Experience with SmartCat?
Thread poster: globallylocal

Jul 5, 2017

Note to moderator: If you feel this topic belongs in another board, please move it. I wasn't sure where to post it!

Hi there,

I was wondering if any of you have tried out SmartCat - either as a translator or as a project manager? https://www.smartcat.ai/

To me it seems that SmartCat offers many of the functions that other, more established CAT tools have - it seems really similar to Memsource - but their business model is completely different. I am quite interested to try it out as a CAT tool/TMS in my company, where localization is still in its baby shoes maturity-wise. By that I mean that even though there are lots of translations, there are no established processes, no TMs, no glossaries - and I think SmartCat could be a good and economical introduction to take it to a more mature level.

As I am not familiar with SmartCat (and their business model) at all, does anyone have any more experience with their features, the usage, customer support, reliability, and so on? Are you missing anything, do you have any doubts? How does it compare to other tools? Any feedback would be much appreciated!

Thank you!

[Edited at 2017-07-05 07:55 GMT]


Russian Federation
Local time: 22:21
English to Russian
+ ...
I tried - sorta, and now I try to forget about it. Sep 11, 2017

My experience lasted about an hour, after that I decided I was not interested - even if this is - supposedly - a free tool (well, it's not exactly free, cos some functions are paid, like PDF conversion).
My main reason is it's a purely cloud system and you cannot save anything to your local PC.
(So you will be ok, as long as your web connection is working, but I can hardly imagine a place on earth that hasn't experienced any connection malfunction, even a brief one. Then, what about working on board a plane, on a subway (underground) train etc.? There is NO chance you won't encounter these annoying no-web connection moments in your life, and these are the moments you won't be able to work in smartCAT - AT ALL! And since the developers actually brag about this approach (according to them, it's more secure as translators cannot download either files or TMs from the cloud) I believe this will never be solved.)
So, I stopped at that (well I also noticed smartCAT cannot merge two segments together across paragraph marks - it's in 2017, when the competition (Trados, Wordfast, Memsource) can do it!), but according to other people, smartCAT:
a) does not properly return 99-100% matches from TM, failing to return even 100% matches regularly;
b) TM and TB results shown in one window and without any colour highlighting, no terms highlighting in the translation window
c) Concordance working in 50% of cases
d) No way to associate several translation variants to one original as correct
e) no normal spell check
f) apparently, no way to customize QA behaviour (orange exclamation marks at every tiny thing, like different punctuation marks - everything, including spelling mistakes, is shown as these orange exclamation marks)
g) selecting text is extremely hard and annoying...
h) Horrible technical support.
According to the users, they spend 50% (!!!!) more time translating texts with smartCAT than with Trados.

So, my verdict is: translators - stay away, this tool is not for you. I've got no idea whether this tool is good for project management and other things, but I can assure you - while I can love, like or dislike various CAT tools, I will NOT work in this one and I most likely will not work with TAs that use this tool.


English to Russian
+ ...
depends, as usually Sep 11, 2017

First, it's always worth (1) checking some vids (e.g. youtube) regarding the subject, (2) comparing the features and nuances, and (3) trying it in a VirtualBox or something similar.

Everything is rather relative and subjective for people have different skills, priorities, biases/preferences, exp, "techiness" and so on, that's why "some XXX%/times more" clauses are no specific and but vague. Say, comparing to WF it took me 2000+% more to do a project in Trados, but does it really explain which versions and configurations, what problems/conditions, tasks, jobs--and why exactly?

However, I also don't use online/web-based/cloud solutions for serious projects because of rather many subjective reasons (including NDA), yet others have others think and prefer something different and that's ok)


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