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Is it possible to find jobs without using CAT?
Thread poster: Daniela Zambrini

Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:53
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Apr 5, 2005

Hi there!
After a few months on proz and over 100 cvs sent or forms filled in on websites I am still looking for my first job! I translate as a part-time second job and I guess my problem is that I don't use any CAT tool to translate. The only jobs I get are by word of mouth through friends or relatives. I'm not sure I want to invest in a CAT tool unless it really increases my possibilties of finding opportunities... any suggestions?
Thanks

[Edited at 2005-04-05 21:14]


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 07:53
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
CATs only made it to this market a few years ago... Apr 5, 2005

daniela zambrini wrote:

Hi there!
After a few month's on proz and over 100 cv's sent or forms filled in on websites I am still looking for my first job! I translate as a part-time second job and I guess my problem is that I don't use and CAT tool to translate. The only jobs I get are by word of mouth through friends or relatives. I'm not sure I want to invest in a CAT tool unless it really increases my possibilties of finding opportunities... any suggestions?
Thanks


I only have one question for you, Daniela: how do you think we managed 10 or 20 years ago?
Exactly!
I know quite a few very successful translators who (still) don't use any CAT at all, by which I don't mean to say that you shouldn't purchase any.
As with any business, it takes marketing and sales skills
as well, lots of patience and hard work, etc.

Just browse through the forums a bit longer. You'll certainly find some very sound advice.

Good luck!


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Claudia Digel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:53
English to German
+ ...
This depends on several factors Apr 5, 2005

Hi Daniela,

I don't think there are no jobs for those who don't have a CAT tool but it is true that it takes time and good marketing skills to find these non-CAT jobs.

I think a lot depends on your fields of specialization. It's probably almost impossible to find jobs that don't require a CAT tool in the localization business, while it might be a lot easier to get them in fields like law, business and especially marketing where creative writing is required and texts tend not to be very repetitive. I can see from your profile that you specialize in these fields so it should be possible for you to find jobs that don't require a CAT tool.

Also, it all depends on who you work for. Translation agencies tend to use CAT tools for most of the jobs they send out to freelance translators while end clients often do not even know what a CAT tool is. So, if you manage to find a few good end clients (I'm not saying this is easy, as I said, good marketing skills are important...), this might make things easier for you as well.

I personally tend to use CAT tools for all the jobs I work on, even if the use of a CAT tool is not a prerequisite for the job, because I feel that this way I can translate faster and produce more consistent translations.

You don't say whether you have worked with any CAT tool but if you haven't, it might be a good idea for you to familiarize with some of the most popular tools, even if you don't want to buy one at the moment. You can download free trial versions of almost all tools, and some offer free versions for freelancers which you cannot use to create your own translation projects but which are sufficient for you to work on pre-created translation files that you will get from your clients.

All the best,
Claudia


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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:53
Member (2003)
German to English
Give them a try Apr 5, 2005

Hi Daniela,

I agree with everything that's already been said, but will take it a step further: there's no reason to exclude yourself from trying out a CAT.

I am partial to Wordfast myself because you can download a fully functional copy for free from www.wordfast.net. The only catch is that you can't do large projects. But you can do small and medium ones--just the kind of projects that many of us do every day--without paying a dime for the software. The same basic guidelines hold true for most of the translation software offerings, although some demos are more limited than others.

So, read the manual (there's one in Italian, I believe), learn to work the software, and practice with it. Soon enough you too will also be able to apply for CAT jobs, since the demo version is fully functional. Eventually, presuming your business grows, you'll buy a full version and be able to apply for larger jobs.

Good luck!


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:53
German to Spanish
Following this logic... Apr 5, 2005

[quote]Evert DELOOF-SYS wrote:

daniela zambrini wrote:


...I only have one question for you, Daniela: how do you think we managed 10 or 20 years ago?
Exactly!
I know quite a few very successful translators who (still) don't use any CAT at all,...


WE do not need a PC...

Rgds

Fernando

It is a matter of life quality

Actually email or telephone is not needed either








[Edited at 2005-04-05 21:08]

[Edited at 2005-04-05 21:11]


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 07:53
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
Where do you get this from? Apr 5, 2005

[quote]Toledo wrote:

Evert DELOOF-SYS wrote:

daniela zambrini wrote:

...I only have one question for you, Daniela: how do you think we managed 10 or 20 years ago?
Exactly!
I know quite a few very successful translators who (still) don't use any CAT at all,...


WE do not need a PC...

Rgds

Fernando



Actually, I started out without a typewriter.

If you're saying that having a CAT is as important as a PC, I think you're mistaken.
But having a CAT certainly enhances your chances, provided you're a good translator.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:53
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Most jobs advertised on Proz seem to demand the use of TRADOS Apr 5, 2005

Well, I started out 7 years ago, working on a regular basis for only one company, on a project that lasted 8 months, and I submitted my translations in my best handwriting for the first four months, until my hand was dropping off from the exertion and somebody lent me a typewriter.

However, these days I would not translate without a CAT tool, as it makes the job so much quicker, as well as noticeably more motivating. My main complaint is that I am happy with Fusion (so do not want to buy Trados), but cannot bid for many of the jobs advertised on Proz, because TRADOS is demanded!

I agree, however, that the problem only exists with agencies. The local firms of lawyers that I work for really do not care how I do the translations, as long as they like the result.


