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What CAT tool do you recommend?
Thread poster: Andrea Halbritter

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:30
French to German
+ ...
Jan 3, 2015

Hi!

I finally decided to purchase a CAT in 2015.

What CAT would you recommend and why?

(I don't think I will go for a cloud based one.)

Thanks for your suggestions. If you need any more information to suggest tools tell me.

Andrea


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:30
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Hi Andrea, Jan 3, 2015

My personal favourite is CafeTran, but the only way to know is to try them all out. Or at least a few. Have you ever worked with or tried one before? How do you currently translate, and what kind of material do you usually translate?

Regards,

Michael

Official website: http://www.cafetran.com/
What it looks like: http://cafetran.wikidot.com/the-screen-elements


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:30
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More information Jan 3, 2015

Hi Michael,

the last years I nearly only did translate Word files, articles, speeches, letters of motivation, menus for restaurants, slogans or texts for web sites which were not to important (most up to 3 000 words), sometimes some Excel files.

Since a few months some regular end customers do have bigger projects and I have e-commerce sites of 30 000 words and more to translate, catalogues, Powerpoint and PDF files, books.

So a CAT tool really makes sense now in order to be able to provide the customers with all sorts of files, to guarantee constancy and also to be quicker.

At the same time I think this will be an opportunity to work as well with two or three agencies in order to complete my work flow. (At the moment I just work as a proofreader for 3 agencies which does not request a CAT and do slogans and copywriting for another one, so no need of a CAT neither.)

What would be important to me is explanation in German (or French), a good support in my mother tongue (English is not one of my working languages), a CAT that will be rather simple to handle and reliable.

I'd also like to see the whole source and target text and not only bits of it...

I will not have a lot of time to test several CAT tools though as my next catalogue will arrive somewhen in January.

If I see the loads of questions on the forum about problems with TRADOS I admit that this does not really inspire confidence. What about memoQ? Is it easier to handle? What do you appreciate on CafeTran?


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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:30
English to French
+ ...
Choosing a Cat tool Jan 3, 2015

Dear Andrea,

After having used both versions of Wordfast for a long time and appreciated their after-sales service and help, I tried the then new American "Fluency" which I completely adopted.

Not only is it clever and easy to use in spite of its sophistication, but their help service is great if needed. Reasonable price and good trial period.
Fluency Suite - Western Standard
www.westernstandard.com/Fluency.

Clau Hepburn
France


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Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:30
Member (2010)
English to French
MemoQ Jan 3, 2015

Hi Andrea,

I started 4 years ago with Trados Studio and followed on-line trainings; this software was a must for many translation agencies.

The problems with it are:

* not user-friendly

* Multiterm (for termbases) is very unfriendly

* a lot of blocking bugs made me lose some contracts and money, though I paid a professional support contract.

Caution: Trados Studio freelance supports a limited number of language pairs (4/5?)

I solved the problem by buying Kilgray's MemoQ which is very ergonomic, and more or less Trados compatible.

I started with a very good Webinar Training in French by Dominique Pivard, organized by the French SFT.

In two years I had only one blocking issue with MemoQ.

MemoQ accepts Trados Studio's packages.

Of course I stopped paying Trados Studio technical support.

I have also some experience with MemSource (on the cloud).

Conclusion

I use MemoQ 70% of the time;

I'm still using Trados Studio if the file's format is not supported by MemoQ.

Andrea, good luck to you and a happy new year! ; don't hesitate to contact me directly if needed.

Madeleine



PS: Once you made your choice, you may use the Proz's Group rate

goto Tools / TGB




[Edited at 2015-01-03 14:50 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-01-03 14:57 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-01-03 15:11 GMT]


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:30
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
A few considerations & hopefully useful hints Jan 3, 2015

Andrea Halbritter wrote:

Hi Michael,

the last years I nearly only did translate Word files, articles, speeches, letters of motivation, menus for restaurants, slogans or texts for web sites which were not to important (most up to 3 000 words), sometimes some Excel files.

Since a few months some regular end customers do have bigger projects and I have e-commerce sites of 30 000 words and more to translate, catalogues, Powerpoint and PDF files, books.

So a CAT tool really makes sense now in order to be able to provide the customers with all sorts of files, to guarantee constancy and also to be quicker.

At the same time I think this will be an opportunity to work as well with two or three agencies in order to complete my work flow. (At the moment I just work as a proofreader for 3 agencies which does not request a CAT and do slogans and copywriting for another one, so no need of a CAT neither.)

What would be important to me is explanation in German (or French), a good support in my mother tongue (English is not one of my working languages), a CAT that will be rather simple to handle and reliable.

