What are the best free CAT tools for beginners?
Thread poster: Areosa

Areosa
English to Portuguese
Nov 27, 2015

Hello,

I would like to know which would me the best free cat tool for someone starting to translate. Something good for me and for whoever I will be working for....and something simple would be good tooicon_smile.gif
thank you all for the indications..
Andrea


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:30
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Felix! Nov 30, 2015

Areosa wrote:

Hello,

I would like to know which would me the best free cat tool for someone starting to translate. Something good for me and for whoever I will be working for....and something simple would be good tooicon_smile.gif
thank you all for the indications..
Andrea


Hi Andrea,

I think that the best free CAT tool currently available is probably Felix: http://felix-cat.com/

Up until very recently, it was a paid tool, but the developer recently made it 100% open source & free!

The great thing about Felix is that it allows you to work inside MS Word, but unlike for example Wordfast, it leaves your source document alone, and doesn't add all kinds of hidden text. Meaning: your source document still looks just like your source document, which is great for when you want to have maximum context while translating.

Michael

PS: people might also mention OmegaT (http://www.omegat.org/ ), which is a segment-based* CAT tool, and which is free. However, from a beginner’s perspective, I think that Felix is much more intuitive and fun to use.

* = meaning it cuts up ("segments") your source document into segments, and displays them in the program itself, rather than in e.g. MS Word (thus potentially robbing you of valuable context needed to "see what's going on"); just like CafeTran, memoQ, SDL Studio, and most other CAT tools seem to be doing these days. Some of these offer a previewing feature, but there is nothing like working in the actual document.

Also, after finishing a job consisting of 15 separate Word docs in a segment-based CAT tool, who really feels like opening all these files in Word and going through them again manually, to check that everything looks right, and, even more importantly, that the text actually reads well? I don't. Which is why I now recommend using a Word-based CAT tool for many kinds of more flowing text.

### Edited to change info re OmegaT (based on Samuel's post) ###

[Edited at 2015-11-30 15:28 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
OmegaT is not grid based, but segment based Nov 30, 2015

Michael Beijer wrote:
People might also mention OmegaT (http://www.omegat.org/ ), which is a grid-based* CAT tool... meaning it cuts up ("segments") your source document into segments, and displays them in an Excel-like grid.


The OmegaT versions from 10 years ago had something vaguely similar to what you describe (actually, it wasn't grid based either, but box based). The current version of OmegaT is not grid based, but it certainly is segment based (i.e. it displays every segment as a separate line). You can freely scroll up and down in OmegaT's edit pane and select text in any other segment, without having to leave the active segment or go into another "cell".


 

Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:30
Member (2015)
German to English
Across Nov 30, 2015

My first experience using CAT tools was with Across. It was fairly intiuitive to use and is free for freelancers.

I rarely use it nowaday though as most of my clients use a different CAT tool.

One thing I didn't like was that when the project was delivered to the client via the server it was no longer on my computer.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Is Across still free, though? Nov 30, 2015

Andrea Garfield-Barkworth wrote:
My first experience using CAT tools was with Across. It was fairly intiuitive to use and is free for freelancers.


I also thought about Across when I saw the OP's question (though I'm not a fan of Across, one must mention it, if in fairness it meets the requirements). However, I visited the Across web site and it appears now that the free "Basic" edition no longer allows one to work on your own projects.


 

Jörg Schönau  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:30
English to German
+ ...
CafeTran Espresso Nov 30, 2015

Hi Andrea,
check out CafeTran Espresso (www.cafetran.com). Not completely for free as such, but they offer a generous trial version (in the range of 500 segments - if I remember rightly ...) which should be enough for your first small projects. You can get an annual licences for €80.
I started out with it when I was looking high and low for a free or at least affordable cat tool. It's very easy to use - you'll get the hang of it in 10 mins. I still prefer it to most other $$$-intensive tools out there.


 

xxx2nl  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:30
Wf Anywhere & Anaphraseus Nov 30, 2015

Areosa wrote:
I would like to know which would me the best free cat tool for someone starting to translate. Something good for me and for whoever I will be working for....and something simple would be good tooicon_smile.gif
thank you all for the indications..


Andrea, can you tell us which type of texts you'd like to translate? E.g.: manuals, recipes, short stories, newspaper articles etc. This might be important to give you a good suggestion for a CAT tool.

In general, I'd advise Wordfast Anywhere if you have a good internet connection:
https://www.wordfast.net/?go=anywhere

Free and with many useful features.

Very good introduction:
http://wordfast.fi/blog/cat-tools/2012/12/23/first-steps-with-wordfast-anywhere/

It's just amazing what can be done in a browser.

If your internet connection isn't that good, I'd advise Anaphraseus (http://anaphraseus.sourceforge.net ). Very good and free.

Samuel:

However, I visited the Across web site and it appears now that the free "Basic" edition no longer allows one to work on your own projects.


Indeed, you cannot create the target text (export) once you have finished your translation:

Screen%20Shot%202015-11-30%20at%2023.19.14.png

[Edited at 2015-12-01 05:30 GMT]


 

Adrien Esparron
Local time: 06:30
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
About Across Nov 30, 2015

I just reactivate the Across Translator Edition v6.3 (Basic), its free and standalone. The activation process seems to be something new. For Anaphraseus (Open Office or Libre Office), similar to WordFast Classic, don't forget to show the hidden characters in the Writer settings. If not the translation ends after the first segment.

