What CAT tool(s) to use?
Thread poster: kyanzes

kyanzes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:47
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Dec 13, 2007

I've noticed that many of the jobs listed in the relevant section here on this website list SDL-Trados as a required tool to have. I understand from forum entries that most of the translators here aren't really going after the jobs offered here but I wonder how often do other jobs coming from outsourcers require SDL-Trados? If it's a widely accepted standard then sure I'll buy it but first I would like to be confident that this is indeed the right way to go. Also, are there other must have CAT solutions that I should be aware of?

Searching the forum I've found this article:


It could be outdated by now, I really can't tell.

Thanks in advance!


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:47
English to French
+ ...
Compatibility Dec 13, 2007

Whichever tool you ultimately decide to use is not so important as long as it will be compatible with your client's tool. Yes, most of us use Trados, an increasing number of us uses Wordfast and there are some emerging CAT tools that are eating away at SDL's market share. The most important thing is that your tool is TMX-compatible.

Trados and Wordfast both produce TMX memories. This means that you can use Wordfast (much cheaper, and I hear also easier to use) to translate documents that your client uses Trados to handle.

What you ultimately need to know is how compatible different CAT tools are with each other. Once you have narrowed it down to a few, try the trial versions to see which one suits your logic.

I recommend you download the free version of MetaTexis - it will give you a general idea of how CAT tools work and how they pertain to your logic. You also may want to try across - same idea, different interface (you have to enter your data into their database to be able to download a functional copy, which will then be your to keep). You can then go from there. Whatever you do, take your time to get familiar with the different offerings - considering the price some of them cost, it would be a pity to find out after the purchase that you would have preferred something else.


All the best!


Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
+ ...
CAT Tools Dec 13, 2007

I recommend you search the forums, there's plenty of information and there is no one CAT tool that's perfect for everybody. You could also start with this Wikipedia article.

The main reason many clients require Trados is to keep the translations consistent, to re-use previous TMs and count repetitions, and to maintain their own TMs. And for that, you don't need TRADOS. Sometimes the clients request the unclean file (bilingual) so they can create, maintain, etc. TMs. And most CAT tools can export the bilingual Trados-like files.

But you'd need to be upfront about it, sometimes they request Trados for other reasons: they want you to use a Trados glossary (Multiterm), they want you to use a specific tag setting, or whatever reason. But most of the times, they just want the uncleaned file.

Trados is such a mammoth and expensive program that, if you don't have any experience with CAT Tools, it could be overwhelming. You could use cheaper and even free alternatives and indicate that they're Trados-compatible, most are.

I personally prefer Metatexis since it's very easy to use but there's also Wordfast, Omega-T (free), Déjà Vu, STAR Transit (I just discovered it and it seems interesting), etc. You basically have a lot of choices.

Good luck.



kyanzes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:47
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I see Dec 13, 2007

Thank you both for your comments! I've just tried MetaTexis and found it quite straightforward, at least at first glance. Not exactly feature ridden but then again that was the very first CAT I've ever tried in my life, so actually I don't even know yet what features are missing if any.

I see there are online solutions as well but I guess it wouldn't be prudent to use them since the owners of the site will probably save my translations "for backup purposes".

Also, how earthshaking is the offer below?


I don't have any reference as to how good of a deal would this be. It would be an unfortunate experience to see it listed in January for half the current price. I have little idea if such opportunities are a regular feature on proz.com. Does this offer seem to be a "one in a lifetime and you are fortunate to have lived to see it and have the chance to opt in" one?

Also, when they say "Freelancer" edition, does that mean that I have to be a private contractor to buy it at that price?

Now don't get me wrong, I don't insist on buying it, I'm merely curious if it's some kind of an ultimate deal. I mean it's not the kind of stuff people would position under their xmas trees and awe about so I don't really get the "end of the year" giveaway price.


Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:47
English to Indonesian
+ ...
trados alternatives Dec 13, 2007

kyanzes wrote:

I wonder how often do other jobs coming from outsourcers require SDL-Trados? If it's a widely accepted standard then sure I'll buy it but first I would like to be confident that this is indeed the right way to go. Also, are there other must have CAT solutions that I should be aware of?

based on my personal experience specializing in web and software localization, the use of trados has declined in recent years. there are many of my new clients who required me to use other tools. these tools are mostly freewares, or at least sharewares.
as for general translation that does not require specific tools, i use omegat. it can also generates tmx.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
More clients here require it Dec 13, 2007

kyanzes wrote:
...but I wonder how often do other jobs coming from outsourcers require SDL-Trados?

I think slightly more clients on ProZ.com ask for it than in the world outside ProZ.com. Still, the percentages may be similar.

[Edited at 2007-12-13 08:30]


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:47
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Doesn't usually mean anything Dec 13, 2007

Most of the time when "Trados is required" etc. they think Trados is the thing that makes a real translator. They believe Trados really makes a difference, that it adds some value to our work. Then they send you a pdf and ask you to use Trados (!!). Only few customers really have own Trados-TMs which they send along. I see more SDLX- and Transit-jobs than Trados.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:47
English to French
+ ...
Good deal Dec 14, 2007

The link you posted leads to a pretty good deal - the math they display is true. It does come down to roughly half price. In other words, the price you would pay is more or less the regular price for SDL Trados Freelance - you would get the ProZ membership and the certification package free. But the question is, do you have a use for certification? If you don't plan on using that for a while (I guess not, since you are only about to learn using CAT tools, and Trados does take some time to master), you may be better off saving your money until there is a group buy that is not bundled with certification. That's how I bought mine - for a pretty good price, I got exactly what I wanted, and nothing more.

SDL has group buys on ProZ about six times a year, if I am not mistaken. Chances are, there will be another one on in February. There are also group buys for other software, like Wordfast, Déjà Vu, etc. Maybe for the time being, you should concentrate on learning MetaTexis - trust me, there is more to it than meets the eye. By the time the next group buy is launched, you will probably have a much better idea of what you expect from a CAT tool, and you will be in a better position to pick the one that suits you most. When you're ready to buy, you may want to invest into Wordfast instead - do a search for it here to see people's opinion. I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't have bought that instead of SDL Trados myself...

But the deal that's on currently really is a good one, considering how much it is all really worth.

Edit: I forgot to say that SDL Trados Freelance is simply the version for freelancers. Anybody can use it - it's just that it is not good enough for agencies who would like to use the networking features of the product as well as some other features that would otherwise be pretty useless for a freelancer. So, Freelance edition is the way to go - unless you plan on outsourcing a lot.

[Edited at 2007-12-14 17:27]


David Turner  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:47
French to English
+ ...
MemoQ Dec 18, 2007

kyanzes wrote:
Also, are there other must have CAT solutions that I should be aware of?

As a Hungarian, you might like to look at an excellent tool developed by your compatriots called MemoQ.
You can download a free 2-month trial version.

David Turner


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