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CAT tols, how many?
Thread poster: Tradupro17
Tradupro17  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:38
English to Haitian-Creole
+ ...
Aug 1

Hi,

How many CAT tools does one freelance translator need? CAT tools are not cheap, so when an agency contacts me and asks for a specific CAT tool and I say I don't have it, I never hear from them again. Should I purchase a CAT tool for every job that I may not even get. How long does it take to make a return after purchasing a CAT tool? Thanks everyone!


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CafeTran Training
Netherlands
Local time: 09:38
One CAT for several CAT tool files Aug 1

Tradupro17 wrote:

Hi,

How many CAT tools does one freelance translator need? CAT tools are not cheap, so when an agency contacts me and asks for a specific CAT tool and I say I don't have it, I never hear from them again. Should I purchase a CAT tool for every job that I may not even get. How long does it take to make a return after purchasing a CAT tool? Thanks everyone!


Most CAT tools can handle files from their competitors. There are differences in how many steps are required.

Regarding the return on your investment: perhaps you should evaluate a free trial version first, in order to draw your own conclusions.


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philgoddard
United States
German to English
+ ...
Try this Aug 1

I don't use CAT except where the client provides it online. I just say I don't have CAT, will a Word file do? Nine times out of ten I get the job anyway.

I think some agencies are overly dependent on CAT - I've been asked to use it for things like tourist brochures and advertising copy, where it serves no purpose that I can see.


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DarwinE
United States
Local time: 02:38
Member (2016)
Spanish to English
+ ...
why pay? There's free ones! Aug 1

In theory it makes sense: a CAT tool lets you handle more words, faster. So less time equals less money right? Maybe, but it seems that the agencies who are diehard mandatory CAT tool users are also the ones who want you to accept ridiculously low rates.

When I do end up using a CAT tool, I use MateCAT. It works wonderfully, it's web-based and it's free. It also has a seamless integration with Google Drive which is how I organize all of my files. Even if an agency asks you to specifically use SDL Trados, there is a way (most of the time) to upload the client's .sdlxliff file into MateCAT, produce your translation, and download it as a deliverable .sdlxliff file.


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Muhammad Irshad  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:38
Member (2016)
English to Urdu
+ ...
Solution Aug 3

A full Proz membership and you get CafeTrans Espresso in free that almost support every file extension and more. After that if you like another alternative CAT, I suggest Trados most agencies demand.

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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
MateCat Aug 3

DarwinE wrote:

When I do end up using a CAT tool, I use MateCAT. It works wonderfully, it's web-based and it's free.


Yes, but did you know that Matecat is specifically designed and is actually being used to train MT? So I wonder if all these translators volunteering for TWB and using MateCat are not actually training MT. I'm reluctant to use web based CATs because they may use your work to get free TMs. Yesterday, I've seen that SDL has created its own web based tool, but I think it's quite dangerous to use it because they can use your work in some way.

[Modifié le 2017-08-03 10:16 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-08-03 10:22 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-08-03 10:22 GMT]

[Modifié le 2017-08-03 10:36 GMT]


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Jean Dimitriadis
France
Local time: 09:38
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
MateCat Aug 3

In a nutshell, if you create/use a Private TM in Matecat, your translations are considered Private Data and won’t be stored in MyMemory public TM.

---

In MateCat, you can save and store your translations:

- in a generic public translation memory which can be accessed via API by all MateCat users [and other CAT users via an API connection].
- in a new or already existing private TM assigned to one or more projects or to a specific client that enables you to save your translation in a private translation memory that cannot be accessed by external users.

In MateCat, each private TM is identified by a unique alphanumeric value called private TM Key. It is the only value you need in order to associate your TM(s) with your project. It works like a password to access your private TM in the MateCat Translation Memory engine.

If you save your translations in the private TM, they will be stored in your private translation memory only and you alone have exclusive use of and access to your contributions to that private TM.

If you save your translations in the public TM, they can be viewed as suggestions by all MateCat users. It would represent a human contribution to a public TM and would help other MateCat users during their translation jobs in MateCat.

Source: https://www.matecat.com/support/managing-language-resources/public-tm-translation-memory-key-tm-key/

See also: https://www.matecat.com/faq/privacy/ and https://www.matecat.com/terms/


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
yes Aug 3

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

In a nutshell, if you create/use a Private TM in Matecat, your translations are considered Private Data and won’t be stored in MyMemory public TM.

---

In MateCat, you can save and store your translations:

- in a generic public translation memory which can be accessed via API by all MateCat users [and other CAT users via an API connection].
- in a new or already existing private TM assigned to one or more projects or to a specific client that enables you to save your translation in a private translation memory that cannot be accessed by external users.

