Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Which are the most recommended CAT Tools?
Thread poster: Imran Haq

Imran Haq
Local time: 08:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 7, 2016

Greetings, I am currently an MA Student in Professional Translation and Interpreting.

Essentially, I want to start on the right footing. They are all kinds of CAT tools and software, and I would just like your professional advice, which are the best ones, and what is the difference between them? Also, are there places where you can download these TMX files, or translation memories? I may be jumping the gun, but I am completely new to this world. Your guidance and help is much appreciated.

Kindest Regards


Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:47
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
memoQ Oct 8, 2016

It is simply cheaper than SDL Studio and fully supports its files. Features are the same. New features are piloted first in memoQ (because they work closely with the users and meet their demand) and then implemented in other tools. In this respect memoQ is always "beta", heh.

[Редактировалось 2016-10-08 21:08 GMT]


Pedro Zimmer  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
German to Spanish
Pregunta repetida una y mil veces Oct 8, 2016

Si hurgas un poco en los foros te encontrarás con decenas de preguntas similares y centenares de respuestas divergentes de todo tipo. Encontrar una respuesta satisfactoria a tu pregunta es utópico. La única manera de quedar medianamente satisfecho es investigar, investigar, investigar y encontrar la mejor relación calidad/precio. La mayoría de las personas pondera lo que tiene y no critica lo demás, sencillamente por que no lo ha probado. Hay programas baratos y buenos y programas muy caros que dejan mucho que desear. Por otra parte, la mayoría de los programas permiten un periodo de prueba de al menos 15 días. En tu lugar dedicaría algún tiempo a desentrañar esta madeja, ya que será tu instrumento de trabajo más importante.


English to Russian
+ ...
criteria Oct 8, 2016

Welcome, ulysseshaq.

It depends on your hardware/software, preferences, skills, habits, language pairs and so on.
There're too many criteria to consider, yet to cut it short for a MS user:
- price
- doc types
- size/installation
- interface/settings
- workflow
. . .
If it's about price, then how about free (I still use oldie WF 3.35x in MS Word'2007) or 'cloud' (online/Internet) options, such as WordFast Anywhere?
If it's about generic (MS Word/Excel) docs, then ANY would do)
If it's about size, then MS Word add-ons are the best (WordFast, SwordFish, MetaTexis, OmegaT).
If it's about interface, then why not check Youtube and others?
If it's about workflow, then discuss it with your mentor/peers, especially if you're going to cooperate.
However, one is always at the expense of the other.

N.B.! Computer AIDED/ASSISTED Translation (CAT) is not an automatic (ready) translation as MT, but a re-used previous similar (mostly) human translation, which also may have errs.


asia20002  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:47
English to Polish
+ ...
recommended CAT tool Oct 9, 2016

My experience is that a lot of big translation agencies work with SDL Trados Studio and I would also recommend this software. In my opinion it is very user-friendly and advanced, with a lot of features.

Kind regards,


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, MemoQ is cheaper than Trados Oct 9, 2016

Sergei Leshchinsky wrote:
MemoQ is simply cheaper than SDL Studio...

That seems to be true.

Trados: EUR 1055 for a perpetual 2-computer license. Upgrades roughly every two years. Upgrade fee is EUR 430 per upgrade.

MemoQ: EUR 620 for a perpetual 2-computer license. Upgrades roughly every six months. Upgrade fee is EUR 124 per year.

... and fully supports its files.

This statement may need to be qualified. For example, MemoQ can read Trados forward packages but can't generate the associated return packages. MemoQ can read Trados wsxz files (but you must fiddle with it, if I'm not mistaken), but AFAIK MemoQ can't generate wsxz return packages. In addition, AFAIK, MemoQ can't create target files from SDLXLIFF files.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You should ask for your money back Oct 9, 2016

ulysseshaq wrote:
Greetings, I am currently an MA student in professional translation and interpreting.

I am astounded that even though you are already at the "masters" level of your translation training (and not merely the academic side of translation, but "professional" translation at that), you have not been taught anything about CAT tools. You should urgently ask for your money back.


Max Luo
Russian Federation
Chinese to Russian
Choose SmartCAT Oct 10, 2016

In my opinion, SmartCAT is the best choice for you. As opposed to Trados and MemoQ, SmartCAT is free, it is easy to use, it supports SDL's filese and it has it's own marketplace. It's not just a CAT tool, it is a platform, where clients from all over the world can choose between the 70k+ translators and find the most suitable one. So you not only have a chance to use an advanced CAT tool for free, you can also get a job from one of the SmartCAT client's. You can follow the link below and get an additional $5 bonus for signing up on my invitation:

[Edited at 2016-10-11 05:50 GMT]


asia20002  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:47
English to Polish
+ ...
prices Oct 10, 2016

Well, my experience is that you can buy upgrades much cheaper than EUR 430 in Poland.
I agree that the first license is expensive but there are promotions for upgrades.

[Edited at 2016-10-10 06:47 GMT]


Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:47
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
SDL Studio, for all its faults Oct 10, 2016

ulysseshaq wrote:
Essentially, I want to start on the right footing. They are all kinds of CAT tools and software, and I would just like your professional advice, which are the best ones, and what is the difference between them?

This is a huge topic. When starting out in any area I tend to commit to the industry standard, if one exists, and evaluate other packages every now and again only after I am familiar with the dominant software. A lot of the industry discussion (reviews, questions in forums, news) will be defined using the dominant software as a reference, so being a user of that software makes it easier for me to follow the debate.

I invested in SDL Studio because it was the only one that clients specified as being desirable to own. Some time after I bought Studio one other client asked me to use Transit NXT, but that was for a specific vertical application. I have been asked to use MemoQ once, but the client provided a license for the duration of the project.

