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Trados - Is it really necessary?
Thread poster: HCProv

HCProv
United States
Local time: 14:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 15, 2004

Hi, this may sound like a dumb question, but is TRADOS really a necessity when translating? If so, why? I always thought that clients preferred the non-usage of computer translation software. I've been a translator for many years, but have never used translation software. What is the advantage of using TRADOS? Also, I went to the TRADOS web page and saw just how expensive that program is. Is there another program comparable to TRADOS? Should I invest in TRADOS? Any suggestions? I feel pretty dumb right now! Also, how does one go about getting certified? Is there an agency I need to contact? I know, it's a lot of questions, but I really appreciate all your replies. Thanks!!

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:16
German to English
+ ...
Trados - Is it really necessary? Jul 15, 2004

HCProv wrote:

is TRADOS really a necessity when translating?


No. Unless, that is, you have customers who insist on receiving and/or supplying files in one of TRADOS' proprietary file formats. Users of other CAT tools can probably give you more information than I can on whether they can replace TRADOS in this case.

I always thought that clients preferred the non-usage of computer translation software.


Clients generally prefer high quality, fast turnaround and low cost. In the right hands and given the right kind of texts, CAT tools can improve consistency and also increase efficiency.

I've been a translator for many years, but have never used translation software. What is the advantage of using TRADOS?


TRADOS is just one of around twenty translation memory applications. If you mean "what is the advantage of not using one of the others", I'll leave the TRADOS enthusiasts to answer that one.

If you mean "what is the advantage of using translation memory", here's a simple explanation:

Imagine being able to type in a word or phrase and at the touch of a key or click of the mouse, having displayed on your screen instantly every sentence you had ever translated before containing that word, together with the corresponding sentence in your translation.

If you can't see the benefit of this, forget about translation memory.

Also, I went to the TRADOS web page and saw just how expensive that program is.


For the functions it provides, TRADOS and other similarly priced programs are dirt cheap.

Is there another program comparable to TRADOS?


As I say, about twenty. Cheaper alternatives include Wordfast, Metatexis and WordFisher. OmegaT is free (and the long-awaited version 1.4.0 was released this morning - download it from www.omegat.org).

Should I invest in TRADOS? Any suggestions?


Try one (or better still, two or three) of the demonstration versions. Ideally, try at least one of the in-line products (e.g. Trados, Wordfast, Metatexis, Wordfisher) and one of the standalone products (e.g. Deja Vu, SDLX, Transit, OmegaT), since the "translation experience" is quite different.

Marc


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:16
German to English
+ ...
Re certification Jul 15, 2004

Since you're in the United States, check out the ATA (American Translators Association). www.atanet.org

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Sormane Fitzgerald Gomes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:16
Member (2004)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Tips for translators. Jul 15, 2004

You might find this helpful.

http://www.linguabase.com/tips.asp


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:16
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TRADO$ - too expen$ive Jul 16, 2004

In reply to the question posted about the importance of Trados, although I can see the advantages there is not a shadow of doubt that the prices of Trados and other similar software are quite outrageous. I doubt if many free-lance translators get enough work to be able to afford Trados, especially as there are so many other costs that are often overlooked, such as dictionaries, Platinum memberships (as many job postings are restricted to these). I for one could never afford Trados, but have always worked without CAT tools and the results have been satisfactory.
While on the subject of machine translation, I fully agree with the point raised that there is a difference between machine translators and CAT tools, which are indeed an important tool for translators, while machine translations - well, one example I proof-read recently: "tomada de decisões" ("decision making")was translated as "socket of decisions" (!) The only problem with Trados and other CAT tools is the price.
Regarding certification, I also have this same query, I know that I need to be certified to boost my chances of getting jobs but also don't know how to go about it. Advice would be very welcome...
Well, I hope that my contribution has helped... and good night (or morning) to all!


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LindaMcM  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:16
Swedish to German
+ ...
CAT is necessary but it doesn't have to be Trados Jul 16, 2004

Using a CAT-Tool makes translating much easier.

Trados is too expensive for me. I'm not willing to pay that much.
I'm discovering MetaTexis at the moment and have already done a small "Trados required" job with it. It worked very well.

You can look at www.metatexis.com for more information.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:16
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TRADOS: only for certain jobs Jul 16, 2004

I wouldn't think of using Trados (or any CAT tool) for a literary translation. But consider repetitive documents (multiple contracts based on a master contract or specifications sheets). Where consistency of terminology is a must, it helps, especially where the human brain may falter.

