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Which CAT tool is the best?
Thread poster: CHRISTINA KYPRIANOU
CHRISTINA KYPRIANOU  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
English to Greek
+ ...
Sep 24, 2012

Hello everyone,

I'm a new freelance translator and I would really like to buy a CAT Tool for my job. But I've seen so many on Proz website that I can't decide. My big problem is that I've no idea what they offer and which is the best for me.

sO my question is:

Memo Q or SDL Trados?

Terminotix or TO 3000?

Do they provide the same thing or are the last two most administrative tools?

Does any of them provide for example, a term list?
I mean manually create a list with new terms into all my language pairs?


Well it would be very helpful if someone could give me an answer and help me choose a program.

Thank u in advance.


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jmadsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:58
Noone can answer that question... Sep 24, 2012

It's like asking a bunch of drivers which car is the best. This question has led to many discussions here and elsewhere. Rather ask which tool other translators would recommend. The choice depends upon many factors: price level, file format, client requirements etc. Good luck

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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
Finnish to French
Start with a freebie Sep 24, 2012

CHRISTINA KYPRIANOU wrote:
I'm a new freelance translator and I would really like to buy a CAT Tool for my job. But I've seen so many on Proz website that I can't decide. My big problem is that I've no idea what they offer and which is the best for me.

Here is my advice: start with Wordfast Anywhere (www.freetm.com), because 1) it's free, 2) there's nothing to install (it works in a browser), 3) it will work with no time restriction. It may not have all the bells and whistles that other tools have, but it's easy to use and it will get you acquainted with the basics of CAT tools such as segmentation, translation memory, terminology etc.

You can find a short introduction video here:

http://youtu.be/66qZTGmtCQ8

Disclaimer: it was recorded by me, in fact it's the very first video I published on YouTube (since then, I've published more than 50 videos).

Once you're familiar with Wordfast Anywhere and the basic concepts of CAT tools, give other tools a try. Most of them have a 30-day trial period during which they are fully functional. Given that you seem to know nothing about CAT tools right now, you probably wouldn't be able to use the trial period of such tools to their full potential at this point of time, hence my suggestion.

Whatever you translate with Wordfast Anywhere and other tools during their trial period won't be lost: you can transfer your translation memories from one tool to the other using the TMX standard.


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Inge Luus  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 04:58
German to English
+ ...
Start with something simple Sep 24, 2012

I started with Wordfast Classic - it was free to begin with and easy to learn. A few months later, I bought Wordfast Classic. Six years later I thought it would be time to buy Trados 2011 - after all "everyone" has it and "everyone" (agencies) asks for it. Compared to Wordfast, it is complicated to use. I expect it will take me quite some time to learn it, as work has to take precedence. One thing I will say for Trados though, its matches are quicker and possibly more reliable than Wordfast. In short, I still prefer Wordfast Classic but will use Trados 2011 if needed.

I also bought Trados 2007 and used it a couple of times, but it's performance has slowed down a lot and I believe that it works better with Word 2003 than with my Word 2007, so I still prefer Wordfast.


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Alan Halls
Germany
Local time: 03:58
German to English
Personal use or as an agency or part of a team? Sep 24, 2012

Hi Christina
When these CAT tools came on the market (late 1990's) I tried them out to see what was best for myself. A key issue for me was how to manage dictionaries WITHIN the translation environment because correct terminology was so crucial to my work. I soon found that every program has its pros and cons and I summarised the main features for myself, a bit like this:

1. You can translate with all of them.
2. You can't do serious terminology work with most of them unless you want to spend HOURS trying to fathom out how Trados/Multiterm, for example, manages dictionaries.
3. I wanted a system that allowed me to create dictionaries quickly and easily, enter terms on the fly and add things like an image, definition, synonym etc. EASILY.
4. I also didn't like the way most of these tools restrict you to only using one (at best 2) translation memories. If I'm translating a tender document, it consists of commercial and legal terms and technical sections, so I need at least those two for full access, sometimes more, if I have a specific TM for a customer as well.
5. Most of the projects I get are in Microsoft Office format but many include Word, Excel and PowerPoint in a single job. So I wanted a system that allowed me to include them all in a single project, to provide maximum cross-pollenation from one to the other. After all, they tend to relate to the same subject matter.
6. I also needed to be able to swap the translation direction instantly simply by changing source and target in the settings to send the project to another translator, for example.
7. And I wanted multiple languages within a single project.
8. I also wanted excellent Service if I had a question.
9. Where did this leave me? It meant, in the end, I discounted Trados, Wordfast, Across and nearly everything else, EXCEPT STAR Transit. Any TM system that stores its segments in a database is prone to serious problems at some time. Transit retains the references as documents (in lean text format) so you can, at a later date, when your customer sends you an updated contract, manual etc. do a pretranslation based exactly on the first version you did 6 months ago, or whenever.

