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"Apply the TM breakdown"
Thread poster: Gregory Lassale

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:15
English to French
+ ...
Apr 17

Hello,

I am just getting started as a translator and have virtually no experience with CAT tools save for a couple of tiny jobs done on Wordfast Anywhere and tooling around with OmegaT.

A prospective client is telling me they require Trades compatibility so OmegaT is out. Since my computers are Mac, my next trados-compatible and cost-effective option is be CafeTran.

The client is asking if I am able to open Xliff files (which I believe CafeTran can do) and to apply a TM discount breakdown they previously submitted to me. Having already agreed to that TM breakdown, I am not sure what they are asking. Do CAT tools have functionalities to "apply TM breakdowns" for invoicing or something like that? I am totally confused.

Thanks for any light you can shed on this.

G.L.


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:15
Member
English to French
Applying TM breakdowns Apr 17

It means performing calculations in order to assess the leverage you can get from previous translations stored in the TM and the amount of repeated sentences.
In fact, it decreases the wordcount to reflect the time you will save by using the TM to retrieve old translations that "match" the sentence you're working on to a certain extent. By charging a "weighted wordcount" (ie the wordcount that is paid at your "full word rate"), you transfer the benefits of CAT tool use to the agency. Ideally, you keep a bit to yourself to pay back your CAT investment.

For some agencies though, these discount tables/matrices/grids/schemes are totally disconnected from actual time savings and are just a means to rip you off.

A CAT discount table is usually presented that way, based on a CAT tool analysis:

100% matches: 20% of full word rate (the word rate you offered the agency)
Repetitions: 20% of full word rate
95-99% matches: 60% of full word rate
85-94% matches: 60% of full word rate
75-84% matches: 100% of full word rate
0-74% matches: 100% of full word rate (usually)

This is my "reference" discount table based on the time I save in my language pair and fields.

To get an idea of what such calculations mean for your wallet, you can play around with CATCount, a handy and free tool to work out a
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q7nruguDnA

Philippe


 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:15
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you. Follow up question Apr 17

Thank you for the help. Does the following discount table look reasonable to you?

New words: 100%
Fuzzies 75-99%: 50
Repetitions: 20%
100% matches: 20%

I already agreed to a rate $0.02 less than my standard rate (but $0.01 more than what they were originally offering) to get the ball rolling...


 

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:15
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
So, a 75% fuzzy is supposed to take you about half the time? Apr 18

I usually copy source to target and start again with 75% fuzzies.

What counts in the end, for both parties, is the overall price received or paid. You could time a few projects, for example, decide on your desired hourly rate, and see if the overall price agreed in the end matches the number of hours it would take you to do the job.


 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:15
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well... Apr 18

Well, I'm certainly not thrilled about the fuzzy discount structure, nor am I about the per-word rate, but it seems I will never get a foot in the door if I keep balking at everything that's offered to me. I'm trying to break into translating...as in I'm trying to land my very first job. I don't want to be the person offering criminally lower rates than my peers, but I also have to take into account my current skills, experience etc. It's a tricky situation to be in and a tough balancing act that most novice translators must go through, it seems to me. Experienced professionals can afford to be pickier after they have developed solid relationships with clients and receive enough business to sustain them, but how do you get started without making a few compromises? That's just business sense. I don't have to agree to those rates with all clients, but it'd be nice to get a few jobs from this one to gain some momentum, experience, and pad my portfolio.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 20:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
ALWAYS measure against the client's TM or a blank TM Apr 18

If you give a client an estimate like that, always use their TM or an empty TM. I can then run some texts against my own TM and find some more matches, but that does not concern the client. (The matches I find in my TM may or may not be suitable in their context, or they may simply be standard phrases like 'Page 3 of 6' and the like.)

It probably depends a bit on your language pair how much you benefit from fuzzy matches, too.

I work with Danish as the source and English as my target language - there are not a lot of inflections etc. to check in the source, so the chances are that matches are quite useful. Even then, I never manage to save as much time as some agencies claim. The 'overhead time' of setting up, checking and keeping TMs up to date is not significantly affected, even if the time between starting to translate and delivering the job is shortened to some extent.

For me, anything over 75% is normally quite useful, and I even like the AutoSuggest and Fragment Match features in Trados... But if you work with languages where you also have to check for gender or other agreements in all your fuzzy matches, then even the very high percentages may or may not be worth your while, I'm not sure.

