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Is Trados a must?
Thread poster: Marika T.

Marika T.  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 00:00
English to Japanese
+ ...
Dec 18, 2011

Hello. Just as the title suggests, I was wondering if it's worth buying and practicing using Trados. I'm using a different CAT tool at the moment and am completely happy with it, but I see many jobs here are "Trados only"... Any opinion would be appreciated. Thank you!

 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 18:00
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
No, it is not. Dec 18, 2011

My answer would be that it is not a must. Whether it is worth all that money is a big question mark. I personally do not have Trados, and do not consider buying it. Of course, it is up to you.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:00
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What other tool are you using? Dec 18, 2011

The reason I am asking is to find out whether you can work on Trados' files with your tool. For instance, memoQ does process Trados files perfectly (especially SDLXLIFF files!).

 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:00
Italian to English
In memoriam
It depends on your client portfolio Dec 18, 2011

I have Trados and am happy with it.

None of my customers require it, though. In fact, most aren't even aware I use a CAT tool. By and large, the customers that require you to work in a specific translation environment tend to be agencies paying low to middling market rates. If those are your clients, you may want to experiment with Trados (you can play around with a trial version for a month without obligation) in order to widen your potential customer base. If not, you might prefer
... See more
I have Trados and am happy with it.

None of my customers require it, though. In fact, most aren't even aware I use a CAT tool. By and large, the customers that require you to work in a specific translation environment tend to be agencies paying low to middling market rates. If those are your clients, you may want to experiment with Trados (you can play around with a trial version for a month without obligation) in order to widen your potential customer base. If not, you might prefer to focus your marketing efforts elsewhere.

The cost is, of course, tax-deductible for most professional translators.
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Alistair Ian Spearing Ortiz  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:00
French to English
+ ...
Agree with the above Dec 18, 2011

Not having Trados will of course narrow down your potential client pool somewhat, but it shouldn't do so significantly. There are many factors that determine whether you can take on a given translation project, and having Trados is just one among them.

If you buy Trados, do so because you're convinced that it's the best CAT tool for you.


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 16:00
English to Czech
+ ...
I would rephrase the OP's question... Dec 18, 2011

...to: "Is a Trados-compatible tool a must"? Then my reply would be: "If 80% of your clients require that you are able to process native Trados formats, then yes, it is a must for you."

I own Trados Studio 2011 and am perfectly happy with it.

[Upraveno: 2011-12-18 08:57 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nay, nay and thrice nay Dec 18, 2011

Giles Watson wrote:

By and large, the customers that require you to work in a specific translation environment tend to be agencies paying low to middling market rates. If those are your clients, you may want to experiment with Trados (you can play around with a trial version for a month without obligation) in order to widen your potential customer base. If not, you might prefer to focus your marketing efforts elsewhere.



Not only is it unnecessary from my point of view, but the whole Trados ethos and scenario stick in my craw. If you don't mind overcoming the price, learning curve, technical issues and lockstep "like-it-or-lump-it" working approach, then I agree with Giles.
This week, one agency, who had offered me a translation project in October which I declined contacted me again and asked me to proofread the translation, which they had outsourced to a local competitor. They were very insistent that they wanted to me do it and I eventually acquiesced, as they had seen my terms and conditions, the first of which clearly states that I work with texts in plain text format (TXT, DOC) and that formatting, file conversions and other non-linguistic tasks are not my remit at basic rates.
I was looking forward to the job, as it was in one of my specialist fields and one I am interested in furthering, but was surprised and disappointed to find that they were sending me TTX files and wanted the proofing done in Trados-compatible format, one which I find uncomfortable for proofing/revising texts. When I explained, the PM was very understanding and apologetic, but I am still smarting after 2 days because they obviously hadn't even bothered to take my conditions into account.
The proactive, resourceful PM then sent me the text in PDF to see if I could do it like that, but it was already formatted in such a way that, for example, simply to run a spellcheck on 7000 words took almost an hour. I swiftly developed such an antipathy to the fancy colours, varying font sizes and lack of capitalisation used as a stylistic tic that I would have struggled to read and assess the text objectively, so had to refuse as the job would have taken me about 4 times as long as it would if I'd been sent it in plain text or doc format. I'm mainly spouting all this to get it off my chest as I am still annoyed because it was an opportunity to increase my experience in an area I like working in (animal science).

To sum up, Trados is widely perceived as the "industry standard", so if you want to spread your nets wide, it is an option to consider - although not indispensable. I use WordFast Classic myself and it is the only TM software I have tried that I immediately felt I could work with comfortably. A quick look at the forums will show that Trados users are beset by technical issues that can take up so much time as to undermine its value to the freelancer. My Trados-user colleagues say its advantages still outweigh the drawbacks, but put them in a room together and it quickly degenerates into a moanfest...


 

Marika T.  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 00:00
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your advice Dec 18, 2011

Thank you everyone for your input. I'm currently using a CAT tool called Felix (http://felix-cat.com/), a cheaper and easier alternative. Not a famous one, but I just happen to know the developer. I think I'll stick with this and put my effort to something else.

