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I would like tips on a new laptop and translation programs
Thread poster: Meerburg TS

Meerburg TS  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jan 26, 2012

Hello everybody!icon_smile.gif

I am fairly new in the translation business and still learning.
Currently I am just using my old PC laptop (which my fiancé calls "the helicopter" due to the noise it makes) and Microsoft Office for the translation. I translate from Spanish, French and Dutch into English. I may eventually translate into Dutch as well.

I am ready to buy myself a new laptop and some programs that will help me advance in my trade. Also, I want to use the new laptop for editing graphics and drawings (I'm an artist as well) and get Photoshop.

I am a bit bewildered by the amount of translation programs out there and would love to get some feedback by fellow translators about them.

Also, I would like to know whether you prefer Macs or PCs for translation.

Thanks in advance for your help!icon_smile.gif

All the best,

Nikola


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Get both Jan 27, 2012

Meerburg TS wrote:


I am ready to buy myself a new laptop and some programs that will help me advance in my trade. Also, I want to use the new laptop for editing graphics and drawings (I'm an artist as well) ...

Also, I would like to know whether you prefer Macs or PCs for translation.





Althought stated as fact, these are only my opinions, based on my experience of ease-of-use and compat¡bility issues, which I'm not interested in justifying or debating.
So here goes:
Macs are better for graphics and arty stuff. PCs are better for translation work, and industry standard software is generally better from a user point of view. My advice is to get both - a Mac for art and a PC for translation. A friend/colleague of mine has a Mac with XP installed on it for translation work but it still has the odd bug...


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
CAT tools are database tools Jan 27, 2012

Meerburg TS wrote:
I am a bit bewildered by the amount of translation programs out there and would love to get some feedback by fellow translators about them.


Well, for a laptop for translation programs (CAT tools), keep in mind that these tools are database programs, so you need fast access to to huge amounts of text data. Investigate gaming computers.

Not many CAT tools run on Mac, so get a Mac only if you are an addict.

Alternatively, get a PC for translation and a Mac for design -- why try to use a single tool for two entirely different tasks if two tools are so much better?


 

Meerburg TS  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I wish I could... but.... Jan 27, 2012

Hello neilmac and Samuel,

thank you for your input.

I'd love to get two laptops but unfortunantly my financial situation does not allow for two new laptops... getting just one along with the purchase of various new programs (one or two translation programs, Microsoft office and probably Acrobat and Photoshop) will set me back enough as it is.

Nor have I ever worked with a Mac, always with PCs, so probably the best way to go would be a PC that does good graphics as well... there must be some.

Which CAT tools do you use, and what edition do you recommend?

Thanks!


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Finnish to French
Start with the free ones Jan 27, 2012

Meerburg TS wrote:
Which CAT tools do you use, and what edition do you recommend?

Everyone will recommend their favorite CAT tool, but that won't be of much help to you (I know what suits me, but how can I know what's going to suit *you*). However, here are some general guidelines:

1) using any CAT tool is better than using none

2) start with the free ones, for instance OmegaT and/or Wordfast Anywhere

3) wait until you're familiar with the basics before spending big money


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:21
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
hmm Jan 28, 2012

Any graphics stuff that you can do on a Mac, you can do on a PC too, and just as well.
Mac people just like to imagine only Macs can do art stuff, probably to help justify their higher price.

I would suggest getting a desktop, instead of a laptop. Although many people don't seem to mind, I get neck pain after working on a laptop for a while.

I don't know about starting with the open source stuff, that might actually put you off. It really depends on how technical you are, how good you are at (and how much you enjoy) messing around with computers and geeky stuff. I once went through a phase of trying every cool open source operating system I could get my hands on, and building computers out of stuff I found in bargain basements etc., but these days I just stick with Windows 7 64-bit with tons of RAM and an SSD. It just works. Wordfast Anywhere, as Dominique suggested, is however free but I think a bit more foolproof...

However, I'd suggest maybe trying to get your hands on an old copy of Trados Workbench, or Wordfast Classic. People are selling their old licenses right and left for quite cheap.

