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your thoughts on Matecat
Thread poster: Dominique N.

Dominique N.
France
English to French
+ ...
Apr 9, 2015

Hello

I would like to start using a CAT tool but I'm not sure if investing time and/or money in programmes like Trados or Omega is worth it since I do mostly editorial translations, and I will not get huge leverage from a CAT tool.

I wonder if Matecat wouldn't be a good alternative for me. It’s extremely ease to use, supports many formats and is really good at reproducing the formatting of the original document (I ran a test with Word, Excel and PDF files).

However, some seem not to like the idea that it's an online tool. Is this because of perceived (real ?) confidentiality issues ? Are online CAT tools such a no-no ? I also read that Matecat still lacks the features of other tools, although I'm not sure which ones.

Being not familiar with them, I wonder how compatible CAT tools are in general, and if they can all communicate through servers ? If not, is it routine practice for agencies or clients to manually exchange TMs with translators when they use different programmes ?

Any help with these questions would be much appreciated, thank you.


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:20
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
It's not just about translation memories Apr 9, 2015

Dominique N. wrote:
I would like to start using a CAT tool but I'm not sure if investing time and/or money in programmes like Trados or Omega is worth it since I do mostly editorial translations, and I will not get huge leverage from a CAT tool.

I cannot help you with Matecat, but there's more to CAT tools than translation memories.

I find that my texts are diverse enough that I seldom get a useful hit from the TM, but two things that I find very useful are termbases (glossaries, essentially) and segmentation. I find cutting a text up into segments and focusing on each segment a great aid to concentration.

Generally I would advise you to try something that is reasonably well-known so that you can get peer support, here and in other places.

This is a very subjective area and obviously everybody has different tastes. Tom will be along in a minute to tell you not to bother with CAT tools at all, for example.

Dan


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Jorge Herran  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 05:20
English to Spanish
MateCAT Apr 9, 2015

Well, I think that the leverage that I find on using a CAT tool that presents me an accurate Machine Translation of a segment is that I am able to work faster and better. As Dan Lucas says, the most important thing to me are the Glossaries and that I am able to focus better in a small segment, also I am able to have available any fuzzy match or perfect matchand not to translate an already translated segment in another section of the document

In my opinion, Omega T has the best and easier to use glossary I have worked with (I have worked a lot with Fluency , SLD and OmegaT.

I have started using MateCAT some days ago and I love its Machine translation, however, so far I am unable to use well its glossary.

I think that an online CAT tool is a good idea if you do have a fast internet, as MateCAT does.

Regarding the server question, I know that even if many CAT tools are able to communicate in that level, I never used that.


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Dominique N.
France
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
industry standards Apr 9, 2015

Thank you for your prompt answers.

Jorge Herran wrote:

I have started using MateCAT some days ago and I love its Machine translation, however, so far I am unable to use well its glossary.


Thanks, I'll look at the glossary features in more details. Personnally, it's the super easy interface and format handling that I like


Regarding the server question, I know that even if many CAT tools are able to communicate in that level, I never used that.


Were you exchanging files and TMs manually then ?


Dan Lucas wrote:

This is a very subjective area and obviously everybody has different tastes. Tom will be along in a minute to tell you not to bother with CAT tools at all, for example.


You're right, this should be a question of personal preference but I am not certain that the industry sees it this way and I wonder if you can meet industry standards and expectations using a tool like this (or no tool at all, for that matter). Not in terms of translation quality of course, but in terms of workflow (e.g. TM sharing).
All opinions are welcome

[Edited at 2015-04-09 14:14 GMT]


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Patrick Porter
United States
Local time: 06:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Matecat can be installed locally Apr 9, 2015

In a addition to the online Matecat service offered by the company called "Translated", Matecat is also available as an open-source project that can be downloaded and run locally (on a Linux machine) on a LAN. You can even run it on a virtual machine on the same PC and access it via your browser. That way, you wouldn't have the same confidentiality issues, although I think the local version still makes use of the online MyMemory. I'm pretty sure you can choose to disable that option though.

In any case, my opinion is that running it locally is a bit complicated for the average user, and in general the project seems to be geared more toward LSPs/agencies than to individual freelancers. Another similar option is "Casmacat" which is the open source project that Matecat is built around, but it lacks much of the file conversion and translation memory functionality of Matecat.

