Strategy for using CAT tools
Thread poster: Sarah Brenchley

Sarah Brenchley  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 11, 2006

I'm really interested in hearing how other more CAT experienced translators use CAT tools and what strategies they follow. At what stage, for example, do you add terms to the memory and clean up the document? After the first rough translation? At the end? Do you save various versions of the TM?
I find myself cleaning up after the first translation and correcting the cleaned text in the second revision but possibly this isn't the best way to go about things. What do you do to preserve as pure a TM as possible?
Ideally I suppose it's best to leave it as late as possible before cleaning the document but I find it hard to revise the document segment by segment. What do others do?


Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
My method for Wordfast Jul 11, 2006

I always keep my documents segmented as long as possible. Your translation memory is updated when you go to the next segment. So all the TUs are already in the TM.

If you revise your translation you can use two methods:

1. Reopen the segment, make the correction and close it. The TU will be corrected automatically.

2. Leave the segments closed and just correct the targets. The TM will not be updated. To update the TM anyway without cleaning up you need to enable UpdateWithQuickClean in Pandora's Box. Now, any time you want you can click on the Quick clean-up bottom. A new dialog will appear. Click on Yes to update the TM without cleaning up the document.

BTW, you can toggle the view with Ctrl+,


[Edited at 2006-07-11 13:10]


Marc P (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
German to English
+ ...
With OmegaT Jul 11, 2006

My strategy, using OmegaT:

1st draft in OmegaT
Check segment by segment against original in OmegaT
Spelling check in Extspell
Create target documents
Print out, read through, mark up, insert corrections in OmegaT
Check segment by segment against original in OmegaT
Create target documents
Spelling check in
Correct any formatting as necessary in

I add terms to the glossary throughout the process. I save copies of the entire project, at least at the end of each working day and usually also at the end of each of the five stages.


[Edited at 2006-07-12 08:10]


Marta Fernandez-Suarez (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:31
English to Spanish
with SDLX Jul 11, 2006


I like working with SDLX because it seems more reliable for formatting than Trados.

I do a first draft validating only segments I am most happy with. The memory does not get updated automatically, but validating helps towards consistency as you get suggested near matches or 100% matches of sentences you've done previously in the same translation. When I'm done, have a quick look over the whole thing again segment by segment.

I then do a spell check (I later do another one on the final clean copy -SDLX spell check is not as good as Word). Then I preview the target version and print it to do a proofreading on paper later on (ideally, one day after).

I input any amendments done on paper into the bilingual copy (.itd) and I print again to do a further revision on paper. After that, I amend the bilingual copy and I update the memory with it if second spell check is fine.

I hope it helps.

Kind regards



Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
English to French
My workflow with Trados Jul 11, 2006

1. I translate
2. I reread
3. I clean (the TM is updated with the latest changes), keeping a backup uncleaned file (.bak file) when using Word
4. I send the job
5. If the customer comes back with changes, I update the uncleaned file and clean again (customer changes are therefore incorporated in the TM)
6. I implement any terminology changes in previous projects stored in the TM using the Maintenance feature

I prefer rereading with source and target segments (choosing different colours for source/target to make it more eye-friendly) rather than both clean files side by side.
I don't save versions of the TM, I just keep the original one. In case something goes badly wrong, it is very likely that translations are either stored in the TM or in the uncleaned file (autosaved every 10 minutes). An outright HD failure is another story...



Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:31
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Depends on length Jul 11, 2006

When I work in Word with Wordfast, I leave the original document unchanged, rename it by adding the target language suffix (DE) and translate it. The TM is updated every time I go to the next segment. When I'm through I close the document, reopen it, check each segment again (reopen) and clean the document. I name the source (DE1) and perhaps send it for checkup. When it comes back, I rename it (DE2), compare the changes in Word and apply the changes to DE1, which I clean up to update the TM.
Then I send DE2 to the costumer. Of course the uncleaned document remains also as bak, but I seldom go back to the bak-file.



GoodWords  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Déjà Vu Jul 12, 2006

After completing the first draft of the translation---during which each segment is autosaved to the TM as soon as it is completed---I review the translation within Déjà Vu, primarily to check each segment against its respective source to make sure there has been no distortion of meaning.

Then I export the document and review the translation in the original format to check that it reads well and flows in the target language. Any adjustment that might be necessary at the sentence level (combining or dividing sentences or changing their order) is done now. At this point, I still have Déjà Vu open in order to implement into the memory any changes made, autosaving them in the TM. Then I re-export to create a new translated version that reflects the corrections made at this stage.

If necessary, this step is repeated.

When I have the final delivery version of the translation ready, I send the translation to memory in Déjà Vu once more, but this time deleting all previous versions, so that only the final version remains in the TM.

Since I notice that others have mentioned saving the original version of the file and making a working copy, it may be worth mentioning that this happens by default, since by virtue of the way Déjà Vu works, it does not modify the source document.

Thus, to answer Sarah's questions:
Sarah Brenchley wrote:
At what stage, for example, do you add terms to the memory and clean up the document?

I add terms to the memory at any stage. Likewise, I add segments to the memory at all stages of the translation and revision process. Due to the way Déjà Vu works, there is no "clean up" stage.
After the first rough translation? At the end?
All of these, and at intermediate stages, too.
Do you save various versions of the TM?
During the translation and revision process, I save every version to the TM. At the end, when the translation is ready for delivery, I remove all versions except the final one.

[Edited at 2006-07-12 15:10]


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:31
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My "strategy", if you want to call it that Jul 12, 2006

Sarah Brenchley wrote:
At what stage, for example, do you add terms to the memory and clean up the document? After the first rough translation? At the end? Do you save various versions of the TM?

When I start, I first make a backup copy of the original document. I also make backup copies of all stages of translation, so that I can easily fall back if something goes wrong. I translate the document using Wordfast, and I add terms to the glossaries as I encounter them. After the translation, I hide hidden text and do a spell-check. Then I update the translation memory (because during the spell-check certain words may have been changed). Then I print the document and do a hardcopy proofread. Then I manually update each segment in which I have decided to make a change. Then I do a final clean, and check to see if everything has been cleaned.


Vito Smolej
Local time: 19:31
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
My way of doing things... Jul 13, 2006

I see the translation memory as the central point and all the bilingual documents as consumables (of course until the final deliverable). If I have the translation memory, I can get everything I have done so far from the original document. So, of course, this is the part of the system, that I archive daily.

Every new document I pretranslate using what I called "Full Monty" translation memory: it is the dump for all the segments - well, nearly all -. Next, I export frequent segments, translate them by hand and reimport and pretranslate the document again.

If it is a new specialized field, it makes very much sense to look around for specialized vocabularies - or to create one by yourself. Once a word is in a vocabulary, either I stick to it, or I go and change the vocabulary (ie the MultiTerm) entry AND all the occurences in the translation memory - it's a drudgery, but I don't see any other mechanistic way to keep consistent fundus - synonims come at the very end if at all -.

The documents I keep in three subdirectories

(changed lately to incoming\work\outgoing, because that's the way TranslationOffice calls them, but the idea is still the same)

I translate all original DOCs to RTFs in Work to spare myself time.

PS: using TRADOS (and rarely Transit, Dejavu and - never (g) - Wordfast).

[Edited at 2006-07-13 11:33]


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