None of my current clients has asked me to use Trados, and I've never felt the need to. As I'm still struggling to build up regular client
... See more
Thank you everyone for your input. I'm currently using a CAT tool called Felix (http://felix-cat.com/), a cheaper and easier alternative. Not a famous one, but I just happen to know the developer. I think I'll stick with this and put my effort to something else.

None of my current clients has asked me to use Trados, and I've never felt the need to. As I'm still struggling to build up regular clients, I thought that maybe I should give it a try, though I've heard a lot of bad things about it (most of which you mentioned).

Thank you again for your help.
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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:00
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Why getting angry? Dec 18, 2011

we have a choice, don't we? The agency in question wants to use Trados (for whatever reason) and we can use it or not use it. It's our choice. So, if you choose not to use it, then you are narrowing your potential client base and you should accept the consequences. No point in getting angry about it. Of course, you can, but it seems a major waste of energy to me...

neilmac wrote:

Giles Watson wrote:

By and large, the customers that require you to work in a specific translation environment tend to be agencies paying low to middling market rates. If those are your clients, you may want to experiment with Trados (you can play around with a trial version for a month without obligation) in order to widen your potential customer base. If not, you might prefer to focus your marketing efforts elsewhere.



Not only is it unnecessary from my point of view, but the whole Trados ethos and scenario stick in my craw. If you don't mind overcoming the price, learning curve, technical issues and lockstep "like-it-or-lump-it" working approach, then I agree with Giles.
This week, one agency, who had offered me a translation project in October which I declined contacted me again and asked me to proofread the translation, which they had outsourced to a local competitor. They were very insistent that they wanted to me do it and I eventually acquiesced, as they had seen my terms and conditions, the first of which clearly states that I work with texts in plain text format (TXT, DOC) and that formatting, file conversions and other non-linguistic tasks are not my remit at basic rates.
I was looking forward to the job, as it was in one of my specialist fields and one I am interested in furthering, but was surprised and disappointed to find that they were sending me TTX files and wanted the proofing done in Trados-compatible format, one which I find uncomfortable for proofing/revising texts. When I explained, the PM was very understanding and apologetic, but I am still smarting after 2 days because they obviously hadn't even bothered to take my conditions into account.
The proactive, resourceful PM then sent me the text in PDF to see if I could do it like that, but it was already formatted in such a way that, for example, simply to run a spellcheck on 7000 words took almost an hour. I swiftly developed such an antipathy to the fancy colours, varying font sizes and lack of capitalisation used as a stylistic tic that I would have struggled to read and assess the text objectively, so had to refuse as the job would have taken me about 4 times as long as it would if I'd been sent it in plain text or doc format. I'm mainly spouting all this to get it off my chest as I am still annoyed because it was an opportunity to increase my experience in an area I like working in (animal science).

To sum up, Trados is widely perceived as the "industry standard", so if you want to spread your nets wide, it is an option to consider - although not indispensable. I use WordFast Classic myself and it is the only TM software I have tried that I immediately felt I could work with comfortably. A quick look at the forums will show that Trados users are beset by technical issues that can take up so much time as to undermine its value to the freelancer. My Trados-user colleagues say its advantages still outweigh the drawbacks, but put them in a room together and it quickly degenerates into a moanfest...




 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:00
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Why the anger? Well... Dec 18, 2011

...because this very expensive program that takes a long time to learn, is beset by technical problems, and requires frequent and expensive updates, is being heavily promoted by this website, and in other quarters as, indeed, indispensible. In the meantime, the translator's possession of this expensive tool of questionable utility is often used as a pretext by agencies to drive down rates. What's more, this program is marketed in such way as to foster the notion among beginners, wannabes,... See more
...because this very expensive program that takes a long time to learn, is beset by technical problems, and requires frequent and expensive updates, is being heavily promoted by this website, and in other quarters as, indeed, indispensible. In the meantime, the translator's possession of this expensive tool of questionable utility is often used as a pretext by agencies to drive down rates. What's more, this program is marketed in such way as to foster the notion among beginners, wannabes, and inveterate incompetents that having it constitutes some sort of royal road to a successful career as a freelancer, leading in turn to the presence of a vast mixed multitude within the translation industry that further drives down prices, and that also tends to compromise the reputation of the profession as a whole.Collapse


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:00
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
Some statistics Dec 18, 2011

Marika T. wrote:
I see many jobs here are "Trados only"...


The past month saw about 5700 jobs posted in ProZ.com, according to Google, and here are some ideas about whether Trados is a must:

* Jobs that mention Trados: 2100
* Jobs that do not mention Trados: 3600

* Jobs that mention both Wordfast and MemoQ: 1500
* Jobs that mention neither Wordfast nor MemoQ: 4200

* Jobs that mention Trados and does not mention Wordfast or MemoQ: a mere 524
* Jobs that do not mention any of Trados, Wordfast or MemoQ: 3600

So, the "Trados only" jobs make up about 10% of all jobs.

This simplistic but telling ratio of Trados-only:not-Trados-only jobs for a number of languages is:
* German 130:840
* Spanish 90:550
* French 110:770
* Chinese 70:400
* Japanese 40:310.



