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Where to look for translation work where no cat tools are needed-feedback wanted
Thread poster: Luke Mersh

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:59
Spanish to English
Mar 7, 2012

It looks like to me that even when starting out , if you have no CAT tools it is almost impossible to obtain work, anywhere.

Can anybody tell me where work is available without the need for CAT tools.


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:59
Member (2009)
French to English
One single place? Mar 8, 2012

I don't know that there is a single place to go to find work without using CAT tools. Certainly direct clients do not always require them, or even know they exist. Some fields have less need for them, such as certificates and literary translation.

The two things I think every beginning translator should know are that:

1. Most (if not all) CAT tools have some sort of trial or reduced price version. Many of these also have reduced features or are time limited, but that is enough to learn the software and do a few jobs so that you can afford to buy the full version.

2. In the long run, you will benefit from using CAT tools. If you cannot stand working with CAT tools, make sure to specialize in fields where they are not useful - because if a tool is useful, people will use it and put you at a competitive disadvantage.


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xxxMarie Wagner  Identity Verified
Malta
Local time: 17:59
English to French
+ ...
Cat tools Mar 8, 2012

I have been in the job for over 25 years now and the real professional clients have never insisted on how I should do the job. It sounds to me as if you wen to get a service from a plumber and dared put forward how he should do it!!!
What tools people use is their business, not the client's. for the client, the important should be the quality of the work you deliver, not which dictionary, CAT tool or computer you are using. i am afraid the use of CAT tool is usually just a stupid excuse to pay less, as if you did nothing.
There are still people - individuals and agencies - that let you work without interfering, and without CAT tools, I believe the job is always done in a much better way. Translating is a human exercise... If you put your arguments forward, you will be able to get the job. Stand your grounds and good luck.

Marie Wagner EN>FR>EN


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:59
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
that is true Mar 8, 2012

My only problem is that I am not a windows user, I use linux, but I do have a cat tool for

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Lucia Moreno Velo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:59
Member (2010)
French to Spanish
+ ...
Most of my work requires no CAT tools Mar 8, 2012

Have you tried approaching the agencies in your area?

When I started I made a list of agencies (taken from the Yellow Pages) in my area and visited one by one. First I called to ask when it would be convenient for them to see me, then I stopped by on the day with a resumé. I'm still working with some of those agencies 12 years later.

CAT tools are very useful for big translations from big companies that have a lot of literature with a style and glossary that needs to be unified. Most agencies won't give those jobs to newcomers simply because they want translators that they know are reliable, both in terms of quality and deadline. New translators are more likely to get small jobs that don't require use of CAT tools, IMO.

However, I often use Trados to translate texts even if the client doesn't requiere it, because I want to profit from all my previous work and research.

Good luck,
Lucía

I forgot to say that places like Proz and other wide markets have more jobs requiring CAT tools because small jobs that don't are often placed with translator the agency has regular contact with, while big jobs that need competitive prices, or a team of translators, or a very specialized translator, that are more likely to require a CAT tool are also more likely to be posted in the Web because the agency needs to go beyond the few trusted day-to-day translators.



[Edited at 2012-03-08 08:58 GMT]

I think I'm contradicting myself
I obviously need to think more about this.
Good luck.

[Edited at 2012-03-08 08:59 GMT]


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:59
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
I agree with you Mar 8, 2012

My problem is that I am moving to Portugal due to a family bereavement, so approaching agencies will be difficult, although I could still email them. I really want to make a start at this and hope that I get some work. I think that my inexperience is the only thing going against me at the moment.

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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Direct clients rather than agencies Mar 8, 2012

In most cases, direct clients don't care how you work, as long as you deliver good translations on time.

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:59
Hebrew to English
The CAT necessity myth Mar 8, 2012

For the sake of presenting a balanced view (and before the Trados worshippers arrive and castigate you for having the audacity to translate without it) I thought I'd share some statistics which were first posted by Samuel Murray in December last year.

Even on the limited market that is ProZ job postings, CATs are not the omnipresent requirement many would have you believe.

Here is the link and quote:
http://www.proz.com/forum/getting_established/214364-is_trados_a_must.html#1860427

Samuel Murray wrote:

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]


His quote deals mainly with Trados but I've bolded the pertinent parts. In the month he mentions, a full 63% of all jobs posted did not mention CATs at all (not Trados, MemoQ or Wordfast).