Getting credentials is another story. There are those who do it when they're beginning and later leave off them when they've already taken off. They imply yearly dues. Perhaps the only one-shot credential you can get is a T&I diploma.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
What kind and range of texts are you translating? Jul 16, 2004

All you have to do, really, is assess the range and variety of texts you translate.

Do you tend to get a lot of texts where you end up copying and pasting from, or scrolling through, previous translations to find terminology?

If so you would find a CAT tool useful, otherwise you maybe don't need one, except that it's useful to have one, from a longer-term perspective. Someday you might lose work becuasee you haven´t got a CAT tool...

If you feel you fall somewhere between the two scenarios, then consider a cheaper and simpler tool.

I have Trados, and I compare myself (with the ES/PT/CAT-EN combinations) with a friend in another country with the DE-EN combination.

She does loads of very repetitive automotive translation - for which Trados is a must - clocks in and out at regular hours (a small number of very regular clients), and sometimes envies us (her two friends here in Spain) the variety of work we do:-)

I don't really need Trados, except that it does come in handy occasionally (maybe I need to be using it for longer to really get the benefit of the reiteration). I translate a wide range of texts and I prefer that, as it's far more interesting than doing 12 manuals one after another (as I have done recently).

I recommend you get a CAT tool, but it doesn't have to be Trados, which is expensive and not very user-friendly - for beginners at least (just look at all the Qs that are posted on it here in ProZ).




[Edited at 2004-07-16 21:38]


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:16
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Depend on the type of work that you do Jul 16, 2004

Do you need Trados (or another TM package)?
It really depends on the type of work that you do:

If you always work for different customers, on different types of text and/or different subjects (i.e., if your work tend to be non-repetitive), then you probablòy won't see much advantage in using a translation memory package.

If, on the other hand, you work for the same customers, and they give you fairly repetitive jobs (e.g., different versions of the same manuals or contracts, or financial statements), then you'll find translation memory very useful.

At this moment, for example, I'm translating the new version of some computer manuals. The total word count is around 50,000 words, but all I have to translate from scratch is about 5,000 words; another 5,000 or so are coming as "suggestions" (fuzzy matches), and all the rest will be pretranslated from the existing translation memory.

BTW: I disagree with the colleagues that say that the prices for TM are outrageous - these are the tools of our profession, tools that most of us use all the time every day... and the market for these tools is not huge.
I actually consider them very reasonably priced - even the most expensive of them.


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HCProv
United States
Local time: 14:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
EVERYONE: Thank You Very Much! Jul 17, 2004

I appreciate all your replies. It sure answered a lot of the questions I had. Thank you so very much. I don't feel so dumb anymore.

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Rahi Moosavi  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:16
Member (2004)
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
CAT Jul 17, 2004

I wasn't using any CAT tool before but few months ago, I established contact with an agency that offered me a lot of assignments which required using CAT tools.

What we did was that the agency provided the tool and training and in exchange subcontracted me to handle their jobs on a regular basis.

These tools will help a lot, I suggest trying some tools like Wordfast or OmegaT so you could see for yourself how they could be useful for you and then decide about purchasing Trados. (I'm very happy with Wordfast in particular)

But anyhow, all this depends on the type of translation work you do.


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Yngve Roennike  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:16
Swedish to English
+ ...
Rube Goldberg contraptions? Jul 17, 2004

Cat tools aren't really necessary. They are to some extent the Rube Golberg inventions of our time. Please see some of the posts in this previous string: http://www.proz.com/topic/11272?start=0

If you like your input to be sprinkled with already translated words, here is what you could do:
In your source language document, do a global replacement on the ten or twenty most frequent words of the language, e.g., and becomes et, und, y, etc. Use a space before and after, or include any following punctuation mark. Now you may have translated 10 percent of the document already in terms of a raw word count.
(CAT tools will likely deduct those words as repetitive words.) Then, whenever you find a word that seems to recur with some frequency, do a global search and replace. If you go from English, it is advisable to replace with the definite rather than indefinite form (not for German, though, with all its inflected articles) and then simply delete all instances of the. These operations take less than a second, even on large documents (100 pages plus). This is not so far-fetched as it may seem. Manuals are by nature repetitive.

As for TM, use the flexibility of electronic dictionaries. You can store glossaries in some of them. You can also use Excel files or other database formats.

Who would not want to work in the original document, these days replete with graphics, charts, etc., rather with barren and impersonal text strings devoid of any context? Although, I think these days you can switch back and forth from a formatted environment to text input strings easily in CAT (although this was not possible when I used them in the 90s), but still it requires this distracting flip-flopping back and forth.

