Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4] >
Trados, Wordfast...I can't understand them!!!
Thread poster: GRAZIA MUSUMECI

Local time: 15:54
English to Italian
Jan 11, 2007

I've been working as a freelance translator for 7 years now, WITHOUT any CAT tool...and I still can work quickly and no problem.
Now, it seems you MUST have a CAT tool, or you won't get any job. My personal opinion is someone must make some stupid money by selling these tools, and we don't really need them...but in case I'm wrong, I could accept to just try some TRADOS or Wordfast anyway, for a few days so to convince myself they're worth the use.

I tried to download both...and I almost went crazy!
To understand HOW to set them up is "mission impossible" already. To learn how to use them, sounds ABSOLUTELY impossible.

If I had to choose I would prefer Wordfast . Is there anyone who already uses it? Can you please tell me how to download, set up and use it EASILY??
In private, please. Thanks.

Grazia M., Italy
English>Italian translator
mail to:


English to French
Metatexis Jan 11, 2007

You could give a try to metatexis. You can test it for 60 days, the full version.

there is an "wizard/assistant" very helpful to guide your first steps.

Here is the help on-line in English.

There is a help in Italian to download if you want to. The Help is a mine of informations, very easy to understand and follow. There is a forum for help and the owner does its best to answer any question personally.

I couldn't either understand Trados or Wordfast.

[Edited at 2007-01-11 15:36]


Tony M
Local time: 15:54
French to English
+ ...
You're not alone! Jan 11, 2007

I can entirely sympathize with your position, Grazia, and have felt much the same myself. I'm sure the "need" for these tools is at least in part being driven by those who have a vested interest in selling us them.

My first dip into CAT tools was a few years back, and like you, I couldn't even find out how to get started! Talk about "un-intuitive"!

I have been working perfectly satisfactorily for years without using CAT, and indeed, the vast majority of my work would not lend itself to the use of CAT at all, with virtually zero repetition and little terminology. However, just occasionally, I have seen where CAT might have its uses, in particular at the individual term level (which, sadly, I seem to be unable to grasp during the few attempts I have made).

I have downloaded and occasionally tried to use Wordfast, and I must say I understood at once the basic concept, thanks to the excellent manual and very intuitive design (thanks Yves!). However, I found that it seemed so prone to bugs, behaving unpredictably and inconsistently with even the very simplest of formatted documents, and also overall slowed me down so much rather than the claimed increase in productivity, that I now only use it under duress.

I think such tools are not suited to the creative temperament, at least insofar as that manifests in me!

However, I didn't find downloading and installing Wordfast to be much of a problem, and the initial "getting started" learning curve was slight. So if you are really having problems even at that stage, may I respectfully suggest that your level of computer skills may perhaps not yet be up to the level required to use such tools, and you're probably better off living without them. I don't mean this rudely, after all, I have been having the same problems myself! But if I had not been able to cope with even the first steps, I know for sure I would never have managed to sort out the problems I've subsequently encountered in the later stages; and I haven't even been trying to use the majoirty of the sophisticated "bells and whistles" that are available!

Good luck, and happy translating!


Walerij Winnyk (X)
Local time: 16:54
Chinese to Ukrainian
+ ...
CAT is not a must Jan 11, 2007

You should not have a CAT tool to get a job. The main reason to make a translator have a CAT tool is to pay him or her less for the words that are already translated within a project.

CAT may help a translator, too, but only when you translate documents that have many identical paragraphs or sentences, or you have to translate an electronic spreadsheet. Documents with complex formatting may cause problems.

There are situations, when the same original sentence should be translated differently in different places of a translated document, and CAT inserts automatically one and the same translation everywhere. So, then you need to reread and correct the translation.

You may try to use OmegaT ( CAT tool, it is simple, free and comes with a lot of documentation.


Michael Deliso  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:54
Italian to English
+ ...
cat tools Jan 11, 2007

I second Tony M motion....
I tried…and I tried...Oh have I tried...but to no avail...and when you just get the feeling that maybe...just maybe…you should buy come the umpteenth problem posted on the translators forums about the many bugs, and tags, and terms and etc...etc.. If they are so helpful. I wonder why they are so problematic to understand and why they develop so many problems...shouldn’t CAT tools be user-friendly???
I continue to translate w/o them...since I do many legal papers...
no offense to the CAT tools manufacturers...
I just cannot get the hang of them...


