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Poll: Does using CAT tools increase work opportunities?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:46
SITE STAFF
May 20, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Does using CAT tools increase work opportunities?".

This poll was originally submitted by Homero Muñoz

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:46
Member (2008)
English to Italian
yes May 20, 2009

Well, a lot of job offers show a specific requirement: CAT tools, so definitely who has one and also a good knowledge can apply with more chances to be chosen.


I agree with Mark, the problem is "how many times a qualified translator cannot apply beacause he/she does not use a CAT tool", in this case, unfortunately, experience is not taken into account, as you cannot even submit your CV.

[Edited at 2009-05-20 09:52 GMT]


 

Mark Nathan  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:46
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
Yes, but... May 20, 2009

I would be wary of someone who gave you a job on the basis of your possession of a CAT tool rather than relevant experience/qualification in the field in question.

I guess if it comes down to choosing between two candidates with similar qualifications, they will choose the one with the CAT tool.

[Edited at 2009-05-20 08:42 GMT]


 

Venkatesh Sundaram  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 20:16
German to English
Agree - but how many clients provide a translation memory to take advantage of the CAT tool? May 20, 2009

Mark Nathan wrote:

I would be wary of someone who gave you a job on the basis of your possession of a CAT tool rather than relevant experience/qualification in the field in question.

I guess if it comes down to choosing between two candidates with similar qualifications, they will choose the one with the CAT tool.

[Edited at 2009-05-20 08:42 GMT]


Agree with Mark Nathan. Experience / qualification in the field in question is more important in my opinion rather than mere posssession of a CAT tool.

I would also like to ask my colleagues, as to how many of their clients actaully help you make use of the CAT tool more efficiently, say by providing a TM for a project similar to what they've had translated earlier? In my case the answer is a single digit!


 

xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 16:46
English to French
+ ...
Other May 20, 2009

I do not use CAT tools and am fully booked most of the time anyway...

 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:46
Italian to English
CATs and experience May 20, 2009

Venkatesh Sundaram wrote:

Agree with Mark Nathan. Experience / qualification in the field in question is more important in my opinion rather than mere posssession of a CAT tool.



Hi Mark and Venkatesh,

CATs and experience are not mutually exclusive.

The point here is that other things being equal, you will be eligible for more jobs if you have CAT skills. Those jobs may not be the kind you are looking for, since some technology-fixated clients regard translators as interchangeable commodities and pay accordingly, but there is no denying that more work is potentially available if you can use a CAT tool.

Giles


 

Mark Nathan  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:46
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
Depends on the field May 20, 2009

Hi Giles,

I didn't mean to suggest that tools and experience were mutually exclusive...But I think we are pretty much saying the same thing.

Yes, there is no denying that there is potentially more work available if you have a CAT tool. But there are still fields, translating novels for example, where having a CAT tool is simply not part of the equation.

I guess that in a few years time everyone will stop asking each other if/should they have a CAT tool. For professional translators the issue will be which CAT tool is most suitable for their specialization.


 

Emmanuelle De Bolle  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 16:46
English to French
+ ...
No, but ... May 20, 2009

I use CAT Tools but most of my clients do not use them. I mainly translate legal documents and I find these tools very useful. Even if my clients do not ask for clean and/or unclean files, I do translate in Trados to save time and to produce consistent translations.

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:46
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It has a downside May 20, 2009

Mark Nathan wrote:
I would be wary of someone who gave you a job on the basis of your possession of a CAT tool rather than relevant experience/qualification in the field in question.
I guess if it comes down to choosing between two candidates with similar qualifications, they will choose the one with the CAT tool.

[Edited at 2009-05-20 08:42 GMT]


CAT tools are the #1 requirement of rate-squashing translation agencies. Among the agencies I work for, the one IMHO that offers by far the best quality to their end-clients actually resents my use of WordFast. They even warned me once that I am expected remove each and every trace of CAT, regardless of it being immediately spotted during proofreading by someone else.

I see too many agencies more concerned with fuzzy-match discounts than translator competence. So I think CAT tools increase work opportunities... but certainly at lower rates.

End-clients seldom care about CAT-tools. Its like when you take a taxicab: you don't care whether it has automatic transmission or power steering, as the driver is the one who will be using them.


 

Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 09:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
More than obvious... May 20, 2009

You cannot even apply to certain jobs if you don't work with Trados, SDLX, Wordfast or others.

