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What tools for the occasional translator?
Thread poster: nms
nms
Local time: 03:13
Nov 21, 2010

Hello,

This is my first post at proz.com. My questions might seem obvious but I have actually been reading up on the subject across various websites for the last 16 hours and I am still not sure I am using the best combination of translation tools out there for a low volume translator.

I do about 10 translations a year of 1,500 to 4,000 words in length, from French into British English, mostly from one client on one general subject area, that being development work in Africa and Latin America. I would like to increase my productivity but am put off programs like Trados because of their apparent complexity and the time required to get up to speed with them, not to mention their cost.

To date I have been using Google Translator Toolkit to produce a British English translation, which I then edit in Microsoft Word, with the original and the translated documents side by side.

I should be able to improve the quality of Google's translations if I build up some translation memories, right?

I have just extracted tmx files from 3 of the client's previous translations using the on-line alignment programmes YouAlign and Wordfast Web Aligner. I uploaded them to Google Translator Toolkit and I will now see if I can discern any improvement in Google's translated output.

Meanwhile, my questions are:

1) Given I like working in Word, and cost concerns, am I using the best set of tools available or am I going about things the wrong way? E.g. what is the best alignment program? Doesn't anything out there translate better than Google Translator Toolkit?

2) I have more past translations from this client, do I need to extract and upload more tmx files in order to build up a bigger Translation Memory before I can expect to see better quality output from Google?

3) As I don't edit within Google Translator Toolkit I don't correct its translations, so it doesn't learn from me. Is there anyway to upload the finished translation to the Translator Toolkit as was possible in the old days in Google Translate, using copy&paste?

Sorry for such a long winded post, any responses would be much appreciated.

NMS


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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:13
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
There is choice, for example... Nov 21, 2010

Wordfast classic without a lincense - limited to 500 TUs per TM
OmegaT - relatively easy to learn and start using - no limit to the TM size, except for the computing power of your machine. Can retrieve from GT, too.

Regards,

Piotr


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Michael J.H. Davies  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:13
Member (2009)
English to Danish
+ ...
Wordfast Anywhere Nov 21, 2010

Hi,

I find Wordfast Anywhere to be excellent - has TM's, Glossary, access to VLTM (Very Large Translation Memory) and is free of cost to use. Translated and cleaned target language documents can be further worked upon in Word.

It is (of course) compatible with Wordfast Classic without (as far as I am aware) being subject to the TU limit of the free version of the latter.

Regards,

Michael J.H. Davies


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nms
Local time: 03:13
TOPIC STARTER
So, should I stick with Google Translator Toolkit or not? Nov 21, 2010

Hi guys,

Thanks for the responses. I'm feeling a little obtuse, were your respective points that:

Piotr:

1) I should stick with Google Translator Toolkit and find better programs for building up Translation Memories?

2) Why is retrieving from GT (Google Translator Toolkit, right??) helpful, are you saying dump Word and use OmegaT to clean up Google's machine translation?

Michael:

1) I should dump Google, start with Wordfast Anywhere and then tidy up with Word?

2) Why is it useful that Wordfast Anywhere is compatible with Wordfast Classic?

Last of all, do you know the answer to these questions?

2) I have more past translations from this client, do I need to extract and upload more tmx files in order to build up a bigger Translation Memory before I can expect to see better quality output from Google?

3) As I don't edit within Google Translator Toolkit I don't correct its translations, so it doesn't learn from me. Is there anyway to upload the finished translation to the Translator Toolkit as was possible in the old days in Google Translate, using copy&paste?


Thanks a million,
nms


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xxxDesdemone
Local time: 23:13
French to English
Not to be too luddite-ish, but Google? Really? Nov 21, 2010

What ever happened to using your brain? Read. Research. Translate. Research. Revise. Research. Proofread.
As far as I can tell, Trados offers few productivity gains, given the amount of time people seem to spend fixing the problems it apparently creates.
I have been translating 4,000 words a day consistently, for years, using my best tool. The one between my ears.


[Edited at 2010-11-21 13:50 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-11-21 13:50 GMT]


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
In fact Wf Anywhere Nov 21, 2010

OK, there might be better TM solutions, but if you do not want to invest a lot (if anything), this is probably the way to go. And it integrates Google Translate, too.

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nms
Local time: 03:13
TOPIC STARTER
What are the best free and paid tools to build TMs and glossaries I can upload to Google? Nov 21, 2010

Guys,

Your responses are really appreciated but maybe I am mad, Wordfast Anywhere gets its translation from Google and then gives you this screen that looks like something pre-Windows 95 with a bunch of hieroglyphics that offer to do things that I have no idea the meaning of. At this point, Google could have the worst machine translation around but will soon achieve world domination simply based on its interface. I couldn't even see the translation of the doc I uploaded!

I don't get how people edit in these programs, a word processor (in my case Word) is so much more agreeable an environment in which to read and correct a document.

Could I rephrase what I have worked out I am trying to find out?

As (unless I am wrong) Google provides the best automatic translation of French > British English, not to mention that mere mortals like me can get their head around how it works - what are the best free and paid tools to build TMs and glossaries that I can upload to Google?

Many thanks,
nms


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Chiara Cherubini  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2010)
German to Italian
+ ...
Across Nov 21, 2010

Hi,

I don't know if you know/have tried Across. This CAT-Tool is free for freelancer and you can easily create a TM of your projects with it.

