Is Trados necessary and how do they know I use it?
Thread poster: Camilla Dunér

Camilla Dunér  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:19
English to Swedish
Apr 17, 2013

Hi everyone!

I'm new both to Proz and to life as a freelance translator. Seeing as I am all for open source software, I'd love to learn and use OmegaT in my work - but of course Trados is overshadowing my every move and I feel more and more inclined to just close my eyes hard and press "puchase". Right now I would just like to apply for every job possible (that I think I can handle), but many of them require Trados. My questions to you: Do you think I can make it as a freelance translator without Trados and how do agencies/clients/companies who require I use it know that I actually use it? Do they want the translation delivered in a specific Trados-file format or something?

Regards,
Camilla


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 15:19
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Trados is NOT necessary Apr 17, 2013

There are many translators using MS Word (or Open/Libre Office). CAT tools are useful but not (always) necessary. You can use the free OmegaT or another CAT tool (Deja Vu X, MemoQ, CafeTran, MetaTexis, Swordfish, ...). I translate Trados files with my preferred tool Deja Vu X. This is called CAT hopping and as an experienced user I know what to do.

Download trial versions, test them, read CAT forums and make your decision (and investment). Your money, your decision


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
You can make a life without Trados Apr 17, 2013

But you should not offer to do Trados-based jobs unless you do have Trados, since sooner or later the customer will know that you do not have Trados, and that will put you in the uncomfortable situation of having to admit that you lied to them.

Trados-compatible tools are not necessarily 100% compatible and you eventually need Trados to properly prepare Trados files for translation in other tools. You can of course say that you use Trados-compatible tools and work on Trados files, but you have to be very explicit about it to your customer so that they are aware and can prepare the files properly for you, if they want to use your services.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 17:49
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
The finished translation would be indistinguishable Apr 18, 2013

For example, if you get a Word file to translate, the finished translation generated by Trados would still be a Word file. So if you use some other CAT tool to translate it or do it directly in Word, the end result would be the same.

The problem arises when the client sends you a sdlxliff format file (Trados 9 onwards) or a Tag Editor bilingual file (before Trados 9), then in most cases these cannot be handled by other Cat tools or not as efficiently as Trados can handle these formats.

But even that should not be a constraint as many CAT tools now come equipped with multi-file-format support and can handle Trados files effectively. For example it is possible to translate trados files with memoq (which, however, is not an open source cat tool).

The same is true of TMs. Most TMs can be exported into text file formats or excel file formats and these can be taken into Trados TMs or the TMs of other CAT tools. Thus, though TMs generated by other CAT tools can be used by Trados, it adds additional steps for both you and your client. The client will have to induct your text file TM into his Trados TM. And you will ask your client to export the project TM as a text file and then import it into your CAT tools.

So Trados is not strictly necessary, though it is a convenience.

You can also stick to non-Trados using clients, but nowadays Trados is increasingly becoming ubiquitous, and this option will severely limit your opportunities.

Another option is to stick to those translation areas like literary translation where CAT tools are meaningless.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:19
Chinese to English
Sometimes Trados means CAT Apr 18, 2013

Trados has become a bit of a byword, so you do sometimes get situations where the agency doesn't need Trados, but does want a CAT used. I don't know if that happens in your country/pair, but it's worth responding to a few "Trados only" jobs saying that you have another CAT tool, is that OK? They'll say yes or no, and you will start to get a feel for whether it's going to work for you.

The other option, of course, is direct clients. If you're in a position to do so then try to grab business from the companies around you.

This might sound hypocritical from me, because I'm a Trados user, but I just wanted to say that it's great that you're bringing your open source philosophy into your workflow. You've got a right to work in the way you want to, and good clients will understand that.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Even if you have Trados you won't get those jobs Apr 18, 2013

Camilla Dunér wrote:
Right now I would just like to apply for every job possible (that I think I can handle), but many of them require Trados.


Even if you have Trados, you might not get any of those jobs. How many of the non-Trados jobs that you apply for do you actually get? If you got the same percentage of Trados jobs, if you had Trados, how much extra work would that give you?

My questions to you: Do you think I can make it as a freelance translator without Trados...


Yes, because many agencies now make use of the ability of CAT tools to create bilingual MS Word files (such as a table) that can be translated by anyone, even if they don't own a CAT tool at all.

...and how do agencies/clients/companies who require I use it know that I actually use it?


They will discover it the moment they ask you to perform any simple little task that only Trados can do, and you have to admit that you are unable to do that very simple thing, and when they ask why not, then... you have to admit that you don't have Trados.

Do they want the translation delivered in a specific Trados-file format or something?


That depends on the agency. Some of them want you to have Trados because they don't know that there are other CAT tools out there. Some of them want you to have Trados because they will send you files in Trados formats and will want you to deliver the files back in Trados formats. And some of them want you to have Trados because they want the reassurance that if they ask you to do something extra that is mundane in Trados, that you can do that without error (and if you don't know how, that you can follow a set of very simple instructions mailed to you). Also, they want to save time wasted by unnecessary checking oddities that the translator reports that might actually be related to the translator's own CAT tool.


