Internal CAT tool
Thread poster: Roberta Vaghi

Roberta Vaghi  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:49
Member (2014)
German to Italian
+ ...
Jan 27, 2014

After contacting an international translation agency, they replied asking me to submit a translation test which should be written using their internal CAT tool. They also pointed out that buying such software is definitely necessary to work on "future potential" projects with them. I have never received such a request before and would like to receive some opinions on this matter. What do you think about it?


Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:49
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Scam Jan 27, 2014

That's basically a scam.


Phrase9  Identity Verified
South Africa
Arabic to English
counterintuitive Jan 27, 2014

I personally am not fond of CAT tools and find them to be counter-intuitive. That a company demands that you purchase one from them, while leaving a bad taste in the mouth, it speaks of the direction the translation industry is heading.


Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:49
German to English
Don't do it Jan 27, 2014

Although I regularly use CAT tools in my work, I would avoid working for an agency that required me to purchase their internal tool, as in all likelihood it can't be used on outside projects. The only exception would be the large CAT tool developers that are also translation agencies, whose tools can easily be used for a variety of projects.

As pointed out above, it's possibly a scam of some sort.


Walter Moura  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:49
English to Portuguese
Seems to be a scam Jan 27, 2014

I second efreitag on that this has the feel and look of a scam.

Please see the following thread on a similar matter:

Best regards,

Walter Moura


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:49
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I prefer to choose my own CAT tool Jan 27, 2014

I prefer to choose for myself which CAT tool I work with.

However, on the occasions when I have used an agency's online tool it has been supplied free of charge.

Other agencies sometimes have an agreement which allows you to buy a more general CAT tool like Trados or MemoQ at a discount - then you can use it for all your assignments, also for other agencies, and the license is yours.

I would not pay an agency for the doubtful 'privilege' of using theirs. These tools do not always have the advanced features of the big commercial ones, and they can be very tiring to work with.

A CAT is supposed to help you, and it will only do so if you choose one that suits your style of working and become famillar with it, so you do not have to think about the 'mechanics' all the time. Then you can concentrate on translating, not operating the CAT.

When you use your own tool you also get the benefit of building up your own TMs. Of course, you have to treat them as confidential, but that should not be a problem. You cannot normally do that if you are working online with a remote TM.

Altogether, this is not a favourable deal for you, and I would not accept it.

There are also free CAT tools and demo versions, if you want to try them out before spending money on buying one.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:49
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Don't buy it Jan 27, 2014

Vaghi Roberta wrote:
They replied asking me to submit a translation test which should be written using their internal CAT tool. They also pointed out that buying such software is definitely necessary to work on "future potential" projects with them.

There is no problem with using their internal tool, if their internal tool is free. But you should not buy a tool from an agency unless it is a well-known tool that can be used for multiple clients. By asking you to buy the tool, they are shifting the risk to you that they may not have enough work for you.


Roberta Vaghi  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:49
Member (2014)
German to Italian
+ ...
Internal CAT tool Jan 27, 2014

I agree with your opinions. I already have the most used CAT tools and don't think I'll buy theirs. I do not have any guarantee of its quality and usability and, above all, I DO not have any guarantee of these elusive future projects.
Thanks for your valuable advice.


United Kingdom
Local time: 06:49
Serbian to English
+ ...
most likely pure scam, at best outrageous Jan 27, 2014

If it's their "internal tool", it means it can't be used for anyone or anything else.

Even charging you a "licence fee" proportional to your usage of that software would be taking the mickey, they need the translation formatted in their proprietary format, not you.

But asking you to pay in advance a licence fee for a possible future use limited only to them doesn't smell nice.
Also, don't forget you're just buying "the right to use", - I wouldn't put past this kind of "businessmen" that once you read the small print you discover that the licence fee is payable every year again.
Looks very much like various agencies that charge people all sort of "registration fees" "portfolio fees" etc and then practically don't give any work to 99% of their "fully paid-up members".

I would think not twice, but three times before dealing with them.


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