 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:46
Flemish to English
+ ...
It attracts discount seeking agencies... May 20, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I see too many agencies more concerned with fuzzy-match discounts than translator competence. So I think CAT tools increase work opportunities... but certainly at lower rates.


Who invented those discounts?
Let's all rush to buy the next version of their product.
(taking into account that in 2010 windows 7 and Office 14 will be on the market).

[Bijgewerkt op 2009-05-20 14:44 GMT]


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:46
Italian to English
CATs everywhere May 20, 2009

Mark Nathan wrote:

Yes, there is no denying that there is potentially more work available if you have a CAT tool. But there are still fields, translating novels for example, where having a CAT tool is simply not part of the equation.



A CAT tool is always part of the equation for me.

Many people are convinced that CATs are only useful for repetitive texts but this is not so. For example, translation memories can be mined for the different solutions you have used in the past for specific cruxes. My own work doesn't usually involve much repetition and I don't think my CATs actually save me much time. They do, however, boost the quality and consistency of my translations while enabling me to manage client terminology with some semblance of logic.

CATs also have less obvious advantages. A few years ago, I was translating a book as the author was writing it. When the publisher requested fairly radical changes, I was very glad I had a translation memory to tell me precisely which bits had been rewritten.

Remember, too, that if you translate from paper or on screen only, there's a risk of skipping lines. A CAT makes this virtually impossible.

I know some translators dislike the rather inelastic workflow imposed by CATs, and I respect this view, but I certainly don't share it.

Giles

[Edited at 2009-05-20 15:09 GMT]


 

Venkatesh Sundaram  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 20:16
German to English
Work opportunities do increase - other aspects.... May 20, 2009

Giles Watson wrote:

Mark Nathan wrote:

Yes, there is no denying that there is potentially more work available if you have a CAT tool. But there are still fields, translating novels for example, where having a CAT tool is simply not part of the equation.



A CAT tool is always part of the equation for me.

Many people are convinced that CATs are only useful for repetitive texts but this is not so. For example, translation memories can be mined for the different solutions you have used in the past for specific cruxes. My own work doesn't usually involve much repetition and I don't think my CATs actually save me much time. They do, however, boost the quality and consistency of my translations while enabling me to manage client terminology with some semblance of logic.

CATs also have less obvious advantages. A few years ago, I was translating a book as the author was writing it. When the publisher requested fairly radical changes, I was very glad I had a translation memory to tell me precisely which bits had been rewritten.

Remember, too, that if you translate from paper or on screen only, there's a risk of skipping lines. A CAT makes this virtually impossible.

I know some translators dislike the rather inelastic workflow imposed by CATs, and I respect this view, but I certainly don't share it.

Giles

[Edited at 2009-05-20 15:09 GMT]


I agree that work opprtunities increase (which is what the poll is about).
I also agree that CAT helps one to be more consistent and perhaps efficient - hence I too usually use a CAT tool (unless the source format makes it difficult or impossible to do so)
However, unfortunately for many agencies, its just a way to drive prices down -
though I have not yet come across one (like Nathan) who forbids their use!


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:46
Italian to English
If some agencies use CATs to drive down rates... May 20, 2009

Venkatesh Sundaram wrote:

However, unfortunately for many agencies, its just a way to drive prices down -
though I have not yet come across one (like Nathan) who forbids their use!



... then don't work for them.

To begin with, everybody has to scrabble around and bid for work, a process which inevitably focuses on rates and enables clients to play translators off against each other.

But when you have a sufficient number of satisfied direct clients who recommend you to others, the job offers will come to you.

And you can then set the rateicon_wink.gif

Giles


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:46
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Since more work is available, choose the jobs you do! May 20, 2009

Giles is right.

I often have to turn down good jobs, and without my CAT I would be turning down even more, because I simply have not got enough time.

So I choose the clients I work for and the jobs I am interested in. I probably ought to spend more time explaining to clients why I make the choices I do. I regularly tell them that a job is outside my scope if I do not know enough about the field, especially the languages I do not specialise in so much. But the rate I am offered is also a factor.

Very often a CAT does not really save time, and it should not be an excuse for pressing rates. It offers other advantages, and in the end this means more consistency and better quality, so in fact we should demand higher rates for using them!

It takes time to learn to use a CAT, set it up and maintain the TM. This has to be added to the time spent actually translating, and a CAT is not free. The overhead costs should also be reflected in our rates.

Don't let agencies press prices. Stand together and insist on proper hourly rates
-- because we're worth it! icon_biggrin.gif


 
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