In MateCat, each private TM is identified by a unique alphanumeric value called private TM Key. It is the only value you need in order to associate your TM(s) with your project. It works like a password to access your private TM in the MateCat Translation Memory engine.

If you save your translations in the private TM, they will be stored in your private translation memory only and you alone have exclusive use of and access to your contributions to that private TM.

If you save your translations in the public TM, they can be viewed as suggestions by all MateCat users. It would represent a human contribution to a public TM and would help other MateCat users during their translation jobs in MateCat.

Source: https://www.matecat.com/support/managing-language-resources/public-tm-translation-memory-key-tm-key/

See also: https://www.matecat.com/faq/privacy/ and https://www.matecat.com/terms/


yes, but even if you have your own private TM, it seems to me that it's stored online. So Matecat has access to it (even though you have a password).

[Modifié le 2017-08-03 11:03 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:38
Member (2008)
Italian to English
How many? Aug 3

Tradupro17 wrote:

Hi,

How many CAT tools does one freelance translator need?


In my case: none.


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Jean Dimitriadis
France
Local time: 09:38
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
Yes Aug 3

David GAY wrote:

yes, but even if you have your own private TM, it seems to me that it's stored online. So Matecat has access to it (even though you have a password).

[Modifié le 2017-08-03 11:03 GMT]


There is no denying that. MateCat is an online tool, and data is stored online (although TMs, etc. can be downloaded). This can certainly be seen as a drawback.

According to their terms: All segments, whether they are “Public Data” or “Private Data”, are collected, processed and used by MateCat to create internal statistics. Additionally, “Public Data” are used to provide translation matches to other users of the MateCat software.

Note: I am only an occasional MateCat user, I simply wanted to set the record straight regarding the usage of private data.

I second the recommendation for CafeTran Espresso, which is my preferred CAT tool. Powerful, versatile and hugely enjoyable, it works both online and offline on Windows, OS X and GNU/Linux and handles numerous formats, including third party billingual files (Trados, Wordfast, MemoQ, Memsource, etc.).


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
interesting Aug 3

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

[
According to their terms: All segments, whether they are “Public Data” or “Private Data”, are collected, processed and used by MateCat to create internal statistics.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:38
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A life lesson Aug 3

Before CAT tools came up, my late father, then in his eighties, on account of eyesight impairment, stopped driving. At that time I was divorced, living alone, had two parking spaces in the building, so he told me to keep his car while he decided on hiring a chauffeur or not.

For over one year I had two cars at my disposal. In spite of the difference in brands, GM/VW, they were equivalent in size, status, features, etc. Mine was two years older. Every day I had to kinda flip-a-coin to choose which one I would use. My father eventually decided that cabs served him well for his limited needs. So I sold my older car and kept his.

The lesson was that I could only drive one car at a time. When CAT tools came up, it was pretty obvious that I could use only one of them at a time.

A secondary lesson was that if, for any reason, I decided to change cars at any given moment, I'd have to drive all the way home to switch. Likewise, if I started a project using one CAT tool, and decided to change to another midway, I'd have to "drive home", adjust/convert TMs, and start over.

So, at that time, I chose WordFast. None of my clients cares whether I use any CAT tools, as long as I provide high quality translation work, which includes leaving no trace of CAT tool usage.

The analogy here is that my usual clients want me to "get there", regardless of the brand of the car I'll drive to do it. Occasionally some will require that I use - for whatever reasons - a specific CAT tool. In such cases, they'll provide me a license for the duration of the project. That's exactly what happens when a client gets me a rental car for the duration of the job, or perhaps lends me one from their fleet.

So, though I have my own WordFast, now and then clients have me using their portable licenses of MemoQ, Passolo, MemSource, etc.

There is a breed of prospects (no, they are never my clients), mostly found on the Proz job board, whose only demand is "MUST have Trados". They usually don't seem to care much about my translation skills or knowledge, as long as I have that very specific CAT tool, regardless of whether ANY CAT tool will be useful for their current project at hand.

Back to the cars, now I drive a Renault. If anyone says I MUST get there at the wheel of a Mercedes, unless they provide the vehicle, they won't be able to count on my services.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:38
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
One CAT, and YOU CHOOSE IT Aug 3

At first, many people find using a CAT distracting, until they can remember automatically to move from one segment (or sentence) to the next, and insert items from the glossary or the 'AutoSuggest' without having to think about the keyboard short cuts or reach for the mouse.
The basic mechanics need to come naturally, like typing, or they interrupt the flow. You find yourself thinking about the CAT all the time, and cannot concentrate on translating.

Changing from one CAT to another may have the same effect, because the short cuts are different, although in some at least you can customise the combinations and change them to whatever suits you. It should not be necessary to change from one to another. Many CATs are compatible to a large extent. They work with bilingual .xliff files, which can be exported and imported to another CAT. The Translation Memories and glossaries can also be exported and imported from one to another too.

