Cat Tool: Which one ?
Thread poster: Robert Manipole

Robert Manipole  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:58
Spanish to English
Nov 21, 2007

I have just recently become serious about freelancing. The problem is, a lot of the proposals require that you use Trados, wordfast, etc. Well because I'm just entering this exciting field, I have no knowledge as to which tool I should buy. I am a person of very limited funds, so I was wondering if anyone had any advice as to which tool is the best for me, in terms of being economical, and of high quality. Thanks!

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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:58
English to German
+ ...
Try trial version Nov 22, 2007

Most commercial packages offer trial versions of their tools. I would start there and see which one suits me best.

You will also see that each and every tool works in its own way. You will certainly encounter some that work better for you and some that don't.

As for free CAT tools, I can only point you to OmegaT at this stage. Wordfast is free as long as your TM does not exceed a certain size, and requires a license only beyond this TM size. However, it is IMHO fairly priced and worth the investment. You may also want to have a look at Metatexis, which offers different price structures for different versions, of which the most basic one is quite affordable.

There is a myriad of other tools available, and you may need to search the fora or do a Google search to find a complete list of available CAT tools.

Good luck,

Sonja


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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 08:58
Italian to English
+ ...
Perennial Question Nov 22, 2007

This has been discussed before, you may wish to do forum searches to follow some of the discussion.

As I recall, the consensus view on the difference between Wordfast and Trados is:

- Wordfast is more user-friendly (and less expensive) and probably more suitable for jobs that do not specify another requirement and for any direct customers that you may have;

- Trados, along with its various components, is more sophisticated and is probably more suitable if you work mostly with agencies that manage huge and/or ongoing projects requiring sophisticated text management tools. That does not mean that some agencies don't require use of Trados also for small jobs, they do.

Again, I would suggest browsing through the various forums on CAT tools, Trados support, Wordfast support to gain knowledge of current issues and problems, both of a general nature and specific.


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Don't let clients confuse you Nov 22, 2007

... by trying to talk you into buying a certain tool. It is YOU who will have to work with it after all. Some CAT tools are quite versatile in terms of the formats they are able to process (e.g. Trados assignments can be handled easily by quite a number competitor tools, same goes for Star Transit). So I can only agree with Sonja: try before you buy. And whatever you try in your evaluation period will not be lost, as most database formats are more or less exchangeable.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Limited funds, new translator Nov 22, 2007

Robert Manipole wrote:
* Well because I'm just entering this exciting field...
* I am a person of very limited funds...


Based on what you told us here, what you need is a free CAT tool.

OmegaT is the only free CAT tool that I'm aware of (except for MemoQ's old version, but I'm not familiar with it).

In my opinion, you can only make money with Trados and similar high-price CAT tools if you're an established translator or if you're always dealing with very easy texts.

Once you get some money (about EUR 250.00), start using Wordfast and then buy it.

Alternatively, why not bid (sorry: quote) on jobs that require Trados etc and tell the client that you'll use Trados if he supplies it. Its worth a try, don't you think?


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Igor Indruch  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 08:58
English to Czech
Trados still prevails Nov 22, 2007

at least according to my experience. Many agencies have projects in Trados, so they require that freelancers have Trados as well.

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:58
German to English
+ ...
Wider picture Nov 24, 2007

Robert,

My advice is to look at the wider picture.

A translation business is a business like any other. Your means may be limited at the moment, but you are presumably expecting your business to achieve a reasonable turnover at some point. What is your target - $4,000 per month? $5,000? $8,000? If you're not making a reasonable turnover, you might as well set up some other form of business.

There are as many as two dozen CAT tools on the market, if you include all the obscure products. The most popular dozen or so range in price from free to around $1,000-$1,500.

Some have advantages over others in certain respects, but without knowledge of your requirements, it's difficult to point to you to a particular product. (You wouldn't expect someone to choose a car for you with "economical and high quality" as your only criteria.) The most popular products range in price from free to around $1,000-$1,500. It can safely be said that they are *all* good and they are *all* cheap. If you think $1,000-$1,500 isn't cheap, perhaps you should review your business model. As many CAT tool users will tell you, you may be able to recoup the cost price by a single order. It should certainly be repaid by a few days' earnings. For the sake of comparison, I bought a new office chair this week, for 987 euro (that's currently US$1464). Running a business has its costs.

If you're not yet sure whether the translation business is for you, or whether you're going to be able to make a go of it, buy one of the cheaper products and use that for the time being. Particularly cheap alternatives are:

OmegaT (free)
Metatexis Lite (free)
Heartsome XLIFF Editor ($211)
Wordfast (250 euro)

These four products already have a solid user base. Using any of them will give you valuable experience and insights, and enable you to make a more informed choice should you choose to buy a different product later on. Once you reach that stage, you can try the demonstration versions of the different products.

HTH,
Marc


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Off-topic: For a chair??? Nov 24, 2007

Marc P wrote:
For the sake of comparison, I bought a new office chair this week, for 987 euro (that's currently US$1464). Running a business has its costs.


I also had to buy a new office chair about 9 months ago. Cost me all of ZAR 250.00. And it was a little too high, so I used a saw to shorten all four feet a few centimetres.

http://leuce.com/translate/officeopen1.jpg

Okay, so it doesn't heat up when it's cold and it doesn't give backrubs every 10 minutes, but it's a chair. A chair!

Marc, how about a feature in OmegaT that shows your holiday snaps as a slideshow in the edit pane while you translate. As a unique selling proposition, you know.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Metatexis Lite Nov 24, 2007

Marc P wrote:
OmegaT (free)
Metatexis Lite (free)


I've just had a look at Metatexis Lite. It is not nearly as powerful as Wordfast, but it has many more features than OmegaT. And it works without limitation... it has TM with fuzzy matching and glossary lookup.


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Duncan Adam  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:58
Member (2006)
Japanese to English
CAT tools for Asian languages Nov 28, 2007

Can I add a supplementary question to this?
I'm pondering the same question: basically, Trados or Wordfast. Does anyone know if there are specific problems affecting the choice when using non-European scripts?
I translate from Japanese to English, so I wouldn't want to invest a lot in a system that has shortcomings for this combination.
I'm just starting to look into the question of using CAT, so I'm sure lots has already been said on this, but if anyone has any immediate comments or experiences to share, I'd appreciate it.


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