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:53
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Is it possible to find jobs without using CAT? Apr 5, 2005

A couple of years ago I also was wandering about the same thing. I had a few jobs but having changed a couple of countries I lost most of my regular clients who only worked with local freelancers. It was time to start building the business from srcatch (with 11 year experience at the time) but I did not want to spend a lot of money.
After struggling for a few month I did three things - bought Trados, Proz Platinum membership and worked on my Proz profile as well as number of marketing documents - business terms, letterhead, CV.
I do not know which one of these changes did the trick but I am busy most of the time now and actually fully (including weekends) booked till the end of May. I have got back all the money I spent on Trados and five times more only from jobs where Trados was mandatory. So it did pay off in my case.

Cheers,
Burrell


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Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:53
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for your suggestions! Apr 5, 2005

ok, I get the point. I have downloaded wordfast and I'll try using it on my next project, even though I have to first understand what is the limitation in terms of size for the free version (when does a small-medium project become a large project?). I did notice that trados was usually the most mentioned in job offers but maybe I don't need something too fancy if I'm basically translating contracts and business documents. I'll keep trying, and hoping, and waiting....thanks again

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Tamara Zahran  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:53
English to Arabic
Agree with Burrel Apr 5, 2005

Burrell wrote:

A couple of years ago I also was wandering about the same thing. I had a few jobs but having changed a couple of countries I lost most of my regular clients who only worked with local freelancers. It was time to start building the business from srcatch (with 11 year experience at the time) but I did not want to spend a lot of money.
After struggling for a few month I did three things - bought Trados, Proz Platinum membership and worked on my Proz profile as well as number of marketing documents - business terms, letterhead, CV.
I do not know which one of these changes did the trick but I am busy most of the time now and actually fully (including weekends) booked till the end of May. I have got back all the money I spent on Trados and five times more only from jobs where Trados was mandatory. So it did pay off in my case.

Cheers,
Burrell



This was also the case with me, exactly, except that I only bought Trados and Paltinum membership at ProZ.com less than a year ago, but it did pay off for sure, and I am happy I made those decisions.

Good luck
Tamara


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:53
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Demo limitations Apr 6, 2005

daniela zambrini wrote:
...
...I have downloaded wordfast and I'll try using it on my next project, even though I have to first understand what is the limitation in terms of size for the free version (when does a small-medium project become a large project?).
...


Daniela,
the demo version for Trados Workbench has a limit of 100 TUs (Translation Units), in Wordfast the limit is 500 TUs.
These limitations are fair to learn how to use the software for Trados, and even sufficient for a real small projects for Wordfast. 500 TUs corresponds to about 2500-3500 words, and you can restart a new TM for each small project.

The moment you need to put the software into use for a more sizeable project, you will probably know already quite well how to use it.

Gianfranco


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:53
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Improve your marketing Apr 6, 2005

I have Trados since 2002, but up till now only a few jobs did require the use of it. Less than five percent of my turnover comes with the use of Trados. I use Wordfast all the time, because it's convenient, but the customers do not care, they want the final document, in Word-format.
What I see is that agencies that require the use of CAT pay less than those that don't care. That's rather silly. We spend lots of money by purchasing these tools, learn to use them (even pay the training) and after that we should give a discount on our work. After all the customer who uses Trados saves enormously at the dtp-side, so I do not see why he cannot afford to pay normal rates to the translator.
Do not undersell yourself but improve your marketing. Almost all good clients do not even know about Proz.com.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:53
German to English
+ ...
Is it possible to find jobs without using CAT? Apr 6, 2005

I use translation memory all the time. But I use OmegaT, not Trados, and only very rarely does it make any difference to my customers whether I use translation memory at all.

Evert is right: some of the best translators don't use translation memory, and in fact, to answer Toledo's point, some of the best translators don't use a PC. Some of them have Macs. Some dictate their work, and give the tapes to a typist.

It's a common misconception that becoming a freelance translator is a question of buying all the "right" equipment. Selling translation services successfully is about identifying customers' needs and finding ways of meeting them. There are many different ways of doing that.

Sometimes, a customer may have a legitimate reason that a job be done a certain way. Often, though, the reasons are highly questionable. Sometimes, "we require Trados" is just another way of saying "we demand a discount" (see Heinrich's post).

If you have ten years' experience (as stated in your profile) but you are still trying to get your first job, you can be sure that the reason not that you don't have a CAT tool.

Marc


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Michael Deliso  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:53
Italian to English
+ ...
how about the problems? Apr 6, 2005

I have started translating back more then 6 years ago. Never had a cat tool. I must admit that at times I felt kind of left out because I did not have one, but I got jobs anyway. If any of you belongs to some of these translators forums, not one day goes by that those people who use cat tools do not get into troubles with all kinds of problems with their CAT tools and ask for help on getting out of troubles...I have been tempted many times to buy one and see what it does to my jobs..but every time I get closer to making the decision,...there they are..punctual with more problems..I have Wordfast installed, but up to now never used it.. True, its hard work...and may be the will come when I buy one..but to say that one cannot work without them...I am not speaking against CAT tools.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Adapt your client base to suit your resources Apr 6, 2005

daniela zambrini wrote:
I translate as a part-time second job and I guess my problem is that I don't use any CAT tool to translate. ... I'm not sure I want to invest in a CAT tool unless it really increases my possibilties of finding opportunities


Your problem is that you look for jobs in a section of the marketplace where CAT tools are standard equipment. Change your focus to areas where clients are either not aware of CAT tools or where clients may not require CAT tools.


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