I've actually been working on a fork of Casmacat to make it more suitable for professional use by a freelancer or small group...sort of an in-between option between the basic Casmacat and the more enterprise-oriented Matecat (and without the tendency toward consumption of services from Translated). The goal would be to give it some of the basic out-of-the-box functionality of a CAT tool, combined with the MT-based translation prediction functionality that it already contains. And while such a project might not be a true replacement for a commercial CAT tool, it could at the very least be a good additional option for working over a network or over the internet.

If anyone reading this is interested, I will post a link to my GitHub page on my profile, where the projects can be accessed. So far, I've made minimal and merely experimental changes. Also, the original version of Casmacat is on GitHub, and the Matecat software is available from their website.


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:20
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
That will depend on language pair and specialities Apr 9, 2015

Dominique N. wrote:
I wonder if you can meet industry standards and expectations using a tool like this (or no tool at all, for that matter). Not in terms of translation quality of course, but in terms of workflow (e.g. TM sharing).

The clincher for me was that many Japanese agencies seem to want Trados, so I went for that. And it turned out that my agency clients do send often Trados TMs and packages, so using Trados rather than something else has made life a little easier for me. Most Japanese direct clients probably don't even know what CAT tools are.

Other language pairs and specialisations are no doubt different...

Dan


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:20
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
There are many free CAT tools Apr 9, 2015

Like you already said yourself, OmegaT. Another one is Across, free and installed on your computer, or Memsource, and maybe more. The problem is that they are not the fastest tools available, but they do the job. And hey, what do you expect for that money?

[Edited at 2015-04-09 17:04 GMT]


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Dominique N.
France
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
functionality is the key Apr 11, 2015

Thank you for your contributions.


Patrick Porter wrote:
Matecat is also available as an open-source project that can be downloaded and run locally
my opinion is that running it locally is a bit complicated for the average user [/quote]

Agree

Patrick Porter wrote:
the more enterprise-oriented Matecat (and without the tendency toward consumption of services from Translated).


Yes, thanks for pointing this out. Freelance users can not invite their own clients to collaborate with them over this tool. And the model itself raises confidentiality issues. We'll probably see more and more cloud-bases solutions in the future and developers should address this issue more clearly.


Robert Rietvelt wrote:

Like you already said yourself, OmegaT. Another one is Across, free and installed on your computer, or Memsource, and maybe more.


Thanks. I'm not so much chasing freeware than trying to find a tool that is user-friendly, reliable and efficient (out-of-the-box functionality, as Patrick says). I'd be happy to invest in a (reasonably priced) tool that would meet this description. I'm not against learning new tools, but I'd rather avoid the headache when there seems to be much simpler technology already out there. But I'm might be overlooking some important aspects of CAT tool functionality here. I guess I'll have to try several demos and I will definitely follow Patrick's casmacat project with much interest.

Dan Lucas wrote:

The clincher for me was that many Japanese agencies seem to want Trados
st Japanese direct clients probably don't even know what CAT tools are.

Other language pairs and specialisations are no doubt different...

Dan

[/quote]

Yes, this seems difficult to ignore. As others suggested on this forum, the way to go might be to own both Trados and another compatible tool one feels more comfortable working with.

Thank you.


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Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:20
Finnish to French
Free = slow, expensive = fast?! Apr 12, 2015

Robert Rietvelt wrote:
Like you already said yourself, OmegaT. Another one is Across, free and installed on your computer, or Memsource, and maybe more. The problem is that they are not the fastest tools available, but they do the job. And hey, what do you expect for that money?

I must admit I have never though speed would be an issue in the use of CAT tools (after all, this is not rocket science), but I'm puzzled by your suggestion free equals slow, and money buys you speed. My impression is rather that the more expensive a CAT tool is, the more time it takes it to launch.

If you refer to Across as the perfect example of a free tool being slow: for one thing, it's not really free (companies must pay through the nose for it); as to freelancers, it's only "free" for them if they accept to contribute to Across' marketing by giving a distorted view of Across' adoption rate (by way of having their name displayed in the online directory of users). In reality, Across is more an example of an expensive "bloatware" tool.


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Silvia Currò  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:20
English to Italian
+ ...
Hi Dominique Apr 13, 2015

I have used Matecat on a regular basis for quite a long time now, and I also use it for customers who send me files in .xliff format for Studio now, since the applications allows both to upload and download files in this format.

