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How to choose a CAT programme
Thread poster: Mark Hamlen

Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:40
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Nov 22, 2010

Maybe there's already a discussion of this somewhere. If so, please point me there. I haven't found it.

I'm starting to get tired of having to answer NO when agencies ask me if I use a CAT tool. I think I'm really fast and accurate already, but they seem insistent.

I'm at a loss how to choose. Trados is the one always referred to by name. I have a demo of MemoQ on the computer, but I'm too busy to learn it just now. Maybe I'll use it for a new job I just got.

I wonder if choosing a non-Trados programme will put me at a disadvantage with the clients.

I also wonder how I can manage my work, because I work in two different places and I refuse to buy two copies of the programmes! Can the programmes allow me to work in naked Word at my second site and then shift back into the programme when I come back home?

I'm sure I have lots of other general questions. I don't like the cost of these programmes and I don't really know that it would speed things up. I suppose it does though.

Any advice or experience is welcome. Thanks


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:40
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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CAT Nov 22, 2010

Lots of material on the various CAT tools is available at

http://www.translatorstraining.com/sito/

I have no financial interest in this company, but do recommend it.


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Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:40
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wow, thanks Nov 22, 2010

I guess this is an over discussed topic. I've read all these threads but I don't see any answer to whether choosing one or another puts you at a disadvantage with clients.

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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:40
French to German
+ ...
What my (agency) clients want... Nov 22, 2010

Mark Hamlen wrote:

I guess this is an over discussed topic. I've read all these threads but I don't see any answer to whether choosing one or another puts you at a disadvantage with clients.


What my (agency) clients want and what they emphasize:

- reliability in terms of deadlines;
- error-free translations;
- some flexibility.

Whether any kind of TEnT will bring translators "more" as per these points is, IMHO, still subject to discussion.

May I add that the agencies in question will ***not*** ask for so-called repetition discounts, while the "CAT agencies" always will (always meaning even for texts > 1,000 words and without any TM available).

[Modifié le 2010-11-23 08:03 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:40
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Second answer Nov 23, 2010

Mark Hamlen wrote:
I'm starting to get tired of having to answer NO when agencies ask me if I use a CAT tool. I think I'm really fast and accurate already, but they seem insistent.


Very few clients have ever asked me if I use "a" CAT tool. Usually they ask me if I use "the" CAT tool that they want me to use. I suppose there are clients who only care about the discounts and who don't care which CAT tool you use... but the fact is that apart from discounts aspect of CAT tools, CAT tools can also benefit clients by making the workflow of the entire translation process more standardised, and that usually means using a very specific CAT tool.

I'm at a loss how to choose. Trados is the one always referred to by name. I have a demo of MemoQ on the computer, but I'm too busy to learn it just now. Maybe I'll use it for a new job I just got.


I think it might be an idea to make a list of CAT tools that clients typically ask for and a list of CAT tools that translators recommend but that clients don't typically ask for. Trados, WFP, Across, Idiom, Transit, Logoport etc would be on that first list. MemoQ, OmegaT, Swordfish, WFC etc would be on the second list. You can also make a third list, of CAT tools that clients typically ask for and that translators typically recommend. I think Trados and Across would be on that list (if I think back over the discussions I've read in the past few weeks/months).

I wonder if choosing a non-Trados programme will put me at a disadvantage with the clients.


It would put you in the same position as before with clients who want you to use Across, Transit, Idiom, WFP, Logoport etc.

I also wonder how I can manage my work, because I work in two different places and I refuse to buy two copies of the programmes! Can the programmes allow me to work in naked Word at my second site and then shift back into the programme when I come back home?


Some programs allow a second installation, but some don't. I think Trados and Swordfish are two programs that specifically don't allow a second installation (I'm not sure), and there may be others.

Your "naked Word" option sounds like you want to align the bit of translation you've done elsewhere so that you can continue in your main location. Aligning takes time (even automatic ones built into some CAT tools), so you might get frustrated fast by having to repeat the alignment procedure every time you get back to the main office.

If you really want to have a one-installation-only CAT tool in your main office, you can always use a free program (I'm thinking OmegaT) in your second location, and when you get back to the first location, simply import the export-TMX from that program into your main program. You can also export a TMX file from your main TM and use it as a refererence TM in your secondary CAT tool, so that you get the benefit of it. You'd still have to recheck segments from the imported TM to ensure that they fit correctly, but you'll save time.

Ask yourself if you would be happy to use two different CAT tools, though... it could affect both your productivity and your frustration threshold.

I don't like the cost of these programmes and I don't really know that it would speed things up. I suppose it does though.


Whether it would speed things up depend on the complexity of the files you have to translate, and on how complex the program is that you're using. The advice given on this point is usually to use a free or demo version for a long time, to see if you really get the benefit. Then, later, when you're getting lots of money, buy more programs (I myself own both WFP/WFC and Trados 2007/2009, for example, which really broadens my offering).


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Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:40
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Nov 23, 2010

I really appreciate the time and thought put into these responses. Especially from Samuel. Thank you very much. You've given me a lot to think about and I'm starting to get the idea of what this is about.

I can't imagine why anyone would agree to discounts for matched terms though. All the CAT does is save some typing. The translator still has to make a lot of decisions about the term. Would I give a discount because I have a large vocabulary in my head and don't have to look up very many words? It seems to be the same principle.

