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Why should I purchase CAT software?
Thread poster: Michael Marcoux

Michael Marcoux  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:23
Russian to English
+ ...
Nov 27, 2013

Hey guys,

As a disclaimer, if this is the wrong forum, feel free to move this.

So I see some projects up for bid that require use of Memoq, Trados, etc. I saw Memoq had a free trial download, so I downloaded it and took a look at the features. It breaks down documents sentence by sentance for view so you don't miss anything. OK. Has a glossary that for some reason only offers translations of the most frequently used words (which, if I didn't know already, would make me question my own abilities to be a translator!) I try to add terms by clicking the "Add Term" button, but am then given an error message informing me there is no term base for the project. I just found out how to mass add terms, which seems kind of convenient for technical translations.

However, the price for this handy package is over 700 DOLLARS. All I can think is that either 1) this software has some amazing uses I have not discovered yet, 2) the features it has are vastly more practical than I realize at the present moment or 3) I need to quit translating and get into the software developing field and start making a lot more money.

If anyone is familiar with any CAT, in particular Memoq, could you explain?


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:23
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Existing threads Nov 27, 2013

Hi Michael,
Please take a look at the threads that already exist in this forum. Below is a short list of the most recent ones. You will certainly find answers to many of your questions there:


Which CAT tools are more popular among ProZians?
http://www.proz.com/topic/258385

Do I need to have Trados (CAT) as a freelance translator?
http://www.proz.com/topic/254684

Is there really such a difference with Trados?
http://www.proz.com/topic/259759

Which free cat tool do you advise?
http://www.proz.com/topic/153890

CAT: Trados Studio OR memoQ - which is best
http://www.proz.com/topic/257932

memoQ vs SDL Studio - recommendation?
http://www.proz.com/topic/258610

Wordfast or TRADOS?
http://www.proz.com/topic/257900

SDL Studio alternatives
http://www.proz.com/topic/254204

Differences in CAT Tool
http://www.proz.com/topic/252695

Which CAT tool is the best? Reviews required
http://www.proz.com/topic/250325

Advise me on the best CAT Tool
http://www.proz.com/topic/249955

Where to start for a CAT tool ?
http://www.proz.com/topic/239762

What is the most cost-effective professional CAT tool?
http://www.proz.com/topic/233668

CAT tools comparison
http://www.proz.com/topic/39592





[Edited at 2013-11-27 09:21 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Michael Nov 27, 2013

Michael Marcoux wrote:
However, the price for this handy package is over 700 DOLLARS. All I can think is that either 1) this software has some amazing uses I have not discovered yet, 2) the features it has are vastly more practical than I realize at the present moment or 3) I need to quit translating and get into the software developing field and start making a lot more money.


For your language combinations and for your country of residence, I think USD 700 is acceptable. Your reasons (1) and (2) are correct. Keep digging and watch some videos on Youtube.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:23
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Only if needed Nov 27, 2013

Hi Michael

I have worked successfully as a translator for many years and have never used any CAT tools.

I've tried a few of them, and disliked them, because none of them comes anywhere near what I would be looking for if I wanted a CAT tool that fits with the way I translate and the types of text I work with.

I turn down/do not apply for any jobs that require the use of a CAT tool.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:23
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Try using it for the whole of the 45-day trial period Nov 27, 2013

When so many translators actually like MemoQ, there must be some advantages - I have looked at it closely enough to know for sure, although personally I use Trados.

It does take time to learn to use all the features - or as many as are relevant to your particular job. But quite a lot of us think it is worth the effort.
Just as it takes time to learn to use a computer, or the Internet or any other modern convenience.

You might just as well ask why not go back to using pen and paper, as my father did 50 years ago? Now that was REALLY cheap, and power cuts were no problem. He always knew where he could find a candle and a box of matches!

PS The people who created MemoQ did precisely what you are suggesting - as well as being software developers, they were translators who knew all the problems with the other CAT tools, and they set out to make their own version.




[Edited at 2013-11-27 11:17 GMT]


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:23
German to Swedish
+ ...
Unremarkable Nov 27, 2013

$700 for specialized software used by professionals is unremarkable.