We seriously have to fight the 'one size fits all' approach to translation. Each text is different, and although you can define some general rules and patterns, you cannot be sure they apply to your languages and the specific text you are looking at.


 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:15
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 18

Thanks for the advice, Christine. Much appreciated!

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:15
French to English
Some sensible and practical suggestions Apr 18

Once you have some idea of how it works, then you will be in a position to make the essential decision Astrid describes: is the offer a worthwhile business proposition to me? We can always learn something new and the suggestions made by colleagues here are clear and helpful.

I would like to add just one comment though; you agreed to the offer without understanding what you were agreeing to. That is part of anyone's learning curve. You are asking the right questions, but it would have been nice to have asked them before accepting their offer. As you are just starting out, you seem to have a pragmatic approach and flexibility and humility are helpful. Do make sure you don't wind up working for a dollar an hour though.icon_wink.gif


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:15
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Simply use Excel Apr 19

Gregory Lassale wrote:
The client is asking [me] ... to apply a TM discount breakdown they previously submitted to me. ... Do CAT tools have functionalities to "apply TM breakdowns" for invoicing or something like that?


I'm not sure if some CAT tools provide a tool for calculating the invoice amount based on the analysis, but most CAT tools do provide the analysis in a format that can be copied and then pasted into Excel. Once you know what the analysis looks like in Excel, you can create a little template Excel file with the appropriate calculations pre-filled into the appropriate columns, so that you can perform the calculation instantly every time you paste a new analysis into the Excel file.

Christine Andersen wrote:
If you give a client an estimate like that, always use their TM or an empty TM.


I agree. Unless you carefully maintain a separate TM for each client (and for each subject field within each client's work), you should perform the analysis against an empty TM (which means that there will be no fuzzy matches) or against a TM provided by the client.

I have only *one* client who expects me to maintain a project TM for his jobs. So, for that client, I maintain a separate TM, which I don't use as the active TM during translation, which I only update at the end of every job, so that I can run accurate analyses against it every time I get more work from that client.

Most of my clients who want fuzzy discounts perform the analyses themselves, against their own TMs. I generally trust the client's analysis -- so far, I have encountered only one client who deliberately tried to reduce the amount by applying a non-legitimate costing to the analysis (he claimed that since he pre-translated the target fields with machine translated "matches", he thought that I would be okay with it if he applied an additional discount). For new clients, I usually double-check the analysis to see if I get a similar result (and I usually do).

Clients who do not expect fuzzy matches (or who do not have their own TM) sometimes ask me to do the analysis and rate calculation myself, and in such cases I do it against an empty TM. I never give internal fuzzy discounts unless the client asks for it.

For me, anything over 75% is normally quite useful...


I agree that it depends on the language and the subject field (and often also on the quality of the previous translations). In my case, anything below 85% is often not worth tinkering with, but that does not stop agencies from expecting me to base my discount table on 75% (which is somehow an industry standard).


[Edited at 2018-04-19 08:08 GMT]


 

Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 20:15
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
(OmegaT) Apr 19

Gregory Lassale wrote:

Hello,

A prospective client is telling me they require Trades compatibility so OmegaT is out. Since my computers are Mac, my next trados-compatible and cost-effective option is be CafeTran.

G.L.


This was really an aside to your question, but: you *can* generally use OmegaT where Trados compatibility is required, and plenty of people do.


 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:15
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
OmegaT / Trados compatibility Apr 19

Mair A-W (PhD) wrote:

This was really an aside to your question, but: you *can* generally use OmegaT where Trados compatibility is required, and plenty of people do.


Thank you for bringing that up. My contact at the translation agency indicated OmegaT wasn't compatible with Trades files. I did a quick search and the (older) threads I found stated compatibility was limited. The OmegaT compatibility webpage states the following:

"OmegaT has rudimentary support for XLIFF, and a procedure for using XLIFF in OmegaT in conjunction with the Rainbow tools can be found here. The filters available are mainly for file formats peculiar to the IT industry rather than end-user files."

http://omegat.org/howtos/compatibility


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 02:15
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
OmegaT and Trados support Apr 20

Plain XLIFF is not a TRADOS format. Standard Trados documents are .sdlxliff, which are generally highly compatible with OmegaT in conjunction with Okapi filters. In certain cases the file may not import properly; such cases are uncommon but non-negligible.

OmegaT does not support SDL packages (.sdlppx), which is really the main reason why I have moved on from it as my primary tool.