If you are intending to farm work out to other freelancers, Transit has an excellent project exchange function which is dead easy. Using that function, you can send out the files to be translated, the relevant reference files and the dictionaries. When the translator returns the finished job, you receive the project and any changes he/she has made to the dictionaries and everything is ready to go.

I don't know where you are based, but in Europe, STAR offer easy payment plans where you pay a monthly "rental" for a full licence till you've paid the full amount.

People always ask me, when I get carried away talking about how brilliant Transit is, whether I have some arrangement with them for commission or something. I haven't. I just think that, for professionals with an eye on quality and accuracy, there is nothing better. There are cheaper programs and ones with a faster learning curve. But I read once in a comparison of CAT tools that, if you like Transit, you'll get addicted. I've now used it since 1999 for every job where it was possible to use a tool. Not for customers, because they almost never ask me to use a CAT tool but just for myself. I have estimated that, since getting up to speed with Transit, I boosted my throughput by about 25% to 30%. At the same time, judicious use of the dictionaries, reference files and quality assurance tools integrated in the system, meant that I also increased the quality of what I was returning to the customer. Transit will import TTX files from Trados and TMX's as well or export TMX's but, to be honest, there is always some loss during these exchanges. Some tags get lost by the sending or the receiving program, simply because they treat them differently.

Anyway, if you get the chance try out as many tools as you can to see which one you feel most comfortable with. I know Transit is available as a trial for a month or so if you contact the company and I'm sure the others do something similar. Interestingly enough, the latest versions of some of the other tools (Trados Studio, Memoq, even Across) seem to have copied Transit's basic interface philosophy.

Have fun!


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Zoltán Ficsor  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 03:58
Member (2010)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Depend on your customers Sep 24, 2012

My favorite CAT tool is Trados 2011, but I bought Wordfast too and I will purchase MemoQ very soon. If you would like satisfy many customers than better to have all of popular softwares. If you have already customers please ask them which software they prefer. If you have not yet customers than better start with some Trados version.

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Hans Lenting  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Member (2006)
German to Dutch
+ ...
15+ years of Transit Sep 25, 2012

Alan Halls wrote:

3. I wanted a system that allowed me to create dictionaries quickly and easily, enter terms on the fly and add things like an image, definition, synonym etc. EASILY.



For me easily adding terms on the fly is the most important feature of a CAT tool. I add synonyms too, I can add notes and definitions, I don't want to add graphics.

I want my CAT tool to take care of leading and trailing characters that are in my segments but that shouldn't be added to my terminology.

I want to be able to make global modifications to all of my terminology in 10 seconds.

I want to have case-sensitive term recognition that really is case-sensitive and doesn't leave out small words.

I don't want a gigantic MS SQL overhead just to store some 700,000 term pairs.

I don't want to be limited to a certain OS by a CAT tool.

I don't want to pay huge for a support contract to hear over and over again that it isn't very likely that the issues I reported will be fixed soon.

I want a CAT tool that can use Google Translate etc.

I want to translate SDL Studio files and TTX files and don't get errors that prevent loading of my translations in Studio or TagEditor.

So that's why I stopped using Transit as my preferred CAT tool. I think that for a beginner there are many low-cost and even free alternatives to Transit.

Hans


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Hans Lenting  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Member (2006)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Why not save everything in plain text files? Sep 26, 2012

Why not save all TMs directly in TMX (plain text with XML tags) and all terminology in tab delimited plain text files too?

Transit forces you to run a TM clean-up procedure regularly – if you don't do this, you get loads of folders with language pairs that just differ in a few segments. I don't believe in that (anymore).

Neither do I believe (anymore) in storing all formatting info in a TMX file. It is enough to store the formatting position as a prop.

This morning I'll start migrating yet another client to my new CAT tool. This involves quite some steps. I'll even have to use Olifant to clean-up Transit's TMX files from the many internal tags, remove the many language pair names inside the TMX etc. Normally this brings the size of the TMX file back to 30 % of its originating size.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Title of my reply Sep 26, 2012

CHRISTINA KYPRIANOU wrote:
I'm a new freelance translator and I would really like to buy a CAT Tool for my job.


Start with something cheap or free, so that you can learn which aspects of CAT are important for you personally. A free tool is OmegaT. A free tool that you can only use while you're on the internet, is Wordfast Anywhere. The evaluation version of Wordfast Classic is free and has no time limitation on it (you just can't use it for very large jobs). Off the top of my head I can't remember any other CAT tools with evaluation versions that allow you to use them indefinitely.

MemoQ or SDL Trados?


These are CAT tools.

Terminotix or TO 3000?


Terminotix is a set of tools for working with languages. TO 3000 is a tool for invoicing and project management. Neither are suitable for beginner translators who are not computer-savvy.