I myself like memoQ, you might want to try out the demo, and see what you think. If you like it there are always sales on at http://www.proz.com/tgb

There are basically 2 main types of CAT tools:

1. The ones where you work inside of Word (like Workbench and Wordfast Classic), and
2. The ones that import the file and present you with an abstraction of the source file, so to speak: where you work in a table of some kind. Either src + trgt up and down, or src + trgt left and right. (memoQ, OmegaT, SDL Studio, Déjà Vu)

I myself started with Trados (Workbench), and moved towards memoQ, but everyone is different. Some prefer to work inside of Word, or LibreOffice.

Michael

p.s. whatever you do, avoid 'TagEditor'. It is evil, and will try to steal your soulicon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2012-01-28 01:50 GMT]


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Finnish to French
Acrobat, multiple CAT tools Jan 28, 2012

Meerburg TS wrote:
I'd love to get two laptops but unfortunantly my financial situation does not allow for two new laptops... getting just one along with the purchase of various new programs (one or two translation programs, Microsoft office and probably Acrobat and Photoshop) will set me back enough as it is.

Is Acrobat needed for your career as an artist? The reason I'm asking is that it's definitely not a must for your career as a translator: if/since you're on a budget, skip it (at least for the time being), there are better ways to spend your money.

For the same reason, don't buy multiple CAT tools: most people do quite well with just one. As I said, start with the free ones (or inexpensive ones). Most CAT tools also offer demo versions that are either fully functional during a limited period of time (typically 30 days, sometimes more, as with memoQ), or partially functional during an unlimited period of time (Wordfast Classic/Pro). The notable exception is SDL Trados Studio 2011, which currently has no demo version whatsoever (see this thread for details: http://www.proz.com/forum/sdl_trados_support/208832-sdl_trados_studio_2011_demo_version.html ). So this is the one you would want to stay away from, especially since it's also one of the most expensive icon_wink.gif

As to Office, go for the Home & Student edition, which is affordable and includes the most important components, ie. Word, PowerPoint and Excel.


 

Meerburg TS  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great tips! Jan 29, 2012

Hello everyone and thank you for the feedback!

I downloaded the memo Q but I am still a bit confused about it, so I am going to check out some of the other ones mentioned. I will try to find some tutorials as well.

The document I am trying to translate now (a photocopy in PDF) does not convert very well into Word, basically I have to go over the whole thing before translating it... a bit of a pain.

Michael, I am not very good with techy stuff. Also, I would prefer a laptop due to the fact I travel quite a bit, and a desktop is too bulky to lug around.

Thanks, and keep the suggestions coming!icon_smile.gif


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:21
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Have a comparative look at CAT tools Jan 29, 2012

Hi, I always recommend people look at these videos http://www.translatorstraining.com/sito/index.php from Jost Zetzsche, they give you a look at each program by comparing how they translate the same text, so it gives you quite a good idea of how they compare to each other, just click on each name to see the video, watching them all will take you a while but is time well spent.

I agree with Dominique in that you should try the free ones to get a feel for how these tools work, this includes Wordfast Pro and Wordfast Classic as they are both fully functional in demo mode, the only restriction being you are limited to a 500 segment Translation Memory, which is more than enough to allow you to try them out for a while.

CAt tools don't use much CPU as they are basically databases, so what you really want is a hard disk with a high spin rate (higher does usually mean noisier) and a high transfer rate.

Photoshop can be CPU and RAM intensive depending on the image you are working on.

Conclusion: If you want a PC good for translating and photo editing you need to get the best PC possible (for your budget). If you want a PC for translating only you just need to get the best possible HDD.


