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Where to start for a CAT tool ?
Thread poster: Zeki Guler

Zeki Guler  Identity Verified
Ireland
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English to Turkish
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Dec 21, 2012

Hi guys,

I have never used a CAT tool, but i want to.

But there seems to be a lot of CAT tool options, which confuses me.

Where should i start ? and which tools should i choose in the first place ?

and what is to most practical way to learn about them ?

Thanks



[Edited at 2012-12-21 12:35 GMT]


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
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... Dec 21, 2012

Try any free/open-source/GLP CAT-tool to get the idea of the process. E.g. Omega-T or any other. Translation Memory formats are convertible and compatible (for future use in the Cat of your final and paid choice).

[Редактировалось 2012-12-21 12:41 GMT]


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Hermann Bruns  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:27
English to German
Try MetaTexis Dec 21, 2012

Hello Zeki,

MetaTexis for Word is an easy-to-use and affordable CAT tool. You can download a trial version anytime at www.metatexis.com/download.php. The trial version is fully functional.

Best regards
Hermann


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Silvia D'Amico  Identity Verified
United States
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English to Italian
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I started with free CATs Dec 21, 2012

Hello Zeki,

When I decided to get started with CAT tools, I downloaded the free demos of Wordfast Pro and Classic and also Metatexis. A few years later, I purchased SDL Trados Studio 2011 through a Group Buy on Proz and so far it's my favourite tool! I also use Wordfast Anywhere on a regular basis when working with a company that uses WF as their preferred tool.

Hope this helps!

Silvia


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Get to know what CAT is all about Dec 21, 2012

Zeki Bey wrote:
But there seems to be a lot of CAT tool options, which confuses me.


First you need to know what CAT tools do. A quick way to learn, is to watch some of the "Series 1" videos here:

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


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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@Zeki: Dec 21, 2012

Have a look here first: http://www.proz.com/software-comparison-tool/cat/cat_tools/2

I would suggest reading a few reviews and then downloading a number of free demos.

There are basically two main types of CAT tools:

1. CAT tools where you work inside of Microsoft Word (Wordfast Classic, MetaTexis, the old Trados Workbench, etc.), or
2. CAT tools with a 2-column layout (memoQ, SDL Trados Studio, Déjà Vu, etc.)


My personal suggestion would be to try the memoQ 30-day fully functional demo: http://kilgray.com/downloads

I would also recommend that you perhaps not start by trying only open source software, as this might put you off. Open course software requires you to be sufficiently technically-minded in order to get the most out of it, whereas paid software is usually a little more user-friendly.

Michael


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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Two types of CAT tools Dec 21, 2012

Michael Beijer wrote:
There are basically two main types of CAT tools:
1. CAT tools where you work inside of Microsoft Word (Wordfast Classic, MetaTexis, the old Trados Workbench, etc.), or
2. CAT tools with a 2-column layout (memoQ, SDL Trados Studio, Déjà Vu, etc.)


OmegaT and TagEditor would be of type #2 except that they don't have a 2-column layout.

Or, there are basically three types of CAT tools:
1. Those that extract/import the translatable text to/from an intermediary format (memoQ, TagEditor, Trados 2009/11, Wordfast Pro, etc).
2. Those that convert the source text file itself to an intermediary format, and back (Wordfast Classic, Metatexis, Anaphraseus, Cats Cradle, etc).
3. Those that translate the source text file directly, with no intermediary format (OmegaT, and various one-file-format tools or tools with limited use).


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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@Michael... Dec 21, 2012

Michael Beijer wrote:
Open course software requires you to be sufficiently technically-minded in order to get the most out of it, whereas paid software is usually a little more user-friendly.


Which tools are you talking about, Michael?

Admittedly there aren't many opensource CAT tools out there, but ones e.g. OmegaT are not IMO any more difficult to learn or use as e.g. MemoQ or Trados 2009/11.


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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@Samuel: Dec 21, 2012

I am basically only really talking about OmegaT.

Can OmegaT reliably and easily translate extremely large PPTX and/or .docx files with very complex formatting (tons of images, footnotes and end notes, html inside of tables, etc.? I am not talking about the interface alone, I am talking about the amount of actual time a person will have to spend per day tinkering with file formats, formatting file prepping/conversions in order to get the job done.

Michael


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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English to Afrikaans
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@Michael Dec 21, 2012

Michael Beijer wrote:
Can OmegaT reliably and easily translate extremely large PPTX and/or .docx files with very complex formatting (tons of images, footnotes and end notes, html inside of tables, etc.?


From your previous post I assumed that you were talking mostly about understanding how the program works and being able to use its features, and not about user-friendliness or capabilities.

I rarely translate complex PowerPoint or Word files, and I haven't tried doing so using e.g. MemoQ or Trados 2009/11, but from my experience with Wordfast Classic, Wordfast Pro, Trados 2007, and OmegaT, on such documents, I don't think an OmegaT user would require *more* post-processing than users of the other tools.

I know of no CAT tool that will resize text boxes in a PowerPoint file, for example, to ensure that the translation will still fit even if it is much longer than the source text. So that step is a manual step for the translator using any of the CAT tools. Similar things apply to complex layouts in Word files. Some things just have to be done manually (but perhaps I'm wrong -- perhaps you have had to deal with complex files that you tried in OmegaT and could not get to work).

