Learning to use CAT tools with no TMs
Thread poster: Hal D'Arpini

Hal D'Arpini  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:18
French to English
+ ...
Nov 20, 2011

This may not be exactly the right forum for this question, but it's the closest I could find.

I'm a new translator and am using demo versions of some CAT tools, in part to learn how to use them. I understand that I need to build up TMs and termbases, but in the meantime it's difficult to see how they work without TMs and termbases to work with. So far, I've worked on one project with a CAT tool, but it was basially using the side-by-side feature to manually translate the text (which I could have done with Word). Therefore, I was only able to learn a few of the tool's features, not its most central feature.

To those of you who have been using CAT tools for awhile, what did you do when you first started? Did you just bite the bullet and learn how to use your CAT tool as you built your TMs, or were you able to find pre-built TMs that helped you to understand more quickly how to use it?

I've found a site where I can buy aligned TMs, which may be an option for my specialties later on, but for the moment I'm just trying to find a quick way to practice and thereby undestand how CAT tools work. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.


 

Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:18
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Learning a CAT without a TM is as would you drink milk without milk Nov 20, 2011

This makes no sense at all - to learn how a CAT works you must use a TM.
Just create an empty one - AFAIK any of the demo versions nowadays will allow you to do so and fill the TM with some translations. Depending on tool either the number of entries in the TM may be limited or the test phase of the tool will be limited to a certain period of time.
But trying to learn anything about CATs without a TM is as would you try to drink milk having no milk at home.
TBH I do not know any place to buy TMs, but you can download EU TMs for free from this site: http://langtech.jrc.it/DGT-TM.html


 

Frank van Thienen (X)  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:18
Dutch to English
one step at a time Nov 20, 2011

Hi Hal,

Unless you can find some kind soul who also works in your language pairs and specialities, who is willing to share his resources, then yes, you simply start from scratch.

IMHO it's much more important to build term bases than translation memories.
I'm no technical wizard in CATs, but my understanding is that the future of CATs may not even include TMs. My CAT is memoQ and it's focus is shifting towards "Livedocs Corpora", where you simply store related documents and memoQ will comb these for matches.

Whichever route you take, simply start building your TB's (and TM's) and you'll gradually find that your work is getting easier.

The main disadvantage I found with translating directly in Word (i.e. replacing the source text as I go), is that you don't have an easy way of going back to check the source against the target. A CAT will keep that connection between source and target.

Good luck,
Frankicon_smile.gif


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:18
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Align your work Nov 20, 2011

Most of the advanced tools come with an alignment feature - admittedly, in some programs it is easier to use than in others. That is why it would be useful to know which software are you actually using.

With an alignment tool you can use your old work to create TMs. Then you can export it to a common format (TMX), so even if you switch programs, you can still take advantage of what you did before CATs.


 

Hal D'Arpini  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:18
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nov 20, 2011

Thanks, all, for your advice. I'm currently working with demos of XTM Cloud, Déjà Vu X2, and MemQ 5.0. I created a TM and a TB from the very small project I worked on last week, just to become familiar with the process, but I was hoping for a much larger one to work with as I learned. icon_smile.gif But I'll look into the EC site that Jerzy sent; that should help a lot.

I've also found a free online alignment tool, YouAlign (http://youalign.com/?lang=en), from Terminotix. It's very basic, but compared to $1,500 or even $420 AlignFactory packages they offer, it should suffice to get me started creating my own TMs.

Thanks again.


 

Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:18
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
EU memories are quite huge Nov 20, 2011

And you can also use Microsoft glossaries to create a nice termbase - to be downloaded here: http://www.microsoft.com/Language/en-US/Default.aspx
If you use SDL products, you can also visit the OPen Exchange platform from SDL to search for intersting applications: http://www.sdl.com/en/language-technology/sdl-openexchange/


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:18
Finnish to French
Free aligners Nov 21, 2011

Hal D'Arpini wrote:
I've also found a free online alignment tool, YouAlign (http://youalign.com/?lang=en), from Terminotix. It's very basic, but compared to $1,500 or even $420 AlignFactory packages they offer, it should suffice to get me started creating my own TMs.

First of all, youalign.com is not "basic": it uses the same alignment engine as the commercial aligners from Terminotix. It's just that there's a limitation to the number of file pairs you can align during any single day.
Another free aligner that works well is Wordfast Anywhere (www.freetm.com). It will let you align as many file pairs as you want, but you'll have to upload one file pair at a time and any given file cannot exceed 2 MB.
But the best way to grow your own TM is by translating. Only align documents that are relevant for a new project, for instance an update to something you translated last year.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 11:18
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TMs are mostly document specific Nov 21, 2011

Just a word of caution. If you expect to get much use from aligning old translations, you probably will be disappointed. Each and every author has her own style, so you get useful matches only when updating the same set of documents you have done earlier or within the same set of documents.
Most will agree that technical manuals are the best field for using translation memories, but every time I get a new customer I have to start anew, even in the security sections, which are always the same stuff.
There must be thousands of different ways to say these things.


 


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