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Finnish to French
Try Wordfast Anywhere for your PDF Jan 29, 2012

Meerburg TS wrote:
The document I am trying to translate now (a photocopy in PDF) does not convert very well into Word,

Try Wordfast Anywhere, which is capable of converting PDF that contain text as graphics. Have a look at the following video: http://youtu.be/ZwYgFbWzpFQ


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Finnish to French
The fastest drives don't spin! Jan 29, 2012

Alex Lago wrote:
Hi, I always recommend people look at these videos http://www.translatorstraining.com/sito/index.php from Jost Zetzsche,

Actually, the site is co-owned by Jost, but the videos are not from him: they were prepared by each vendor and edited by his associate. At least, AFAIK.

Alex Lago wrote:
what you really want is a hard disk with a high spin rate (higher does usually mean noisier) and a high transfer rate.

The fastest drives of all are those that don't spin at all, ie. SSD's (solid state drives) icon_wink.gif
They contain no mechanical parts, which means they are totally silent. Their drawbacks are higher prices and lower capacities.
I have had bad experience with 7200 rpm drives in laptops: they tend to vibrate when lying on a hard surface (like a wooden table) and they seem to be more fragile. This is why I preferred to use 5400 rpm drives when I was still using conventional drives in my previous laptops. I'm now using an SSD (in a PC laptop and in a Mac) and I wouldn't go back to conventional drives: they are just so incredibly fast and totally silent.


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:21
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
SSD is good Jan 29, 2012

Dominique Pivard wrote:
Their drawbacks are higher prices and lower capacities.


That's why I didn't mention them to her as she had already mentioned she had a restricted budget and unless she gets to have a huge TM (which she obviously doesn't yet) in my opinion this would be overkill in her case.

Dominique Pivard wrote:
I have had bad experience with 7200 rpm drives in laptops: they tend to vibrate when lying on a hard surface (like a wooden table) and they seem to be more fragile. This is why I preferred to use 5400 rpm drives when I was still using conventional drives in my previous laptops. I'm now using an SSD (in a PC laptop and in a Mac) and I wouldn't go back to conventional drives: they are just so incredibly fast and totally silent.


I've not had that problem, with my 7200 rpm laptop drives, but no doubt that if your budget can include it SSD is the best option.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
How about hybrid drives Jan 29, 2012

Alex Lago wrote:
Dominique Pivard wrote:
Their drawbacks are higher prices and lower capacities.

That's why I didn't mention them to her as she had already mentioned she had a restricted budget and unless she gets to have a huge TM (which she obviously doesn't yet) in my opinion this would be overkill in her case.


There are also hybrid drives that cost less. Such a drive would be a combination of e.g. 500 GB HDD and e.g. 8 GB SSD. Does anyone have any experience with those? Would 8 GB be useful to translators? I know it's useful for gamers who can't afford full SSD drives...

Don't forget that one can also create a ramdisk if your computer has leftover RAM.


 

XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:21
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Mac vs PC Jan 30, 2012

It looks to me as if you've already plumped for the PC but in case the dilemma resurfaces:

If budget is a factor then it is important to consider the price differential between PCs and Macs. I bought a new PC laptop last week. My husband has owned Macs all his life and thought he would check out what a Mac of an equivalent spec would cost. The answer was double. Now ducking for cover because Mac owners are very fond of their machines.


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
Finnish to French
Raw specs aren't the only factor to be compared Jan 30, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:
If budget is a factor then it is important to consider the price differential between PCs and Macs. I bought a new PC laptop last week. My husband has owned Macs all his life and thought he would check out what a Mac of an equivalent spec would cost. The answer was double. Now ducking for cover because Mac owners are very fond of their machines.

Sure: if you look at raw specs like type of CPU, amount of RAM, size of hard drive, video adaptor etc., Apple laptops are more expensive than the average PC laptop with the same specs. But they are also much better built in average, especially since Apple got rid of the entry-level (plastic) MacBook. There are only two basic models of Apple laptops: MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs. Both have an aluminium unibody structure (compare that to the cheap plastic used in most PC laptops), backlit keyboards, a much better trackpad, solid hinges etc. If you compare the price with PC laptops of similar build quality (for instance, HP Envy), you'll see the price difference is no longer that big. And I'm not even talking about the OS, only about the hardware.


 
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