Trados or Wordfast?
Thread poster: linda gueye

linda gueye  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:01
Member (2009)
English to French
Jun 19, 2009

I am trying to figure out which CAT tool to consider: Trados or Wordfast? I heard that Wordfast is easier to use than Trados although Trados is the most popular.Any advice appreciated.


Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:01
Member (2008)
English to Greek
+ ...
Neither Jun 19, 2009

You'd be much better off if you used Across (which is as full as Trados, yet free) or MemoQ (for which you have to pay, although there is a free edition as well).


Hermann Bruns  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:01
English to German
MetaTexis Jun 19, 2009


MetaTexis is another alternative. It is very powerful and easy to use.

A trial version and a free Lite version are available at

Best regards


Epameinondas Soufleros  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:01
Member (2008)
English to Greek
+ ...
Nope Jun 19, 2009

It's kind of sluggish, it's lacking several capabilities and it seems its development has come to a halt.


Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:01
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Trados Jun 19, 2009

I have never been asked to work with Wordfast. Almost all of my clients, however, require Trados.

I have no idea if Wordfast can work with Trados files (or vice versa). But if you want to do serious business you need a program that can work with Trados files.


Ulf Samuelsson  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:01
English to Swedish
+ ...
There are many CATs available Jun 19, 2009

Which CAT tool that is best for you depends on various things:
1) Does your clients need bilingual Word files, or "Trados files", so they can update their memory, or do they only require the translated files?
2) Do you mainly work for direct clients rather than agencies?

In situation 1 you can work with Trados, but Wordfast and MemoQ would work equally well (or actually better, really).

In situation 2 it doesn't matter which CAT tool you use, and then it is a matter of what your preferences are. There are some good free CAT tools around.

My personal preference is for Wordfast Classic for the following reasons:

1. In Wordfast, there is a quality control function that you can customize (it can warn you for double spaces, deviation from a customer-specific glossary, certain style errors or changed numbers/tags, and you can even set it to check the spelling before moving to the next segment). You can also use a list of unwanted terms as a blacklist so Wordfast will warn you if these words are found in the text. This is useful when a client has made changes in the terminology - just put the old term in the blacklist, and you'll be warned if it is still in the text when you try to go to the next segment.
2. You can use several memories at the same time, e.g. a customer-specific main memory and a general background memory, and receive suggestions from both (and you can decide which of these memories which is to take precedence if the same matching is found in both memories. You can also add a third memory that is only used for 100% matching and searching.
3. You can use three different glossaries (in text format) with direct automatic translation of these terms, and you can copy these translations to the target segment with the same function that you use for copying of tags and numbers. It is very useful to set Glossary 1 to a glossary with customer-specific terms that have to be translated in a certain way (and then also activate the quality control function for that glossary so that Wordfast will warn you if a term in that glossary hasn't been translated correctly). Glossary 2 can then be a subject glossary and Glossary 3 a general glossary.
4. You can link to your favourite dictionary program and press Alt+Ctrl+D to look up a term directly in Webster's, WordFinder or Oxford, depending on which dictionary you have linked to.
5. You can use Alt+Ctrl+F to start any program of your choice – another dictionary or e.g. Internet Explorer to start searching directly in Google (or any Internet site with a search box).
6. You can search in several reference files at the same time with the keys Alt+Ctrl+N. These files don't necessarily have to be memory files, but can be glossaries or other references in various formats (.doc, .rtf, .xls, .txt, .bak, .htm). You can even set several different folders to be searched.
7. You can set Wordfast to automatically correct the quotation marks to the style used in your language (you don't have to change it manually every time).
8. You can (and should) save each project setting as a separate .ini file, which means that you can have a separate .ini file for each client, with all customer-specific settings (memories, glossaries, reference files, quality control, etc.). This also means that you can easily do a small job while working on a large job. You just switch .ini file while doing the smaller job and then switch back again to resume your large assignment, without worrying about changing memory and other settings.
9. If no matching is found in the memory for a complete segment, then a partial match can be proposed (five or more words in a row that is found in the same sequence in a segment in the memory). Very useful if a manual have been re-written and large sentences been broken up or shorter ones been joined.
10. You can easily select any text as a segment and press Alt+Shift+Down to use that selected text as a segment (it is useful if you want to use a longer or shorter segment than what is opened when you go to the next segment as usual).
11. You can mark any text that should not be translated with a temporary text attribute (e.g. marching red ants or double strikethrough).
12. It is possible to delete any suggested segment from the memory (Alt+Ctrl+Backspace) if you notice that it contains errors (you then do not have to make a note of the error so that you can edit the memory afterwards manually).
13. The memory file and the glossaries are in text format (*.txt) and this means that it is very easy to make changes in a memory if you find that you need to change the terminology (or if the client requests that certain changes is to be done to earlier translations). You can either open the memory in any text editor or use the included memory editor (it is recommended that you use the memory editor as it has many useful maintenance functions and it is possible to search and replace only in the translation if you change untranslated terms into a new translation).



Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:01
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Try it before you buy it Jun 19, 2009

peggygourpil wrote:
I am trying to figure out which CAT tool to consider: Trados or Wordfast?

Well, there is a new version of Trados on the horizon that they say is going to be very different from the earlier versions, so don't listen to people telling you that Trados is more difficult. There is a new version of Wordfast too... which is more difficult also. But you can download the old and new versions of Wordfast and try them for free (or for ever), so why not download it and try it?


linda gueye  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:01
Member (2009)
English to French
Trados or Wordfast Jun 20, 2009

Thank you all for your advice


darkokoporcic  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:01
Member (2005)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
Wordfast Classic is the freelancer's tool Jun 20, 2009

Hi everybody,

I think Ulf has really made the point. Wordfast classic is the ultimate tool if you work with text files or spreadsheets (like OpenOffice or MS Office). This is more likely if you work for independent end clients or small agencies. Wordfast is rather inexpensive having 120% of the funcionality of Trados as seen from the perspective of a freelancer. What it doesn't have is advanced project management, which is required by multinationals or large agencies with high degree of vertical integration (from copywriting to printing)handling dozens of languages. They would typically require Trados. Wordfast Classic also cannot handle tagged files originating from Adobe or similar graphic applications.

I firmly believe everything in between Trados and Wordfast (like Star Transit, DejaVu, Across, ...) is just a compromise between price and performance although there are also some extremely expensive (but not so brilliant) applications.

And finally about the new Wordfast: it tries to fill the gap between Wordfast classic and those agency-friendly tools. I don't know whether they're going to succeed because the competition is hard. Anyway, I wish the Wordfast team good luck and strongly support them because from them I get €300 value for €200 while from Trados I get €150 value for €700.




jacana54 (X)  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
You can have more than one Jun 20, 2009

Hi, Peggy,

I suggest you try MetaTexis too: it is extraordinarily easy to use (even I can use it!) and you can have it installed at the same time as Wordfast. Each time you launch the start assistant, it will tell you that WF is also active, and you will have to opt. But it's good to have both options.

Enjoy your weekend!



sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:01
English to French
Small correction... Jun 26, 2009

Darko Koporcic wrote:

... Wordfast Classic also cannot handle tagged files originating from Adobe or similar graphic applications.

That's actually not correct. If the file is prepared, it can be translated in Wordfast Classic


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