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Different CAT-tools for different clients?
Thread poster: Silvia D'Amico

Silvia D'Amico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:47
English to Italian
Jul 15, 2012

I don't know if there is a similar topic already discussed (I looked and couldn't find it). I am curious to know whether you use different CAT tools for different clients.

I used a demo version of WordFast for a long time. Then, last December, I decided to invest in Studio 2011 and I love it so far. Recently, I discovered that a new client works with WordFast and I was wondering if it's worthwhile purchasing the same software that the client uses. I could still use Studio, but every time I have to ask for files and TMs in different formats, and that translates into delays and extra time for a project that I could be working on right away.

What do you do if your client uses a different CAT tool than the one you use/prefer?


 

Yael Ramon  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 23:47
German to Hebrew
+ ...
Do not invest in more than two major CAT tools. Jul 15, 2012

Most of the agencies, when demanding the use of a CAT tool, can provide a temporary license for the specific job, or for a specific period. If you do not use a CAT tool on a regular basis that pays off the investment, you should not buy it!!!! in most cases it is a waste of money. If you still wish to own more than one CAT tool, you should look into your clients list and check which one is more commonly demanded.

[Edited at 2012-07-15 17:27 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:47
English to German
+ ...
I use all kinds of CAT tools - as long as the client provides the software Jul 15, 2012

I work with 4 different kinds of CAT tools, but I don't own any of them. Clients who insist on their preferred software have to provide a copy of it. Then I receive an editor version or other "light" version, I receive training and neatly prepared files and everybody is happy.

Here is the reason:
The day I spend a cent on any CAT tool, I will stop giving discounts for repetitions because it is MY investment, and my clients know that and are fine with the logic of my approach.
I own the highly expensive licenses for Indesign, QuarkXPress, Photoshop, Illustrator, Oxygen XML Editor, PDF Converter Professional and what-not. I can work on all kinds of formats and I am not dependent on any CAT tool to open "exotic" files.


 

Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:47
English to Polish
+ ...
Good question, Silvia Jul 15, 2012

I am in a similar spot - I own the most popular tool, but not the second popular one and I cannot accept all projects from one of my clients. I haven't bought this second tool yet, because I still do not know all features of the first one I already have. But if I get more and more work from the said client, I think I will make this investment as it will easily pay itself off. Only that it will be yet another tool to master which I do not really have the time for now.

I think you should consider how much work this client sends you and when your investment in this tool would pay off. If after a few jobs, then I think you should go for it.

Another asset to put in your profile or CV.

Maja


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:47
Russian to English
+ ...
I agree with Nicole Jul 15, 2012

All CAT tools should be provided by agencies. A freelance translator cannot possible have all the tools, especially different versions. If they require CAT tools, they should provide them. I had a look at this Fluency new program, and it looks really nice. I don't know how much it costs, but it looks really nice, and also you can download a trial version. The support people sound also very nice.

 

MikeTrans
Germany
Local time: 22:47
Italian to German
+ ...
It depends on the exact delivery files Jul 15, 2012

Hi Silvia,

this is a good question and it depends on what your clients exactly want in terms of translated files to be returned. For example, for the delivery of MS-Office files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) there is no need to own different CAT tools if your specific tool can handle such files.
If it looks like that a client may give you a lot of projects to translate and wants the delivery in the legacy file format of a specific tool (for example an agency wants ttx files to be delivered), then it's worth to buy the tool to assure 100% compatibility on delivery.
Personally, I own 5 different CAT tools that I may use at some point to pretranslate documents that I have processed in other tools or doing operations with the documents that other tools cannot do.

Greets,
Mike

[Edited at 2012-07-15 20:00 GMT]


 

Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:47
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
It depends on the needs of your clients Jul 15, 2012

Agree with Mike - it depends on your clients. I own 4 CAT tools and thus I can handle and deliver virtually any format. In case the client does not specify the format, I use my favorite tool.



LilianBoland wrote:
I had a look at this Fluency new program, and it looks really nice. I don't know how much it costs, but it looks really nice, and also you can download a trial version.


I don't think you can make recommendations about a program just because "it looks nice". What about trial versions: all CAT tools may be tried before you buy. Moreover, there are also free CAT tools.