Enza Longo  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:54
French to English
+ ...
Have you considered the training sessions? Jan 11, 2007

Hi Grazia,

I do sympathise with you! I found myself in the same position a few years ago and finally decided to do something about it. I tested both Wordfast and Trados and found Wordfast to be more user-friendly, not to mention cheaper! Although the WF manual is quite good, there always seems to be a step missing to actually get where they tell you to go!
I lived in Portugal at the time and the nearest training session was in Spain so I made the 10-hr train ride and haven't regretted one moment of it. It's well worth the time and expense.
If you go to the WF website, click on Training Sessions Calendar at the top of the page and then scroll down the list. If you haven't found anything close enough, then you can click on 'find the nearest trainer...". This will give you a list of translators who are willing to train you on a one-to-one basis or guide you online.
In any case, whatever you decide, don't be afraid to try it out - you're bound to make some mistakes, but it's the best way to learn isn't it?

Good luck!

[Edited at 2007-01-11 20:56]


Amy Duncan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:54
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Generally pretty useless... Jan 11, 2007

I have Trados, which I didn't have to pay for, since a company I was working for gave it to me (thank God). Basically I find it to be a major pain in the butt, and useful only for documents with lots of repetitions. Then, of course you don't get paid for the repetitions, so it's not so great for us translators.

Glad to say the company I work for now doesn't demand it...ever.



Luca Ruella  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Show must go on Jan 11, 2007


I've been working as a freelance translator for 7 years now, WITHOUT any CAT tool...and I still can work quickly and no problem.
Now, it seems you MUST have a CAT tool, or you won't get any job. My personal opinion is someone must make some stupid money by selling these tools

Hi Grazia,

I understand your frustration towards new technologies but let me disagree with what you say. CAT tools are extremely useful and are a MUST for a modern translator. Some years ago one could have said "these stupid computers! I have always been doing fine with my typewriter..."

I would choose one of the most popular tools used by agencies worldwide, Trados 2006+SDLX or Star Transit. I've been asked to use wordfast only once in my professional life.

Don't know about other tools, but if you want to make yourself appealing for agencies it's always better to go for the most widespread standard.




Tony M
Local time: 15:54
French to English
+ ...
Thanks, Enza, for that helpful info Jan 11, 2007

I didn't know about the training sessions, but I think what I need most is the "one-on-one" kind of handholding.

I do find that the Wordfast usergroup forum is extremely helpful — even though I can't actually understand 95% of what they're talking about! But there's a lot of support available out there.

I would also like to endorse an earlier point, that even repeated phrase segments may well need different treatment at different points, depending on the surrounding context.

Another moan is that I often find segmentation to fragmented, and end up spending ages extending segments till they make sense; this is a particualr problem in language combinations with very different word orders, as in my case FR > EN. The only real solution I have found is to use paragraph-level segmentation, which then rather defeats the whole object! (it also irritates PM's, tee-hee!icon_wink.gif )

Again, my other main beef also lies with segmentation; so often, less than 100% matches (or indeed no matches at all) are caused by some minor and obvious typing error in the original, meaning that the glorious, enticing possibility of "automatically translating 100% matches" flies swiftly out the window. "Fuzzy matching" is all very well, but no help for 100% auto. trans. — and can lead to some odd results too. I've had fuzzy matches where a minor error has led away to a wildly different TM entry, instead of the one that would logically have been closest.

All this is doubly irritating when you're already floundering a bit in the first palce, and don't know the quick solution to such immediate problems.

Finally, I would just like to add that I have on a number of occasions actually been asked to manually revise documents, for the specific purpose of improving the consistency of CAT-ed output! Clearly coming from unskilled users, but nonetheless gratifying for the Luddite that I am!


Cintia Pecellin  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:54
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
Very useful tool for me! Jan 11, 2007

I have been using Trados for about 5 years now, almost daily, and it's definitely the best translation tool I ever invested on!! (Never tried Wordfast, although I've heard it's more user-friendly...).

I DO get paid for repetitions, like most colleagues I personally know or have worked with (although it's true many others choose not to), and for that Trados is truly priceless; it's great!