I reject the argument that CAT tools can potentially put you at a disadvantage, CAT tools don't guarantee quality, nor does a CAT tool a translator make. Are CAT tools useful? Yes, but any tool is only as good as the person wielding it....but this is another debate.

...but the main point is that even within a limited market (the ProZ market share) there was a slight majority of jobs not mentioning CATs (during the given month), this may reflect wider trends, or it may not but it surely illustrates that non-CAT jobs are out there.

[Edited at 2012-03-08 09:55 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:59
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Medical records Mar 8, 2012

Ask ordinary agencies.

I don't know whether this applies in your language pairs, but a fair proportion of the work I do comes in the form of PDF scans and cannot be opened in CATs.

The texts are often medical records, occasionally things like birth certificates, diplomas and exam. certificates, and older documents that never have been electronic. Some can be made machine readable with OCR, but not all. (It tends to garble the extra vowels in Danish, and then the source is full of spelling errors, and the TM is useless.)

The problem may be that these scans are not all easily human-readable either, especially if sections are hand-written, but many are not at all bad.

I gnash my teeth occasionally over the medical records, because I can't use my CAT so easily for terminology, but of course you can do fine without.

On one occasion where I could cut and paste large sections, I found I even did a 100-page job in around the same time as I would have spent on it in Trados! The crucial factor was looking up and checking the specialist terminology. (It was a long series of medical records.)

On other occasions - as many people point out, there is no special need for a CAT with the less repetitive texts.

The CIoL rates survey indicated that 60% of respondents used CATs - which means 40% don't.

Horses for courses, and the right tool for the job.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 17:59
English to Hungarian
+ ...
CAT on Linux Mar 8, 2012

luke mersh wrote:

My only problem is that I am not a windows user, I use linux, but I do have a cat tool for


There are a couple, such as OmegaT (FOSS, but not mature enough in my opinion) and Wordfast (paid, better than OmegaT but not my cup of tea, either).
If I were you, I would consider Wordfast as a free online service, freetm.com. As far as I know, it's free with quite reasonable functionality and no usage limitation. It may switch to a paid model at any time of course, but it has been around for a while now and it's still going so...


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Gail Bond MITI  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:59
Member (2009)
French to English
50:50 Mar 8, 2012

Hi Luke, sorry to hear about your bereavement.

I have about 11 regular clients. Of these:

1 requires Trados, with no leeway (packages sent in Trados).
1 requires MemoQ, with no leeway (online projects).
4 requested Trados, but when I told them I prefer MemoQ, they were happy with that.
The other 5 have never requested any kind of CAT tool (4 are agencies, 1 is a direct client).

So these clients do exist... you just need to find them!

Good luck!


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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:59
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Breakdown by client Mar 8, 2012

Gail Bond wrote:

50:50



I'd never thought of doing a breakdown by client, Gail, but it's actually a very interesting point to make.

50:50 is pretty close in my case too.
I have 7 regular clients (they're all agencies except one).

1 requires bilingual Word docs
2 require ttx
1 requires Studio packages (so only SDL Trados)
3 have never mentioned a CAT tool (and one of these only sends PDFs in any case)

This is 80% medical work and 20% general.
I hope this is useful information for you, Luke, and that we're not straying too far off topic.


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:59
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
I agree Mar 8, 2012

Other problem I have is that I am not a windows user, I use linux

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:59
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
One more thought - alignment Mar 9, 2012

Do not make a song and dance about not having a CAT. Just say you haven't got one if they ask.

If necessary, remind them that if the source is available in CAT-readable form, then it can always be aligned after translation if they want to add it to their TM.

That means that the source and target are interlinked segment by segment, so that it works like a normal TM. A few mismatches may occur when it is done by machine, but if it is crucial, it is fairly easy for a human to check at the end. Often the segments are so rarely used that it will not be worth a lot of effort.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:59
Italian to English
Percentage breakdown Mar 9, 2012

Customers who require a CAT: 0%
Customers for whom I use a CAT: 100%

I don't work through agencies and my customers tend to be more interested in quality and service than price.


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