I am not talking about the interface alone, I am talking about the amount of actual time a person will have to spend per day tinkering with file formats, formatting file prepping/conversions in order to get the job done.


Well, OmegaT will read the PPTX and DOCX file without the need for further conversions. Do you have a test PPTX and DOCX file for me to check out in OmegaT?

== Added:

Different CAT tools require different processing. Here's an example involving Wordfast Classic, OmegaT, and Trados 2009. If I have a simple MS Word file in which some paragraphs marked as US English and some paragraphs are marked as UK English, and I want to translate some of those paragraphs into e.g. Dutch, but I want the language setting of non-translated paragraphs to remain what they are, then:

* With Wordfast Classic, I can do so without any pre- or post-processing.
* With OmegaT, the translated paragraphs will be marked as their original language (US or UK English, whatever the case may be). So, with OmegaT, I would have to post-process the MS Word file to fix that.
* With Trados 2009, all of the translated document's paragraphs will be marked as Dutch (including those that I did not touch). So, with Trados 2009, I would have to pre-process the MS Word file, before translating it in Trados, to fix that problem.


[Edited at 2012-12-21 16:34 GMT]


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 04:27
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English to Turkish
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trial versions Dec 21, 2012

Hi Zeki,

You can test almost all CAT tools free for 30 days. Download and test some of them before making an investment.

Selcuk


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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German to English
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CAT tools Dec 21, 2012

Both the question and all the replies so far are written as though CAT were a synonym of TM, which it is not.

CAT = Computer-Assisted Translation
TM = Translation Memory

Therefore CAT tools include all of the following
  • Electronic dictionaries: on-line and on the translator's own computer. The on-line ones that I most ofen use are dict.cc, linguee.com and Reverso (for French, German and English);
  • MT (Machine Translation) which can also be on-line and on the translator's own computer;
  • Search engines such as Google. They very definitely are computer-based and they can be used to provide enormous assistance in the translation process - therefore they are CAT tools;
  • TM systems, such as Wordfast, Trados, OmegaT and the others that have been mentioned here.
Oliver

[Edited at 2012-12-21 17:38 GMT]


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
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Not quite correct Dec 22, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

2. Those that convert the source text file itself to an intermediary format, and back (Wordfast Classic, Metatexis, Anaphraseus, Cats Cradle, etc).


This not quite incorrect at least for WFC and Anaphraseus. They don’t convert the source text to any format because they don’t know anything about formats. They merely process what is supplied by their operating environment (MS Word and Apache OpenOffice/LibreOffice respectively).


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
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Yes Dec 22, 2012

Michael Beijer wrote:

Can OmegaT reliably and easily translate extremely large PPTX and/or .docx files with very complex formatting


Yes, OmegaT can do it. But expect a tag forest as a result of complex formatting.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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English to Afrikaans
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Splitting hairs Dec 22, 2012

esperantisto wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
2. Those that convert the source text file itself to an intermediary format, and back (Wordfast Classic, Metatexis, Anaphraseus, Cats Cradle, etc).

This not quite incorrect at least for WFC and Anaphraseus. They don’t convert the source text to any format...


Well, any such classification is bound to be arbitrary, and I think we are close to splitting hairs. What I meant by type #2 is that intermediary file type is the same file type as the original file and the final file.

The original file is DOC or ODT, the intermediary file (which is a bilingual file, i.e. that contains both source text and target text, and which may also contain other information that will not be present in the final file) is DOC or ODT, and the final file is DOC or ODT. The intermediary file makes use of the standard formatting features of the original file type (so the intermediary file is still a valid file in terms of the original file type).

Theoretically, a person who is skilled at Word or OpenOffice but who knows nothing of Wordfast or Anaphraseus can distill the final file from the intermediary file, using only the standard functions available in Word or OpenOffice itself.

Typically, even for a person who is highly skilled at XML, it would not be a simple matter to "convert" a valid TTX file back to the final DOC file. You absolutely need the CAT tool for that. But, if you were to send me an uncleaned Wordfast translation to a computer that does not have Wordfast on it, then I can still generate the final file with relative ease, as long as I know more or less how MS Word itself works.

I'm not sure why I listed CatsCradle as a type #2 tool, though... as far as I know, it does not create an intermediary format.

I was just thinking from the perspective of someone who doesn't know anything about CAT tools, how to classify the CAT tools according to the way they work. OmegaT is a bit of an odd one out, since it doesn't use an intermediary file and it doesn't make any changes to the source file either. As such, an OmegaT translation-in-progress is much less "portable" than CAT tools that use intermediary files or packaged projects. On the other hand, with OmegaT the translator doesn't need to learn how to manipulate and interact with intermediary files... so it can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on how you look at it.

I guess another way to classify CAT tools would be on whether they create packaged projects or not (i.e. whether the translator needs deal with separate TMs and glossaries, as separate files) Yet another way to classify them would be on whether they tend to use one reference set (i.e. TM(s) and glossary(s)) per job or tend to use a single reference set for all jobs.


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