I have grown old with Trados Studio. It has a lot of features, and I do not use them all, but I have used most of them at one time or another. The proofreading functions are good, but I rarely proofread other people's work now, and I do not use them for my own - I do not need to track changes as a rule. The alignment feature is efficient, but I very rarely need it these days.

If I had to start again from scratch now, I might go for MemoQ. Those are the big, glossy models, but many people prefer the more basic ones, if they are never going to use most of the advanced features anyway.

CATs are like cars in that different models suit different people. If you have your own, you can customise it, and you can accumulate your own TMs. I use mine for everything, even tourist texts and non-repetitive pieces. For one thing, over the years they are more repetitive than you expect - that is why Google Translate and MT in general manage as well as they do.
You are never bound by what your CAT suggests - it is always possible to override it. But surprisingly often, last year's version of the job is very useful!

Using agencies' online CATs that do not allow you to accumulate your own experience in your own TMs and glossaries etc. will deprive you of half the benefits of using a CAT. You remain at the beginner stage unless you have an extremely good memory (the grey matter in your head, not the digital kind). You also feed the idea that anyone can do the job, if it's all in the agency's CAT anyway, which is simply not true. Just a little discipline about entering terminology and making sure you can find it again will save a lot of looking up later.

Look into different types of CATs, but invest some time in finding the one you like best, and in keeping it updated. Some people can work with more than one, but keep the number low! Then learn to transfer files and packages from different types of CATs, and don't discuss which one you use with agencies. It is none of their business to choose your tool for you!


[Edited at 2017-08-03 13:34 GMT]


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CafeTran Training
Netherlands
Local time: 09:38
Openness Aug 4

Christine Andersen wrote:

Then learn to transfer files and packages from different types of CATs, and don't discuss which one you use with agencies. It is none of their business to choose your tool for you!


Thanks for the nice posting, Christine!

Regarding the use of alternative CAT tools to process memoQ, Transit, Studio etc. projects, I'd advise complete openness.

A (beginning) user of CAT tools cannot predict the consequences that the use of an alternative CAT tool can have.

Best, run a short test in advance.

What's also relevant in this regard, are the different sets of QA checks that different CAT tools have.


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
But Aug 4

Christine Andersen wrote:

At first, many people find using a CAT distracting, until they can remember automatically to move from one segment (or sentence) to the next, and insert items from the glossary or the 'AutoSuggest' without having to think about the keyboard short cuts or reach for the mouse.
The basic mechanics need to come naturally, like typing, or they interrupt the flow. You find yourself thinking about the CAT all the time, and cannot concentrate on translating.

Changing from one CAT to another may have the same effect, because the short cuts are different, although in some at least you can customise the combinations and change them to whatever suits you. It should not be necessary to change from one to another. Many CATs are compatible to a large extent. They work with bilingual .xliff files, which can be exported and imported to another CAT. The Translation Memories and glossaries can also be exported and imported from one to another too.

I have grown old with Trados Studio. It has a lot of features, and I do not use them all, but I have used most of them at one time or another. The proofreading functions are good, but I rarely proofread other people's work now, and I do not use them for my own - I do not need to track changes as a rule. The alignment feature is efficient, but I very rarely need it these days.

If I had to start again from scratch now, I might go for MemoQ. Those are the big, glossy models, but many people prefer the more basic ones, if they are never going to use most of the advanced features anyway.

CATs are like cars in that different models suit different people. If you have your own, you can customise it, and you can accumulate your own TMs. I use mine for everything, even tourist texts and non-repetitive pieces. For one thing, over the years they are more repetitive than you expect - that is why Google Translate and MT in general manage as well as they do.
You are never bound by what your CAT suggests - it is always possible to override it. But surprisingly often, last year's version of the job is very useful!

Using agencies' online CATs that do not allow you to accumulate your own experience in your own TMs and glossaries etc. will deprive you of half the benefits of using a CAT. You remain at the beginner stage unless you have an extremely good memory (the grey matter in your head, not the digital kind). You also feed the idea that anyone can do the job, if it's all in the agency's CAT anyway, which is simply not true. Just a little discipline about entering terminology and making sure you can find it again will save a lot of looking up later.

Look into different types of CATs, but invest some time in finding the one you like best, and in keeping it updated. Some people can work with more than one, but keep the number low! Then learn to transfer files and packages from different types of CATs, and don't discuss which one you use with agencies. It is none of their business to choose your tool for you!


[Edited at 2017-08-03 13:34 GMT]


But why do agencies insist on your using/buying a specific CAT then? I had the case of an agency which wanted me to use (and buy) Transit. Are there more functionalities if you buy "the original"?


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