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:19
Danish to English
+ ...
No, not necessary, but very useful Apr 18, 2013

I've worked with Trados ever since I started as a full-time translator about 13 years ago, gone through all the different versions of the program/package and cannot imagine working as a translator without it now. It is equally as natural to me as it is to use Microsoft Office.

I understand people's reluctance to pay the huge price for SDL Trados, but if you get in on one of the group buy deals here on ProZ or simply look out for the times when SDL offer the package at a huge discount, the price does come down. And the program will soon become an essential tool for your work. Yes, there are many other CAT tools that you can choose between, but I would not hesitate to recommend Trados to you. It does the trick, and it is an excellent tool if you want to work with CAT tools at all.

As for lying to agencies, you would just be doing yourself a disfavour, they are not (all) stupid, and they will find out soon enough. If they request the use of Trados, it is most likely because that is what makes their own work process easiest. I used to work in-house and full-time for a translation agency, and although we never insisted that freelancers use Trados, those who did were sometimes given priority over those who didn't, all other things being equal. In fact, if memory serves me, we had just one translator who worked in Wordfast and was able to produce TM extracts that could be imported directly into our Trados TMs without any hassle, so that was perfectly acceptable.

Pretending to be something you are not (a Trados user) won't further your translation career...


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Khwansuree DEROLLEPOT  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:19
Member (2012)
English to Thai
+ ...
Why clients ask for TRADOS...... Jun 7, 2013

In my experience, clients have their reasons to ask for TRADOS

1. There are many repetitions in their texts.
Almost all my clients asking for TRADOS came with texts full of repetitions (sometimes like 70% of the total word count), they cannot (and will not) afford the prize in full and it is just impossible for you to take this job without any CAT tools (and you will never meet their deadlines). This is matter of saving time and money.

2. The files can only be read by specific CAT tools.
For some of my big projects, I got the files in the format that can be read only with TRADOS. I sometimes can't see what the source text or the translated text actually looks like. I don't know whether this is part of the client's non-disclosure/data protection policy or something. I just know that it's also impossible to take these jobs without TRADOS.

3. The data in TRADOS is reusable for their future projects.
The translation memories, for example, can be re-used in order to save time, save money and guarantee the consistency of their work in the future. That is why my clients also ask for XLIFF and TM files to be submitted along with the translation.

So, yes, sometimes the clients know you are not using TRADOS because you cannot open the file, because you are unable to deliver the TM or XLIFF files or because there is lack of consistency in your work, etc. Pretending you are using TRADOS when you are not will just cost you time and energy for unworthy results as the repetitions or fuzzy matches found in the texts will never be paid in full.

Hope this helps.

[Edited at 2013-06-07 07:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-06-07 07:41 GMT]


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Annie Sapucaia  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:19
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
I don't understand... Aug 25, 2013

Khwansuree DEROLLEPOT wrote:


1. There are many repetitions in their texts.
Almost all my clients asking for TRADOS came with texts full of repetitions (sometimes like 70% of the total word count), they cannot (and will not) afford the prize in full and it is just impossible for you to take this job without any CAT tools (and you will never meet their deadlines). This is matter of saving time and money.

[Edited at 2013-06-07 07:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-06-07 07:41 GMT]


So agencies want you to use Trados so they can NOT pay you for the entire word count? Even if there is repetition, you still need to check that the meaning is the same.

Is this standard practice, to not pay for repetitions? I've never given discounts to direct clients for 100% matches. I still need to make sure the whole document makes sense.


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:19
English to German
+ ...
Good attitude. Aug 25, 2013

I don't work with Trados nor with any other CAT tool for that mattter. And I am a freelance translator since 1994. You don't have to starve without Trados.

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dZankell
Venezuela
Local time: 08:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
I prefer not to use any software Dec 16, 2013

Annie Sapucaia wrote:

Khwansuree DEROLLEPOT wrote:


1. There are many repetitions in their texts.
Almost all my clients asking for TRADOS came with texts full of repetitions (sometimes like 70% of the total word count), they cannot (and will not) afford the prize in full and it is just impossible for you to take this job without any CAT tools (and you will never meet their deadlines). This is matter of saving time and money.

[Edited at 2013-06-07 07:40 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-06-07 07:41 GMT]


So agencies want you to use Trados so they can NOT pay you for the entire word count? Even if there is repetition, you still need to check that the meaning is the same.

Is this standard practice, to not pay for repetitions? I've never given discounts to direct clients for 100% matches. I still need to make sure the whole document makes sense.


Generally by using software, you will not have a translation pleasant to read. That is why I always say I interpret, do not translate.


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Khwansuree DEROLLEPOT  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:19
Member (2012)
English to Thai
+ ...
Of course repetitions are paid,but not at the same price. Jun 6, 2014

Sorry for late reply.

I think I didn't make myself clear.
Of course the clients pay for the entire word count, but not at the same price.
The discount varies, for example, say your rate is 0.10 USD per source word, the client might pay 0.03 USD for 100% matches, 0.06 USD for 84-95% matches, and 0.10 USD for 0-75% matches, etc.

And the repetitions are segments, not words, and it's youself who put in the translation at the first place, so yes, it usually makes sense. But I do proofread 100% matches any way, because I'm paid for it

Hope this is clearer.
And so what? Did you purchase the tool then?


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