a client, extract the files and open them in another tool?

Samuel Murray wrote:



[Edited at 2015-07-07 16:44 GMT]


 

Milan Condak  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:32
English to Czech
Document file formats Jul 7, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

What do you mean by file filters? Do you mean other document file formats?



Yes:

http://www.condak.cz/p-preklady.php

Milan


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
I use segment statuses in Trados Jul 7, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

Trados has segment statuses, i.e. you can set whether a segment is "draft" or "translated" or "reviewed" etc. I have my doubts about whether many people actually use those segment statuses on a segment by segment basis, but they do exist.


I use the segment statuses individually. Not only is it easier to keep track of where I'm at in a file being reviewed, but also during translation I use the statuses to "pre-approve" segments that came directly from the TM or only had to be modified very slightly during the translation process, so that when I send a file out for proofreading the proofreader knows to handle those segments with care (i.e. don't change unless absolutely necessary, so we can stay consistent with past work). It maintains consistency and also saves money and time because proofreaders are not scrutinizing those segments as closely since they were essentially already "proofread" by me when I was translating the file in the first place.

Just to give you an idea of how statuses can be used on a segment-by-segment basisicon_smile.gif


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
You can extract Trados files from packages Jul 7, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
The packages are nice. However, I wonder if I could I receive a Trados package from a client, extract the files and open them in another tool?


You can extract the files (right-click, select "Open With" and choose whatever program you're using to extract files from ZIP archives -- that will bring you to the folder structure of the package and you can extract the individual files you need). However, if your client is expecting a Trados return package back, you would have to create that manually, I imagine. The packages they send you for translation are different from the packages you send back.


 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:32
Spanish to English
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Across Jul 7, 2015

When my WordfastPro license ran out, I tried Across, which is free to translators, but not agencies. I am not a CAT tool whiz kid, so it probably took me 20 hours to make my way through their basic documentation and videos. They use terminology that is different from other CAT tools, and that added to my confusion. Still, as I was struggling through it all, I kept reminding myself that I was saving a lot of money by not buying a new license, and that it was worth the effort. I can now use the program's basic functions, and I am very pleased with it.

 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
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I attempted to try Across once.. Jul 7, 2015

...because it looked very interesting. But the installation process screwed up my computer so badly that I had to take it to a professional just to get everything working again. I am sure that my situation was an anomaly, but I'm scared to death to try it again - at least not before doing a full back-up.


Jessica Noyes wrote:

When my WordfastPro license ran out, I tried Across, which is free to translators, but not agencies. I am not a CAT tool whiz kid, so it probably took me 20 hours to make my way through their basic documentation and videos. They use terminology that is different from other CAT tools, and that added to my confusion. Still, as I was struggling through it all, I kept reminding myself that I was saving a lot of money by not buying a new license, and that it was worth the effort. I can now use the program's basic functions, and I am very pleased with it.


[Edited at 2015-07-07 20:40 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Trados packages Jul 7, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
The packages are nice. However, I wonder if I could I receive a Trados package from a client, extract the files and open them in another tool?


Yes, they're basically zip files, with SDLXLIFF files inside. However, you can't create a return package without Trados, so you'd have to make sure your client is happy with just the SDLXLIFF files.


 

Erwin van Wouw  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:32
Member (2010)
English to Dutch
Comparable experience with Across Jul 7, 2015

Never again will I allow Across near a device. The thought alone sends shivers down my spine.

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

But the installation process screwed up my computer so badly that I had to take it to a professional just to get everything working again. I am sure that my situation was an anomaly, but I'm scared to death to try it again - at least not before doing a full back-up.



 

brg (X)
Netherlands
WF Anywhere? Jul 7, 2015

Why not try WF Anywhere.
The limit here is that you can only have 10 files at the same time. For the 11th, another file has to be removed. But AFAIK one can use all language pairs you want, they don't have to be "installed" or "uninstalled".

The main advantage of Trados is that it is 100% Trados-compatible.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
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Spanish to English
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Thanks for the suggestion Jul 7, 2015

I bought the full version of Wordfast (version ?) four-five years ago, but never used it and then I did not reinstall in on my new computer. I wonder if my license is still valid?

brg wrote:

Why not try WF Anywhere.
The limit here is that you can only have 10 files at the same time. For the 11th, another file has to be removed. But AFAIK one can use all language pairs you want, they don't have to be "installed" or "uninstalled".

The main advantage of Trados is that it is 100% Trados-compatible.


[Edited at 2015-07-07 21:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-07-07 21:47 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
WF licence is for 3 years Jul 7, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
I bought the full version of Wordfast (version ?) four-five years ago, but never used it and then I did not reinstall in on my new computer. I wonder if my license is still valid?


No, it will revert to demo mode (which means that all functions work fully, except that your TM is limited to 500 segments per TM). The licence is a 3-year licence.


 
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