Does any of them provide for example, a term list?
I mean [actually] create a list with new terms into all my language pairs?


Not that I know of -- for most (all?) tools you have to create those lists yourself.


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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
Finnish to French
Terminotix Sep 26, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:
Terminotix is a set of tools for working with languages. TO 3000 is a tool for invoicing and project management. Neither are suitable for beginner translators who are not computer-savvy.

Actually, Terminotix is the name of a (Canadian) company. They do make an integrated program called Logiterm that can be considered as a CAT tool (it also works as an aligner and as a search tool).

And Terminotix just released a free toolbar for Word, which can be used by beginner translators, eg. those who translate in Word with no tool at all. I made a video about that toolbar:

http://wordfast.fi/blog/cat-tools/2012/09/15/new-terminotix-toolbar-for-ms-word-vs-intelliwebsearch/
or
http://youtu.be/bw8e_6HXQbw?hd=1

[Edited at 2012-09-26 06:53 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Dom Sep 26, 2012

Dominique Pivard wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
Terminotix is a set of tools for working with languages. ... Neither are suitable for beginner translators who are not computer-savvy.

Terminotix ... [does] make an integrated program called Logiterm that can be considered as a CAT tool (it also works as an aligner and as a search tool).


Thanks for that correction. Before I posted my answer, I just visited their web site and had a look at the tools in the menu. They all seemed like terminology or alignment tools.

Pity there isn't an evaluation version of it. Do you know of a video somewhere?


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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
Finnish to French
Trial versions of Terminotix software available upon request Sep 26, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:
Thanks for that correction. Before I posted my answer, I just visited their web site and had a look at the tools in the menu. They all seemed like terminology or alignment tools.

Pity there isn't an evaluation version of it. Do you know of a video somewhere?

AFAIK, you can obtain trial versions of Terminotix software, but you have to request them separately by e-mail. Just drop an e-mail to Jean-François Richard [jfrichard(at)terminotix.com].

They also have a YouTube channel with videos in English and French:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Terminotix/videos?view=0

Unfortunately, the videos have no audio. The reason given for that was they wished to make them "corporate compatible". Jean-François Richard did tell me they plan to publish "normal" videos, ie. with audio in them.


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Dirk T. Zhang  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:58
English to Chinese
+ ...
"Translator Group Buying" Aug 22, 2014

I am in the same condition as Christina, a new freelancer. I also need to buy a CAT Tool. And ProZ just happens to have a "Translator Group Buying" campaign. I'd like to know whether the price is for lifetime license or a yearly price? If a computer breaks down, how to transfer the license to a new computer?

I am thinking to buy either "SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance Plus" ($545) or Wordfast ($320). "memoQ translator pro" looks like to be the most popular one. Unfortunately, the list is full.

Thank you.


CHRISTINA KYPRIANOU wrote:

Hello everyone,

I'm a new freelance translator and I would really like to buy a CAT Tool for my job. But I've seen so many on Proz website that I can't decide. My big problem is that I've no idea what they offer and which is the best for me.

sO my question is:

Memo Q or SDL Trados?

Terminotix or TO 3000?

Do they provide the same thing or are the last two most administrative tools?

Does any of them provide for example, a term list?
I mean manually create a list with new terms into all my language pairs?


Well it would be very helpful if someone could give me an answer and help me choose a program.

Thank u in advance.


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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
Finnish to French
Translators' Day on September 30 Aug 23, 2014

Dirkphilly wrote:
I am thinking to buy either "SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance Plus" ($545) or Wordfast ($320). "memoQ translator pro" looks like to be the most popular one. Unfortunately, the list is full.

Don't be too worried about the timing: there will be new promotional offers again, if not through ProZ, maybe directly from the vendors. September 30 is "Translators' Day", and as CAT tool vendors want us to believe they love us, they usually have special offers on that occasion. Get a 45-day trial copy of memoQ now, and by the time the trial is over, you'll probably be able to buy it at a substantial discount. It's a good idea to give tools a try before buying them anyway.


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:58
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Lifetime licenses Aug 23, 2014

Dirk Zhang wrote:

I'd like to know whether the price is for lifetime license or a yearly price?


Studio and memoQ licenses are for lifetime.
Most people purchase updates when new versions come out. They're available at a reduced price if you already own a license.

If you want to keep up with new versions, it's best to pay an annual support/upgrade fee, which is about €130 (similar price for memoQ and Studio).


If a computer breaks down, how to transfer the license to a new computer?


If you have the Studio Plus version, you can run Studio on 2 machines.
Check in "My Account" on the SDL website. You may have another license available anyway, which you can use for computer breakdown-type issues.
If you don't, ask for your license to be reset. It takes about a day.

In the case of memoQ, you can run it on two computers. If you lose a license, contact support for the license to be reset.


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