I will tell you that this is how manuals are translated for the most part in the US (caveat: this is my experience). Everybody just seems to derive greater pleasure and satisfaction from it, the agency that formats it, and the translators doing the translation input.

I don?t find Trados reasonably priced. It also contains other localization features that are not strictly translation-related, and maybe this is what causes its price to be so high.
If you are offered 4-6 cents per word for zero matches or new input, as I?ve seen here, it will take an awful lot of manuals and grunt work to cover the expense of acquiring it.


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:16
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yngve - have you ever actually tried CAT tools? Jul 20, 2004

Yngve Roennike wrote:
(CAT tools will likely deduct those words as repetitive words.)

CAT tools count as "repetitions" only segments (i.e., sentences) that are the same as other segments not words as you say "sprinkled" though the text.

As for TM, use the flexibility of electronic dictionaries.

TM (translation memories) store entire sentences, not individual terms.


Who would not want to work in the original document, these days replete with graphics, charts, etc., rather with barren and impersonal text strings devoid of any context?

Trados and WordFast, at the very least, let you work in the same MS Word environment one would use without the Translation Memory tool. So what's this about "strings devoid of any context"?


Although, I think these days you can switch back and forth from a formatted environment to text input strings easily in CAT (although this was not possible when I used them in the 90s), but still it requires this distracting flip-flopping back and forth.


No flip flopping, as I said before... and if the last time you gave a look at TM tools was in the '90, why don't you give a look at how the tools have evolved?


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Yngve Roennike  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:16
Swedish to English
+ ...
Still behemoths? Jul 20, 2004

Well, if words are sprinkled in clusters, you have segments per definition. I should have added you could of course also globally replace more than just one word, e.g., a phrase. Same deal overall. Some WP programs such as from Star Office do actually anticipate what you are typing based on previous keystrokes. As these programs become more powerful, they may simply replace the repetition feature of common CAT tools.

As for TM, the meetings/presentations I have attended so far said even glossaries are provided in CAT tools, sort of culled from the input process, I would imagine, if not, then shame on these high-priced behemoths.

As for context, I find your comment surprising and meriting of further attention and investigation on my part. The tools I've worked with, including the old Trados, were more like two bland rows of input. Can you have complicated graphic scenarios, live animations, slide presentations etc. in there too? Can you spell-check in rarer languages such as Finnish, Dutch, Danish and Norwegian, just to mention a few?

I also should mention before I go to bed and on a slightly different note that CAT tools will follow the sentence structure in the source language slavishly, potentially making the target language unnatural-sounding. Your creative juices are definitely being stymied either way you look at it.
As for matches, anything less than 80 percent is useless and cumbersome dross, it is amazing that rate reductions even apply in these cases. Too much editing and rearranging have to be done.

I much prefer CAT (Computer Aided Transcription) for now.




[Edited at 2004-07-21 15:25]


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:16
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TM tools strengths and weaknesses Jul 22, 2004


Can you have complicated graphic scenarios, live animations, slide presentations etc. in there too?


Speaking of Trados only: you can translate any MSword document in context (that is, you are using word as the editor), so whatever you can do in word, you basically can do in word using trados, so yes, you see all the graphics, field codes, etc.

Trados also provides tools to translate from within Power Point

When you get to html xhtml, however, the trados tool is more of the "switching back and forth" variety... personally I prefer it that way, but I know others might prefr a more wysiwyg environment for that kind of work as well


Can you spell-check in rarer languages such as Finnish, Dutch, Danish and Norwegian, just to mention a few?


See above: whichever spell checker you have loaded in MSWord is going to be available to you in Trados.


I also should mention before I go to bed and on a slightly different note that CAT tools will follow the sentence structure in the source language slavishly, potentially making the target language unnatural-sounding. Your creative juices are definitely being stymied either way you look at it.


I think you mean the paragraph structure: if so you are right: the various translated segments need to follow in all TM tool the same order as the SL segments; however, all translation memory tools that I know of permit to both shring and expand segments (that is, translate a single SL segment as two or more TL segments, or, conversely, translate a number of SL segments as a single TL segment).


As for matches, anything less than 80 percent is useless and cumbersome dross


I actually think that 70% to 75% is the actual start of usefulness for fuzzy matches... but you should also consider the usefulness of such features as the concordance in Trados, ot the sub-segment matches in Deja-Vu.

I really think you should give the newer version of the tools a good try - I think you would be surprise how much more useful they have become over the years.


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