Outsourcers' software requirement?
Thread poster: Darren Tanner

Darren Tanner  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:22
Spanish to English
Apr 23, 2015

Please enlighten the new guy. From the reviews, I take it that I will have greater success in learning the ropes by purchasing Deja Vu rather than Trados. However, I am worried that outsourcers will turn me down if I do not have their preferred software. I cannot afford purchasing more than one at this point. Could you give me some direction on how I should proceed? Perhaps there are other factors I should be considering as well.

Thank you for any direction you may offer,


Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:22
Member (2002)
English to Russian
You will benefit from learning any CAT tool Apr 23, 2015

Hi Darren,

All major CAT tools have similar functionality. Throughout my professional career, I worked with at least five of them. I believe, each has its strengths and weaknesses. However, I have eventually come to the conclusion that I will be better off, if I focus on mastering a single CAT tool. I made a similar decision back in 1985 at the time of graduation from my Foreign Languages School, which was to drop my second foreign language (German), i.e. not to maintain or improve it, and focus on acquiring knowledge of new subject matter domains (and translation-related technology) while working in the English-Russian language pair only. Time has shown, at least in my case, that this was a wise decision.

As to the CAT tools, Trados products have been my primary workhorses since mid-2003, starting from Trados 5.5. At this point, I use SDL Trados Studio 2014 Professional and SDL Studio GroupShare 2014 Cloud platform, and I am quite happy with both products.

In your case, I would be choosing between SDL Trados Studio or memoQ. I am afraid that Deja Vu has been losing ground recently, but I can be entirely wrong in this assumption.

Hope it helps.

[Edited at 2015-04-23 21:08 GMT]


Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:22
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Outsourcers' software requirement Apr 23, 2015

One more cent, or even two cents... I would not try and accommodate every outsourcer in his or her requirement to use any specific CAT tool. All of them can export/import translation memories and termbases in common formats, such as TMX and TBX... therefore outsources can generally exchange files with their translators, regardless of CAT tools used on each side of the fence.

Personally, I do tend to outsource to fellow translators using SDL Trados Studio 2011/2014 Freelance editions, as these are compatible with SDL Studio GroupShare 2014 server-based projects. But I don't think this is very critical to me, if the translator is really good ... and reliable, which is critical indeed, because any perfect translation that has not been delivered by the agreed deadline may result in a missed deadline for the end client, losing him or her a major contract or a high profile litigation.

[Edited at 2015-04-23 21:26 GMT]


Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:22
Member (2008)
Italian to English
What matters Apr 24, 2015

What matters is not the tech you use, but the quality of the translation. I don't use any CAT tools at all, but my translations are good and I'm just as fast. I get plenty of work.

[Edited at 2015-04-24 07:08 GMT]


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Which reviews? Apr 24, 2015

darrentanner wrote:
From the reviews, I take it that I will have greater success in learning the ropes by purchasing Deja Vu rather than Trados.

Where did you see those reviews?

If you want to attract Trados clients, then the best tool to have is Trados itself. Other CAT tools may not offer everything that Trados offers and don't work the same way as Trados does. However, if you only want most of Trados' features, but you don't want to specifically attract Trados clients, then you can safely buy a different tool, e.g. DVX or MemoQ of possibly even WFP.

Note that every program's workflow is different from the rest, so half of the "ropes" that you'll be learning won't be transferrable skills. If you only want to learn how to use TM efficiently, why not start out with a free program, like OmegaT, until you think that you've outgrown it.

However, I am worried that outsourcers will turn me down if I do not have their preferred software.

Some of them wil do just that, yes. Some of them will turn you down only if you admit that you can't handle that format, but not if you confess that you don't have that particular software. Most of my Trados clients don't expect me to use Trados itself, as long as the final file is problem-free. I have only two or three Trados clients that require a feature that is only available in Trados itself.

What's more, agencies from richer countries that also pay higher rates tend to be more flexible when you don't have the exact right tool, as long as you are otherwise a pleasure to work with. It's likely the cheaper agencies that will drop you if you don't have the right CAT tool (simply because they work with smaller profit margins and can't afford to spend personnel time on dealing with non-conforming translators).


Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:22
German to English
non-Trados agencies Apr 24, 2015

There are lots and lots of agencies and other outsourcers working with almost any given CAT tool - many more than enough to keep a given freelancer busy all the time.

Focussing on a less common tool has a double effect: (1) it makes you less attractive to Trados outsourcers, (2) it makes you more attractive to outsourcers who prefer to work with the CAT tool that you have chosen.

Do some research: There are some unpopular and bad tools out there, as well as tools that are only widely used in specific geographic areas (e. g., Across may be very focussed on German-speaking countries, although I may be mixing things up).

In terms of marketing yourself, an unusual CAT tool might actually make your life easier ...


Cristóbal del Río Faura  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Productivity vs. marketing Apr 24, 2015

Déjà Vu is designed by and for translators, and this makes a difference. I have not tried MemoQ, but it looks quite good as well, in the same line as DV.

As compared to Trados, DV is light, fast and extremely powerful, as well as virtually problem-free, cost-effective and much more profitable. With DV you can handle any formats and file types, including Trados files types of course, so you can work on Trados packages as supplied by the outsourcers – you just need to take the correct files, work on them with DV, and then reinsert them into the Trados package. Or the outsourcer can send you directly the relevant TTX or SDLXLIFF files from Trados, you work on them with DV and then return the translated files to the outsourcer in the same original file type.

I work with DV only, but I keep Trados for marketing and (just in case) interoperability and checking purposes. This has been my choice for many years without a single problem. You may want to choose Trados for marketing reasons since, as it seems, it is the most popular tool among agencies. But if your priority is a really powerful and productive tool, go for DV with no doubts. And to be on the safe side, have both tools as soon as you can afford the cost. Of course, these are just my personal views and may not work for others.

[Edited at 2015-04-24 16:17 GMT]


Heather Walker (X)  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:22
German to English
+ ...
My experience Apr 24, 2015

I was wondering the same thing several months ago. I primarily wanted something that would be user friendly, so I purchased a tool that had high ratings in this regard. It turned out to be kind of a nightmare, and I have barely used it at all.

Shortly thereafter, I needed to purchase Trados for a certain project. I bought the limited license for Trados Studio 2014, and the price was reasonable. It turned out that Trados was really not that bad. You won't need to use all of the special features in order to do your translations. You just need to learn a handful of keystrokes. You can get a list of these online.

With Trados, I've had a couple of issues, but I was able to work them out with a little advice and a Google search. If you are decently comfortable with internet browsing, Word, Outlook, Excel, and other programs like that, then I think you will be able to handle the basics of Trados without much of a learning curve or time investment.

[Edited at 2015-04-24 17:50 GMT]


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Outsourcers' software requirement?

Advanced search

CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search