Omegat is not compatible with sdltm, but neither are most non-SDL tools.


 

Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 20:15
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
(sdl packages) Apr 20

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Plain XLIFF is not a TRADOS format. Standard Trados documents are .sdlxliff, which are generally highly compatible with OmegaT in conjunction with Okapi filters. In certain cases the file may not import properly; such cases are uncommon but non-negligible.

OmegaT does not support SDL packages (.sdlppx), which is really the main reason why I have moved on from it as my primary tool.


Nooo but the packages are secretly just zip files: unzip, work on the contents as usual, zip back up: http://omegat4all.blogspot.de/2012/07/how-to-handle-trados-2009-sdlppx-with.html

(I haven't actually tried this myself).


 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:15
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Apr 20

Thank you for the clarifications. I will see when the agency sends me my first job (hopefully soon, fingers crossed!) what type of file they meant by Trades compatibility. My contact specifically asked if I was able to open xliff files so maybe she thought that was a Trados format. It sounds like OmegaT can handle sldxliff all the same and that there is a workaround for sldppx packages. I will give the latter a shot if that's what they send me.

I'm on a Mac and don't want to go the bootcamp / virtual machine route unless I don't have a choice. Bootcamp requires a reboot every time you want to switch OSs. I've used VMs for other things and even through they've come a long way, they are still relatively slow. Mac native options are going to be OmegaT, CafeTran, and Wordfast Pro which I'm considering buying...


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:15
Member (2015)
English to French
+ ...
More options Apr 20

Hello Gregory,

SDLXLIFF is an XML-based bilingual file format specially developed for use in SDL Trados Studio. It is compliant with version 1.2 of the XLIFF standard. SDLXLIFF stands for SDL XML-based Localization Interchange File Format.

It is safe to say SDLXLIFF files are a proprietary XLIFF flavor.

At any rate, since you are considering your CAT tool options, I’d like to point out you have several more options available while working on a Mac. You can review them, so that you can make an informed decision.

Along with the native ones you mention:

- OmegaT
- CafeTran Espresso (my tool of choice)
- WordFast Pro 3 & 5

there is also:

- Memsource (Memsource offers a desktop editor, along with a cloud editor)
- Swordfish Translation Editor
- Fluency Now

All these have a trial version and offer a Mac-compatible version.

To these, you can add some purely online (cloud) tools:

- MateCat
- Smartcat
- Wordfast Anywhere
- Lilt

The first three are free to use, Lilt being subscription based.

If I’m not mistaken, all of the above claim to handle SDLXLIFF files (and some, even SDL packages - SDLPPX), albeit to varying degrees and with some limitations.

I also strongly suggest that, when you start receiving SDL Trados files to translate (among other project and file types), you install an SDL Trados trial on a Windows VM (such as VirtualBox).

This will help you:

- Prevent any hick up when delivering the files, since you will be able to first test them or finalize them yourself in SDL Trados. By taking a “round trip”, as it is called, you take no risks in your first assignments;
- Understand how SDL Trados works (by using self-help resources) and familiarize yourself with features peculiar to this tool (for example, the different segment statuses, the Track changes features, SDL packages, analyzing, finalizing/exporting files, handling Translation Memories etc.);
- Test the compatibility of all these native and online tools in SDL Trados.

As a note, I see you have gathered a good number of KudoZ points so far. If you ever decide to invest in a ProZ.com membership, these will help you appear higher in the translator’s directory, at least enough to get occasionally contacted by (mostly) agencies who seek new collaborations. Although it does not replace an active marketing approach, this passive way of getting clients is certainly appreciated.

There is one last consideration I’d like to share. While you are looking to land your first assignments and grow your client base to achieve a steady stream of work, try to strike a fine balance between the need to be competitive, and the need for personal/professional development. From my experience, this is crucial in the beginning. Learn when to say no, and avoid working at rates that will easily get you overworked (bear in mind that, once you get a few clients, you will be able to decide to apply a higher rate to all new collaborations, and periodically increase you rates from there). The deadlines are often short, but if the price is right, you can dedicate more time to work on your texts without rushing them. This in turn may help you deliver better quality (and so lead to repeat work), and gain more experience from creating your translations. By working less to reach the same amount of pay, you also give yourself the necessary time to look for new and better collaborations, for self-learning, CPD, etc.

All the best!

Jean

[Edited at 2018-04-20 12:13 GMT]


 
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