Suggestions on a CAT tool: Trados or Wordfast?
Thread poster: Ana Burger

Ana Burger  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:17
Member (2017)
English to Spanish
+ ...

Posted via Mobile

Oct 13, 2017

Hello everyone, I started as freelance translator a year ago after leaving ny full time job for a translation company. I would like to have some suggestions about wha type of Trados or word fast to buy. I see that most request for translations ask for trados or word fast, which one is more convenient for a freelance translator that have very few clients or no clients?

Your help will be greatly appreciated



neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
WordFast Classic for me Oct 13, 2017

I've been using WF Classic for several years now and I get by just fine. I looked into Trados because a translator colleague recommended it, but I found it far too complicated and too expensive. With WordFast, I was already using it the same day as I installed it. And if you like it, you can always upgrade to WF Pro or Anywhere.

I suppose it depends to a great extent on the agencies you're going to work with. I only work with one or two and they are usually happy to just receive the translations in Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF... And they never ask for TMs, which I wouldn't be happy about giving them anyway.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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@Ana Oct 13, 2017

Ana Burger wrote:
I see that most requests for translations ask for Trados or Wordfast. Which one is more convenient for a freelance translator that have very few clients or no clients?

I suspect that many clients who are specifically asking for Wordfast these days mean Wordfast Pro (if you buy Wordfast Pro you can download and install both version 3.4 and version 5.1). Both versions of Wordfast Pro have their quirks, although WFP 3.4 is arguably easier to use. Trados is a much, much more complicated system, but it can handle more types of files. Is there any reason why you're not considering MemoQ?


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
MemoQ for beginners Oct 14, 2017

Samuel Murray wrote:
Is there any reason why you're not considering MemoQ?

It looks interesting. However, as I already have WFC and use it all the time, I'm reluctant to try MemoQ on my main PC without finding out some basic details first.
For example, whether it takes up a lot of space. I mean, could I run it on the same PC as WFC without sucking up all the memory? I'm thinking about installing it on one of my backup PCs to see how it works out.


Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
English to Italian
MemoQ Oct 14, 2017

I echo Samuel's suggestion. I believe it's worth considering MemoQ as an alternative. IMO it's a good tool, easier to use (and learn) and with generally less technical issues/bugs than Studio. The only thing I don't really like about it is its licensing model, by which you have to pay a yearly fee (every year, uninterruptedly) if you want to be always up to date with the latest version.

Also, in my experience, many (probably most) agencies still ask for Studio, but MemoQ is also relatively used, while no one has ever asked me to use Wordfast.

Last month I started a poll here precisely in order to have a (statistically) basic idea about the most used CAT tools:


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:17
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Depends on your clientèle Oct 15, 2017

Not long ago someone asked me if I could use MemoQ. I answered to the affirmative and installed the latest version. But the project did not materialize.
Most of MY clients use SDL Trados Studio, and I have no problem with the software.
I use still WFC for Word-files and have WFP 3 installed, but find Studio easier than WFP. I know one big agency that is using WFP for all their projects, but they pay too little or their deadlines are too tight for me.
Wordfast used to be cheap but nowadays the fee is nearly as high as for SDL Studio.


CafeTran Training
Local time: 19:17
Not so much Studio itself as Studio packages Oct 17, 2017

Ana Burger wrote:

I see that most request for translations ask for trados or word fast, which one is more convenient for a freelance translator that have very few clients or no clients?

I have never had any request for Wordfast projects. I often have to deliver Studio packages, which I translate with a low-priced, easy to learn tool: CafeTran.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The one that suits you Oct 17, 2017

I have used Trados through many versions, and it has improved enormously since the early Workbench versions. The 'annual subscription' or PSMA is worth every cent in my opinion. I have tried Wordfast Classic many years ago and looked at MemoQ some years back, but came back to Trados/Studio because I prefer the glossary function, Multiterm.
It is now easy to work with the basic glossary functions using a free app.

There are free demos for most CAT tools. Spend some time trying one or two, or if possible, ask a colleague who has the full version to let you see it in action. (It is often easier for a beginner to start in the middle of a project, and then you can better understand the options for setting up and the other functions as you need them.)

Which CAT you prefer may depend on your work routines and approach to translation - if you never use the advanced features anyway, then a simpler and cheaper CAT is probably fine. You may have to learn how to convert files and packages to the formats your clients request, but the CATs are supposed to be more or less compatible.

Using a CAT when you have to think constantly about the 'mechanics' is tiring and distracting, so go for the CAT you feel most comfortable with, and learn the short-cuts and routines, so that they come as naturally to you as typing. Otherwise the quality of your translation may suffer.

I have reached a point where I simply tell clients 'my CAT or no CAT' - but that is not always easy for a beginner, I know. I can still translate without a CAT, but most of my clients can handle Trados Studio, and most actually prefer it.

That said, if you prefer Wordfast or MemoQ, or any other CAT, go for it. YOU are the one who will be working with it for many long days in your career!

Clients are NOT always right - they pay you to be the expert on your side of the business!


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