Good luck!


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:30
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
1. WFC. 2. Segmentation Nov 30, 2015

1
WFC (Wordfast Classic) is a gigantic macro that runs within Microsoft Word and results in an extra toolbar and keyboard shortcuts for doing the CAT's work. You can use it free with TMs (Translation Memories) no bigger than 500 segments. In use, it looks a little similar to WFA (WordFast Anywhere) which, however, I have never used.
2
One feature, that for me is sometimes essential, but is absent from (for example) OmegaT is that segmentation (the process by which the CAT tool decides what is the next segment to be translated) can be automatic but the translator can intervene while s/he is doing the translation and, in effect, say to the CAT, "No the next segment isn't what you think - it's this piece of the text". The manually specified segment can be longer or shorter than the one chosen automatically (but it can't contain a paragraph mark [=new line]). I sometimes use this to specify, for example, that a certain segment includes a piece of text with a semicolon (";") or a colon (":") followed by more words and that in other cases a segment ends at these characters. Also, in some of the work I do, the source text includes some text with a certain formatting of the characters (red colour and strikethrough line) which is not to be translated at all (because it's already been translated or it's a repeat). With WFC it's very easy to ensure that the CAT leaves that text alone.
This aspect of CATs has already been discussed in Proz. For example:
http://www.proz.com/forum/cat_tools_technical_help/204631-segmentation_rules_are_not_intelligent_manual_adjustment_is_vital.html

http://www.proz.com/forum/cat_tools_technical_help/274583-choosing_a_cat_tool_for_translating_pdfs_and_word_documents.html#2341936


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:30
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Segmentation is even easier & more intuitive in Felix Nov 30, 2015

Oliver Walter wrote:

1
WFC (Wordfast Classic) is a gigantic macro that runs within Microsoft Word and results in an extra toolbar and keyboard shortcuts for doing the CAT's work. You can use it free with TMs (Translation Memories) no bigger than 500 segments. In use, it looks a little similar to WFA (WordFast Anywhere) which, however, I have never used.
2
One feature, that for me is sometimes essential, but is absent from (for example) OmegaT is that segmentation (the process by which the CAT tool decides what is the next segment to be translated) can be automatic but the translator can intervene while s/he is doing the translation and, in effect, say to the CAT, "No the next segment isn't what you think - it's this piece of the text". The manually specified segment can be longer or shorter than the one chosen automatically (but it can't contain a paragraph mark [=new line]). I sometimes use this to specify, for example, that a certain segment includes a piece of text with a semicolon (";") or a colon (":") followed by more words and that in other cases a segment ends at these characters. […]


Segmentation is even easier in Felix: you just select whatever you want to constitute your source segment (including semicolons or colon, if you want), and press Alt+L. You then type your translation over that, and save it to your TM. Then on to the next sentence. Felix leaves nothing behind but your translation. That is: no hidden codes, no bilingual, uncleaned mess, which will invariably cause something to go wrong when trying to finalise/clean your files at the end of the job.

In my opinion, the developer of Felix had a brilliant idea: if you want to work in Word, you really want to work in Word, you don't want to do it half way (like Wordfast Classic, Anaphraseus, MetaTexis and LogiTerm — the other Word-based CAT tools). That is, you don't want to be forced to translate inside some special little dialogue (like in LogiTerm), and you don't want to litter your document with hidden codes, so you mess up the page visually. One of the main reasons for translating in Word (in addition to finally getting to benefit from Dragon's Full Text Control!!) is so you can retain the original context, and be free to move sentences around willy nilly, wherever and whenever you see fit. In Felix, this is no problem. In the other tools it can be really difficult once a section is translated to go back and make major changes to it. Not so in Felix.

Also keep in mind that until very recently, Felix was a tool that you had to pay for, but which is now 100% free.



[Edited at 2015-11-30 23:24 GMT]


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 23:30
German to English
+ ...
Question to OP Nov 30, 2015

Why, as a beginner, do you want a CAT tool? Are you planning to do large technical translations with lots of repetitions that need to be translated the same way? Or is it because you have the impression that all translators use these tools? These may be important things to ask by way of advice.

 

xxx2nl  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:30
Yes, I was wondering too Dec 1, 2015

Maxi Schwarz wrote:
Are you planning to do large technical translations with lots of repetitions that need to be translated the same way? Or is it because you have the impression that all translators use these tools? These may be important things to ask by way of advice.


Yes, my question too!

Andrea, can you tell us which type of texts you'd like to translate? E.g.: manuals, recipes, short stories, newspaper articles etc. This might be important to give you a good suggestion for a CAT tool.


 

Marius Reika  Identity Verified
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Anything but Across Dec 1, 2015

It is better not to use a CAT than to use Across. It is a genuine time waster, capable of producing a nervous breakdown. Stay away! No kidding.

To get a better idea of free and paid tools check this link: http://www.proz.com/software-comparison-tool/cat/cat_tools/2


 


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