Best translation software for German -> English translations?
Thread poster: mdsiegel
mdsiegel
Germany
German to English
+ ...
Feb 20, 2015

Hi there,

I am starting my new job as a German - English financial translator, and since the texts I am translating tend to be quite dense and repetitive, I think it would make my life much easier to start using translation software.

Could anyone recommend any software they have experience with, or note which ones are not suited to this task?

Thanks in advance,

MDS


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Heather Walker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:03
German to English
+ ...
My thoughts Feb 20, 2015

I am also just getting started as translator. I work with legal texts, German to English. I bought Fluency, and I'm having some trouble with it.

The software chooses little sections of text for the user to translate. You go from section to section, translating each one, and the program creates a memory from this so you don't need to retranslate phrases that you have already worked on. You can merge the sections to make them larger. Because the German and English syntax are so different, I have found that I need to merge large sections of text, and this is causing major formatting issues in the translation. It may be that I'm doing something wrong, though.

I also find that the translation repopulates every time I merge a section and this is slow.

I did my last project in Word and it was less of a headache.

I also downloaded the free trial of SDL Trados, but I didn't find the interface to be user-friendly, and I didn't have a Term Memory, so I couldn't do much with the program. If I were to go back in time, I would download the EU TM before I tried Trados.

The thing I like about Fluency, as opposed to Trados, is the interface and the fact that dictionaries are already built-in.

[Edited at 2015-02-20 16:36 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-02-20 17:11 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:03
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Common pairs Feb 20, 2015

In your pairs I think you should find that they will all perform adequately, and your choice will be more to do with ease of use - i.e. which one you like working with most. If your clients are going to want to send you their own TMs and ask for unclean files back, you may have to work with the one(s) they specify, though there is quite a bit of standardisation. Clients seem to like SDL Trados best (maybe because it's been sold hardest) but many translators prefer the simpler tools such as Wordfast, MemoQ etc.

Wordfast can be tried out for free indefinitely: you download the full functionality and there are just limitations on TM size with the free version. Other CATs have a trial period. So my advice would be to have a play with some, although please bear in mind that I'm not a technical translator, so I don't really make the best possible use of my CAT tool (Wordfast). Hopefully, others will respond with more specific advice.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:03
German to English
TM or MT? Feb 20, 2015

Are you referring to translation memory (TM) software or machine translation (MT) software?

Don’t bother with MT (there’s nothing on the market - yet - that will be of any serious use in De-En financial translation), but if you’re considering using TM, you need to establish first what your clients are using and whether there are any compatibility issues.


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 08:03
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
try & buy Feb 20, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Clients seem to like SDL Trados best (maybe because it's been sold hardest)


Well, not my clients


Sheila Wilson wrote:

but many translators prefer the simpler tools such as Wordfast, MemoQ etc.



It is really difficult to find a simple CAT tool nowadays. All loaded with tons of features.


So any CAT tool will be good for repetitive texts, it is better to try some of them before buying one. Some of these CATs in alphabetical order:
CafeTran
Deja Vu X3
memoQ
MetaTexis
OmegaT
SDL Studio
Swordfish
Wordfast Pro or Classic

Across not listed above for known reasons.


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Charlotte Farrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:03
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
I recommend MemoQ Feb 20, 2015

I also work in your pair and find MemoQ to be user-friendly and with a lot of features that make it very handy, especially if you work with similar texts on a regular basis. A few of my clients also use memoQ server, so having my own license for it means that I can use my own translation memories when working on their projects. Trados Studio is also very popular and preferred by many clients, but often they can provide compatible files if you work with a different tool. I'd say go for one of these two - download trial versions (I know memoQ has a free 45-day trial but not sure about Trados) and have a play around with them and see which you prefer. If you tell your clients you currently work with both, you can also see which one seems to help you get the most/best work, and that could be a factor in your decision.

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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 08:03
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
and I recommend xxx Feb 20, 2015

No, I will not recommend any. I have been using CAT tools for more than 10 years, and tested all of them several times. But I will not recommend any of them, I will not tell, I use this or that and it is the best.

Try it yourself and find the one best for you.


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:03
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
TMs first, software 2nd. Feb 20, 2015

mdsiegel wrote:
...my new job as a German - English financial translator, and since the texts I am translating tend to be quite dense and repetitive, I think it would make my life much easier to start using translation software.

Yes. life will be easier - eventually. All translation software will work adequately - once you have loaded in some translation memories. And where will you get those from? You don't mention that. That is the first, vital, step, the software is secondary.

When I started, I was delighted to find that a large accountancy firm published model financial accounts in both my source and target languages. I was able to extract the financial jargon (income statements, balance sheets, fixed assets, current assets, impairment etc), edit it into a bilingual import file using a text editor, then import the text or TMX file into the software. Cheeky, but effective.

If none of that makes sense to you, then you have a steep learning curve ahead. Go on a training course - RobinB, a contributor to your question, is an acknowledged expert.

An alternative would be to offer a sum of money to one of your German to English fellow translators near retirement for his/her financial TMs. Spend your money on that rather than on the software. And use term bases (TBs) as well as TMs.


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mdsiegel
Germany
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Original Poster Feb 20, 2015

RobinB wrote:

Are you referring to translation memory (TM) software or machine translation (MT) software?

Don’t bother with MT (there’s nothing on the market - yet - that will be of any serious use in De-En financial translation), but if you’re considering using TM, you need to establish first what your clients are using and whether there are any compatibility issues.



Thank you for your response, RobinB.

Definitely not MT, no.

TM, yes.

I am the first in-house translator this firm has hired, so they didn't mention any particular software or formats. I think they are just expecting (and would be happy with) simple Word docs, since that was what I was submitting during the interview process, and they never asked whether I had any familiarity with translation tools.

Also: This might sound silly, but with regard to workflow, I really dislike having to separate out all the paragraphs and copy and paste and that whole process ... For a long document, this can be a total pain. Even just something that would solve that—automatically separating the paragraphs for translation, then providing a function to export the final translated text into a separate, single document—would be a start.

Let me know -

MDS


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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:03
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
I like Deja Vu Feb 21, 2015

I don't translate German but I have several different CAT tools and prefer Deja Vu. I am using the older version X2, but if you buy it now it would be Deja Vu X3. I also have Fluency and don't use it at all as I found it very hard to work with.

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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:03
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Workflow and CAT tools Feb 21, 2015

mdsiegel wrote:
...with regard to workflow, I really dislike having to separate out all the paragraphs and copy and paste and that whole process ...

I am mystified by your workflow, "separate paragraphs and cut and paste". I never have to do this, because my CAT tool does it for me, and exports it. All CAT tools do this. But a CAT tool is only as good as the translation memories you install. Which is why I say that your choice of software is secondary to TMs.

Either I have misunderstood your workflow, or your understanding of CAT tools is incomplete. Anyway let me assure you that you are on the right track -- CAT tools are particularly suited to financial translation.


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