 

Silvia D'Amico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:47
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Great input Jul 15, 2012

Thank you all for your interesting answers. It is useful to know what colleagues think and what the standard practices in the industry are.

My client hasn't asked nor demanded that I use a particular CAT tool and was very kind and accommodating when I asked for different file and TM formats. I was just imagining how much easier it would be if we worked with the same program.

In an ideal world, it would be great if the client provided both software and training but that doesn't happen very often, does it? In my career (5 years) I only saw that happen with one client.


 

Enrico C - ECLC  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 04:47
Member (2011)
English to Italian
+ ...
Multiple CATs, when to buy Jul 16, 2012

Silvia83 wrote:

I don't know if there is a similar topic already discussed (I looked and couldn't find it). I am curious to know whether you use different CAT tools for different clients.

I used a demo version of WordFast for a long time. Then, last December, I decided to invest in Studio 2011 and I love it so far. Recently, I discovered that a new client works with WordFast and I was wondering if it's worthwhile purchasing the same software that the client uses. I could still use Studio, but every time I have to ask for files and TMs in different formats, and that translates into delays and extra time for a project that I could be working on right away.

What do you do if your client uses a different CAT tool than the one you use/prefer?


I'd buy them only if a given job from a given customer cover AT LEAST the cost of the CAT required, or when the CAT i have doesn't allow for the task i need despite being the one specified.
I recently had files that couldn't open with any SDL/Trados CAT despite the customer sending it as a Trados job so i had to use MemoQ (Trial version). I am now considering buying MemoQ because it better suits other tasks too. The main principle is that a CAT should be bought only if it actually repays its cost within a reasonable amount of time. Lacking that specific requirement, it's useless to have so many CAT platforms that are under exploited (And need to be maintained and updated with extra running costs).


 
too many Jul 16, 2012

Just like any other product, also CAT producers would like to have loyal customers: they use their own format, and limit exchangeability to a minimum for example, you cannot use remote TM of another CAT tool).

In my experience, you cannot use one CAT, only, unless you are so lucky to have found a reliable base of client that requires all the same CAT tool.

But owning all of the license is way too expensive, and there are so many variant of licenses that it's too much a waste of time to try to understand them all (e.g. one is unlimited on the given version, another is unlimited for a certain period of time, regardless of the number of install, but then you'd have to pay a new license, another one has a 'freelance edition' but has limited TU and a yearly subscription, etc).


 

SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:47
English
The SDL OpenExchange Jul 16, 2012

Paola Slajmer wrote:

Just like any other product, also CAT producers would like to have loyal customers: they use their own format, and limit exchangeability to a minimum for example, you cannot use remote TM of another CAT tool).



Hi Paola,

Generally the inability to negotiate the connectivity to other systems is the problem here, and not the format. Most tools can use TMX so exchangeability is less of problem in this regard (although this also has its problems). We have introduced the SDL OpenExchange to try and help resolve this problem for Studio users at least. So it is possible to create a plugin using the SDK that will connect to any system, and we make the SDK freely available to anyone with a license.

Studio can already connect to TMS and WorldServer, that are not native Studio, although they are owned by SDL now. We should also have extended this plugin to connect to 2007 Server rather than just 2007 Filebased TMs very soon:

http://www.translationzone.com/en/openexchange/AppDetails.aspx?appid=261

We then also provide access to the TAUS Translation memories database which are based on TAUS members uploading and sharing their TMs from any system:

http://www.translationzone.com/en/openexchange/AppDetails.aspx?appid=274

We have MyMemory that is a cross between TM and TM providers:

http://www.translationzone.com/en/openexchange/AppDetails.aspx?appid=160

We also have the Nmeme converter which is for allowing Studio users to access this Oracle based TM format provided by Logos:

http://www.translationzone.com/en/openexchange/AppDetails.aspx?appid=69

Certainly any provider of a TM system can use the OpenExchange to create a plugin for Studio users if they wish.