I'd also like to see the whole source and target text and not only bits of it...

I will not have a lot of time to test several CAT tools though as my next catalogue will arrive somewhen in January.

If I see the loads of questions on the forum about problems with TRADOS I admit that this does not really inspire confidence. What about memoQ? Is it easier to handle? What do you appreciate on CafeTran?


Hi Andrea,

The reasons I prefer CafeTran are manifold (it has all kinds of clever new tricks built into the UI to make translating faster and more fun; its user interface is infinitely configurable; its terminology handling is vastly superior to those of other tools; its amazing pace of development; it runs on Macs, Linux and Windows; it has a small, friendly user community; it is cheap; etc.). However, since you want good support, in German, and probably a manual, I think memoQ might be a better option for you, as Kilgray (the developers of memoQ) have a much larger support department than CafeTran, which is actually a one-man show. CafeTran is absolutely amazing, and in my opinion the best CAT tool on the market today, but it has no manual yet and the "support department" is basically just sending an email to Igor. He usually answers very quickly and solves anything you throw at him, in record time, but still … if you don't enjoy a bit of tinkering now and then or feel like asking the occasional question in the mailing list, it might not be your cup of tea. The pace of development is also much faster than with the other, larger tools (just have a look at the ChangeLog: http://cafetranhelp.com/changelog ). I actually prefer this, as Igor adds new features almost weekly, most of them direct requests from users, but some people can't keep up with all this change, and prefer a more sedate pace.

I'd say, avoid SDL Studio at all costs (even if they have a German manual and German support), and try memoQ. In my opinion, Studio's interface is labyrinthine and the program requires a computer science degree to operate. I still own a memoQ licence, and after CafeTran, it is my second favourite. Incidentally, my mother, brother, and his partner also all use memoQ, after my recommending it to them a few years ago.

Fluency is relatively new and developed by an American company with no real track record in the CAT tool market. They are enthusiastic and have a great marketing team, but I don't know much about them yet.

There is also always DVX3 (Deja-Vu), which used to be the best, which I also don't know much about.

Do not, under any circumstances, go anywhere near Across

I hope this helps a bit and good luck choosing!

Michael

PS: I should probably mention that I am on the unofficial CafeTran "volunteer team", so I am probably a little biased.
PPS: You should also have a look at "ProZ.com’s Translator Software Comparison Tool": http://www.proz.com/software-comparison-tool
PPPS: Another great resource is Dominique's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CATguruEN (which you probably already know)

[Edited at 2015-01-03 16:25 GMT]


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Michael J.H. Davies  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 20:30
Member (2009)
English to Danish
+ ...
CAT in the cloud Jan 3, 2015

Although these days, I use the Trados (Studio 2014) CAT for most of my translation work, I have previously used (and still do use on occasion) Wordfast Anywhere, which is 'in the cloud' and free to use. You might consider this CAT if you want to get some experience of using a CAT without having to make an initial investment.

You can find WF Anywhere at: http://anywhere.wordfast.com/

There is a Wiki at: http://www.wordfast.net/wiki/Wordfast_Anywhere

and a Yahoo user group at: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Wordfast_Anywhere/info

I found WF Anywhere quite easy to use (without the steep learning curve of Trados Studio). However, I did previously use WF Classic (which integrates into MS Word) so I was already familiar with using a CAT.

Something you need to bear in mind (for any 'in the cloud' application) is the reliance on a good stable internet connection - all the way from your ISP to your computer (including any terminal equipment in the chain - broadband modem or router, etc.). Unless you can be sure of this at all times, there is a risk of considerable frustration (and stress) if there should be a connection problem when you are working up to a deadline.

Bonne chance!


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Ben Senior  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:30
German to English
Choose with care. Jan 3, 2015

Hi Andrea,

Most CAT tools have a steep learning curve and it takes a little time to get into them, but with a little diligence you soon get into them and they soon really prove their worth.

I started with Wordfast a good few years ago and found it very limited, but can't offer any comments on the current version. I have a friend who uses the latest version and she finds that it meets her needs well.