Whether you find it useful or not is another story.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:23
English to Polish
+ ...
... Nov 27, 2013

Michael, while $700 truly isn't a huge deal in terms of specialised software prices, the primary use of CAT tools is to:

1. State the CAT requirement.
2. Make the mental connection which justifies a discount grid based on repetitions, similarities and exclusions.

Most of the time there is no further involvement of the CAT tool, although this setup requires you to have that tool, you can't really just say 'oh, I don't have any CAT tool, but I approve the discounts, can I still get this job?'


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:23
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Just an opinion Nov 27, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

For your language combinations and for your country of residence, I think USD 700 is acceptable.


Um, no, it is not. Especially when you can purchase Dragon for a seventh of that price and start dictating your way to a much higher daily output. Simples.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Diana Nov 27, 2013

Diana Coada, BA DPSI RPSI ACIL wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
Michael Marcoux wrote:
However, the price for this handy package is over 700 DOLLARS. All I can think is that either 1) this software has some amazing uses I have not discovered yet, 2) the features it has are vastly more practical than I realize at the present moment...

For your language combinations and for your country of residence, I think USD 700 is acceptable.

Um, no, it is not. Especially when you can purchase Dragon for a seventh of that price...


Dragon at any price will not have the same functionality as MemoQ. The OP's question is not whether MemoQ is the best software to spend USD 700 on. His question is whether a reasonable price tag for the features in MemoQ would be USD 700. The price of Dragon has no bearing on whether the features in MemoQ are worth anything.


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:23
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I couldn't live without my cat. Nov 27, 2013

Hi Michael,

Not all CAT tools are that expensive, and some of the cheaper ones are actually even better than those being sold for such high prices. CafeTran, for example, is only €80. However, I agree with what others here have said, 700 tax deductible euros really isn't much for a tool that you are going to be using every day.

Whether you need one is of course a different question. I suppose it will depend on the kind of texts you translate. I do business, technical and legal, and wouldn't dream of working without a CAT tool and various terminology tools. However, I have seen patent translators who don't use them, so what do I know?

Michael

PS: there is no need to pay the full price for any of these tools: just wait for a Proz Group Buy (http://www.proz.com/tgb/ ), or make use of the fact that it is Black Friday week at the moment!


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 02:23
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Matches? Forget them Nov 27, 2013

Michael Beijer wrote:
I suppose it will depend on the kind of texts you translate.

I've been using CAT tools since 1997, and I translate all texts - including marketing texts, and even novels - in my CAT tool (DejaVu first, CafeTran since 2010), even if it's only a few sentences.

If you think buying a CAT tool will give you more work, you're probably wrong. Even the agencies that require a specific CAT tool will look at the results, so owning that specific tool will only help you once if you're not good enough. A CAT tool is a tool, and only a tool. You are important. You can make it, and you can screw it. If you think a CAT tool will speed up your job, you can be right (but not always), but it most likely is not going to make you much more money.

The benefits of a CAT tool are mainly, that they enable you to:
- Quickly find how you previously translated a term in other - related or not - texts
- Be consistent. That slogan you translated a year ago, do you remember it verbatim?
- Search your resources - your own TMs, the client's TM, the Internet, local dictionaries - from within your tool. Fast.
- Concentrate. Most CAT tools provide a translation environment that let you concentrate on the text, not the formatting, not the images. No distraction.
- More to come from Michael and others...

It's true that some agencies only ask for CAT tools to lower your rate. Avoid them, and happily use the CAT tool you prefer, you paid for, you learned, running on the operating system you like.

Cheers,

Hans


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:23
German to English
It's a tool, just like a specialized drill or saw Nov 27, 2013

You're not likely to find a cabinet maker with only one drill, one saw and a file.
The return on investment takes a while with a CAT tool. If you have repeat customers with similar documents, you can realize a return relatively quickly. yesterday I had several documents (no discounts!) with similar material, plus company standard boilerplate. Since I had done work for this company in the past, I already had the boilerplate in the translation memory, so the amount of real work was minimal.

People go into this business with the expectation that it requires minimal investment beyond a computer and an Internet connection. That's not really the case.


