inexpensive CAT tools
Thread poster: Adriana Johnston
Adriana Johnston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:04
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 11, 2014

Hi everyone! it's been a while since I visited this forum, so happy new year to all!
I was wondering if any of you translators are familiar with some reliable inexpensive or free CAT tools that you could recommend? Thank you all.


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:04
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
OmegaT Jan 11, 2014

Free (as in ‘freedom’) and free (as in ‘free beer’) program.

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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:04
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Trados Studio & MemoQ Jan 11, 2014

Both programs are reliable and I consider them inexpensive too. If you charge decent rates, you can earn more in 1-2 days than these programs cost.

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DCM Linguistics  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:04
Portuguese to English
+ ...
More suggestions Jan 11, 2014

Free tools:

1. OmegaT
2. Anaphraseus

Under €100:
1. CafeTran
2. Metatexis

One more option:
Wordfast, since there is no time limit on the use of its demo versions (Classic and Pro).


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Simon Chiassai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:04
English to French
+ ...
wordfast anywhere Jan 11, 2014

Diana Coada, PGDip DPSI NRPSI wrote:
One more option:
Wordfast, since there is no time limit on the use of its demo versions (Classic and Pro).


Speaking of Wordfast, I recently discovered Wordfast anywhere: http://www.wordfast.net/?whichpage=anywhere


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Radu Nicolaescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 17:04
Member (2006)
German to Romanian
+ ...
The most productive Jan 11, 2014

Siegfried is right: the most valuable is the most performant one;

With Studio 2014 or memoQ you are able to recover quickly the investment by getting good jobs


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ferreirac  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:04
Member (2013)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
MemSource Cloud Jan 11, 2014

This is an excellent free CAT tool online, or you can donwload the editor for Windows (also free). There is the paid version, but the free one is complete without use limitation.

I suggest you to give it a try.

http://www.memsource.com/translation-cloud/


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:04
Russian to English
+ ...
I am not sure which ones are the cheapest and good-- Jan 11, 2014

I don't need CAT tools, and although I know how to use a few of them, they would just make my work harder. They have totally no use in literary translation (I can say it with almost 100% certainty), and very little use in legal translation. The only thing I know, having checked some of them out, is that they should not cost more than $200 -- there is nothing extraordinary in any of them that would make them worth more. Also, all the updates for at least 3-5 years should be free.

[Edited at 2014-01-11 14:48 GMT]


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Matthew Olson
Japan
Local time: 23:04
Japanese to English
Felix Jan 12, 2014

My personal favorite is the little-known Felix (http://felix-cat.com/). It's currently available for $350, or you can also try it out for free for as long as you want with the restriction that the translation and glossary memories are limited to 500 entries per file (in other words, you could create a new TM for each new project, but each TM would be limited to 500 translation entries and 500 glossary entries) - this makes it great to give it a long, risk-free trial. Unfortunately, Felix won't "get" you any jobs because it's not the industry standard Trados (on the other hand, I would argue those jobs aren't worth getting). I like Felix because for whatever reason I find the way it works to be the most logical for me. It is a separate program that works through macros in MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. I found that I, personally, didn't really like the way MemoQ or OmegaT worked (and MemoQ, at least when I tried it, couldn't understand Japanese periods).

I disagree that CAT software can't be useful for literary translators - in fact, the main way I use Felix is as a glossary - by making an entry for a word or specific string of characters, Felix (like many other TMs with a glossary feature) automatically shows me that glossary entry when I come to that same string of characters later on. It's great because then I don't have to worry about re-looking up company or personal names, mottoes, chemical names, and other phrases that could be easy to get wrong if you just relied on your own memory and which are annoying to look up over and over again. I think this could be useful in some literary circumstances - again, for location names, character names, certain turns of phrase or key terms, etc.

At any rate, my CAT tool is for me and me alone to help me provide a better, more consistent translation - I never offer discounts for "matches" - unless a company is willing to pay me in turn each time they reuse (print out, modify, allow access over the internet of) my translation, that is (/snark).


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Adriana Johnston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:04
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
this is useful information Jan 12, 2014

Thank you all for all your comments, I hope these post also helps other people who are starting on their translation careers.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:04
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, CAT tools would be the number one disturbance in Jan 12, 2014

literary translation. They disturb the creative process, and the uniqueness of each sentence. I am as convinced about this as a person can , even if someone said that they might help you with some geographical names, or other proper names -- who cares -- how many of those do you get in one book -- a hundred, perhaps? They may help you with the consistency, but consistency is really an enemy or creative writing because it make she text dull.

I absolutely agree with Matthew, however, that any CAT tool is for the translator,, and only for the translator alone, to be used only when the person finds it helpful in performing their work. The outsourcers should have nothing to do with that, exactly the same way as a publisher does not ask you which version of Word you use, or if they really needed some unusual program to help them with the layout, they would provide it for you charge free, on the condition, of course, that it were not hard to use.

[Edited at 2014-01-12 08:41 GMT]


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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:04
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
and the winner is! Jan 13, 2014

esperantisto wrote:

Free (as in ‘freedom’) and free (as in ‘free beer’) program.