However, when I first bought it I thought I had downloaded hell in my computer... Then, as soon as I worked through the tutorials, I was able to perform 'basic' functions, like creating a TM, cleaning a file or importing a client's TM. A few weeks later I could successfully align documents and create glossariesicon_smile.gif

Don't give up just yet!

Good luck,


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:54
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
No problem Jan 11, 2007

I would never switch back to the time when I didn't know Wordfast. Of course if most of your work is from hardcopy, you don't need to worry about translation tools. But even if there are no repetitions Wordfast or the like speed up the work and are more ergonomic.
If you think Wordfast or Trados or Transit are difficult to learn, remember how many years of training you needed to learn to use a fountain pen or a typewriter or MS Word. No pain, no gain.


Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
+ ...
Metatexis Jan 11, 2007

I agree with wolmix, Metatexis is perfect for the CAT tool uninitiated; it's much much simpler than Trados and Wordfast.


LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Trados and other CAT tools Jan 11, 2007

[Copied from a previous thread]

I also recently downloaded the TRADOS demo and tried it out, but absolutely hated it. I always print out the source document and do all the terminology research, etc. before I even start typing a job and the idea of having to click on a series of commands after every sentence or paragraph is nonsensical to me.

Most of the work I receive is not in machine-readable format, there are rarely any repetitions and most importantly, I contacted all of the clients and agencies I work for and none of them use CAT tools for their into-English translations.

Bottom line is that your decision to purchase depends on your particular situation. If like me, none of your clients use or require the software, the file formats are incompatible with its use, the projects you receive are of the non-repeating type and/or the software does not support all of your language pairs, then you probably don't need it. In addition, just looking in the TRADOS forum, you will see pages and pages of people having numerous errors and other problems - sometimes at the end of a deadline. Who needs all that trouble? Better to spend more time translating and proofreading than filling up my harddrive with memory files I will never use.

There seem to have been a lot of polls lately regarding the number of people who use CAT tools and/or TRADOS. If you enjoy using CAT tools and they are useful and/or required by your clients, then by all means use them. However, do not be fooled by clever marketing campaigns that attempt to lead you to believe that you cannot be a competent translator or earn a living without one. As for becoming obsolete if you do not use them, I think that in time, they will become easier to use (and hopefully cheaper as well) and less prone to errors.

I think everyone should try them, download the demos and learn what they are all about, so that you can make an educated decision as to whether or not they would be useful to you and so you will not feel so "out of it" and you will know what people are talking about when then mention "segments", "tags", "TM files", etc. However, you certainly do not need this software to get jobs (at least in the U.S.).


Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:54
German to English
+ ...
Training from a colleague? Jan 11, 2007

Whether or not you need a CAT tool is your decision - as is which one to go for - and you are best guided by the information provided in this forum e.g. (don't worry about the "cries for help" amongst these - concentrate on reading the recommendations.

I once "bullied" a colleague into investing in a CAT tool (not one of the simpler ones), because I knew that her work was very repetitive.

I gave her a few hours basic training and now she is saying that her productivity has increased by 30%!

As and when you have made a decision, you might like to make a posting in the "Exchange", asking whether any local colleagues are interested in helping you with training?

Maybe check out who lives near you or attend a Powwow?
(I have been known to ask friends I have met at Powwows technical questions which have ranged from justifiable to laughable:-).)

Like with all software programs, running into it blind can be difficult and a guiding hand at the beginning is invaluable.

Once you have been shown what the program does and how, you can play around with it on your own, asking questions where you really need to.

Buona fortunaicon_wink.gif


Cecilia Di Vita  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:54
English to Italian
+ ...
agree on the training sessions Jan 11, 2007

Thanks God I was taught to use Wordfast when I was still a student at the University ... and they say that Italian universities are only about theory!!icon_wink.gif However, I've never stopped using it since then, and I could not imagine to translate without it.

I agree with Enza's suggestion to attend a training sessions or courses about Wordfast or other major CAT tools. There are some of them periodically organised by various associations, organisations and so on, even here in Italy, Grazia. I know one organisation which organises different courses for the same CAT, starting from basic level to intermediate and advanced.

The Wordfast manual in itself is quite useful but if you do not understand the basic concept behinf CAT tools, then it's not even worth trying to give it a shot.

Don't miss this chance, if you want further information feel free to contact me privately.


Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4] >

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Trados, Wordfast...I can't understand them!!!

Advanced search

CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search