Need professional point of view regarding the use of SDL Trados
Thread poster: Faustine Roux

Faustine Roux  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:57
English to French
May 13, 2010

Hi,


I am studying Translation and I have an essay to write about the pros and cons of Trados (or any translation memory tools). I would need the opinion of professional translators about it. If you could just send me an email, or answer me here on this forum, it would be brilliant.

My questions are:
How trados help translators work more efficiently
In which context it is more or less appropriate to use it (type of text, format, professional contexts - alone/in team...)

Please, feel free to be critical ! It is not an essay promoting Trados!

Thanks a lot for your time!


Faustine

my email: faust.roux@gmail.com

[Modifié le 2010-05-13 11:10 GMT]


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:57
English to Russian
+ ...
Obvious pros, no cons whatsoever May 13, 2010

When used wisely, CAT tools are always beneficial. If the translation is to be done using Word, I *always* use Trados Workbench, even when I don't have any useful entries in my TM and don't expect any similar texts in the future. The reason is simple - the segmentation feature of Trados saves me about 20% typing time.

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Maria Diehn  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Each tool has its own pros and cons. Providing a reference. May 13, 2010

The use of TRADOS or similar software makes the whole translation process seamless and allows the translator to save and reuse his/her work, from the very first time he/she uses the software. The benefits are uncountable. Each tool has its own pros and cons. I remember answering a very well designed questionnaire for [...edited... sending this part of my anwer through PROZ, privately.]

I don’t post my whole answer here, because my answer could be understood as undue publicity.

Best regards,

Maria



[Edited at 2010-05-13 18:50 GMT]


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
depends May 13, 2010

I'm not gonna ask you why TRADOS only, yet I'd like to mention my opinion:
Any CAT is just a tool, so it really *can* be ab/ misused.


If a translator is inexperienced then he can rather easily get into troubles using a CAT. For example, I often see errata in so-called 100% matches cloned all over the text - it's more easier to do it via CAT (without reading and checking even 100% matches).

Some lazy guys consider all over 95% match as 'OK' and later CAT suggests it as 100% match. Funny thing is if one approves some 30% once by chance then the story will be the same) Cool.

Also CAT-fanciers often feel uncomfortable when there's no CAT available (or different). I know

All in all, it's just a tool. If you know what it is then it's a known tool.

Cheers


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:57
English to Dutch
+ ...
What baffles me... May 13, 2010

is how deep Trados (is there a reason it is constantly written in capitals? Even deities only have one capital) has penetrated the translation community, especially given the steep prices that come with the package. In a nut shell: translators have adopted one of the most expensive CAT-tools on the market, accepted it more or less as the norm in translation industry and the big reward for them is lower rates due to Trados discount percentages for repetitions. Somehow I doubt that in the old days, when translation was done with pen and paper or in a later stage with type writers, a translation agency could dictate (!) discounts for repetitions or the so-called fuzzy matches (who-ever came up with that term should be sent back to school, because I keep having visions of mildewed little sticks to start a fire with). Most translators seem to reluctantly accept that such discount is a given these days, which is totally wrong in my opinion. Try dictating prices in your local supermarket, see how hungry you get then!

In the end, a CAT-tool, any CAT-tool is exactly what the name implies: a tool. I use one myself, although not Trados, and it has its advantages. I agree with Anton K that the automatic segmentation of a text can save a lot of time and for that reason alone I use it quite often for plain text documents. But in the end it is, as DZiW states, just a tool. A hammer isn't a better hammer because the hammer head is lined with gold and the handle is embroidered with diamonds: it still is just a hammer (not a HAMMER), and an expensive one at that.

Having said that, all the news I read about Trados seems to hint that it is indeed an exceptional tool, so I am inclined to believe all the Trados-users who say that. They can't all be wrong! But it is very expensive in my opinion, and as a Dutchman I don't shy away from confirming an old prejudice about Dutch people by honestly admitting that I have gone for a much cheaper alternative.

Anyway, best of luck with your essay, which I would find very interesting reading stuff. Do you by any chance plan to publish it?


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xxxJ Celeita  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
funny May 13, 2010

..."not a HAMMER" made me laugh. I completely agree with you!