Chiara


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nms
Local time: 03:13
TOPIC STARTER
So, your suggestion is use Across to make a TM and then upload that to Google??? Nov 21, 2010

Hi Chiara,

No, I haven't but I have just seen a video presentation of it at translatorstraining.com. I don't get how people can work away at a translation if their text is chopped up into little pieces and there are all these different fields and windows, I need to be able to see all the text surrounding the phrase I am translating and be able to zoom around the document at will. I am not translating instruction manuals, with repetitive short set phrases.

Is your suggestion that I use Across to make a TM by aligning previous translations I have done and then upload that to Google?

Thanks,
nms



[Edited at 2010-11-21 17:14 GMT]


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Hermann Bruns  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:13
English to German
Try MetaTexis Nov 21, 2010

Hello NMS,

MetaTexis would also be a good choice. It runs in Microsoft Word, is easy to use, and affordable.

You can download a trial version at www.metatexis.com.

Best regards
Hermann


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Antoní­n Otáhal
Local time: 04:13
Member (2005)
English to Czech
+ ...
A nice sampler of CAT tools :-) Nov 21, 2010

I am not going to recommend any particular one.

The main question is: Why a CAT tool?

At about 40 thousand words a year, you can nicely survive without a CAT tool, so why do you feel the urge to use it? I am not saying using one would not help you, but what goal do you want to achieve? If your texts are similar to each other, bulding up a large TM you might be able to increase your output, but do you really need (or want) to increase it? Or is your goal to improve the quality of your translations at the current output rate? Do you take it as a business investment or a toy to play with or do you just have a feeling that as a translator you should be able to say you are using a CAT tool?

Everything comes with a price tag, whether in money or in your time and effort. Are you ready to pay it and what do you want to buy?

Antonin


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Chiara Cherubini  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2010)
German to Italian
+ ...
Clarify Nov 21, 2010

Hi again nms,

sorry, but when I wrote my post, your second and third posts hadn't appeared yet (I think it has to do with the fact that your are not a full-member) and I didn't know you are looking for something to integrate with Google.. I thought you wanted to substitute the system you are using and maybe you could have given Across a try, since it is free and I find it pretty easy to learn to work with. I am not familiar with the Google system, so I have to admit that I have no idea if Across can be integrated with it, so I can't really help you, sorry.

By the way I find working with Across pretty straight-forward and you do see the part of text before and after the segment you are translating.. And having it "chopped" can also be very practical, especially during editing and proofreading (e.g. to check you have translated everything).

Regards

Chiara


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nms
Local time: 03:13
TOPIC STARTER
Do you pre-translate Nov 21, 2010

Hi Chiara,

Thanks for that. In Across is there a machine pre-translation function? I don't know what type of material you translate. Or do you translate from scratch with the program throwing up suggestions as you go along.

Regrads,
nms


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nms
Local time: 03:13
TOPIC STARTER
My conclusion is more and more that I don't want anything to with an all encompassing CAT tool. Nov 21, 2010

Hey Antonín,

Thanks for stepping back and firing some questions off. I really do appreciate people posting here for my benefit but a list of favourite CAT tools and no answers to my questions is proving frustrating.

Call me a proud lazy person. To answer one of your questions directly: I want to improve the quality of my translations at the current output rate.

I find that the same terminology and turns of phrase come up again and again and I struggle to be consistent in how I translate them. Getting translation right is deeply important to me as I am always very critical of others' efforts.

Compliment that pride in my work with an at least equal quotient of laziness, or, refusal to do things the hard way. I am not so much looking to increase the amount of work I do (that may come later once I have answers to the questions we are tackling here) but for the easiest and quickest way to do what I have.

I have long been impressed with Google's output and things only seemed to improve when they upgraded their offering from the single webpage with its copy & paste field to the Translator Toolkit which allowed uploading-downloading documents and retained formatting so well. However, I miss the "Contribute a better translation" option of the old site, which at least in theory made me feel like over time Google's translation output for my docs would get better and better.

Now I've become curious about the TM and Glossary options in Google, which would seem to offer the possibility of improving consistency and reducing the post-automatic translation time I have to spend. I have a body of previously translated texts which I have produced for my client and I would like to know what is the best way to create a single TM based on all of them, which I could upload (and keep updating) to Google.

I also want to know, is the approach I am taking of using Google and Word what most people do (I guess it depends on the type of material being translated) or are there other much cleverer approaches/tools?

Last of all, how do I build a glossary?

Any insights and tips are much appreciated.

Thanks,
nms


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nms
Local time: 03:13
TOPIC STARTER
Loved your post - I am running my fingers over the whip marks on my back as I type this. Nov 21, 2010

Paula Rennie wrote:

What ever happened to using your brain? Read. Research. Translate. Research. Revise. Research. Proofread.
As far as I can tell, Trados offers few productivity gains, given the amount of time people seem to spend fixing the problems it apparently creates.
I have been translating 4,000 words a day consistently, for years, using my best tool. The one between my ears.


[Edited at 2010-11-21 13:50 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-11-21 13:50 GMT]


If I wasn't so lazy, I would do it your way but I can't for the life of me see the point in expending the effort when Google (OK, I love gadgets, I find machine translation of itself fascinating) does 40% (not a scientifically established figure) of the work for me. My French isn't perfect either and I have no love for the language, half the time I think they are trying to get away with saying nothing concrete at all. Listen, I'm the guy who at university read all the texts in translation, it was just so much easier!

By the way, when you aren't doing all that Read. Research. Translate. Research. Revise. Research. Proofread. stuff, have you ever popped a text into Google? I have a friend who takes your approach but she thought the Google option was an interesting compliment, for those times she got stuck on certain turns of phrase etc.

Thanks for your input, by the way.


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