We also have plugins for eleven different MT providers and the list is growing... and these are not ours... so again a good example of how we are not limiting these things to our own providers alone, and we do have a few.

http://goo.gl/E6wZe

I think expecting all the different CAT vendors to provide this level of interoperability is unrealistic, but providing the OpenExchange as a means to allow anyone who wants to do this for themselves, or for others, is excellent and goes a long way to meeting the needs of many users through a single tool... at least that would be my opinionicon_wink.gif

Regards

Paul


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:47
Finnish to French
MT implementation in various CAT tools Jul 16, 2012

SDL Support wrote:
We also have plugins for eleven different MT providers and the list is growing... and these are not ours... so again a good example of how we are not limiting these things to our own providers alone, and we do have a few.

http://goo.gl/E6wZe

Thanks, Paul, for this very useful post!

It's interesting to see what different ways were chosen by various CAT tool vendors to implement MT. The SDL way is smart, as you can let either MT vendors (Systran, iTranslate4.eu) or users (Microsoft Translator) do the work for you. I personally prefer the SDL & Wordfast approach, which allows translators to see several alternative translations for each segment, as opposed to the one chosen by Kilgray & Atril, where you can only see translations from one source (even though you can select it from several possible vendors).

PS: is there a particular reason why you have both an official blog on SDL's site and a personal one on your own site? Are you denied free speech on the corporate blog icon_wink.gif


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:47
English to Portuguese
+ ...
This discussion makes me wonder what we - translators - are up to... Jul 16, 2012

There were times in the past when clients sought translators for their language pairs, qualifications, specialty areas, experience, reliability, quality, etc. Later the search included the ability to handle some specialized material, such as DTP, PDF, PPT, video, audio, etc.

Nowadays I see a growing demand for one or another CAT tool alone. Outsoucers make it explicit that they couldn't care less about anything else but their translation service providers having a specific version of a certain CAT tool. Their message conveys the clear notion that they'll prefer any numbskull wannabe who bought that very CAT tool yesterday to a seasoned linguist who uses some other software to improve their productivity.

And then all translators, including the new owners of some popular CAT tool, complain all the time about declining rates. To some noticeable extent, CAT tool developers' marketing has been successful in shifting the focus from a translator's professional competence to one's assets, in terms of the CAT tools they have purchased. Projecting this trend mathematically, the ultimate 'best' translator would be a diehard monoglot who owns a dozen CAT tools!


 

Silvia D'Amico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:47
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
I think all professions evolve Jul 16, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

There were times in the past when clients sought translators for their language pairs, qualifications, specialty areas, experience, reliability, quality, etc. Later the search included the ability to handle some specialized material, such as DTP, PDF, PPT, video, audio, etc.

Nowadays I see a growing demand for one or another CAT tool alone. Outsoucers make it explicit that they couldn't care less about anything else but their translation service providers having a specific version of a certain CAT tool. Their message conveys the clear notion that they'll prefer any numbskull wannabe who bought that very CAT tool yesterday to a seasoned linguist who uses some other software to improve their productivity.

And then all translators, including the new owners of some popular CAT tool, complain all the time about declining rates. To some noticeable extent, CAT tool developers' marketing has been successful in shifting the focus from a translator's professional competence to one's assets, in terms of the CAT tools they have purchased. Projecting this trend mathematically, the ultimate 'best' translator would be a diehard monoglot who owns a dozen CAT tools!


Hi José,

I agree that the search for a good translator shouldn't be limited to the CAT tool they use. The translation industry has evolved and is evolving based on technological progress that can be used to our advantage. I cannot tell you the amount of time I save using features like autopropagation, concordance search, autosuggest, on Studio 2011. I still use my brain and language skills but the work is faster and more consistent.

As I said before, no-one is "forcing" me to buy another CAT tool. I was just wondering if it's useful, since like Enrico said, it will be paid off many times with one of the projects I work on.

icon_smile.gif


 

Bernard Lieber  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:47
English to French
+ ...
Another Reason for Using More Than One CAT tool Jul 16, 2012

Hi,

Not all CAT tools are equally efficient when handling various files formats, for instance if you have a complex Excel file with Data Validation fields, etc., Studio imports the whole lot when exporting the file you're done, with others you have to fix these fields manually - rather tedious.

Another example, I recently translated a 400 page manual (FrameMaker 10), the only CAT tools that handles fm files directly is Alchemy Publisher 3.0, no need to convert to convert to mif and you can edit graphics on the fly

With Fluency 2011 Pro, MS-Word files are handled WYSIWYG (layout and graphics), no need for a Preview Pane.

Bernard


 
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