All TMs can be uploaded and downloaded and updated as in any other CAT tool, plus you have the advantage of being able to use Machine Translations as you please.

Of course, when privacy matters, you have the option of disabling this MT feature and work without any privacy risk.

The welcome page has a video with a tutorial that you can watch to get the main features of the application, to learn more of course you have to read the user guide, which is available as well.
Many useful shortcuts make translation even faster.

I recommend it highly, the options of working online with my projects loaded on my personal profile gives me the opprtunity to work from anywhere, even when I do not have my PC at hand, I only need an Internet connection, and no more issues of Mac or PCs with this CAT tool: screen, keaboard and Internet connection is all you need.

I suggest to sign in and create your own projects that will be saved and retrieved any time whenever you like it.

Best,

Silvia



[2015-04-13 11:44 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]

[2015-04-13 12:34 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]

[2015-04-13 12:35 GMT पर संपादन हुआ]


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Alejandra Reznik
Argentina
Local time: 07:20
English to Spanish
There are as many CAT tools as translators nowadays Apr 14, 2015

Hi, Dominique.

Picking a CAT tool nowadays is not an easy task. I've been working the last few days with Matecat and I too find it quite user friendly. Having said that, I've been working with SDL Trados/Studio for several years now. Just like Dan, I also went with Studio because many of the agencies I work with used Studio, but it paid for itself in no time. It's a big investment upfront (like any paid CAT tool). I was later able to benefit from it when working with direct clients.

I believe most of the free versions of paid CAT tools are quite limited. For example, MemoQ's free version doesn't allow you to import TMs, so you can't take advantage of it to ensure consistency (I guess not much of a problem for literary translation). Wordfast Anywhere is a web-based tool and it's quite user-friendly. However, if your internet is not fast enough, it can be really slow. I found Matecat useful, but I'm not too sure yet about confidentiality issues. OmegaT for me has a bit of a primitive UI and still needs some work (again, I'm a Studio user) but it is not a bad choice to see whether a CAT tool can help you with your work.

Having said all this, I guess most CAT tools were thought from the agency's perspective, not the freelancer. For me, it's all about downloading the free trial or open software and give it a go. It's the best way to see what really works for you.

Best,

Alejandra


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Vaclav Balacek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:20
English to Czech
+ ...
Memsource Personal Edition Apr 14, 2015

Memsource has a free Personal Edition which has just some limitations.
1. Two jobs (files) at a time.
2. Maximum file size of 10 MB when uploaded

If you can live with these limitations, you would be otherwise able to make full use of the system.

More details here: https://www.memsource.com/en/pricing


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Dominique N.
France
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
casmacat Apr 15, 2015

Many thanks for your contributions.

Alejandra Reznik wrote:
For me, it's all about downloading the free trial or open software and give it a go. It's the best way to see what really works for you.



Yes, as you pointed out, needs vary from one freelancer to the other.


@ Patrick Porter
I signed up for a request to try the Casmacat demo and was unable to open the URL provided in the message (/@4002). Can you please advise ? Thank you


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Patrick Porter
United States
Local time: 06:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not sure about the demo Apr 23, 2015

Dominique N. wrote:

@ Patrick Porter
I signed up for a request to try the Casmacat demo and was unable to open the URL provided in the message (/@4002). Can you please advise ? Thank you



I haven't tried the demo, so not sure about the bad link. To get started with Casmacat, I followed the instructions here.


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Danik 2014
Brazil
German to Portuguese
+ ...
User of MateCat Apr 25, 2015

Hi,
I'm still new to the world of Cat Tools and MateCat has been so far the only tool I have managed with, because it is fairly easy and user friendly.
It´s advantages IMO are:
it has a user friendly interface; it seems to have good glossary sources; it splits your text in working units if you need them (and, of course the translation is segmented); it shows your word speed and the quantity of words you have to translate to complete your job;it has also some post editing features now, but I'm not acquainted with them, as I do my post editing on Word.
It´s drawbacks: If you use it on line, you only can use it on Google Chrome or Safari; A short time ago, it was still in its Beta version, which meant that very often features were added and changed, something that can be confusing and hampering if you are not an informatics expert as well as a translator.
I hope this information has been useful.


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