Because of getting a lot of work with a client over seven years ago I was forced into adopting Trados and keeping it up to date since then. I find it extremely good and the Preview window gives me a real time view of the document in translation, which is extremely helpful when working with screen shots or images which are referred to in the text. I've had my problems with SDL Studio as it took over from Trados, but always found the technical help very accommodating, even though I don't have a Support Contract. My wife also uses the SDL Studio Freelance version and is extremely satisfied with it. We both find the current 2014 SP2 version to be far superior to the previous versions and have far fewer problems than the previous releases, which you should consider when reading comments from people who have only used SDL/Trados in their previous versions. But, and it's a big but, you need to be very familiar with computers and software to get the most out of SDL Studio. My wife is not and she would really struggle if I wasn't there to sort it all out for her. I'm lucky in that I have a BSc Hons Degree in computer science and still write a lot of software myself and do a lot of software localization with another CAT tool. In our local BDÜ group several people really do have problems with SDL and are always asking for help, which they get of course. I'm unsure what training is available in French but we have always found plenty in German and the User Interface language can be be very simply changed between any of the major languages. And of course there is a good SDL Forum here.

There was a thread here a few days ago about Fluency and Samuel offered some very good points there, it would be worth your while looking that up.

One thing is certain you will find that people tend to go to one CAT tool and stay with it, for one reason or another, but beware of people who just find fault with certain products, look for constructive criticism and consider it well.

It would be good if you could get together with people who have different CAT tools and have a look at the software when it's working, the demos in the internet are all a bit sales oriented but there are plenty to have a look at. On pricing the Group Buys here are not always the best value for money, just before Christmas there was a thread where the Group Buy price was significantly more expensive than the current offer from the supplier. Always check with the supplier what special offers that they are currently offering.

Best of luck, it's a big step that you are making.

Ben


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:30
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
CafeTran Jan 3, 2015

Thanks for all your comments. I find them really helpfull.

I am not against using a small, less known CAT if it does what I expect it to do and if the support works. I enjoy personal contact and my philosophy is to support little companies so why not CafeTran if it offers all I need? Is it possible to test it? If there is no manual with it how does the user (who never used a CAT before like me) know how to use it? Does it support any files?

My other favourite is memoQ.

[Modifié le 2015-01-03 16:27 GMT]


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:30
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Hi Andrea, Jan 3, 2015

CafeTran supports pretty much any file type you will need to translate, and all kinds of files from other CAT tools: SDL Studio, memoQ, Wordfast, etc.

To get a fully functional trial version, just send an email to the developer. The info is available on the website @ http://www.cafetran.com/

People generally use Hans Lenting's CafeTran wiki for all things CafeTran-related: http://cafetranhelp.com/
It isn't quite a manual, but it does contain a wealth of information already. He's currently working on transforming it into a manual. I'm supposed to be helping, but never have any time
Cafetranhelp.com contains a number of basic tutorials and videos.

Then there is the Google Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/cafetranslators

So far, 99% of my questions have been answered in one of the above locations.

Michael


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 03:30
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Free tools Jan 3, 2015

OmegaT isn't the most convenient or easiest to use tool, but it gets the job done, has multiple languages, meets your core requirements, and simply getting set up and using the basic CAT functions isn't that hard - the instructions are straightforward enough. Between OmegaT and Memsource I haven't had the need to invest real money in a CAT tool.

I've used memoQ off agency licenses and...there are weaknesses. It's pretty heavy, and some operations, including opening and closing files, can feel rather slow and sluggish even on a fairly powerful computer. Perhaps it's lighter than Trados and co., but it's nowhere near as responsive as I would like it. The actual translation space is also rather cramped, though I suppose there are ways you can customize it.

[Edited at 2015-01-03 17:53 GMT]


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 22:30
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
I suggest CafeTran too Jan 3, 2015

I always suggest people to test all available CAT tools but then noticed that many of them did not test any but bought either A or B. So now I suggest just download CafeTran and start using it.

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Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:30
Member (2010)
English to French
learning curve is important because it is your first CAT tool Jan 3, 2015

learning curve is important because it is your first CAT tool.

An alternative is to begin with a free product like Wordfast Anywhere (description: http://www.proz.com/wordfast), and in parallel to continue your search / comparisons in order to choose the CAT tool perfectly matching your specific needs.

Personnally I would start immediately with MemoQ.

Madeleine


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:30
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Learning curve Jan 3, 2015

What do you exactly mean by "learning curve", Madeleine? You can explain a bit more please?

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Learning curve Jan 4, 2015

Andrea Halbritter wrote:
What exactly do you mean by "learning curve", Madeleine?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_curve#.22Steep_learning_curve.22

I think Madeleine simply means there are initially many small things to learn when using a CAT tool, and that it may seem daunting (and unnecessarily complex) at first. Personally I don't think that the learning curve for CAT tools is steep (popular meaning) or shallow (scientific meaning). The basics for most CAT tools can be learnt quite quickly... in an hour or two, I think.

Imagine learning a new keyboard layout that maximises your output -- for the first hour or two it will be excruciating, but the more you practice, the easier it will become.


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