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Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:57
French to English
The Sacred and the ProZfane May 17, 2010

Theo Bernards wrote:

is how deep Trados (is there a reason it is constantly written in capitals? Even deities only have one capital)


Okay, how about TR*D*S to avoid blasphemy?

fuzzy matches (who-ever came up with that term should be sent back to school, because I keep having visions of mildewed little sticks to start a fire with).


Thank you - I will never again be able to think of them as anything else.

I don't shy away from confirming an old prejudice about Dutch people by honestly admitting that I have gone for a much cheaper alternative.


Could you specify what you did choose? I ask as a Trados user who's suffered great buyer's remorse, not because it doesn't work but because it was so danged expensive - and the license doesn't even include training costs.

Stephanie


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:57
English to Dutch
+ ...
Cheap alternative options May 17, 2010


...

Could you specify what you did choose? I ask as a Trados user who's suffered great buyer's remorse, not because it doesn't work but because it was so danged expensive - and the license doesn't even include training costs.

Stephanie


Hi Stephanie,

Sorry to hear about having second thoughts of actually buying Trados, I don't wish that to anybody. Have you tried google to find cost-free training? That might do the trick. I specifically don't mention the alternative here because I don't want to pollute the thread or distract from Faustine's original question by creating a discussion within a discussion, because the question Faustine asks is perhaps too important to be sidelined by such a discussion.

I indicate on my website which CAT-tool I use at the bottom of the site, under Software. This is, however, a personal choice and certainly not the be all and end all of CAT-tools, there are plenty of options available, from very expensive (topic of this thread) to totally free of charge (my option).

Regards,

Theo
Dutchman in France


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:57
Italian to English
Why Trados? May 17, 2010

Theo Bernards wrote:

is how deep Trados (is there a reason it is constantly written in capitals? Even deities only have one capital) has penetrated the translation community, especially given the steep prices that come with the package. In a nut shell: translators have adopted one of the most expensive CAT-tools on the market,



Hi Theo,

When I started using Trados in the mid 1990s, there wasn't actually a great deal of choice That, in a nutshell, is why Trados was able to build up a near-monopoly.

BTW I also have a licence for one other, even more expensive, CAT but I still use mainly Trados, particularly since the release of the excellent Studio 2009. And don't forget that the cost of CAT licences can be offset against tax by most working translators.

To answer Faustine's questions:
How trados help translators work more efficiently

By making your legacy translations selectively available, thus encouraging consistency and also enabling you to mine past work for effective translation options that would otherwise stay "on the tip of your tongue".
By providing filters that let you work with a wide range of file formats (Trados is particularly good in this respect) in a uniform interface.
By making the revision, updating and quality control of translated texts more systematic.
By providing automatic text insertion options that can considerably reduce typing time.
And by making it virtually impossible to skip lines of text, which can happen to the best of us when translating from paper or on screen.

In which context it is more or less appropriate to use it (type of text, format, professional contexts - alone/in team...)

Like most people who are comfortable with one or other CAT tool, I use it for all my translations.

When I am co-ordinating teams of wine translators, though, I don't insist that they use a CAT - fluency in winespeak is a much higher priority - but at the end of the project, I do align all the edited original and translated texts (although not with Trados WinAlign, which would take too long) to create translation memories for future reference.


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:57
English to Dutch
+ ...
Tax-deductions are never the most important reason to buy anything for me May 18, 2010

[quote]Giles Watson wrote:


When I started using Trados in the mid 1990s, there wasn't actually a great deal of choice That, in a nutshell, is why Trados was able to build up a near-monopoly.

BTW I also have a licence for one other, even more expensive, CAT but I still use mainly Trados, particularly since the release of the excellent Studio 2009. And don't forget that the cost of CAT licences can be offset against tax by most working translators.
...
When I am co-ordinating teams of wine translators, though, I don't insist that they use a CAT - fluency in winespeak is a much higher priority - but at the end of the project, I do align all the edited original and translated texts (although not with Trados WinAlign, which would take too long) to create translation memories for future reference.


