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What would the CAT tool of your dreams be like?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:57
English to French
+ ...
Jul 20, 2008

I have been wondering for quite some time, seeing all the recent threads on choosing among the increasing number of CAT tools on the market, what most people look for in a CAT tool.

I would like you to tell me what features you would like your CAT tool to have, how you would like it to function, what you would like to be able to do with it... If you have some very specific requirements, please, do mention them - there are people out there who just need to be able to handle FrameMaker files. Please, don't merely reply that you use XYZ CAT tool and you're happy with it. If that's the case, please, also tell us what are the features that make it the ideal CAT tool. The point of this thread is not to compare existing CAT tools, but rather to find out what the ideal CAT tool (which probably doesn't exist) would be like.

Let's hope developers are tuning in!

OK, here's what I am looking for in a CAT tool:
1. Clean, simple user interface, with keyboard shortcuts that work just as well on laptops (I know, this request is getting old - just as old as Trados shortcuts not working on laptops).
2. The ability to handle all Office file formats, and a few more, using a single WYSIWYG interface.
3. The ability to convert all translatable files into a universal file format, perhaps XML, making file sharing easy and eliminating the need for a team to work using the same CAT tool.
4. Advanced translation memory maintenance features. By this, I mean having access to full text search of TMs internally, without restrictions, as ApSic XBench allows us to do for instance. Also, being able to add, remove and edit text fields (I know of no CAT tool that can do this). It goes without saying that I love Trados's text field features and I now can't live without them.
5. The possibility to export/import TMs in formats that can be picked up by other tools as well. For example, TMs as Excel worksheets and/or TMs as CSV files.
6. Platform independent.
7. Comes with an integrated terminology management tool that is much, much more user-friendly than MultiTerm.
8. No SDLX-like format painting - rather TagEditor-like tagging. But I would find it very useful for the tags to be visible, and if it's feasible, I would like to be able to hover over tags to get a short description of what they do, or at least a help file listing all possible tags, with an explanation of them and maybe even screen captures of what the tagged text would look like in its native format.

There may be more, and I will probably come back later to add them. I already know what I would call the above described CAT tool: OpenMeow! Open because it would be truly open on all sides - TMs and documents can be manipulated without using the CAT tool and work done using other CAT tools can be imported and handled. Meow because I prefer cats with fur!

[Edited at 2008-07-20 19:25]


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:57
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Separate the tools... Jul 20, 2008

I would like to see the conversion tools and the editor completely separated!

Many translators, those working for agencies, do not have to see the ugly side of the conversion. All they are interested in are simple original strings which need to be translated into simple target strings. That is all! Imagine how lightweight such application could be, how many bugs could be avoided...

Of course, most CATs offer "lite" versions, which allow the translator to work on the prepared packages. However, the big difference would be that the file prepared for translation would be in open format (XLIFF, of course!), so that the translator might choose any tool they want: someone prefers to keep it simple (or they are just starting up, or cannot invest much) - no problem, they got an editor that is little more complicated than a text editor. Someone wants all the bells and whistles (autopropagation, subsegments, terminology, quality assurance, etc.) - they choose a different (much more expensive, of course) software.

The agencies benefit, too - they got a job in that very exotic format, they purchase just a conversion program that handles that specific format (or even pay someone to write it!) and they are sure they can send it to the best specialist they have, without asking: "do you have the software X?".


[Edited at 2008-07-20 19:27]


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:57
Portuguese to English
just a few initial thoughts... Jul 20, 2008

A CAT tool that:

1. Is intuitive and doesn't expect the user to read 300 pages of manual before opening the application.
2. That doesn't commit the user to paying hundreds of euros every couple of years for updates.
3. That doesn't have secret, non-transparent agreements with translator associations or websites.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:57
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agrees Jul 20, 2008

I agree with both posters on their ideas. Jabberwock's idea is close to what I would like to see - a tool that would allow freelancers to concentrate on their workinstead of tearing their hair out over bugs, and that wouldn't require for freelancers to pay for the ability to carry out the client's tasks. A translator is a translator, not a tech support guy.

I also fully support lexical's suggestions - they accurately reflect my opinion. However, those things don't seem to be about to change in the near future. Meanwhile, if those expensive tools could work better, that would help. Do you have any technical requests, lexical? Wouldn't you wish to have a tool that works better and allows you to do your job instead of interfering with it?

[Edited at 2008-07-20 20:00]


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Mykhailo Voloshko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 16:57
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
addition Jul 20, 2008

Hi,

My two cents:

1. What if we could create the term base (like in MultiTerm), and then just drag a term from the source segment to the target one - and when we drop it, we have the translated term in the target segment.
2. What if we don't see the tags (e.g. in tag editor) - but we see the result of tagging instead. To have the same formatting in the target segment, it would be nice to have smth like 'copy format' feature (as in MS Word). And it could be very desirable to see pictures (in tag editor), to which the text segments refer (if any).