I have used OmegaT almost exclusively for the past 8 years.
It is excellent.
Easy and efficient to use, flexible, managing more file formats than just about any other, including all Office documents, Wordfast TXML, SDL's SDLXLF and TTX, InDesign IDML, html, a broad spectrum of software localization and documentation formats, and more.
It creates and uses translation memories in standard .TMX format (these can be exported/imported to/from Trados, Wordfast, MemoQ, and about any other, as well).
As such, it is compatible with all other important CAT tools.

It is crossplatform (runs on Win/Lin/Mac. I have used it on both linux and windows).

And, as mentioned, you can NOT beat the price!

see http://www.omegat.org

I have tried numerous others, and they're all needlessly complicated, unwieldy, and generally inefficient in comparison to OmegaT, in my opinion and experience, not too mention often ridiculously expensive.*

Also, support is great (and also free) on the OmegaT e-mail list and Yahoo! group.
I've received faster and more thorough support there than I ever have for any commercial product.

*(I've never understood the logic in selling software for 100s of $$. You develop it, and then just make copies, or allow downloads. That's cheaper than distributing books, with downloads, because you don't even have to print on physical media! Books sell for much less, though. (Sure, server storage space and bandwith cost $$, but not much, unless you don't know what you're doing). I develop software, myself, so I know what those processes (development, webhosting, etc.) entail, and I just can not see justification for exorbitant, exploitative prices. Of course, I license mine all by the Gnu Public License, make the source code freely available, and give it away for Free, just like OmegaT.)


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:04
English to Dutch
+ ...
What standard? Jan 13, 2014

Matthew Olson wrote:

... the industry standard Trados ...


Trados is not, was not and hopefully will never be a standard for CAT-tools. It is a myth that many translation agencies would have us believe, but it is not true: you don't tell your accountant which software to use, either, that is his choice - not yours.

On a more constructive note: almost any CAT-tool comes in a free of charge demo version and as commented by others, some of these demo versions come without time limit, making them excellent beginner tools. Take your pick, play with a few of those and commit yourself to mastering at least two at a satisfactory level, so that you can accommodate most file formats when offering your services. But never forget that the one between your ears is most important tool you will ever have.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 16:04
English to Hungarian
+ ...
CATs Jan 13, 2014

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

literary translation. They disturb the creative process, and the uniqueness of each sentence. I am as convinced about this as a person can , even if someone said that they might help you with some geographical names, or other proper names -- who cares -- how many of those do you get in one book -- a hundred, perhaps? They may help you with the consistency, but consistency is really an enemy or creative writing because it make she text dull.

I absolutely agree with Matthew, however, that any CAT tool is for the translator,, and only for the translator alone, to be used only when the person finds it helpful in performing their work. The outsourcers should have nothing to do with that, exactly the same way as a publisher does not ask you which version of Word you use, or if they really needed some unusual program to help them with the layout, they would provide it for you charge free, on the condition, of course, that it were not hard to use.

[Edited at 2014-01-12 08:41 GMT]

That's just not how things work. If you're J. K. Rowling, you can afford to turn in your manuscripts scribbled on napkins and the back of envelopes. But if you're a professional who produces 'commodity' texts that need to fit into a translation/editing/publishing/distribution workflow, then your clients can very reasonably require you to supply your texts in specific formats (TM, sdlxliff or other CAT-specific bilingual format etc.). You say "a publisher does not ask you which version of Word you use". That is clearly not the case. If you are an editor, a journalist or basically anyone participating in the publishing process except a well-established creative writer who has certain privileges due to the value of their personal contribution, the publisher will definitely tell you what tools/formats to use.
If you are a freelancer, then it's very reasonable for them to expect you to buy the necessary software tools.

It's fine for you to refuse to work with CAT tools because you personally dislike them and can't see the benefit. It's quite another to make pronouncements about how other people ought to conduct their business.
I don't even know what to make of your claim that CATs are useless in legal translations. Let's just say that you haven't discovered their usefulness.


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Matthew Olson
Japan
Local time: 23:04
Japanese to English
Should have used scare quotes? Jan 14, 2014

Theo Bernards wrote:

Matthew Olson wrote:

... the industry standard Trados ...


Trados is not, was not and hopefully will never be a standard for CAT-tools. It is a myth that many translation agencies would have us believe, but it is not true: you don't tell your accountant which software to use, either, that is his choice - not yours.



Perhaps I should have put "industry standard" in scare quotes. Regardless, at least looking at ads for translators here, it seems that when agencies specify a specific CAT tool they want used, they specify some version of Trados, and many seem to require it to work with them. This is just my view as an outsider, however - I don't own Trados and, as I mentioned in my previous post, I also don't give discounts for TM matches.

Fortunately, this practice (of requiring Trados or any CAT tool, for that matter) doesn't seem to have spread very much in the Japanese translation market - partially, perhaps, because Japanese companies can be slow to adopt new technologies at times, but also, perhaps, because even more than with Romance languages using a CAT tool on auto-pilot with Japanese is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. As a high-context language, information that must be said in English is often left out in Japanese, easily leading to situations where, for example, the exact same phrase in Japanese will mean very different things, even within the same document, depending on context, and require very different English translations.

Finally, I also agree with the "accountant" argument - we're providing a service, not a commodity, and we shouldn't be punished (or accept to be punished) with having to accept discounts for investing in tools with our own money which help us provide a better end result to clients.


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