Hello Giles,

Thank you for this information. Your comment about Trados in the mid nineties certainly explains why Trados managed to build up a near-monopoly in those years. Still, it is still surprising to see that translators seem to stick with it, while there are cheaper alternatives around. And yes, most translators can offset the expenditure against their income tax, but that does not take away the fact that it is quite a large sum of money you have to fork out first and at the end of the year you can deduct these costs from your taxable income at the end of the fiscal year. That certainly doesn't mean that I can have the package cheap, far from it. I think that is why many people look at, for example, open source software which is available free of charge, or at cheaper packages. Also, and I think I am not alone in this point of view, tax deductions alone are never the most important reason to buy anything, let alone a CAT-tool. I buy or obtain things to achieve certain objectives, and only once I have decided to buy a thing I look, as an afterthought, at possible tax implications.

I applaud you, by the way, for not insisting on the use of any CAT-tool when managing a translators team. Translation agencies seem to have massively chosen for Trados as the standard and the amount of pfo's (don't ask, as it is an acronym for a fairly crude and rude expression I picked up in Dublin) I get for not working with Trados are too many to count. How many translators must feel disappointed that they will not be considered for a job for the simple reason they do not own or master Trados? Quite a lot, I think, and with that attitude the most important quality of translators (ability to translate) is more or less dismissed. This is not only somewhat narrow-minded, but even outright insulting for a vast group of translators who put in a lot of effort on learning how to translate but do not want to commit themselves to a certain package.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:57
Italian to English
Sticking with Trados May 18, 2010

Theo Bernards wrote:

Hello Giles,

Thank you for this information. Your comment about Trados in the mid nineties certainly explains why Trados managed to build up a near-monopoly in those years. Still, it is still surprising to see that translators seem to stick with it, while there are cheaper alternatives around. And yes, most translators can offset the expenditure against their income tax, but that does not take away the fact that it is quite a large sum of money you have to fork out first and at the end of the year you can deduct these costs from your taxable income at the end of the fiscal year.



Hi again, Theo.

You're quite right that cost and/or tax deductibility are not the main reasons for choosing a CAT tool and in fact I only mentioned it as an afterthought. What counts is the return on investment.

That said, and even though I do virtually no work at all for agencies, I still prefer to use Trados simply because it is the industry standard. I'm not interested enough in IT to learn a raft of other software packages that do pretty much the same thing so I stick with one I know, is productive for me and is unlikely to go out of business tomorrow. YMMV, of course, because you started with a wider range of CATs to choose from.

It's also worth mentioning that because Trados costs a lot of money, it generates a thriving CAT tool market. There are plenty of price bands for new products to choose from and the presence of good open-source CATs means that commercial programs have to justify the premiums they demand.



How many translators must feel disappointed that they will not be considered for a job for the simple reason they do not own or master Trados? Quite a lot, I think, and with that attitude the most important quality of translators (ability to translate) is more or less dismissed. This is not only somewhat narrow-minded, but even outright insulting for a vast group of translators who put in a lot of effort on learning how to translate but do not want to commit themselves to a certain package.



With all respect, it's the translators' problem if they feel insulted.

Provided these agencies can find enough competent, Trados-savvy translators for their requirements, the ones who don't use the program will either have to tool up, use workarounds or find another market niche (not necessarily a bad thing: many top-earning translators don't use CATs for one reason or another).


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's a lonely path without Trados May 18, 2010

I use Wordfast rather than Trados.

As a consequence, I am generally unable to work for agencies.

This means I am forced to work for end-clients and so I have to tolerate their idiosyncrasies (higher rates, quicker payments, longer deadlines, no fuzzy match discounts, and generally more trust in my judgement).

Oh... I also had to think of something else to do with a thousand euros.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:57
Member (2008)
French to English
T-word May 18, 2010

John Rawlins wrote:

I use Wordfast rather than Trados.

As a consequence, I am generally unable to work for agencies.



Funny, I use Wordfast and still mostly work for agencies. I did recently get the new Starter Edition of Trados, which meant that a handful of agencies no longer automatically disqualify me because I couldn't put the T-word on my forms, but in practise I use Wordfast.

And, strangely, the agencies don't actually seem to care, at least not the ones I work with.

I think the Trados times are changin'...


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