In terms of use, Transit is tolerable, but not in the same category as Studio. I think MemoQ is a proper, modern CAT tool and broadly competitive with Studio. I found MemoQ pleasant to use, but then I don't find Studio unpleasant to use either. There are dozens of minor players with their own adherents.

When purchasing Studio, I waited until I got a slightly better deal with a group buy on ProZ. I buy major upgrades, although only after watching how the early upgraders fare. I think MemoQ defaults to an annual subscription model, so you might want to watch that, as the choice to use that money is effectively denied to you.

A vocal minority in this forum and this industry will decry the use of CAT and call it a racket (fuzzy matrix discounts etc.). I disagree and get the impression that many older freelancers simply haven't been able to accept the way translation has evolved from being a cottage industry to a recognisably modern business, with all that implies for sophisticated tool use. For me personally, CAT tools demonstrably improve productivity and this probably holds true for most translators who make a serious attempt to use them.

Of course there is a monetary cost involved, but if a freelancer with long experience is struggling to cover the price of a decent CAT tool once every few years, then their business has far more serious problems than their choice of translation software. For newcomers it is a more complex choice. If you can spare the money, I would go for it. Obtain it early, use it for every project, get familiar with it, use it to signal to clients that you're serious about translation.



Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:47
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Studio is only a tiny bit more expensive than memoQ Oct 10, 2016

Samuel Murray wrote:

Trados: EUR 1055 for a perpetual 2-computer license. Upgrades roughly every two years. Upgrade fee is EUR 430 per upgrade.

MemoQ: EUR 620 for a perpetual 2-computer license. Upgrades roughly every six months. Upgrade fee is EUR 124 per year.

These statements may need to be qualifiedicon_wink.gif

You can nearly always find a special offer for CAT tools.
Right now, Studio costs €495 for a perpetual single-computer license (or €655 for a 2-computer license). Upgrade fee is €175 or free through a support agreement, which costs €139/year
memoQ costs €434 for a perpetual single-computer license. Upgrades through support agreement, €124

So, yes, Studio is a little bit more expensive that memoQ, but not nearly double the price!


Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:47
German to English
"all kinds of CAT tools and software" Oct 10, 2016

I half agree with Dan: Try out Trados and then try out everything else if you are unsatisfied or curious.

On the other hand, there are also very different KINDS of tools:
I got started with Wordfast Classic (one of the Word add-on examples listed by DZiW) and think it is great. I also own Wordfast Pro (a Trados-type CAT tool), but have never gotten around to trying it out, even though I paid one or two hundred euros to get both licenses at the same time.
There are also online tools and company-specific tools as well as task-specific tools for translating certain types of source material (websites, for example).

So, if you want to get an overview, then start with DZiW's list. (And Michael Beijer recently compiled a list of online tools somewhere in the forums.) If you already know that you are going to be working for agencies and are looking to save time, then just try out the industry standard (Trados) and stick with it until you have a good reason not to.


Jan Truper
Local time: 08:47
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
my impression Oct 10, 2016

The following statements are broad generalizations that are strictly based on my personal impression over the years. I have no data to back them up in any way.

• SDL Trados tends to be used by agencies that have been in the business for a while and cater to "old economy" clients -- medical texts, technical manuals, etc.

• memoQ tends to be used by newer agencies that cater to "new economy" clients -- games, web sites, etc.

• Wordfast tends to be used by large agencies that value having a large pool of freelance translators. I assume this is due to the fact that it is the cheapest option.

I myself have used all three. These days, if I have the choice, I use memoQ (which offers more functionality than Wordfast without the exorbitant price tag of Trados).


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:47
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
SDL Studio Oct 10, 2016

I have been with Trados since Trados 3.something, and it has transformed from a pain in the neck to a really useful tool. I have tried others along the way, but always come back to Trados. MemoQ is worth considering, but most of my clients work with Trados, now Studio, so I stayed with it.

I definitely think it is worth the investment, and if you take the time to use the core features efficiently, it really can help you improve quality and perhaps save time. The more advanced features are useful on occasions, so if you have an idea about them, they are an advantage too.

(Here I mean functions such as creating an Auto-Suggest dictionary, which is useful to have, but you do not often create a new one. Or aligning source and target files, which is not normally necessary, but can be useful now and then.)

I do not edit and review much any more, but I wish I had had the editing features when I did!

A great many clients use Studio, and if you can work with it comfortably, it opens up a large market.

Ultimately, working comfortably with a CAT tool, whichever you choose, is most important. If you are thinking all the time about the mechanics of moving from one sentence to the next, and struggling with formatting and tags, you cannot concentrate on translation. It is tiring, and you cannot produce the same quality of work in the same time.

Try free versions of two or three, and really give yourself time to get familiar with them. My favourite alternatives to Trados were Wordfast Classic and MemoQ. Then go for one and use it whenever you can, so that it feels as automatic as just typing. It takes an effort, but it is worth it.

PS Some agencies provide .tmx files, and the best are very useful, but you still need to be critical. Even the good TMs may become outdated in time. Others contain errors, anything from poor translations to typos and small technical errors, if they have not been created exclusively from corrected and proofread files.
The same applies to your own as you build them up - so be aware that the TM is not carved in stone! But they are in general very useful.

Good luck!


Dr Howard Ca (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:47
Italian to English
+ ...
SDL TRADOS worth the investment? Really? Oct 10, 2016

" Worth the investment" - Would this be the same SDL TRADOS which completely ignores all Apple Mac users in not offering a Mac version?

James Muir
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Which are the most recommended CAT Tools?

Advanced search

PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search