It doesn't hurt to dream!

Regards,
Mykhailo


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:57
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Nice ones, Mykhailo! Jul 20, 2008

Yup, that would be just... I'm speechless!

We may be dreaming for now, but then again, translators in the seventies were also dreaming, and we have CAT tools now.

Consider this: couple your ideas with my suggestion for a platform-independent CAT tool. Looks a lot like, hmmm.... Java! However, I am not sure if CAT functions can be easily based on Java... Anybody out there who is versed in software programming who could enlighten us? It would be just too neat...

[Edited at 2008-07-20 23:32]


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Boyan Brezinsky  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 16:57
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Somewhat off-topic Jul 21, 2008

OmegaT is written in Java. However, although Java was meant to be portable, in practice it gets not so portable, especially when GUI is involved. Even OmegaT says on the website that "the JRE [Java Runtime Environment] is now supplied with OmegaT and need not be obtained separately". Which to me means that it has been tested with that specific version (whatever it is) of the JRE and other versions may or may not work as expected.
On the other hand, why would one need an application to be portable across opearting systems? Wouldn't it be enough if the application used open file formats? And after all, there are not that many people who work ("work" as in getting work done, not simply operating) on different operating systems.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:57
Member (2004)
English to Italian
for Trados... Jul 21, 2008

you can submit your ideas here...

http://ideas.sdltrados.com/login.asp?accessdenied=/user/default.asp


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Tomasz Sienicki  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:57
Member (2007)
Danish to Polish
+ ...
MemoQ Jul 21, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
OK, here's what I am looking for in a CAT tool:


MemoQ offers all that, with the exception of 8 ("platform independent").


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Didier Briel  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:57
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
No specific version of JRE required Jul 21, 2008

bsb_2 wrote:

OmegaT is written in Java. However, although Java was meant to be portable, in practice it gets not so portable, especially when GUI is involved. Even OmegaT says on the website that "the JRE [Java Runtime Environment] is now supplied with OmegaT and need not be obtained separately". Which to me means that it has been tested with that specific version (whatever it is) of the JRE and other versions may or may not work as expected.

Not really.
We deliver some versions of OmegaT (for Linux and Windows) with the JRE included as a convenience for some users who would find it difficult to get it on their own.

Didier Briel


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:57
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Regular Expressions, powerful text editor Jul 21, 2008

I don't particularly care for WYSIWYG, hence i don't mind working in TagEditor (or SDLX), but the text editor supplied with the CAT tool should be much more powerful than TagEditor: for instance, when SDL/Trados suggest that for the translation of Word files TagEditor is better because it avoids most of the formatting problems we experience in the MSWord interface, they forget that one major advantage of the MSWord interface is the possibility of using wildcard searches (aka regular expression search).

In fact, what I would like to see is a CAT tool that is basically an add-on module to a good programmer's editor, so as to enable us to take advantage of regular expression searches, folding, customizable color coding, macro and script capability; in short, all the features a programmer routinely expects from his or her text editor.


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 17:57
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
My Dream CAT Jul 21, 2008

It should have free filters for all major DTP programs ( I don't want to buy CopyFlow Gold for QuarkXpress files)

It should provide free updates for at least 5 years

It should provide regular service packs

It should have 3 versions: a lite version, a professional version, and an agency version
(free lite version for project prepared by the agency version)

It should be a standalone program (not working on MS Word)

It should be a 3-in 1 program (translation editor, translation memory editor and term/glossary editor)

It should have keyboard shortcuts for common tasks (I don't like using the mouse)

It should allow translation of too many formats and files (sometimes hundreds of them) in a single project


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xxxUSER0059  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:57
English to Finnish
+ ...
A network-based tool Jul 21, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

I would like you to tell me what features you would like your CAT tool to have, how you would like it to function, what you would like to be able to do with it...


I would like the tool to be entirely web-based, with no local installation necessary. Translation memories and terminology databases would be hosted remotely, in a secure way that would fulfil the most stringent non-disclosure agreements. (How, I do not know, off the top of my head.) Of course, working copies should be cached locally.

Such a tool would go a long way towards solving today's installation and backup problems.

The tool should also be fully compliant with $CURRENT_FAVOURITE_TOOL.

[Edited at 2008-07-21 16:33]


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:57
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
You must love and trust you ISP Jul 21, 2008

Thor Kottelin wrote:

I would like the tool to be entirely web-based, with no local installation necessary.


That sounds way too dangerous to me: what if you Internet service goes down for a few hours? No Internet no tool? No tool no work. No thanks.


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 17:57
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Seconded Jul 21, 2008

Riccardo Schiaffino wrote:

Thor Kottelin wrote:

I would like the tool to be entirely web-based, with no local installation necessary.


That sounds way too dangerous to me: what if you Internet service goes down for a few hours? No Internet no tool? No tool no work. No thanks.


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