[Edited at 2011-12-18 15:04 GMT]


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:00
Italian to English
In memoriam
Never mind the ethos Dec 18, 2011

neilmac wrote:

Not only is it unnecessary from my point of view, but the whole Trados ethos and scenario stick in my craw.



Never having attempted to swallow an ethos or a scenario, I am unfamiliar with this sensation

It's also been a long time since I worked for agencies and even when I did, only one or two wanted uncleaned Trados files, which I was happy to supply. For me, CAT tools are just text management systems that help me to organise and mine my work. Trados in particular offers reliable file filters so that I can handle a wide range of formats and don't need to turn down jobs just because the client works in InDesign or whatever.

Other CAT tools are available, of course.


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:00
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Only a part of the picture... Dec 18, 2011

Robert Forstag wrote:

...because this very expensive program that takes a long time to learn, is beset by technical problems, and requires frequent and expensive updates, is being heavily promoted by this website, and in other quarters as, indeed, indispensible. In the meantime, the translator's possession of this expensive tool of questionable utility is often used as a pretext by agencies to drive down rates. What's more, this program is marketed in such way as to foster the notion among beginners, wannabes, and inveterate incompetents that having it constitutes some sort of royal road to a successful career as a freelancer, leading in turn to the presence of a vast mixed multitude within the translation industry that further drives down prices, and that also tends to compromise the reputation of the profession as a whole.



you are talking abut a specific segment of our industry. Most professional translators hardly worry about beginners, bottom feeders, et similia...

And as far as Trados is concerned, you don't have to use it. Use another one... use a free one! But don't get upset if you don't get jobs that require Trados. Seems to me that the concept of market differentiation is not well understood by many. You can freely adopt a different strategy, targeting different segments. What you are saying about Trados is a perception, it's not the reality. Intelligent clients and agencies use it as a productivity and management tool, not to drive rates down, and are prepared to pay well. If a beginner thinks he/she is going to get lots of jobs and make lots of money by just owing Trados, he/she will be bitterly disappointed. Trados on its own is totally useless. It's a tool and, as such, you need to learn how to use properly and to your advantage. You can agree or not agree with the marketing, but Trados is not the culprit, it's the people who use it, badly.

Edited for typo...

[Edited at 2011-12-18 15:19 GMT]


 

LegalTranslatr2  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:00
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Trados Dec 18, 2011

There are many reasons why you should and why should not purchase a particular software program.

However, I do not understand all the comments about it being hard to use or why a class would be necessary. It is the work flow (what the tool does, what the various parts of the translation and files are and how they fit together, something that is common to all CAT tools, that may take your mind a while to grasp). However, it took me less than 20 minutes to start using Trados (and per
... See more
There are many reasons why you should and why should not purchase a particular software program.

However, I do not understand all the comments about it being hard to use or why a class would be necessary. It is the work flow (what the tool does, what the various parts of the translation and files are and how they fit together, something that is common to all CAT tools, that may take your mind a while to grasp). However, it took me less than 20 minutes to start using Trados (and perhaps another hour to explore and figure out the other features - the version I purchased came with sample files) and so far I have used it on a 24,000 and a 32,000 word project and I am now working on a 90,000 word job and have experienced no technical errors of any kind. None of these projects required me to use the software and none of them involve discounts.

As for the cost, I purchased it here on a group buy. Even if a new version comes out in three years (and many people are still using previous and much older versions), it will end up costing me around $15.00 a month.

There are some features of Trados (Studio 2011) that I like better than Wordfast. One of them is that you can type your translation in a format that resembles Word to some extent (WYSIWYG - you can see the bold, underline, italics and turn them on and off much like you do in word, while in Wordfast you do this with tags that all look alike.) You preview what your document is going to look like and there is a progress bar as well.

Do I intend to use it on every project? Absolutely not. Are there things I don't like about it? Yes (I prefer to proofread in Word and on paper, etc.) It is true that I have been approached by companies wanting discounts? Yes, but all you have to say is no.

[Edited at 2011-12-18 18:25 GMT]
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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:00
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
Is Trados a must? NO. Should you be able to work with a CAT-tool? Yes. Dec 18, 2011

Good agencies provide free editor versions of their CAT tools, plus training. Then they will send you the fully prepared files where ICE or other matches are already inserted. Which means, they did their homework and you are paid for the work that is left to do.

The very minute I purchase my own full-fledged CAT-tool and I have to prepare all files by myself, discounts will be a thing of the past. I don't give discounts if clients benefit from my other software such as InDesign, Qua
... See more
Good agencies provide free editor versions of their CAT tools, plus training. Then they will send you the fully prepared files where ICE or other matches are already inserted. Which means, they did their homework and you are paid for the work that is left to do.

The very minute I purchase my own full-fledged CAT-tool and I have to prepare all files by myself, discounts will be a thing of the past. I don't give discounts if clients benefit from my other software such as InDesign, QuarkXPress, Photoshop, Oxygen, professional PDF converters etc. either. They save a lot of time and money for either party just the same but those are MY licenses.
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