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Roy Williams  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 21:23
German to English
Proven useful Nov 28, 2013

As an in-house translator at a tech company, a cat tool has proved invaluable. Since documentation is continuously created for new products, many containing similar or identical sections for various products, I get a lot of repetition. Being able to reuse that text instantly is a godsend. I started out with wordfast classic and convinced my dept. manager to invest in memoQ after trying the demo version.

Since then, I have built up quite a monstrous TM and corpus. I've created an ever-expanding termbank of industry-specific and/or hard to find terms so I don't always have to look for them when the reoccur in another document. And there are many more benefits I could list. but I don't want to write a novel.

I didn't have a Cat tool when I started, looking back, that was my version of hell.


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm a believer Nov 29, 2013

I only recently started working with CAT tools after one of my clients started sending me Wordfast files to translate. It took a little getting used to, but I ended up buying Trados 2014 recently and I'd like to purchase the full version of Wordfast Pro once I get a little more money in. I've never tried MemoQ.

I would say that they just make work easier. Using my current translation as an example:

Having the translation broken into segments helps me focus on each portion without losing context.

I like added in my glossaries, which don't necessarily have to be long or complicated terms. I'm working on a manual right now for working with children. I added "children" - "niños" to my glossary so I don't have to alt-164 all the time.

I like that it is catching a lot of repeated or similar text, even in this kind of manual. I would say maybe 10% of my 12,000 words have been fuzzy matches.

Trados has a cool little window that shows you your overall progress with the translation, like right now it says that I have 3,739 words to translate, 8,316 already translated, and 548 that need to be reviewed.

And I have to be honest, I work much faster in the CAT tool than I do with just word. This project's been kind of crazy, it's actually my wife's, but there was a goof up with the due date and it ended up being impossible for her to do on her own, so I took half of it. So, like I said, 12,603 words for me to turn in by tomorrow afternoon. I normally don't go beyond 3,000 words a day, but I was able to knock out 6,000 yesterday before slipping into a translation induced coma. I just woke up from my nap and plan to get the rest of this project done tonight. (My wife actually finished her half while I was asleep, so maybe I'll make her finish it)

None of those things makes translation without the tool impossible, but it is certainly more enjoyable and efficient with the tool than without.


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Enrico C - ECLC  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 03:23
Member (2011)
English to Italian
+ ...
I use both regularly (multiple times a day) Nov 29, 2013

I won't go into details on which one you should buy. I'll just reply to your question based on my personal experience.

With a CAT you:
- Avoid retyping what you already typed maybe 2 years ago.
- Save heaps of time with repetitions (you saw that by yourself with your 6000 words)
- Grant unmatched consistency if you can leverage terminology properly, something "MS Word" can't do or can do in a much lengthier way.
- Time saved turns into more work doable or more rest/relax to do else.
- Having everything you need in an integrated interface is not the same as going around opening one software to type, one dictionary, etc. etc.
- Longterm, a CAT keeps you in the market. Longterm without a CAT you're out of the market or will only work for a very limited niche (and shrinking). The reason being that as customers realize they can have cheaper and quicker translations if they address a CAT equipped translator also able to grant discounts for 100% matches etc. it will eventually move in that directions. Something you can't do with a word processor. Would you pay 100 for something you get in one week if you can pay 70 and get it in 4 days? I wouldn't. My customers either.

My personal experience since Studio and MemoQ (and Trados since 2000 more or less) is that you not only translate quicker, but also translate better and have more spare time to enjoy else or maximize productivity. In this perspective once you start using a CAT for me there is no way back.

Their weak points for me: some have too many bugs and make you waste hours; QA checks functions normally are awful or i'd say useless at best. Studio for example is terrible at numbers and in its last iteration concordance doesn't seem to be too good either. MemoQ shows QA issues in a way that doesn't make it clear what you have to amend or not amend and there is something in that interface that's messy and confusing for me.

PRICE: The prices for freelance suites are relatively cheap if you're a professional translator. Let's say you repay them in less than one month; i repaid MemoQ, (bought while on offer in Proz) in one week actually....got a MQ job as soon as i had installed it for some hit of luck! Studio is more expensive but you can take advantage of any offers you get around and you'll get for much cheaper. The core point is that if you have a regular workflow of work coming you'll repay it very very quick.

That's more or less it.





[Edited at 2013-11-29 04:27 GMT]


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