I'm going to follow your advice and try a programme for a couple months and see if I like it. Probably Metatexis because it looks like Word and is the cheapest to buy.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:40
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Discounts Nov 23, 2010

Mark Hamlen wrote:
I can't imagine why anyone would agree to discounts for matched terms though. All the CAT does is save some typing. The translator still has to make a lot of decisions about the term.


The discounts usually apply to matched sentences, not to matched terms. If the entire sentence is the same as or very similar to a sentence that your or some trusted colleague had translated previously, then theoretically it takes much less time deciding whether to re-use it.


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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:40
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
My two cents Nov 23, 2010

Mark Hamlen wrote:

Trados is the one always referred to by name.


That's the only one I've ever seen asked for specifically, although some clients have asked me to use their online system, like Logoport, which they provided for that particular job.



I wonder if choosing a non-Trados programme will put me at a disadvantage with the clients.


Yes, for clients that insist on Trados. But most don't. It depends on your business, I guess.



I also wonder how I can manage my work, because I work in two different places and I refuse to buy two copies of the programmes!



I use OmegaT, which is free and is constantly being upgraded by volunteer developers. I think it's fantastic, although there are things that it can't do, compared to the expensive tools. I don't think they're important, personally.

I have OmegaT on three "machines"--one is my main work station, which uses Linux. Second is Windows on a Virtual Box, on the same computer. Third is Windows in my other office. They are freely interchangeable, and I use Dropbox to move things from one to another. There is also now a "portable" version of OmegaT, which you can access anywhere (Internet cafe, etc.), but I have not had any reason to try it out.

I have tried other programs (Across, MemoQ, Wordfast), but I always come back to OmegaT. I can't think of any reason that a person starting out would not try it first, since it's free and it's much simpler to use than some of the heavyweights.


I don't like the cost of these programmes and I don't really know that it would speed things up.


As to whether it's worth using a CAT: The TM function, which is the core of CATs, is almost useless to me, since I do almost no repetitive material. I do use the OmegaT "Find" function to look up how I translated a word or phrase in a previous document (which means in a TM), but these legacy translations do not "pop up" automatically, because the sentence is nothing close to a match--I'm only looking for a word or phrase. But I use CATs because of the "find" function; the glossary function; the fact that the segments display together (source on top, target below; or side by side), making it very difficult to drop copy by mistake; the fact that there is a dictionary within the CAT (although my experience with StarDict, which OmegaT uses, is not very positive); and the fact that you can access Google Translate within OmegaT, if you wish. All these things add up to a significant time saving, for me.

Good luck,
Susan


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Michal Glowacki  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:40
Member (2010)
English to Polish
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memoQ Nov 23, 2010

Just a small note on memoQ, apart from all other benefits, it allows for 2 installations on 2 different machines with a single licence. I think it's worth noting that.

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Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 07:40
English to French
How to justify the non use of Trados to clients? Nov 29, 2010

Hello,

I have a related question. If a client asks a translator to use Trados, but this translator does not have Trados but let's say MetaTexis or Wordfast, how would the translator have to argue to "sell" his services and still be kept by the agency as the main translator?

Are clients/translation agencies that require Trados use really rigid to the point of systematically discarding any translator who does not use Trados?
How to negotiate?

Saying that Wordfast and MetaTexis offer some compatibility with Trados file system does not mean that the client will get the desired output, especially if the output format is very Trados specific... Trados is such a complex tool that even veteran translators have a hard time mastering it sometimes.


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:40
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
As I have already mentioned Nov 29, 2010

I have been using Metatexis since a few years (6 or probably 8, I don't remember exactly), and haven't received a single complaint from my clients re file incompatibility or anything else.

If the clients asked me about my CAT tool I told them that I had Metatexis; if they did not ask me, I didn't tell them, and they received Trados files if they wished so.

Now I own Trados, Metatexis and Wordfast, but all the same I prefer working with Metatexis, if possible. I suggest downloading Metatexis Light: just try the tool, and you'll see if it is good for you.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:40
French to German
+ ...
Justifying oneself towards agencies? Nov 30, 2010

@ Alexandre:
My reasons (and I emphasize upon the fact that it is strictly personal) for not using Trados anymore - and anymore is important too, it means I used it enough to know about it - are twicefold:

a) from the commercial point of view, I noticed that I ended up selling discounts most of the time.

b) from the technical point of view, there were way too much glitches and problems which, when mentioned to the agencies, were always discarded as a problem on (YOUR) computer.

Now, what would interest me is to know why such decisions should be justified towards agencies?

Let's face it: in many cases, the mandatory use of any kind of software is yet just another filter to reject offers - the lowest one.

[Modifié le 2010-11-30 07:41 GMT]


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Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:40
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting Nov 30, 2010

I've been using MetaTexis for 10 days now and I've learned a few things.

1. I'm on a job with a lot of pre-defined terms for translation and this is helping me (less things to remember).

2. I'm finding a lot of mistakes when I proof read that I never made before (singular instead of plural, verbs that don't agree, other grammatical mistakes).

3. The agencies that INSIST on a certain CAT tool do indeed seem to be the least attractive agencies. A serious agency is only interested in the final product, not how we get there.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:40
French to German
+ ...
My experience exactly Nov 30, 2010

Mark Hamlen wrote:

3. The agencies that INSIST on a certain CAT tool do indeed seem to be the least attractive agencies. A serious agency is only interested in the final product, not how we get there.

Good clients (= clients you want to keep and who want to keep you) are result-driven. As an old Zen saying goes "Does the colour of the bark matter when it helps you reaching the other side of the river?"


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